A food steamer can be a great investment if you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle. By steaming food, you are cooking it far more gently than if baked, fried, or grilled.
This gentle process allows the food to cook while also locking in a lot more of the healthy nutrients or vitamins and minerals.
Not only does it help to produce healthier food, but a food steamer also helps to do it quickly, efficiently, and with minimal supervision. That makes them an ideal addition to a busy family kitchen.
Thus, we will dive deeply into five of the best steamers on the market right now.
After that, we’ll provide a product guide to help you pick the right one, so you’ll be ready to enjoy the benefits of a quality food steamer right in your own home!
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Best Food Steamer Reviews
There are many food steamers in the market, but these five are among the most popular.
1. Oster Double Tiered Food Steamer
We’ll kick off our list with this small but effective food steamer from Oster. It is one of the smaller items on our list and one of the cheapest. Is it enough to make this the right model for you?
This is a two-tier food steamer with a 400 Watt steam output. The two steamer bowls are clear plastic and dishwasher safe. They also stack internally for easy storage.
Among the problems that many people would encounter when buying a steamer is storage. Some food steamers can be pretty big, making storing and using them an issue, especially in smaller kitchens.
Fortunately, there are no such concerns with this product from Oster. It is compact, specifically 10.7×10.1×15.7 inches, making it ideal for use in smaller areas.
The two steamer bowls can also be stored with one bowl inside the other, cutting back on the storage space required.
In operation, while the Oster Double Tiered Food Steamer may be small, you are still getting five quarts of cooking space. The bottom unit puts out 400 Watts of power.
That is less than many other models, but given the smaller cooking area, it is sufficient to cook fish and vegetables within normal time frames.
The small size is this device’s big advantage, but it can also be its main disadvantage. If you are cooking for a family or at least more than two adults, this steamer will probably not be big enough for you.
- Space-saving design
- Excellent value for money
- Dishwasher safe
- Too small for a family meal
2. BELLA 2-Tier Food Steamer
Next up is another two-tier style of food steamer. However, this one is wider than we looked at above, bringing far more cooking area and more powerful steam.
This product has an 800 Watt heater for added steam power. It is two tiers, at around 12 inches in width. The steam baskets combine for 7.4 quarts of cooking space.
Many features of the design of this food steamer are impressive. Chief amongst them are two critical safety features: a water reservoir window and a built-in boil-dry protection system.
The first allows you to easily monitor the water level, allowing you to top up if the level drops too low. The boil-dry protection protects the machine from damage if you cannot monitor that water level.
The two-basket design helps keep the unit’s height down, but they are also nice and wide. That means despite being a two-tier system, it still delivers 7.4 quarts of cooking space, sufficient to cook quite a large amount of food.
The shallow water reservoir with the BELLA 2-Tier Food Steamer’s low height.
This means that you will need to use the water reservoir window to actively monitor the water levels, especially during more extended cooking sessions.
That does mean that, unlike some other designs of a steamer, you can’t really load it up and walk away.
You do need to keep an eye on that water level and top it up as required. Nonetheless, the boil-dry protection will prevent damage if it accidentally runs out of water.
- Enough space to cook food
- Safe to use
- Easy to monitor the water level
- Shallow water reservoir
3. Hamilton Beach Digital Food Steamer
Next up, we have this very modern-looking design of a food steamer from Hamilton Beach. It is compact and perfect for a smaller kitchen, but the digital screen is the big standout.
This food steamer is a two-tier model with 5.5 quarts of cooking capacity. It has an 800-Watt element to produce steam, and the built-in digital display has several settings.
First of all, we have to talk about that digital screen! That feature is not often seen on food steamers but brings some instrumental benefits. One of the big ones is an increase in the settings and controls of the device.
The most useful setting is the delay start function. With this setting, you can load up the reservoir with water and the trays with veggies and then do nothing.
You can delay the start for up to 24 hours, meaning that you can time the veggies to perfection to coincide with your coming in from work or with meat cooking in the oven or out on the grill.
The Hamilton Beach Digital Food Steamer is pretty small. Again, this means it is perfect for use in smaller kitchens.
There is also a handy little window to monitor water levels in the reservoir, which is nice and deep.
