Whether you're craving dumplings for dinner or you just want a nutritious meal of steamed vegetables, a steamer basket allows you to cook all sorts of food in a healthy way. Steaming is a healthier alternative to frying and more efficient than boiling as it prevents the loss of nutrients. It's also a time and energy-saving option, as it doesn't require much work from you once you've set it up. All you need is hot water and a good steamer basket.
However, it can be challenging to pick the perfect one for you. From bamboo baskets made for dumplings to ones that are specifically designed to be used with rice cookers or Instant Pots, the number of options can be overwhelming. But, you're in luck! We've curated a list of our 10 favorite steamer baskets. Start with our personal favorite, Noble Nest's sturdy stainless steel-reinforced bamboo steamer basket that comes with reusable extras. Check out the rest of the list as well as our chef-reviewed buying guide to find out more.
When choosing a steamer basket, you want to consider what you plan on steaming. The type of material, as well as user-friendly features, are also factors you should look at.
Keep in mind the kind of food you plan on cooking in your steamer basket. Pay special attention to the basket’s material and type, as some suit specific types of food. Some materials can also be easier to clean and maintain than others.
Bamboo steaming baskets are popular for cooking dumplings and other Asian delicacies, but they can be used for other food as well. When choosing a steamer basket made of bamboo, pay special attention to the quality of the bamboo and the weaving of its lid.
Premium bamboo won’t have an undesirable smell that could get added to your food. A tightly-woven lid will keep steam from escaping the basket. Though bamboo tends to wear out over time, these steaming baskets offer a great steaming quality because they distribute heat evenly.
But, bamboo tends to absorb odors, so you may want to refrain from steaming meat or seafood in the same one as vegetables to avoid a mismatch in taste and smell. Also, unlike plastic or metal options, bamboo steamers aren't dishwasher-safe. To prevent stuck-on food, consider getting paper liners for the bottom of the basket.
On the upside, however, because bamboo steamers absorb moisture, the humidity inside is more controlled and prevents food from being overcooked. This quality gives bamboo steamers an edge over plastic and metal steamers.
Some come with multiple tiers that you can use to compartmentalize your food and cook more at once. If you plan on getting one of these, make sure that there are slits in between the levels so that steam will reach each one. The standard diameter of a bamboo steamer basket is 10 inches.
Metal steaming baskets are durable and long-lasting since metal can weather high pressures and temperatures. Though they can’t absorb moisture like their bamboo counterparts, they normally get hotter, making them a better fit for steaming food such as bread.
Metal steamer baskets tend to be bigger in size, and are a good fit for larger food like whole vegetables and big pieces of meat. They’re also easy to clean and don’t absorb odors like bamboo.
Silicone steaming baskets are versatile as they have a flexible body that can adjust according to the pot they’re held in. Because they aren’t rigid, they can easily be used with a wide variety of pot sizes. Some even come with interlocking handles that make it easy to put a lid over. They also won’t scratch metal pots or rust.
They’re easy to clean, as they don’t need to be scrubbed vigorously to get food bits off. They are also usually dishwasher-safe, which saves you time, energy, and the hassle of having to get into all the nooks and crannies.
Though plastic, like silicone, is light, easy to clean, and non-scratching, it can’t stand temperatures as high as silicone can. However, if you’re looking for a steamer basket for use with a microwave for just a short period of time, then a plastic steamer basket that’s microwave safe would be a great time-saving option.
Make sure you check the dimensions so that you’re sure that the food you plan on steaming will fit. Bowl-like steaming baskets are great for steaming a large amount of vegetables. These usually have a depth to their base, allowing you to cook a lot of food at once.
But for dumplings or steamed buns you need enough space for each piece to stay separated, so steam can circulate and cook them evenly. Some steaming baskets have a flat and shallow base, making them better for food that has to be laid flat to keep pieces from sticking to each other.
Collapsible steamer baskets fit a wider range of pot sizes, so you can go from a small pot for steaming a single serving to a large pot for making food for the whole household with the same basket.
Collapsible metal steamer baskets usually have a flower-like arrangement of curved panels that collapse like a hand fan. Many have a collapsed diameter of around six inches and a maximum of 10.5 inches.
Ones made of silicone may fold down on themselves, resulting in a much flatter version of the expanded basket. Some even curl inwards, forming a lettuce-like shape. Collapsible steamer baskets are easier to find storage space for, too.
Handles allow you to pick up the steamer without getting your hands burnt by hot steam or boiling water. Make sure the handles of your steamer basket are large enough and made of sturdy, heat-resistant material to prevent any accidents.
For steaming baskets with a single pan-like handle, make sure that the handle is strong and long enough to lift the basket without getting burned. Other baskets have one handle placed on each side. Handles covered over by a material like silicone won’t absorb heat as much as the material of the actual basket, and make it easier and safer to lift.
You can also find handles that arch over the pot from one side to the other, allowing you to pick it up from the top. Be careful with these types of handles since the steam coming up can burn your fingers. Finally, some have a central post with a ring that you can lift using a fork.
There are many features that make a steaming basket much more user-friendly, like the number of tiers and how it's constructed.
Many steaming baskets have features that keep their base from touching the water. Because the whole concept of steaming involves cooking food using vapor instead of liquid water, you want to make sure that the food you’re steaming is actually kept from being submerged.
