The 10 Best Food Steamers

Updated March 14, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

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We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Steaming food has long been one of the best ways to cook fresh vegetables, grains, and fish without removing nutrients or their subtle flavors. With no added fats in the equation, the right addition to your kitchen will help you maintain a diet conducive to good health and increased longevity. Some of these models are quite simple, while others can replace a number of gadgets. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best food steamer on Amazon.

10. Oster 5-Quart

For an ultra-simple and affordable model, look no further than the Oster 5-Quart. Just fill up one or both of its containers with delicious vegetables, meat, or fish, add water to the bottom, and turn the dial. As an added bonus, all of its parts are dishwasher safe.
  • bowls nest for compact storage
  • 60-minute auto-off timer
  • can leak while in use
Brand Oster
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. VonChef Bamboo

Add buns and dumplings to your repertoire with the VonChef Bamboo, which also works for vegetables and anything else you can steam. This two-tiered model has stainless steel banding for a durable take on a design that's been in use for thousands of years.
  • includes two pairs of chopsticks
  • designed for use over a pot
  • metal bands get hot while in use
Brand VonShef
Model 07/537US
Weight 6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Kitchen Deluxe Basket

There's something to be said for doing things the old-fashioned way. The Kitchen Deluxe Basket may look familiar from your childhood, and can be used with pots and pans of various sizes, making healthy cooking as simple as turning on the stove.
  • collapses nearly flat for storage
  • vegetable peeler included
  • does not come with pot or pan
Brand Kitchen Deluxe
Model pending
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

7. Piranha Fish

If storage space and carrying weight are important factors in your search, the Piranha Fish may be the one for you. It's compatible with pressure-cookers as well as almost any pot, and its soft construction won't damage metal or nonstick pans.
  • made of dishwasher-safe silicone
  • handles stay cool for safe removal
  • won't hold a huge amount of food
Brand Piranha Fish Inc
Model SYNCHKG080669
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Euro Cuisine FS2500

Prepare a full meal in a single appliance with the Euro Cuisine FS2500, which includes two stainless steel trays that can be used separately or together to keep flavors from mixing with one another. A large LCD screen gives you control of its timer and warming functions.
  • auto-shutoff when all water is gone
  • generates steam almost instantly
  • switches to warm when food is ready
Brand Euro Cuisine
Model FS2500
Weight 11 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Bella BLA13872

Eating healthy has never been easier than with the multifunctional Bella BLA13872. It helps you prepare a nutritious meal with minimal mess and hassle, thanks to its easy-to-clean surfaces and simple single-control dial interface.
  • external reservoir filler
  • includes tray for cooking rice
  • water level indicator
Model BLA13872
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Gourmia SteamTower300

With three large baskets to use individually or in combination with one another, the Gourmia SteamTower300 is great for chefs who have a lot of mouths to feed. Even better, it starts working almost instantly, so you can get to cooking without waiting for it to heat up.
  • add time while in use
  • distributes heat evenly
  • includes recipe book
Brand Gourmia
Model GFS-300
Weight 4.6 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. Anolon Universal

If you're wary of electronics going faulty, or you simply prefer to use a real flame to cook your food, take a look at the Anolon Universal. It's made of solid stainless steel with a durable glass lid, and it fits on most pots with 6.25" to 8.25" diameters.
  • will last a lifetime
  • the easiest one to clean
  • great for making a quick stock
Brand Anolon
Model 77447
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Instant Pot

The Canadian-born Instant Pot may well be the single most popular appliance in North America today. More than just a steamer, this extensively customizable option will streamline the dinner-making process, so you can focus on friends, family, or prepping a fancy dessert.
  • dedicated yogurt-making program
  • the ultimate pressure cooker
  • high-temperature saute function
Brand Instant Pot
Model IP-DUO60
Weight 15.6 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Cuisinart CookFresh STM-1000

The elegant, glass and stainless-steel Cuisinart CookFresh STM-1000 will handle all of your steaming needs with its high capacity pot. A one-liter external reservoir ensures you won't run the machine dry, even when preparing large meals for your family.
  • contains no plastics
  • can be refilled while in use
  • one-piece design is easy to clean
Brand Cuisinart
Model STM-1000
Weight 18.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

The Science Of Steam

Though they may look a little alien at first, these steam cookers are supremely simple in design. After all, steam cooking isn't that complex a process: water boils and creates steam, the hot steam encompasses the food in question, and its heat cooks the food.

Okay, well, how does the heat cook the food? That's an important thing to understand when choosing to steam a vegetable rather than to bake it or boil it.

Since the majority of the foods you're going to steam are composed primarily of proteins, fiber, and carbohydrates, let's look closest at those.

Heat will–not invariably, but mostly–make proteins firmer and caramelize carbohydrates. That's why hard boiled eggs get, well, hard, and why bread browns when you bake it. The proteins are firming up in the eggs and the carbs are caramelizing in the bread (and the snozzberries taste like snozzberries!).

When you steam a food, those proteins still firm up and the carbs still caramelize, but the fiber that makes up the bulk content of vegetables breaks down. That's why a carrot will get sweeter (caramelizing) and softer (fiber break down) as it steams.

Most foods also lose water through evaporation as they cook, which is why steaming and boiling make for such moist foods. Remember though, steaming preserves more vital nutrients like folic acid and vitamin C than boiling does. It's definitely the healthier choice.

How Much Steam Is Enough?

Unless you're feeding a small army, the odds are that the steamers we're reviewing here today will fit your needs and fill your family's bellies.

If you are feeding a small army, you could always opt for one of these industrial steamers, though I hope you've got a large enough kitchen at your disposal.

Size is an important factor when choosing a steamer. If it's just you alone in your house, that smaller, collapsible metal steamer at number five might be enough for you.

Just don't go steaming broccoli or cabbage in it because that could give you gas, and we want you to go out and meet people, make some friends so you can eventually also buy one of the bigger steamers.

Certain other features should play a role in your decision, as well. A water reservoir that you can fill externally (usually through a small opening in the side of the steamer base) is a dream. Also, the longer you can set your steamer to run on its own, the better, especially if you like to steam through tougher ingredients or go on short vacations while you're cooking.

Steaming With Possibilities

Steam is a powerful thing. It's helped us build entire industries, cross continents on locomotive trains, and secretly open envelopes addressed to our loved ones.

From the late 18th century, when we began to incorporate steam into our lives as a source of pressure power, artistic minds like those of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells have imagined myriad possibilities for its use.

The works of those artists and inventors would later inspire a generation of writers and artists in the 20th century who looked back at our transition to electric and combustion power to ask, "What if steam had remained the predominant source of power, even in the inventions that followed?"

That question led to incredible works of fiction from the 1950s onward, and gained the term Steampunk in the late 1980s.

Steam wasn't always a source of power, though. Its original use, as we've endeavored to explore here, was primarily in cooking.

Evidence of steam cooking dates back at least 7000 years in China, and as many as 10,000 years here in the US. The eastern methods were primarily bamboo and cypress steaming, where the native Americans of the ancient southwest used clay.

The amazing thing is how little has changed in the cuisine, as both cultures still utilize modernized versions of those same tools to cook food the way their ancestors did so long ago.

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Last updated on March 14, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

A traveling chef, musician, and student of the English language, Chris can be found promoting facts and perfect copy around the globe, from dense urban centers to remote mountaintops. In his free time he revels in dispelling pseudoscience, while at night he dreams of modern technology, world peace, and the Oxford comma.

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