Getting The Best Food Steamer: A Complete Guide

Everyone knows that steaming food is one of the healthiest options we can consider when cooking. Aside from eliminating the use of oil, steaming also keeps the nutrients in the food for us to absorb. While steaming is relatively simple to do, getting the best food steamer ensures that you steam food to perfection.

What are the benefits of getting a steamer?

getting-the-best-food-steamer

Although putting a steaming rack over a pot of boiling water can do the trick, there are substantial advantages of using a steamer compared to just doing it yourself.

Health

Steaming food allows us to cook meat and veggies without the use of cooking oil, butter, or grease. It also enables us to cook the food without allowing flavor and nutrients to get lost. You should prefer steaming over boiling since the nutrients are lost in the water during the process of boiling.

Variety

There are a lot of food that you can steam. Vegetables such as broccolis and are favorites to put in the steamers. Meat such as chicken and salmon are also delicious when steamed. You can even steam eggs, rice, and pasta for a change. Try steaming Asian delicacies such as dumplings. With a good steamer, you have a lot of options.

Capacity

Compared to conventional cooking, you can steam up to 5 to 7 liters of food in one batch using a good steamer. You don’t have to prepare and cook meat, vegetables, and other ingredients separately. It saves a lot of time and effort. All you have to make is a delicious sauce to have it with.

Aesthetics

In any way you look at it, a steamer looks good and enticing. When it has food on it and is currently cooking, you can’t help but crave and wonder when it is going to be done because the food looks delicious inside the steamer.


What are the things to look for when choosing a steamer?

getting-the-best-food-steamer

Not all food steamers are created equal. To get the best for you and your family’s needs, here are things to consider.

1

Steam baskets

Food steamers have steam baskets that have holes in them to let the steam circulate. There are two steam basket variants, the equal size, and the variable size baskets. Variable size baskets are easy to stack and store, yet equal size baskets provide more steaming area.

If you can, choose a food steamer that has removable, slide-out bases so that you can use a larger space when steaming taller pieces of food.

2

Water gauge

This is an important part of the steamer since it’s the steam coming out of the water that cooks the food. Having an efficient and accurate water gauge makes you aware of how much water is in the steamer and avoid it from getting boil dried. It should have a clear min and max level indicator so that your steamer would spit or dry.

3

Water inlet

It is important that the water inlet is in a position where it is convenient to put water in it. Better yet, choose a steamer that has an external water inlet so that you can easily make a refill without risking getting burnt by contact with any hot surface even during the process of steaming.

4

Timer

Having an accurate timer is important to avoid undercooking or overcooking. Choosing a digital timer over knob-based timer is preferable since digital timers are more accurate. You may find more advanced timers on steamers with higher price tags. These timers have beep alarms, delay functions, and auto shut-off.

5

Keep warm function

No one wants to eat cold food, especially when it is steamed prior. The keep warm function enables the steamer to continue heating the food without overcooking it.


The best food steamer

Now that we have laid out the basics, let’s get down to the more detailed part. Introducing the best food steamer available today, in full detail.

#1. BELLA 7.4 Quart Healthy Food Steamer, Dual Basket

https://www.amazon.com/BELLA-Quart-Healthy-Steamer-Basket/dp/B00DPX8UBA/

This steamer can steam up to 7 liters of food. You don’t have to steam by batch since it has two separate containers that you can put in at the same time. Aside from the 2 tier design, it also has a grain tray that allows you to cook rice through this steamer.

Steaming is easy. You just have to put the food in, turn the knob, and wait for it. Just make sure to monitor the water which is an easy thing to do with the water reservoir view window. But if you happen to doze off while waiting, it’ ok. The auto shut-off and boil dry protection will make sure everything is safe.

BELLA 7.4 Quart Healthy Food Steamer, Dual Basket

PROS

  • It is made with BPA-free plastic which durable and dishwasher safe.
  • The 7-liter capacity consists of two separate compartments. It also includes a grain tray for rice and other grains you would want to cook.
  • Newbies are welcome to use this food processor. Just follow the chart provided.
  • The water reservoir view window lets you if you need to refill.
  • You don’t have to worry about overcooking and boil dry with its auto shut-off and boil dry protection features.

CONS

  • The unit doesn’t have a keep warm function. The water stays hot though even after the steamer has been turned off.

#2. Oster CKSTSTMD5-W 5-Quart Food Steamer, White

https://www.amazon.com/Oster-CKSTSTMD5-W-5-Quart-Steamer-White/dp/B00519EDIA/

 Click to open expanded view   Oster CKSTSTMD5-W 5-Quart Food Steamer, White

The design of this 5-quart steamer is to accommodate capacity and storage space. Its round shape is for easier storage while the 2-tier compartment can steam different food types since the compartments are steamed and sealed separately.

The operation is simple. Just turn the knob and wait for an hour. You don’t have to worry about boil dry since it automatically shuts off after the timer of if the steamer runs out of liquid.

