We Put 7 Food Steamers to the Test With Veggies and Dumplings (2024)

People have been steaming meals because the Stone Age, however it’s an underrated and underutilized technique in fashionable American kitchens. Steaming is straightforward and efficient; pop a wide selection of meals like veggies, fish, and dumplings into the steamer of your selecting, let the water steam up, and a whole meal cooks in minutes whereas barely dirtying a dish. Each steamer I examined that made it into this information gives you an excellent steam. Every could operate higher for particular wants, nevertheless. These are my favourite meals steamers.

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How We Examined Steamers

Right here’s how I examined this panoply of steamers, which all differ in capabilities, supplies, and worth: I cooked an array of frozen dumplings, frozen tamales, veggies, and fish (I used tilapia as an inexpensive, fundamental white fish). These are 4 of the preferred on a regular basis meals to steam. For the small steamers just like the basket and collapsible types, I opted to not hassle cooking the fish. If these are the types that greatest fit your cooking wants, then I’m safely assuming you’re utilizing different strategies to cook dinner fish.

As I’ve proven, some steamers are higher for steaming entire meals, some are higher for only a informal dim sum lunch, and others can do all of it. I measured the period of time the objects took to steam. When it comes to performance, I cooked with every gadget a number of occasions to check their sturdiness and which varieties of meals could also be higher fitted to every one. I additionally weighed whether or not sure supplies like clay or bamboo steamed sure meals higher or not.

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Finest Electrical Steamer

Did your new air fryer change the best way you strategy cooking? Nicely, the Buydeem steamer could also be your subsequent go-to kitchen gadget. It’s light-weight, compact, easy, unbelievably cute, and dare I say, enjoyable. The design comprises a water waste system in order that the moisture from the meals has someplace to go with out contaminating the clear water that’s on the brink of steam up. The water inlet makes it handy to refill the steamer basin with out having to maneuver the entire base to the tap. Every bit is light-weight, making it simple to scrub and transfer round.

This steamer is designed to provide the possibility of doubling it in measurement with its multitiered design, which is especially helpful for steaming a number of objects which have completely different cook dinner occasions; you set the longer-cooking objects on the underside tier and simply take the highest tier off when that one is prepared. Like most steamers, the highest tier can take barely longer to cook dinner than the underside tier, because the backside is nearer to the warmth supply. You get the grasp of this; pork buns often take longer than dumplings, so these go on the underside tier, and also you dig into the dumplings on the highest tier whereas the pork buns on the underside end cooking. I match 10 soup dumplings comfortably on one tier.


One other Good Electrical Possibility

Cuisinart is a dependable model for kitchen gear, and that stands true with regards to its CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer. The bottom of the steamer is light-weight, which counteracts the steaming dish itself, product of a thick, weighted glass. The stainless-steel steaming tray sits properly into the dish and comprises correct air flow holes to permit for the steam to rise. You can too steam your meals with out the tray, which supplies you extra room. Whenever you’re finished along with your steaming session, you may carry the glass dish straight to the desk for serving. Whereas this steamer works properly, it’s on the clunkier facet, and until you’re steaming a number of occasions every week, it’s going to doubtless really feel too massive to maintain in your countertop. That mentioned, it actually is useful in order for you a whole, selfmade meal however aren’t within the temper to do the cooking your self. I cooked two items of tilapia with a serving of veggies on the tray and was individually in a position to match 15 soup dumplings.

The 1-liter water basin detaches from the bottom for simple filling. To start out steaming, you should tightly screw the cap on the basin and flip it over to lock it into the bottom. It leaked very barely for me, though not in any important approach. Whereas some stage of condensation is inevitable whereas steaming, having your meals fully surrounded in glass goes to extend condensation in comparison with bamboo, for instance. The interface of the CookFresh Digital Steamer couldn’t be easier. You flip the knob to the setting that corresponds with no matter you’re cooking and press Begin. There’s additionally a button if all you wish to do is reheat, and you’ll enter a customized cook dinner time. It’s probably the most rectangular steamer on this checklist, so this can be a good match for those who plan to cook dinner lengthy items of protein like fish which may not simply squeeze right into a spherical or sq. steaming tray.


