Steamed foods have a unique place on the plates of those wanting to stay healthy and have been considered part of the best diets for weight loss without having to wave goodbye to essential nutrients. But you don't have to be in a weight loss program to invest in a quality food steamer. Even if you are fit and healthy, you can reap the benefits of nutrition and convenience by owning a good steamer!
With this guide, we discuss what these appliances can do for you and how to put an end to the dilemma of finding the best steamer. Also, find a list of our top recommendations amongst the food steamers currently available on online marketplaces for you to buy!
Steaming is inarguably one of the healthiest and fastest ways of cooking a variety of foods. They are fast, easy to operate, and require less supervision while the food is being prepared. Since steam has high heat transfer, steamers cook meals faster and prevent heat loss to a great extent.
Steaming locks in the moisture from foods and that helps the foods retain their essential nutrients. This method helps to preserve the structure and color of the foods that you are cooking. A constant flow of steam is used in steaming, and the need for oil is eliminated, which also saves you from the worries of adding unwanted fats into your food.
There is no restriction on the varieties of foods that you can steam inside a food steamer. From vegetables to fruits to seafood to meat, you can cook anything without losing the moisture and flavor. As the process preserves the nutritional value of the foods, you contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
Here are our top 10 recommendations for food steamers. The products are chosen after considering their benefits and reading what customers think about them.
|Material||Stainless steel pot and plastic lid|
|Functions||Warm; delay start; steam release|
|Item weight||18.96 pounds|
|Material||Glass pot and lid; stainless steel and plastic body|
|Functions||Pause; reheat; preset timers; start/stop button|
|Item weight||15.75 pounds|
|Item weight||1.15 pounds|
|Item weight||3.3 pounds|
|Item weight||3.3 pounds|
|Functions||Delay start; warm function|
|Item weight||4.50 pounds|
|Material||Cast aluminum base and aluminum basket|
|Item weight||6.2 pounds|
|Item weight||4.79 pounds|
|Item weight||0.85 pounds|
|Capacity||10-inch diameter X 2 trays|
|Item weight||2.3 pounds|
Duo Evo Plus 9-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Digital Glass Steamer
Double Tiered Food Steamer
Chef's Classic Stainless 4-Piece Steamer Set
Pot Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
Multi-Cooker and Steamer
Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Steamer Pot
2-Tier Bamboo Steamer Basket
The Best One-Touch Pressure Steamer with Great Features
A Stylish and Healthy Digital Steamer
A Compact Steamer for Small Households
A Simple Stovetop Steamer for a Complete Meal
The Best Multi-Purpose Cooker for Wholesome Meals
Easy-to-Use and Easy-to-Wash Digital Steamer
Steam, Deep-Fry, Stew, and More
The Best Basic Stovetop Steamer with See-Through Lid
Microwave Steaming Basket for Quick Steaming of Foods
A Traditional Choice for Eco-Friendly Cooking
|Type||Pressure steamer||Electric steamer||Electric||Stovetop steamer||Electric steamer||Digital||Electric steamer||Stovetop steamer||Microwave steamer||Steam basket|
|Material||Stainless steel pot and plastic lid||Glass pot and lid; stainless steel and plastic body||Plastic||Stainless steel||Anodized aluminum||Plastic||Cast aluminum base and aluminum basket||Stainless steel||BPA-free plastic||Bamboo|
|Capacity||6 quarts||5.2 quarts||5 quarts||12 quarts||1.5 quarts||5.5 quarts||6 quarts||2 quarts||3.4 quarts||10-inch diameter X 2 trays|
|Functions||Warm; delay start; steam release||Pause; reheat; preset timers; start/stop button||Auto-shut off||-||Warm; auto-off||Delay start; warm function||Temperature control||-||Steam||-|
|Item weight||18.96 pounds||15.75 pounds||1.15 pounds||3.3 pounds||3.3 pounds||4.50 pounds||6.2 pounds||4.79 pounds||0.85 pounds||2.3 pounds|
There are a lot of food steamers for you to choose from with different features and functionalities. But what points do you need to consider before buying a food steamer?
This guide is to discuss those crucial factors that can influence your buying decision. When you know what to look for, the outcome will be a fantastic appliance with a performance at its best.
Food steamers are categorized based on the source of power used for steaming. Let's find out about the basic types of steamers available in the markets.
These are standalone appliances that run on AC power and require little maintenance. The unit features a chamber to which you add water for steaming. A heating element heats the water to produce steam that cooks the food. They mostly come with perforated, stackable trays to allow steam to pass through the holes.
The use of multiple trays allows steaming of several foods at a time. Being portable, they are travel-friendly and do not release much heat into the kitchen or space where you are cooking. Some electric steamers feature dividers in one container.
Most modern electric steamers come with great functions such as digital timers, an LCD control panel, various cooking modes, and audible alerts. You can also find rice cookers that combine a steamer's role with the use of basket inserts.
Pressure steamers use pressure and steam to cook foods and can be electric or stovetop pressure cookers. They steam under optimal temperatures by promoting adequate heat transfer. The unit comes with a locking lid that prevents the steam from escaping and holds the high pressure inside the cooking chamber.
Once steamed, it takes a while for the unit to depressurize before you can open it to access the contents inside. It cooks on low temperature but reduces the cooking time due to the pressurized way of steaming food.