The body is beautiful, sturdy, BPA-free, and dishwasher safe.

PROS

  • It has an easy, error-proof operating system. All you have to do is make sure there is water, put the food in the baskets, turn the knob and wait.
  • It has an auto shut-off feature when the timer hits zero or the machine runs out of liquid.
  • It has a BPA-free, dishwasher-safe structure for a healthy and easy to clean steamer.

CONS

  • It doesn’t have a water level indicator
  • There is no keep warm function.

#3. Hamilton Beach Digital Food Steamer - 5.5 Quart (37530A)

https://www.amazon.com/Hamilton-Beach-Digital-Food-Steamer/dp/B00MA34AB0/

The good thing about this steamer is aside from the fact that it is very efficient in steaming, it also is packed with a lot of features that improve the outcome of your steamed food.

It has two separate compartments which can steam up to 5.5 quarts of food. But the base between the two compartments is removable so you can steam tall foods such as corn. You can just use one of the two compartments if you just need to steam small amounts of food.

The control panel really caught my attention. It has a digital display and touch panel buttons. You can set the time of steaming based on the chart provided. It has a “delay start” function in case you need to leave the food but doesn’t want to start steaming right away. The steamer has a stay warm function. After the timer hits zero, the warm function kicks in for one hour.

I like the safety features of this steamer. The low water icon lights up when the water level is too low. If it dries up completely, the steamer will automatically shut down and the alarm will beep, avoiding boil dry.

Hamilton Beach Digital Food Steamer - 5.5 Quart (37530A)

PROS

  • It has a digital display with a touch panel for easier navigation and control.
  • It has a versatile 2-tier compartment in which the baskets can be used individually, stacked up at the same time, or together forming a taller single compartment.
  • It comes with a rice bowl steamer.
  • A delay start feature allows you to put in the water and ingredients together without starting it right away.
  • It has a keep warm function that start automatically after the timer hits zero and stays on for one hour.
  • You can avoid boil drying with its low water level alarm and automatic shut-off if the water dries out.
  • The slide-out water drawer allows you to refill water easily without the risk of getting burned.

CONS

  • The unit is not totally BPA-free

#4. Ovente FS53W 7.5-Quart 3-Tier Electric Vegetable and Food Steamer, White

https://www.amazon.com/FS53W-7-5-Quart-Electric-Vegetable-Steamer/dp/B00IK1VL68/

Ovente FS53W 7.5-Quart 3-Tier Electric Vegetable and Food Steamer, White

This food steamer has a towering 3-tier compartment totaling to 7.5 quarts. The capacity is 2.5 quarts per container. The containers are removable and stackable so you can steam an entire course all at the same time.

Using the steamer is very simple and straightforward. Turn the timer and wait. The steamer will run for a full 60 minutes. It will automatically shut off when done.

You don’t have to worry about the water level. It has a water level indicator so you will know when to refill. Just in case you forgot to refill, the steamer will just shut down once the water dries out.

PROS

  • It has a 3-tier removable and stackable container which is dishwasher safe.
  • The heater runs on a 400-watt heating element, ensuring a fast and efficient steam.
  • It has a simple operation. Put the food, turn the timer, and wait.
  • It has a water level indicator and will shut down if the water dries out.
  • It has a 60-minute timer with 15-minute intervals. It automatically shuts off when the dial reaches zero.

CONS

  • The water container tends to leak when it starts to boil. Put less water that wouldn’t reach the max limit.
  • The compartments are a little flimsy and should be handled with care.

#5. Cuisinart STM-1000 CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer, Stainless Steel

https://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-STM-1000-CookFresh-Digital-Stainless/dp/B01CU0949U/

If you are an advocate of really eating healthy, then this is the water steamer for you. Five liters of food can be steamed in a single, glass container. It has a beautiful LED display, easy to operate buttons, and pre-programmed food settings. The steaming tray is built with stainless steel and the lid is glass with steel rims, eliminating any chance of contact with any harmful chemicals like BPA.

Cuisinart STM-1000 CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer, Stainless Steel

PROS

  • The 5-liter single container is made of glass with a 1-liter stainless steel tray. It is healthy without any trace of BPA or any harmful chemicals.
  • The control panel has the Start/Stop button, Pause button, and Reheat button, with a bright LED display.
  • It has a pre-programmed food selection.
  • It has a 1-liter removable water tank.

CONS

  • Its only disadvantage is its bulky frame and the inability to cook multiple and varied foods at the same time.

Conclusion

Cuisinart STM-1000 CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer, Stainless Steel

Despite its large frame and other limitations, the best food steamer for me is the Cuisinart STM-1000 CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer, Stainless Steel. It effectively steams food, has a touch of technology despite being simple to operate, and is a real advocate of healthy living. In this generation where health is wealth, we should be giving a premium on that.

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