Food Steamer Vs. Pressure Cooker [The Comparison]

A food steamer and a pressure cooker are very different kitchen appliances, but both have the same goal – cooking food and making your life easier.

So which one is better for you, and what are their key differences?

This article will examine both appliances and see which ones come on top.

Let’s find out!

What Is Food Steamer?

A food steamer is a kitchen appliance that cooks food by using steam. The steam is generated by boiling water.

There are two main food steamers: electric steamer and traditional cooktop method.

The electric steamer uses electric power to generate steam, while the stovetop steamer uses gas or stovetop to generate steam.

Most food steamers come with three compartments or tiers.

As for steaming on the cooktop, you can use either a stovetop steamer or a bamboo steamer.

A stovetop steamer is usually made of aluminum or stainless steel. It has a perforated bottom that fits snugly over a pot of boiling water.

If you want to know about what are the best food steamers, you want to check out our reviews:

How Does A Food Steamer Work?

Food Steamer

A food steamer works by using steam to cook food. The water is poured into the bottom container of the steamer.

Then, it is heated to the boiling temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celcius).

The food is placed in a basket or tray suspended above the water. The steam rises, and the food is cooked by the hot steam coming into contact with it.

The clear disadvantage of cooking with a food steamer is that it takes longer to cook food than with a pressure cooker, which we will explain later.

Related: Bamboo vs. metal steamer, the comparison.

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Food Steamer?

A food steamer has several benefits over other methods of cooking. First, it is a healthy way to cook food and great for someone who wants to lose weight.

The steam cooks the food without using oil or fat. This means that the food retains more vitamins and minerals and preserves nutrients.

Second, a food steamer is a fast way to cook food. The steam can penetrate the food and cook it quickly.

Third, a food steamer is a versatile kitchen appliance. You can use it for cooking various foods such as vegetables, fish, chicken, and rice.

The Pros And Cons Of Food Steamer

Food steamer has its advantages and disadvantages. To summarize, see the below comparison:


  • Healthy cooking method as no oil or fats is used.
  • It retains nutrients better than other methods, such as boiling.
  • A food steamer can cook multiple food items at once.
  • Easy to use.


  • It takes longer to cook food than some other methods.
  • Some food items may not taste as good when steamed.
  • It can be hard to clean especially cook with a bamboo steamer.

What Is a Pressure Cooker And How Does It Work?

InstaPot Pressure cooker

A pressure cooker has a very different design than a food steamer. It consists of five main components:

  • Pot – cooking chamber for water and food
  • Rubber ring – to prevent steam from escaping.
  • Lid – to cover the pot and comes with a locking mechanism
  • Valve – a safety measure that ensures the pressure will not build up to dangerous levels inside the pot that could cause an explosion. It will release steams after it reaches specific points.
  • Whistle – when you hear a whistling noise, then you know the food is cooked

Some pressure cooker models have advanced multi-functionality like slow cookers, steamers, food warmer, etc.

The most popular one is Instant Pot Duo Electric Pressure Cooker

So does the pressure cooker work?

Unlike the food steamer, which only uses steam from boiling water, the pressure cooker works with a combination of steam and pressure.

A pressure cooker increases the pressure so the water will boil higher than its regular boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celcius).

The pressure inside the pot forces the heat to spread evenly throughout the food, which cooks the food faster than a steamer.

The disadvantage of the pressure cooker is that it relies so much on the condition of the rubber ring seated between the pot and the lid.

If the rubber ring is worn out or in bad condition, it can’t hold any air leak from the pot,

A rubber ring in lousy condition will be unable to hold any air leaks from the pot. Eventually, the pressure cannot build up inside the pot, and cooking isn’t practical.

The Pros And Cons Of Pressure Cookers

The pressure cooker has its advantages and disadvantages. To summarize, see the below comparison:


  • Cook food faster than a food steamer.
  • Consistent cooking results as the heat is evenly distributed throughout the food.
  • Advanced models come with multi-functionality.


  • Relies heavily on the quality of the rubber ring.
  • It can be dangerous if not handled properly.
  • They are slightly more expensive than food steamers.

The Comparison Table

Now, let’s compare the food steamer and pressure cooker side by side in the following table:

Food SteamerPressure Cooker
Cooking methodHot steamPressurized hot steam 
Cooking timeSlowerFaster
Cooking resultsHealthy and retains nutrients better. However, the taste is slightly bland.They may not be able to retain nutrients, but the flavors are richer and more developed.
Appliance designSimple only does one thing – steaming foodIt can be complicated with multi-functionality built-in
Ease of useRelatively safe and need to handle the heat carefullyIt can be dangerous due to the high pressure inside the pot. Need to handle with extra care.
PriceInexpensiveSlightly expensive depending on the functionality

Food Steamer Vs. Pressure Cooker In Conclusion

So which one is better – a food steamer or a pressure cooker?

The answer depends on your needs and preferences. A food steamer will be the better option if you want a healthy way to cook food.

However, a pressure cooker would be better if you are looking for a quicker way to cook food. 

Remember to handle it carefully, as it can be dangerous if not used properly.

You can read more articles here.

Thanks for reading!