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Did you know that steaming your food might be the healthiest way to cook it? Where a lot of vitamins and minerals can be lost with conventional cooking methods like baking or frying, steaming works more gently to preserve all these essential nutrients.
But steaming your meals can be a real hassle if you don’t equip yourself with the best food steamer for your needs. We’re huge fans of the Rosewill Electric 9.5 Quart Food Steamer for its ability to heat up quickly, cook thoroughly, and accommodate as many servings as you need.
Because everyone’s steaming needs can be slightly different though, we’ve put together this list of the 9 Best Food Steamer Options for 2020. In it, we’ll be covering everything you need to know to choose the right steamer for your kitchen, with options for splurges, value buys, and tools to fit existing kitchen implements.
So when you’re ready to cook in a healthy, no-mess style with a food steamer, read on!
Here are the best food steamer you can buy:
- Best Overall - Rosewill Electric Food Steamer 9.5 Quart
- Runner Up - BELLA 7.4 Quart 2-Tier Stackable Baskets Healthy Food Steamer
- Best Upgrade - Cuisinart STM-1000 Digital Glass Steamer, One Size, Stainless Steel
- Most Affordable - Oster Double Tiered Food Steamer
- Best Stovetop Set - Oster Sangerfield Steamer Set
- Largest Capacity - COSTWAY Food Steamer with 3 Tier Stackable Baskets
- Fastest Heating - Secura Electric Food Steamer
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
Top 9 Best Food Steamers Reviews
1. Best Overall - Rosewill Electric Food Steamer 9.5 Quart
3-tiered stacking baskets
Specialized rice bowl and egg holders
Easy set 60 minute timer
Auto-off safety mechanism when water runs out
800W power generates steam in less than 40 seconds
Dishwasher safe baskets
Because food steamers are such a broad category, with so many potential variants, our top pick goes to the steamer that is the best all-round. No other steamer that we tested could match the Rosewill’s combination of size, ease of use, steaming speed, and price, making it an amazingly versatile, all-purpose steamer that’s well-suited for just about any kitchen.
With three stacking trays on top of a modestly-sized base, the Rosewill’s 9.5 Quart capacity takes up significantly less countertop space than other similarly sized models we reviewed. What’s more, all of the baskets nest into one another for easy storage after you’re finished cooking.
With lots of thoughtful extras, the Rosewill Electric Food Steamer really performs well above its price point.
7.4 Quart capacity
Two steaming trays
Special accessory for steaming grains
Quick start heating system
Auto shutoff for low water
Dishwasher safe steamer baskets
Combining many of the same qualities that exemplify our #1 choice, the BELLA 7.4 quart food steamer works in many ways as a smaller, more affordable alternative to our top pick.
A larger, wider, two-tiered steaming system may make it easier to accommodate whole filets of fish, but offers little benefit outside of that over the 3-tier system of the Rosewill. Of course, these larger, wider baskets also end up taking up more counter space.
To make up for this change in size, the BELLA steamer features slightly more power than the Rosewill. At close to 1000 Watts, it will start steaming in as little as 30 seconds. Not bad at all for a value priced option!
These differences aside, nearly everything else about the BELLA is equal to our top pick.
3. Best Upgrade - Cuisinart STM-1000 Digital Glass Steamer, One Size, Stainless Steel
Steaming equipment is constructed only of glass and stainless steel
Comes with preprogrammed settings for easy cooking
Dishwasher safe steaming tray and lid
SIMPLE: 5 auto-cook options & 5 power levels
Set it and forget it countdown timer with pause and reheat options
Have you already been bitten by the steaming bug? Once you’ve gotten the hang of this supremely versatile cooking method, you may find yourself wanting to upgrade to a top of the line electric steamer that does away with the plastic of cheaper models.
When this is the case, let us introduce to you the Cuisinart STM-1000. It’s a sleek, digitally-controlled 5.4 quart steamer with a remarkable difference from our previous reviewed products: Every part that touches food is made of glass or stainless steel, making your food both look and taste better.
Cuisinart is well known for the quality of their kitchen equipment, and this digital steamer does not disappoint. While its wide base may not be the most efficient for countertop space, there’s simply no better choice if you’re looking to do away with the leaks that come with plastic steamers.
4. Most Affordable - Oster Double Tiered Food Steamer
Two steaming trays
5 quart capacity
400W power source
Automatic 60 minute timer
Dishwasher safe steaming trays
Oster has been in the kitchen equipment game for decades, producing simple and efficient equipment for at-home use. Their steamer definitely lives up to this reputation, providing a fine balance of features at an affordable price.
With two tiers totaling 5 quarts of capacity, you’d be hard-pressed to cook enough food for more than two people with this food steamer. For a single person, though, this may be the absolute best steamer in our review — offering plenty of space for cooking a full meal.
Transparent, dishwasher safe steaming trays and a 60 minute timer set it in the same category as our top pick, but a somewhat underpowered 400 Watts will take significantly longer to heat up. In short, if you’re on a limited budget, this steamer is a great option for one or two people.
5. Best Stovetop Set - Oster Sangerfield Steamer Set
3 quart steaming capacity
Dual purpose as a Dutch oven with glass lid
All stainless steel and glass construction
Completely dishwasher safe
Vented tempered glass lid
While stovetop steaming lacks the incredible ease of use and speed of electric steamers, kitchen purists appreciate it for its cleanliness, conservation of space, and hands-on cooking.
Oster has really put together a fine stovetop steamer set here, complete with a 3 quart bottom pot, 3 quart steamer basket, and glass lid. You won’t find any plastic here, which also means that you’ll rarely if ever have to deal with leaks and messes while steaming.
