A food steamer in your kitchen is not just a convenience; it will assist you with cooking healthy options, as essential nutrients are retained in the food instead of leaching away in cooking water or oil. There is no need to add fat either. Used to prepare entire meals or just side items, they are versatile appliances. Steamers that cook rice, steam pots and other kitchen gadgetry have been available in the past and a food steamer for microwave use is the simplest type, but the electric cookers of today offer more features, great results, and an easy clean up. You can find food steamers for one person or a large crowd.
Let’s briefly touch upon what you should look for when buying an electric food steamer. If you’re rather see a few more options, take a look at the 4 star rated food steamers on Amazon.
Some steamers will have just one tray level so you can’t steam more that one type of food at a time. If you want more versatility, look for one with at least two levels to separate the different types. Does the appliance have a timer and can you set it start cooking at a later time? Does it beep when it’s done cooking and does it switch to a keep warm function after that?
Check to see what the material of the cooking bowl and tray is. It should be a stainless steel food steamer or a BPA-free food steamer. Cheap plastic is a no-no. Make sure that it is easy to use and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. It should be easy to clean and have removable parts that can be washed in the dishwasher. If water tends to bubble out while cooking, this can make cleaning the outside of the cooker a bit of a pain.
The capacity of the steamer is important and depends on how many people you usually have to feed, but keep in mind that the large capacity ones will also take up more space on your counter and in storage. Some of the best food steamers are not that expensive and simple controls and options on it can still give you flavorful food. The more versatility you want in your steamer, the more you can expect to pay.
If you want to know what the best food steamer in the market is today, we have done the research and selected just five highly rated ones for you.
Best Electric Food Steamers
Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer 5.5 Quart (37530A)
A household name for generations, the Hamilton Beach digital steamer offers two levels of cooking so that you can steam two items or large quantities at the same time. When steaming large food items, the spacer between the two levels can be removed. Equipped with delay start, you can set it to start steaming later when you’re out, and it automatically switches to the warm setting for one hour when the food is ready. The 5.5-quart capacity gives you the room you need to steam corn on the cob, a whole head of broccoli or even a large lobster.
While the old version had BPA in its parts, the newest version of this model has completely BPA-free plastic parts. With the digital steamer, you will have the perfect companion for steaming delicate seafood, meat, chicken and hot dogs, veggies and soft or hard-boiled eggs, and the included rice bowl is perfect for rice and other grains or small food items. The appliance will alert you when the water level is low and it is equipped with a handy water reservoir fill feature, so you can easily add water in the middle of cooking if necessary. A drip tray catches any water and food juices that may bubble out.
The digital touchpad is easy to read and setting the cooking and timer functions is simple. With a small footprint and nesting storage, the Hamilton Beach steamer is a great addition to any kitchen. A steaming chart is included with the instructions manual.
Reviewers give this steamer a high rating and find it to be a handy kitchen gadget that allows them to cook foods that are healthier than when frying, sautéing or boiling. Other reviewers find uses for the Hamilton Beach steamer that are as varied as one’s creativity, and cleanup is easy. Another reviewer bemoaned the fact that no recipes are included with the unit.
Oster 2-Tier Electronic 6.1-Quart Food Steamer (5712)
Oster, also a household brand name, offers their two-tier steamer in a larger 6.1-quart size for steaming meat, veggies, fish and other items in a completely BPA-free environment. The 95-minute timer with auto-off and the 12-hour delay steam feature means that you can set it and forget it, until it is finished. It has an instant steam function because of the powerful 900-watt element that heats the water quickly, so your food will be ready in no time if you’re in a rush.
It has two indicator lights and an audible beep for when the food is cooked. The keep warm setting will hold your food until you are ready to enjoy it. With nesting trays for easy storage and a small footprint, the Oster food steamer will not take up a lot of space in your kitchen.
This unit has an external fill reservoir so that filling is easy, even when it is in operation. The Oster comes with a drip tray, a 10 cup rice bowl, collapsible steaming trays, and two steaming bowls – the bottom one of 3.8 quart capacity and the top one of 2.3 quarts, so that you can prepare two items at one time. A tight lid keeps the steam nicely trapped, and each steamer bowl comes with side grip handles.
It does not have the removable separator of the Hamilton Beach so the juices from the top level will drip down on to the food at the bottom. This can actually be a good thing if you place meat on top and have their delicious juices and natural fat drip down and baste your vegetables below! If you don’t like this, put the veggies on top. It has a larger capacity for cooking bigger batches of your favorite food items. You can even cook up to 8 soft to hard boiled eggs in the larger bowl.