Finest Ceramic Steamer

Donabe is the traditional Japanese craft of making clay pots. Based mostly in Japan’s Iga area for almost 200 years, Nagatani-en is the oldest-known donabe firm nonetheless working. Cooking with this intricate handmade piece of pottery takes a bit extra care and a focus than the plug-and-play electrical variations above, however for those who’re critical about taking your steaming chops to a brand new stage, this can be a nice selection. One of many main properties of donabe is that it will get extraordinarily scorching, which is why it’s nice for cooking meals evenly. The clay used to make the pot is porous, which supplies it its excessive warmth retention and excessive absorption capability.

I saved my testing constant and cooked one other two items of tilapia with a serving of veggies (mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and spinach). It was a bit tight on the steaming dish, however as soon as the veggies began to shrivel it match properly and took lower than quarter-hour to cook dinner. The whole lot got here out extremely moist and flavorful. (I used just a few fundamental seasoning.) The handles on the mushi nabe donabe aren’t as massive as they most likely must be, particularly contemplating how scorching they develop into. So it’s good to be extraordinarily cautious when eradicating the lid. Like a forged iron skillet, a donabe is supposed to be seasoned previous to your first use, and it develops character as you utilize it. Directions are supplied so that you could take care of the donabe correctly. Though donabe are recognized for cooking over a flame, they’re additionally oven-safe. They’re appropriate for gasoline stovetops solely and can’t be used on electrical or induction stoves. They aren’t microwave- or dishwasher-safe.


Finest Ceramic Steamer Set

Should you’re searching for a ceramic steamer that’s much less fragile and simpler to make use of than donabe, that is the best choice. The number of supplies used to design this product—a ceramic exterior and bamboo inserts—makes it top-of-the-line. This steamer comes as a set in three sizes (1.2L, 2.3L, and 4L), full with a completed ceramic pot, an identical lid with steaming holes, and a bamboo steaming basket that has a terra-cotta base. The steaming basket matches almost flush onto the pot, as does the lid on the basket.

The terra-cotta base on the steaming basket makes this a novel product amongst steamers. Terra-cotta has even stronger absorption properties than bamboo, serving to do away with much more extra moisture. Terra-cotta assists within the steaming course of in a quasi-water-circulation system. The water that it absorbs finally ends up evaporating again in with the remainder of the steam. However the excessive absorption is among the negatives that I discovered about steaming with terra-cotta: It will possibly create fairly the stink. After I cooked tilapia on this steamer, it got here out unbelievable, however then I used to be smelling tilapia for weeks. The fish stench wouldn’t come out regardless of what number of occasions I washed the basket. Like donabe, this ceramic pot is designed to be seasoned earlier than utilizing it. It’s additionally most likely greatest to keep away from cooking colourful meals like pink curries due to the potential for it staining. Jia says for those who clear it instantly then you definately shouldn’t have an issue, however I wouldn’t do it if you wish to preserve the pot trying pearly and white, as a result of the smooth look is among the greatest issues about this product.


Finest Bamboo Steamer Set

The Harmony Bamboo Steamer set comes with a metallic pot, a metallic lid, and a 10-inch bamboo steamer basket. All of those items match flush with each other. The spherical form and partitions of the bamboo steamer make it tougher to suit as a lot meals in there, however I used to be in a position to match two items of tilapia flat within the 10-inch steamer with veggies and a mattress of spinach (similar precise meal as I ready within the donabe), which eliminates the necessity for parchment steaming papers (the Harmony steamer supplies a pack of those). It got here out simply nearly as good as making ready it within the donabe. A ten-inch bamboo steamer like this one will match eight soup dumplings comfortably on the steaming paper.

