What are the Best Food Steamers?

Reviews

Mar 13
Best Food Steamers

From poaching fish to sealing in vegetable goodness, food steamers are one kitchen gadget that truly offers many benefits. They're cheaper than you think, can be used for so so much more than just broccoli and offer many nutritional benefits over boiling, baking, frying and broiling. It's no wonder so many of us have started steaming more and more. So we've taken a look at the best food steamers around, and highlighted what to look out for when buying your food steamer. 

The Best 3 Food Steamers

With all of our steamers, we considered a number of factors before coming up with our top 3. Versatility, convenience, timers and water gauges all factored into our rating system to come up with our top three. 

2nd

Oster CKSTSTMD5-W 5 Quart Steamer

Oster CKSTSTMD5-W 5 Quart Steamer

( 4.2 out of 5.0 )

  • Double-tiered 5 quart steamer with 2 transparent steaming bowls
  • Automatic 60 minute timer
  • Auto shut-off when cycle is completed and/or water is empty
  • Power indicator light
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Double tiered 5 quart capacity steamer with two transparent steaming bowls
  • Doesn't work if you fill the water to the maximum line, need to make it lower

1st

Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer - 5.5 Quart (37530A)

Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer - 5.5 Quart (37530A)

( 4.3 out of 5.0 )

  • Versatile, stackable 2-tier steaming
  • Use 1 tier for small quantities, stack 2 tiers for a whole meal, or remove center divider to fit a variety of large foods
  • Automatic warm - switches to warm when food is ready
  • Digital touchpad - makes setting the countdown timer and other functions easy
  • Nested storage - fits easily into the kitchen cabinet
  • Not suitable for baby's food as some of the plastic contains BPA 

3rd

Ovente FS53W Triple Tiered Electric Food Steamer

Ovente FS53W Triple Tiered Electric Food Steamer

( 4.2 out of 5.0 )

  • Interchangeable and removable 2nd and 3rd layer
  • Auto off feature; 15 minute interval in a 1 hour timer
  • Dishwasher safe; indicator light as timer ends
  • Rice bowl included
  • Lid doesn't have a handle which makes lifting it off a little hazardous

Why Buy a Food Steamer? 

When thinking about a food steamer, many of us consider the nutritional benefits. And absolutely there are definite advantages to steaming your food rather than boiling, baking or broiling. But there are also other reasons to use a food steamer. 

  • Nutrition: Steaming keeps more of the vitamins and minerals in food than any other method of cooking. With boiling for example, precious nutrients are let into the water. So if you boil your food a lot, switching to a steamer will help you to keep more of the vitamins and minerals inside your food. 
  • Versatility: When you think food steamer, you probably think vegetables. But actually it's about so much more than this. Chicken, fish, rice, couscous, shellfish, eggs (hard boiled!) and even fruit can be used in your food steamer. 
  • Convenience: You'll be able to fit enough into your steamer for a hungry family of four. It means you have more hob and oven space for other foods. 

We'll talk in a little more detail later in the article about the nutritional benefits. But remember, there are more reasons that just nutrition to use a steamer. 

What to Look Out for When Buying a Food Steamer

There are a few different features that different food steamers have. Take a look at our summary below and decide which are important to you and your family. 

  • Equal Sized Baskets: These are stackable in any order and can be rearranged up or down during cooking to vary the temperature
  • Variable Sized Baskets: You are going to need to plan a little more with a food steamer with different sized baskets. On the plus side, the baskets will stack inside each other which is a massive plus for storage. 
  • Rice Cooker: Some cookers include a rice bowl. A rice bowl is a smaller sized dish that sits inside one of the steaming baskets and allows you to steam your rice. It can take a while - anywhere from 20-40 minutes depending on quantity, rice type and temperature, but for many the results are worth it. 
  • Water gauge: An external water gauge lets you see how much water remains in the steamer chamber. This can help you make sure that the steamer doesn't boil dry. A lot of steamers will also have a minimum and maximum filling mark to help you to avoid drying or spilling. 
  • External Water Inlets: With this feature you can add more water into the water chamber without removing the baskets. This reduces the chance of you scalding yourself. We have found though that even with an external water inlet, the inlet itself doesn't poke out very far from the appliance, which makes filling without spilling a bit of an art form.  
  • Timers: Most steamers have a clockwork timer to set the cooking time. However, we did find that these are not the most accurate timers, and either get a food steamer with a digital timer, or else use a separate more exacting timer. 
  • Keep Warm Function: This is a great function. Some steamers have a keep warm function. So you can keep food warm for an hour or two after cooking. Most of the time you will need to set this function when cooking and be sure that you have the water topped up (it won't work without this!)