The continuing theme of most reviewers is the healthy food that is produced when steaming. Another reviewer claims that the large capacity of the Oster steamer will cook enough vegetables for a family of five. Other reviewers claim that this steamer is fast.
Viante Intellisteam Counter Top Food Steamer CUC-30ST
The Viante Intellisteam goes one step further to help you cook multiple food items at once. It comes with three separate steamer containers whose steam times and temperatures can be controlled individually so that at the end you have a complete meal of a main and sides all ready to eat at the same time and each one is perfectly cooked.
Using the programmable digital control panel, you can set different steam times for each container and start the cooking process. Depending on how long each one takes to cook, it will automatically start the steam process in just one container at the right time so that they all finish cooking at the same time. You can use one compartment for rice or potatoes, one compartment for seafood or meat, and the other compartment for veggies. Or, you can use one of the smaller compartments for a sauce. The larger compartment comes with an elevated tray with holes, which is perfect for cooking meat or fish so that the juices drain down to the potatoes or veggies below.
Another great use for this machine is if you have a baby to cook for. With this machine there is no need to do his or her meals separately. Just use one of the compartments to set to a different time. It also has a 40 minute warmer so you can have hot food whenever you’re ready.
This appliance is also energy saving if you don’t need to use all the compartments. Just press and hold the compartment button and the timer will be set to 0.
There is a visible water gauge for you to ensure an adequate water level at all times. All the removable components are dishwasher safe. The Intellisteam comes with instructions and a few recipes to get you started.
One complaint that a user had was that the drip tray is not very deep so depending on how long the whole meal takes to cook, you may have to empty out the tray once in the middle or let it overflow into the main water reservoir that produces steam. Some say that it takes up a lot of counterspace because it is 11” by 11” square and 9” high. This is also a pricey steamer, so be sure that you really need these smart features, or whether a basic and less expensive steamer will do.
Best Non-digital Electric Food Steamer
Oster Mechanical Food Steamer (5711)
The non-digital Oster food steamer uses analog controls to function and has the option of timed cooking. Low on bells and whistles, the 6.1 quart capacity and two-tiered steamer is one of the simplest steamers on the market. If you want to experiment with steaming food for your family, the Oster Mechanical food steamer is a good place to start.
It comes with a 4 quart and a 2.4 quart steaming bowls, collapsible steaming trays, a rice bowl that fits inside the bottom steaming tray, and an eight-egg holder. A drip tray is also included. Although it is non-digital, it still has everything you need for healthier, simple food preparation. The red indicator light, 75-minute timer and auto shut-off setting for safety are added features of the Oster mechanical food steamer. The exterior reservoir fill port and visible water level help you monitor the water.
Reviewers claim that this steamer is fast and easy to clean. Other reviewers say that it is easy to use. The simplicity of the Oster steamer was commented on by several reviewers. The only main negative is that there is no keep warm function.
Rice Cooker with Steamer
Aroma Digital Food Steamer and 20-Cup (Cooked Rice) Rice Cooker
The largest of all the steamers, the Aroma 20-cup digital food steamer/rice cooker is large enough to make a batch of rice for a large family. It is also perfect for larger items, such as corn on the cob. You can use this steamer to prepare from four to 20 cups of cooked rice, but it is also perfect for your favorite pot of soup, a pot roast, or a batch of jambalaya.
The touch pad gives you 4 presets – white rice, brown rice, steam, slow cook and keep warm, which you can manually set. The fifteen-hour delay timer gives you the flexibility to cook your favorite meals to be ready for later, and will beep 5-6 times and then automatically switch to keep warm when the cooking is done.
The included non-stick inner cooking pot, steam tray, rice measuring cup and serving spatula give you all you need to get started with the Aroma steamer. The steam tray will give you the flexibility to cook more than one food at a time.
One reviewer was amazed that this cooker can cook white rice, basmati, jasmine, or short-grained rice perfectly every time. The lid on this steamer is not removable but hinged, making it difficult to keep unless you take the trouble to unscrew the hinge at the back.
Since these are the best food steamers on the market, choosing the one that you want will depend on your cooking needs. The smaller steamers are perfect for preparing side dishes or full meals for a few people, and the larger steamers can cook enough food for six or more people, depending on what’s cooking. Add a steamer to your current kitchen gadgetry collection and cook your way to a healthier diet.