Using a steamer basket is the simplest and easiest way to steam foods on a stovetop. You can place foods in the basket and insert it into a pan or a pot containing water. The container is placed on the stovetop and closed with a lid for the steaming process to begin.
When there is enough water in the pot, the food cooks in the contained steam. Some stovetop steamers feature one or more collapsible platforms that fit snugly on top of the pan.
These platforms are perforated and can be removed or added as required. They function like double boilers. You can also find stovetop steamers with one pan on top of another.
Convection steamers are larger than most other steamers and are mostly used in restaurants and such places where the steaming demands are high.
The appliance uses a small fan to circulate a mix of steam and air inside. This mix of steam and air facilitates uniform heat distribution for better cooking. They feature multiple perforated trays that can cook a variety of food items at one go, without transferring the flavor between the foods.
Convection steamers cook in a slow mode and lower temperatures than other types. With slow cooking, they ensure that they retain the nutrients in the foods as much as possible. A good example is the electric generator-powered steamer from Vulcan shown in the image above.
Combination steamers, also known as hot air steamers, combine the functions of a steamer’s moist cooking with that of an oven’s dry cooking. They can be used to steam and roast foods simultaneously.
While cooking, it goes to the steam mode. Once the cooking is almost done, it switches to the oven mode. You can also achieve the much-desired browning of meat using a combination steamer.
The material used to build the steamer makes a lot of difference. Some are eco-friendly, some are heat-efficient, and some contribute to healthy cooking. But what you should go for is a good blend of all these factors.
These metal steamers come with one or more tiers, and mostly come in aluminum or stainless steel. Although glass lids are susceptible to breakage, you can easily monitor the steaming process without having to lift the lid and let the steam escape.
Stainless steel steamers can be a bit more expensive than aluminum types. But they are eco-friendly and offer better stability and durability.
Bamboo steamers are eco-friendly and come with two or three identical baskets that sit on top of each other. Place the foods that need more cooking time on the bottom basket.
In contrast, use the upper baskets to accommodate items like vegetables that require less steaming time.This method also lets you remove the top baskets when the foods in them finish cooking.
However, you cannot use them directly on a stovetop or any heating device. Instead, they go inside a large and closed cooking pot which holds the water to build steam inside. It’s also vital to use liners such as banana leaves or parchment papers on the basket base to avoid foods staining it.
With this type, you can find a glass cooking pot and a glass lid attached to an electric steamer. It features a water tank above which the container is placed. There are also sophisticated models with digital timers, audio alerts, auto-shutoff, warm and preheat functions, and more.
Glass steamers are generally dishwasher-safe and can steam a variety of food items. The cooking pot can be used as a serving dish or kept directly inside the fridge to store your food.
Some electric steamers come with plastic trays or containers, which are lightweight. However, inexpensive ones can interfere with the taste of your food.
Some feel plastic is unhealthy for cooking, so make sure it's listed as BPA-free or safe for cooking in the instructions. The advantage is that, like glass, plastic is almost transparent and allows you to see the cooking progress.
Most microwave steamers are made of plastic, however, you can find models with microwave-safe materials such as silicone, ceramic, and polycarbonate.
These non-stick materials are heat-resistant and come with scratch-resistant surfaces. They are also dishwasher-safe and can be conformed to various shapes.
While the material is a crucial factor in making the selection, there are other points to consider. For example, it doesn't make sense to buy a small steamer for a big family.
Likewise, a big steamer doesn't suit a couple or a family of two. Read on to find what other factors can influence the decision.
Steamers feature two or three tiers that are perforated or contain holes at the bottom to allow steam to pass through. The removable tiers or containers can be stacked on top of one another. You can remove the top containers as needed to create steaming space for larger items like a whole chicken.
Depending on how many things you are cooking, you can add or remove containers as required. Some steamers have containers of various sizes that fit inside another. If portability is what you look for, consider a smaller capacity steamer, weighing less.
Electric steamers are reputed for their excellent features. The timer is an example; it alerts or automatically shuts off after the designated time. The conventional models have mechanical dials, whereas the sophisticated models feature digital displays.
Delay-start is another useful function to look for that allows you to start cooking at a designated time.
Some steamer models come with an automatic keep-warm feature, and some need to be manually set to the warm function once the steaming is done. Most appliances can keep the food warm for up to a few hours.
Whatever the case, the steamer needs to have enough water for this feature to work.
Some electric steamers feature a visible water gauge so you can see how much water is in there. Some come with an external water inlet, so you can fill water without having to take the containers off and risk getting scalded.
Steamers manufactured by not-so-famous brands or newbies cannot always guarantee the best quality of service as that of a trusted brand. You might face product quality issues, service problems, and more.
Going with a tried and tested brand can save you from such misery. You can also get a good product warranty with a quality product.
When you have the right appliance, why not consider trying out some recipes from the cookbooks we have to recommend!!
It must now be evident that a food steamer is a versatile appliance for the entire household. Besides contributing to a healthy lifestyle, it can also save you time. You'll save money, too, that you might otherwise spend on unhealthy eating habits.
With many excellent choices on the market and the right knowledge to make a choice, you are prepared to enjoy some delicious and healthy steamed food!
Author: Biji Ravindran
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