You will see many of these functions featured amongst our top three. 

Is Steaming the Healthy Option? 

Well yes! There is no doubt. When it comes to vegetables studies have been performed that in no uncertain terms show their health benefits. Take broccoli. Broccoli is a source of sulforaphane which is protective against cancer. The enzyme myrosinase in broccoli is needed for sulforphane to form. But both microwaving and boiling broccoli destroys myrosinase, meaning sulforaphane doesn't form. So the vegetable no longer has cancer-fighting properties. The best way to preserve myrosinase is to steam broccoli.

But there are other advantages too. Steaming removes the fat from meats. So when cooking beef or lamb in your food steamer, fats are easily removed compared to baking, grilling and frying. So your meal will be lower in calories and cholesterol. 

When steam cooking, the vegetables are kept as close to their natural raw state as possible whilst still heating them up. This means they retain more color, taste, juices and freshness. ?

Detailed Reviews of the Best Food Steamers

It is important to note, that we have only included electric food steamers. You can also purchase trays that sit on top of your pots on your hob, and use those to steam your foods. This is a great option if you want a smaller, easier to store and cheaper steamer. This review however, only looks at the electric food steamers. 

Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer - 5.5 Quart

Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer - 5.5 Quart (37530A)

This product is so versatile. It has two baskets but the center divider can be removed to create one large basket. It has the automatic warm function and digital touchpad. Plus it has a digital (and very accurate) touch pad. A great food steamer. 

Features

  • Versatile, stackable 2-tier steaming
  • Use 1 tier or 2, or create one large tier by removing the central divider
  • Automatic warm function - switches to warm when the food is ready without you having to do a thing
  • Nested storage

What's Good About It?

It is a brilliant all around steamer. Love how it is stackable, love the automatic warm function and love the digital touch pad. Really great product and a great deal too. 

What Could Be Improved?

Just one thing. The plastic contains some BPA, and so is not suitable preparing baby food. If this were also BPA free, this would be a 5 star product! BPA, or Bisphenol A is deemed safe to use in food contact. However, since 2012 when the FDA amended its regulations, it is no longer considered safe for baby bottles and sippy cups. Many parents therefore are weary of using a food preparation item for food to be eaten by their babies. 

Oster CKSTSTMD5-W 5 Quart Food Steamer

Oster CKSTSTMD5-W 5 Quart Steamer

A great steamer, works really well and is dishwasher safe. A lot to like about this product. It is a lower price to our other two products, and arguably has slightly less specifications. But it is definitely a great deal for someone on a lower budget. 

Features

  • Double tiered 5 quart capacity
  • Automatic 60 minute timer
  • Auto shut-off when cycle is completed and or water is empty. You won't burn the element out! 

What's Good About It?

It works really well, is excellent value for money and has some great safety features including automatic shut off when cycle complete/ water is empty.

What Could Be Improved?

The timer is a dial timer, which is less accurate. Also it would be good if you could remove the central divider to create one large basket. 

Ovente FS53W Triple-Tiered Electric Food Steamer

Ovente FS53W Triple Tiered Electric Food Steamer

This is the steamer for you if you have a large family....or appetite. It's a larger model with three layers and includes a rice bowl! 

Features

  • Interchangeable and removable 2nd and 3rd layer
  • Auto-off feature; 15 minute interval in a 1 hour timer
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Rice bowl included
  • Indicator light as timer ends

What's Good About It?

If you have a larger family, appetite or need then this is the steamer for you. Vegetables, eggs, rice, meat, fish. All can be steamed at once with this steamer. Great steamer and good value as you get a lot with this one! 

What Could Be Improved?

We would have loved a handle on the lid with this one. We did find that without this, removing the lids was a little hazardous). This aside, a great steamer for a larger family. 

Final Verdict on Best Food Steamer

We loved the Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer. It is versatile, it stacks and it has automatic food warming and a digital touchpad. On top of that it offers nested storage and you can remove the center divider to fit a variety of large foods. A great food steamer that will suit most needs. Highly recommended!