Fitted baskets go with specific pots and pans. They usually have grooves that keep them sitting on ridges of their corresponding pot or pan. Other steaming baskets have stands or legs that keep the food-filled steamer from touching the water.
A steamer basket may have multiple tiers that can be added or removed depending on how much food you’re going to steam. Not only do these types of baskets offer you versatility, but they also are more efficient as they allow you to cook more food at the same time.
They allow you to keep food groups separate as you cook them, such as meat on one tier and vegetables on another. This also comes in particularly handy when steaming foods that have different cook times, as you can remove one tier when it's done while keeping another going.
Others have separate compartments that help to keep smaller pieces of food in groups. This works well with food items like peas, chopped up carrots, and baby potatoes.
From small and shallow serving steamer baskets to much deeper ones with multiple tiers, you're bound to find the best one for you in our curated list. We made our choices based on the points listed in the buying guide below, as well as reviewer comments when available.
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Jim Quast.
Prime Home Direct
Taylor's Eye Witness
Deluxe Bamboo Steamer Basket
Stackable Mesh Steamer Basket for Instant Pot
Expandable Steamer Basket
Good Grips Silicone Steamer
10-Inch Bamboo Steamer Basket
Multiclad Pro Stainless Universal Steamer With Cover
18cm Saucepan Divider Set
Bamboo Steamer Basket With Steaming Ring
Stainless Steel Steamer Basket With Egg Rack
Microwave Steamer Basket
Best Bamboo Steamer That Resists Warping
Best Two-Tier Mesh Steamer Baskets for Instant Pots
Best Classic Collapsible Steamer Basket
Best Silicone Steamer Basket That Rolls up for Easy Storage
Best Bamboo Steamer Basket for Dumplings and More
Best Pan-Handle Steamer Basket
Best to Steam or Boil and Keep Food Separate
Best Bamboo Steamer With Universal-Fit Ring
Best Steamer Basket With an Egg Rack
Best Microwave Steamer for a Quick and Easy Meal
|Material||Bamboo, wood, stainless steel||Stainless steel, silicone||Stainless steel||Silicone||Bamboo||Stainless steel with aluminum core||Stainless steel||Bamboo and steel||Stainless steel||Plastic|
|Dishwasher-safe||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Basket: no, steaming ring: yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dimensions||10 x 9.5 x 6 in.||8-in. diam.; bottom basket 5.6 in., top basket 3 in. high||Expandable: 6 to 10.5 in. diam.; other sizes available||Fits 7+ in. pots||10 x 10 x 6.2 in.||7.8 in. (20cm) diam., for 2, 3, and 4 qt. saucepans||4 in. high, 7 in. diameter when all baskets are used||10 x 10 x 7.4 in.||8.3 in. diam., 2.3 in. high||9.4 x 9.4 x 4.3 in.|
|Handles||None||Silicone-coated||Removable central handle||2 side handles||None||Pan-type handle||Basket handles||None||Double basket handles||None|
|Extra features||2 sets of reusable chopsticks, 2 reusable silicone liners, 2 ceramic sauce dishes, 1 pair of bamboo tongs||2 tiers||Collapsible, 3 legs, central post||4 legs, rolls up for storage||2 pairs of chopsticks, sauce dish, 50 liners||Lid||Nesting storage||Steamer ring, 2 reusable cloth liners, instructions, care guide||Egg steamer rack||Steam release vent, lift tabs, cover|
|Material||Bamboo, wood, stainless steel|
|Dimensions||10 x 9.5 x 6 in.|
|Extra features||2 sets of reusable chopsticks, 2 reusable silicone liners, 2 ceramic sauce dishes, 1 pair of bamboo tongs|
|Material||Stainless steel, silicone|
|Dimensions||8-in. diam.; bottom basket 5.6 in., top basket 3 in. high|
|Extra features||2 tiers|
|Dimensions||Expandable: 6 to 10.5 in. diam.; other sizes available|
|Handles||Removable central handle|
|Extra features||Collapsible, 3 legs, central post|
|Dimensions||Fits 7+ in. pots|
|Handles||2 side handles|
|Extra features||4 legs, rolls up for storage|
|Dimensions||10 x 10 x 6.2 in.|
|Extra features||2 pairs of chopsticks, sauce dish, 50 liners|
|Material||Stainless steel with aluminum core|
|Dimensions||7.8 in. (20cm) diam., for 2, 3, and 4 qt. saucepans|
|Dimensions||4 in. high, 7 in. diameter when all baskets are used|
|Extra features||Nesting storage|
|Material||Bamboo and steel|
|Dishwasher-safe||Basket: no, steaming ring: yes|
|Dimensions||10 x 10 x 7.4 in.|
|Extra features||Steamer ring, 2 reusable cloth liners, instructions, care guide|
|Dimensions||8.3 in. diam., 2.3 in. high|
|Handles||Double basket handles|
|Extra features||Egg steamer rack|
|Dimensions||9.4 x 9.4 x 4.3 in.|
|Extra features||Steam release vent, lift tabs, cover|
Elevate your kitchen with these cooking essentials! They will help you whip up meals in no time.
If you'd like to look at more steamer baskets, check out Amazon's list of best sellers below.
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
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