The stainless-steel pot doubles as an all-purpose pot that you should use with out the steaming baskets. The handles are what make this pot stand out; they’re product of heat-resistant faux-wood silicone that retains them mushy and comparatively cool to the contact. The set comes with a set of parchment steaming liners and bamboo tongs. There’s nothing fairly like steaming with bamboo. A bamboo steamer doesn’t soak up warmth as a lot as metallic, so you may choose it up instantly along with your arms and serve your meal proper within the bamboo for a conventional expertise. The bamboo additionally absorbs extra moisture so that you’re actually getting a high quality steam. I really feel like you may even style the flavors of the forest once you cook dinner with bamboo.


Finest Price range Steamer

I like Joseph Joseph’s steaming basket higher than the standard stainless-steel choices. This one is product of laborious silicone materials that’s extra nice to make use of and far simpler to scrub than the stainless-steel baskets. The “petals” that fold out and in to broaden the steamer are a a lot sturdier design than the metallic variations, which regularly really feel flimsy and cheaply made. Three silicone legs on the underside give ample area for the water to do its factor beneath. The design excels at steaming veggies in probably the most environment friendly approach attainable. The trickiest a part of steaming baskets is getting them out of the pot as soon as your meals is completed and all of the items are nonetheless scorching. The Joseph Joseph Bloom basket has a well-designed hook within the center, making it simple to slide a fork in and carry the basket out.

Clearly you may steam no matter can match within the basket—say, two tamales or eight soup dumplings comfortably—however veggies are the go-to with regards to steamer baskets. It leads to a well-steamed batch of veggies so flavorful you’ll barely want any seasoning. Steaming protein in right here or any basket-style steamer can be a bit awkward. There are just a few cheaper choices available on the market, however at simply $9, the considerate design, versatility, and straightforward clean-up of the Joseph Joseph steamer make it our high choose for these on a funds.


Finest Steamer for Tiny Kitchens

Should you dwell in an offensively small NYC house with solely a kitchenette and barely any cabinetry, Crate & Barrel’s Collapsible Steamer and Colander stands out as the transfer. Whenever you first have a look at it, this factor looks as if it’s only a colander, and basically, it’s. Nevertheless, it really works fairly properly as a makeshift steamer for sure meals. At a diameter of 9.5 inches, the bottom is fairly small, so for those who’re steaming meals objects that received’t cook dinner correctly in the event that they’re stacked or piled on one another, like dumplings, you’re solely going to internet one small serving. I used to be in a position to match seven soup dumplings into the steamer comfortably. I put a chunk of steaming paper on the underside so the dumplings wouldn’t keep on with the stainless-steel base as soon as they heated up. For veggies, which you’ll be able to pile up in a steamer, you received’t have any issues becoming a hearty quantity. Whereas the hybrid design doesn’t make for a really perfect steamer, I used to be stunned at how properly it labored to get a passable steam on my meals.

It’s product of a pleasant mixture of metallic, which makes up the sturdy base and handles, and malleable silicone, which lets the entire thing flop into itself for storage. It’s nearly an inch thick when absolutely collapsed, so this design is the final word area saver. To make use of it as a steamer, you nestle the basket into a bigger pot. The place this product falls brief is that the lid of your pot doubtless won’t sit correctly on high of the steamer. The steamer’s handles sit on the lip of the pot, the place they forestall the lid from forming a decent seal. Steam will escape by the hole, and this makes the steaming course of take longer than it in any other case would. It additionally simply makes the entire meeting really feel a bit shaky. However we now have already established that this product is only a makeshift steamer, so you already know what you’re getting your self into. You additionally want to ensure your pot is sufficiently big to carry the basket, but in addition sized to permit the handles to perch correctly. It’s additionally difficult to take the steamer off of the pot; the metallic handles sit instantly on the pot, so it’s good to use mitts and watch out. All in all, you’re going to get a good steam.

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