What the Oster stovetop model lacks in speed, it makes up for in classic good looks and multi-purpose versatility. So if you cherish the process of putting together a meal (and don’t mind waiting for water to boil), there’s very little reason not to get this slow food style cooker.
6. Largest Capacity - COSTWAY Food Steamer with 3 Tier Stackable Baskets
20 Quart capacity
1000W power source for fast heating
3 tiers of steamer trays
Auto shut-off for low water
Dishwasher safe steamer trays
So what can you do if you need to cook for a larger group of people? Look towards the Costway for its supersized steaming capacity, of course!
With 3 tiers totaling a massive 20 QUARTS of steaming space, the COSTWAY more than doubles the capacity of any other model we reviewed. For steaming large amounts of food, there’s no better option — and this is backed up by a beefy 1000W power source for almost instant steam production.
Easy to operate and convenient to clean, it’s a steamer that does a lot of things right. Our only gripe is that after repeated use, the plastic has a tendency to warp and produce leaks; for the price, we wish that wasn’t the case.
7. Fastest Heating - Secura Electric Food Steamer
8.5 quart capacity
1200 Watt power source
2-tier stainless steel trays
2 year warranty
So far, we’ve reviewed steamers with a power range from 400 Watts to 1000 Watts. On the lower end, these steamers can take over a minute to begin producing steam, while the higher power options start in as little as 15 seconds.
With this in mind, the electric food steamer from Secura may almost seem like overkill: Boasting a superpowered 1200 Watts of electricity combined with all stainless steel construction, it produces steam almost instantaneously, and can keep food warm for hours.
We love this steamer for its impeccable combination of function and form, being both a stunning piece of kitchen equipment to look at and to use. Its 2-tiered, 8.5 quart capacity is plenty for a family of four, and its digital timer makes it exceptionally easy to cook with.
Easy clean and dishwasher safe, it’s another great option for someone looking to make a more substantial investment in their food steamer.
8. Best Microwaveable - Progressive International PS-47GY Microwave Mini Steamer
2 cup capacity
Dual-purpose strainer and colander
Every kitchen is not outfitted equally — and if yours includes little more than a microwave and some silverware, thinking of investing in a food steamer might seem a little over the top. If this is the case, consider this miniaturized, microwavable food steamer from Progressive International.
It’s not fair to compare this particular steamer to the others in our review, as they’re just not intended to serve the same purposes. What this microwavable mini steamer does really well is act as a fast, no-mess solution to cooking a small portion of food in a microwave without it getting dry.
Designed for just a single serving size, its 2-cup capacity will hold not much more than a few florets of broccoli and a sliced up carrot. It’s completely dishwasher safe (and microwave safe, of course), and the steamer basket can double as a colander in a particularly small kitchen.
9. Best Traditional Steamer - VonShef Premium 2 Tier Bamboo Steamer with Stainless Steel Banding
Natural bamboo base
Steel bands for durability
Includes chopsticks and wax steamer liners
Traditional Bamboo Steamers like this one from VonShef have been the food steamer of choice in Chinese restaurants for centuries. Lightweight and portable, they’re a quick and natural option for making the most out of whatever space you have in your kitchen.
For truly authentic asian cooking with a food steamer, bamboo is essential. It does a fantastic job of retaining moisture, nutrients, and food flavors in a way that plastic, stainless steel, and glass just can’t do.
As with any stovetop steamer, it’s not the fastest option. You’ll need to wait for water to boil before getting started. With bamboo steamers, you’ll also need a liner to keep food from sticking; thankfully, VonShef has included 50 single-use liners with this steamer.
As the most versatile all-round option for a food steamer, we absolutely recommend the Rosewill Electric 9.5 Quart Food Steamer for almost every kitchen. If it doesn’t exactly match your needs, take another look through our thoughtfully curated list of specialty products to find your perfect fit, always keeping in mind the questions listed in our buyers guide.
How to Choose the Best Food Steamer
With a history dating back to the earliest Chinese civilizations thousands of years ago, food steamers have been an essential kitchen tool for millenia. It may not surprise you, then, to find out that there are lots of options for what makes the best food steamer!
When we’re shopping for a steamer, we keep these 3 questions in mind:
#1 How Many People Do You Usually Cook For?
Steamer baskets come in all shapes and sizes, from individual serving microwavable bowls to massive bamboo steamers you’re likely to only find in dim sum restaurants. First and foremost when deciding on the best steamer for your kitchen, consider how many people you’re going to be steaming food for.
Someone cooking for themselves can easily get away with a tiny stovetop steamer or the smallest electric model, while a family of 4 is more likely to need a large, multi-tiered steamer. When in doubt, err on the side of a larger steamer. It’s easier to work around a larger steamer than it is to not have enough room for a whole meal.
#2 How Much Counter Space Do You Have?
Electric food steamers offer the most convenient option for “set it and forget it” steaming, but often require a fair bit of counter space next to an electrical outlet. For smaller kitchens, this can be a total dealbreaker.
If you’re tight on space, consider using a traditional stovetop steamer setup. While these steamers require more constant attention than an electric model, they also have the benefit of maximizing available space in your kitchen — and often fit inside of pots for easy storage, too.
#3 How Much Time Do You Have for Steaming?
When you’re busy in a kitchen or just coming home from work and need a healthy dinner, FAST, choosing the right type of steamer is crucial.
The higher the power on an electric model, the faster it will heat up (with some models we reviewed taking only 15 seconds to start steaming!). Our favorite models are also equipped with timers that automate the process, making it simple and easy.
Traditional models may save space and allow for greater control during cooking, but you’ll have to wait for water to boil in a pot before getting down to cooking. In addition, they’ll require fairly constant monitoring until your food is finished steaming.