Again the size could be an issue if you need to cook a lot of food. Besides, it’s a shame that the steam baskets are not dishwasher-safe. That can make cleaning up more of an effort than it needs to be.
- Very useful digital screen
- Space-saving design
- Delay-start capability
- Not dishwasher safe
4. Cuisinart Digital Steamer
This tool from Cuisinart is certainly a piece of art, perhaps one of the finest-looking food steamers we’ve ever seen! It’s packing the highest price tag of any item on our list today too, so just what are you getting for your dollars here?
This is a single-tier food steamer with a capacity of five quarts. It boasts a high-tech LCD screen, and the steamer basket is made of glass and stainless steel. It is dishwasher safe and has very high-quality construction.
This is quite clearly a premium device. Nowhere is this more evident than with the choice of materials used in and around the steam basket. Glass and steel are extremely safe materials to be found in any device that cooks food, so that is an impressive start already.
Look beneath the basket, and you will see another very cool feature: the built-in LCD screen. It makes the control and setup of this device extremely easy.
You can also take advantage of the built-in cooking cycles tailored to whatever food you cook in the basket, making control even simpler.
Since the materials used in the basket are dishwasher safe, cleaning up is nice and easy. This is a very well-designed, built food steamer that is solid and long-lasting.
Sadly, having only one basket could be an issue for some. You will need to steam your fish or meat with the veggies.
That will help flavor but may need some juggling of ingredients if some will be ready before others.
The other issue is the price tag. As we highlighted above, this is a very solidly put-together little machine built with high-grade, premium materials. That is, of course, great news, but it also generates a premium price tag.
- Built and designed well
- Easy to set up and control
- A breeze to clean
5. Aroma Housewares Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
We will finish off our list with this fascinating design of a food steamer from Aroma Housewares. It is a little different from the models we have looked at and could be particularly interesting if you like to cook lots of rice.
This is a combination of a rice cooker and a food steamer. The bottom section is lined with non-stick material, while a smaller steam basket is supplied to the top. It has a tempered glass lid and very simple on-and-off controls.
A regular steamer will cook rice well, but this is no ordinary steamer! Instead, the bottom section of the device has a hidden heating element and a non-stick lining. That, in turn, means that you can use it for cooking food!
That has several useful benefits. First, the steamer’s bottom part is not just a water reservoir (though you can use it like that if you like).
That means every part of the machine can be used to cook food. So, while it is small, it also has a good capacity for rice, cooking up to six cups.
Sitting above this section, you will find a steamer basket. This cool arrangement lets you pop your vegetables, fish, or meat into the steamer basket above some rice.
The food items cook with the steam produced as the rice cooks beneath. That way, you can easily make a substantial meal with little effort or energy expenditure.
You can also use the bottom section to make or keep warm soups, stews, and chilies. This is a very versatile tool for any kitchen for such a small device that also boasts such a low price tag.
The controls are very basic in this model. It is an on-and-off switch control with no timing or built-in safety features.
That means you must keep an eye on the product when in use and set your external timers to remind you to switch it off.
- Easy to store
- Space-saving and multi-purpose design
- Basic controls
That finishes up our list of the best food steamers on the market. The question is, “Which is the best one for you?”.
Hence, we will answer that question in the next section of this read.
We’ll look at five of the most important features that make a top-quality steamer. Bear these in mind, and they will help you to make the right choice.
After that, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about these highly useful tools so that you will be ready to start steaming!
1. Types of Food Steamers
As you will have noticed from our list above, there are two types of food steamers. There is a traditional design of food steamer, and there is a rice-cooker style.
They only really differ in terms of their heating element.
A traditional style has an open heating element in the bottom compartment that sits in a water reservoir. When the reservoir is filled with water, the heating element boils the water, producing steam.
A rice cooker pot style of food steamer has a heating element hidden behind a nonstick layer.
This means that while you can put water in the compartment like a standard steamer, you can also put food directly there. This could be rice, soup, stews, or other similar food.
It will largely depend on how much rice you cook and whether you would be better off buying a traditional or rice-style cooker.
2. Materials Used
Most food steamers will use plastic. This material is strong but light, hygienic, safe to use, and affordable.
However, it may not be the longest-lasting material in the world. It is not always dishwasher safe either, adding extra time to post-cooking cleanup.
Some people prefer tougher materials such as glass and metal. They are durable and long-lasting but are more expensive.
Related: How to clean a food steamer.
You don’t want to be lumbered with a machine that is too large for your typical cooking needs.
A five-quart capacity is enough to cook a meal for two adults, but if you want to cook larger meals, say for a family with children, invest in a larger design.
Also, bear in mind the size of your kitchen. You need to store and also find room to use your food steamer, and if your kitchen is not large, it may be better to invest in a smaller device.
There are some features to keep an eye out for, and a boil-dry protection system is one that we like.
Even with the best will in the world, other tasks can distract you during cooking. The boil-dry protection is there to protect your steamer should this happen.
Timers are also handy, as is a window into the water reservoir to check water levels. None of these are strictly necessary but can help to make your machine a little more user-friendly.
5. Ease of Use
Food steamers are very simple devices to use. That being said, there are still some features and design points that can help to make them even easier to use.
For example, a timer means the device becomes almost semi-autonomous, and you can leave it alone to get on with its job.
Don’t forget about cleaning up, either! A food steamer that is dishwasher safe will be a bit easier and quicker to clean up after.
Food Steamer FAQs
1. How To Use A Food Steamer?
One of the key benefits of a food steamer is its ease of use. The first thing that you have to do is to fill the reservoir at the bottom with water. After that, you fill up the steam trays with food.
It is always recommended that raw meat, fish, and poultry are placed in the bottom steam basket. Any veggies go into higher baskets.
This helps to stop any liquids from the raw products from dripping down onto the trays beneath, potentially posing a health hazard.
Once your steamer is full of water and food, you simply turn it on. Of course, as we saw above, some machines can be a little more complicated than this, and you may need to set timers, for example.
All-in-all though, that is about it!
2. What Is A Food Steamer?
As the name suggests, a food steamer is a machine designed to produce steam. This steam then cooks the food contained in the steamer baskets. Simple!
Depending on the design of the food steamer, some models can also heat food in their heating areas. An example of this food steamer in the list above is the Aroma Housewares pot-style rice cooker.
With a heating element kept behind a non-stick lining, these types of food steamers can cook food via direct contact, not just steam.
3. Where To Buy A Food Steamer?
A food steamer is an ideal product to purchase over the Internet. They are certainly not the biggest tools in terms of their dimensions, but they are relatively lightweight.
This helps to keep the shipping costs down, meaning that more of your budget can be used to purchase the tool.
As usual, you will often get the best prices for electrical goods when buying online, not to mention a wider choice of manufacturers and models.
4. What Is A Food Steamer Used For?
A food steamer is used for cooking food. It is, of course, only one example of a tool that can be purchased and used in the kitchen for this purpose.
The difference between a food steamer and, for example, a microwave oven is in how the heat is generated to cook the food.
As the name suggests, the heat is delivered via heated water. More specifically, via the steam that is released by this boiling water. There are several advantages to using steam for cooking your food, by the way.
For one, it is very healthy. You do not need to add any extra oil for lubrication, as you would when frying.
That helps to cut calories from the cooked food, helping explain why food steamers are ideal for people on a diet.
They are also very convenient. They are fast and easy to set up and need only minimal attention while they cook, allowing you to get on with other tasks.
5. How Does A Food Steamer Work?
As the name suggests, food steamers work by generating steam. They do this by having a heating element in their bottom compartment.
This element is submerged in water, which is heated until boiling. When this happens, steam is generated.
The food steamer allows this steam to pass through the baskets placed above the heated water. The hot steam flows upwards, gently cooking any food placed into the steam buckets.
Picking the best food steamer on this list is pretty tough, as there were many models we liked!
The Aroma Housewares Rice Cooker and Steamer were very impressive, for example, and would be ideal if you like to cook a lot of rice.
But as far as a simple but versatile steamer’s design, we have to go for the BELLA 2-Tier Food Steamer. For us, it provided excellent cooking capacity with a powerful steam level for a quick and efficient cooking experience.
The auto shut-off and boil dry protection are great safety features, as well as look nice and easy to store.
Add all that together with the very reasonable price tag, and you have a food steamer we are happy to recommend!