Whether it is for the tasty virtues of the recipes or for the health aspect and less fat, the steamer, steamer pan, steamer pot, steamer basket, steamer box, or food steamer in English is fashionable, and proves to be an essential in the cooking appliances, and in a complete panoply of cooking.
Whether you are thinking of steamed vegetables, fresh fish, rice or legumes, Asian, Oriental or South American dishes, or keeping cooked food warm, steamers are very powerful kitchen tools that can open the doors to new culinary worlds with their multiple possibilities.
However, considering that steamers have existed for several decades in the household appliances market, their variety is now quite extensive: traditional models of bain-marie style, steel / stainless steel, plastic models without BPA (Bisphenol A free) rectangular stackable several levels, models inspired by the oriental wood, electric, pressure cookers, rice cookers, those that work on induction plates, etc. …
All the major brands have their own version, Tefal, Moulinex, Seb, Russel Hobbs, Magimix, Braun or Philips offer a multitude of options and choices for steam cooking. Different techniques, different models, for different needs: steam cooking is a whole world in which it can be hard to find your way.
To help you steam and find the perfect model for your kitchen, we analyzed and compared 50+ models available on the Canadian market for 100 hours, and we took into account the opinions of 600+ consumers who tested and cooked with them.
1. Hamilton Beach 37530Z – Simple & efficient Two-Stage Steamer
Looking for a simple, easy-to-use electric steamer that doesn’t take up too much counter space or budget? The Hamilton Beach 37530Z is the perfect choice, with its outstanding value, two steamer baskets for cooking, a small light to indicate when to add water, and removable parts for easy cleaning.
Hamilton Beach 37530Z Features:
- 2 steam baskets
- Automatic shut-off
- Water indicator light
- Stay warm” function
- Capacity: 6 liters
What we Think of the Hamilton Beach 37530Z
Hamilton Beach shows us once again its ability to equip our kitchens with appliances of an amazing quality-price ratio, this electric steamer seems to be the proof.
We already like its easy and fast handling, it is very simple, we add water at the bottom, our food to cook in the basket or baskets according to our choice, we set the timer and here we are, a small “beep” will tell us when it is ready.
It stops automatically and keeps the heat, which is not only safe and practical, but also avoids missing recipes.
If its plastic construction gives it a lightness that makes it very easy to handle, think for example to store it in a high cupboard, it must be admitted that it is not one of the strongest, and it will therefore be necessary to use it with care to optimize its durability.
The bottom of the steam baskets is removable, which is certainly practical for cleaning, but it can play tricks, if for example you want to move a basket full of food, you must be careful to hold it from underneath, so that everything does not fall down…
The time to tame it for these small details of handling, it remains very simple to use, and especially very effective to cook delicious healthy and tasty dishes, for a very affordable price.
We like this Hamilton Beach 37530Z, it does the job of steamer perfectly, it’s easy to use and delicious in the plate! Be careful, it’s still plastic, you have to handle it carefully if you want it to last, and you have to learn to play with the parts that stack up, but once you’ve got the hang of it, here’s a choice of steamer with a remarkable quality-price ratio.
2. Oster Hali 108132.03 – Best Stainless Steel Steamer for the Stove
Do you prefer the traditional steamer, right on the stove or stovetop? The Oster Hali 108132.03 is a reliable and simple steamer choice with its three stainless steel elements, 3 liter capacity, glass lid and riveted handles, quality steaming guaranteed.
Oster Hali 108132.03 Features:
- Stainless steel
- 3 pieces: quartz cauldron, steam insert and glass lid
- Riveted handles
- Maximum temperature: 400 degrees
- Capacity: 3 liters
- Can be used as a classic stewpot / cauldron
What We Think of the Oster Hali 108132.03
Some people prefer to cook on the stove the old-fashioned way, and this Oster Hali steamer goes in that spirit, taking up the concept of the bain-marie or the simple steaming basket that you put in the cauldron with a little water at the bottom.
Here we have three elements, in addition to the basic cauldron: a steam basket, a quartz cauldron to superimpose on the basic cauldron, and a glass lid.
This traditional simplicity gives a certain reliability in cooking, whether with the basket to make vegetables, or with the pot to make rice, but also for desserts, to melt chocolate without burning the bottom, so in a bain-marie.
But you can also simply use the basic pot as a stewpot, which will have a certain depth, and is therefore a very versatile steamer that will allow several uses.
Keep in mind that it is not huge, and may not be the best steamer model for a large family and large quantities.
However, its intermediate size becomes an advantage, not only for space, but also for better cooking certain foods and individual or couple portions, using less water and less energy, for a cauliflower for example.
We appreciate the sturdiness of stainless steel, a durable product, although it should be noted that the bottom will not work with induction plates.
Beware of the handles that heat up like any steel pot on a stove, but this is definitely an excellent choice of traditional steamer.
In the old-school category for a stovetop steamer, this Oster Hali 108132.03 stands out with its durability and simplicity, but also its versatility! Maybe not the choice for cooking for a huge table, but a very good intermediate size for the rest.
3. Cuisinart STM-1000C – Precision & Modern High-End Steamer
If you’re looking to take your steaming to the next level, this Cuisinart STM-1000C steamer is the machine of choice. Precision, power and quality construction: thanks to its multiple settings, this steamer will allow you to make successful recipes that are also suitable for desserts.
Cuisinart STM-1000C Features:
- 1875 watts: steam in 30 seconds
- Digital control with LCD screen
- 6 cooking presets
- Keep warm function
- Removable water tank
- Timer: up to 60 minutes
- Capacity: 5 liters
What we think of the Cuisinart STM-1000C
Cuisinart is not new to our kitchens, the brand has been around since the 70’s, and here is another quality machine with this top of the line electric steamer that first appealed to us because of its different settings.
Thanks to the digital LCD screen, you can choose to program the cooking for vegetables, seafood, poultry, grains, manual or even the reheating mode.
The versatility is thus at the rendezvous, in particular thanks to the width of the steamer, allowing you for example to consider preparations based on grains such as quinoa but also oatmeal for the morning, or even dessert recipes.
We appreciate here the power of the appliance which, with its 1875 watts, is able to create a very hot steam in 30 seconds, and which will diffuse moreover from bottom to top, allowing a more uniform and precise cooking.
If all its parts are dishwasher safe, its large size makes it a little longer to clean by hand, when the glass or metal dish hangs in the bottom for example.
But it’s mostly the large plastic water tank that can be a problem, as there isn’t really a large opening to wipe it down, so it’s not easy to completely empty the water and drain it, a blow to take to dry it well.
However, between the power of the steam, the guaranteed cooking quality and the possibility of adjustable settings, as well as the large capacity, this Cuisinart steamer model is well worth the investment.
We appreciate the high quality of steam from this Cuisinart STM-1000C, the power is there, and the versatility too! Too bad the water tank is a little difficult to dry, but this is quickly erased by the multitude of uses and recipes possible thanks to the iron and glass trays, as well as the option to keep warm.
4. BLACK+DECKER HS2241WD – A Practical Steamer Format
Are you looking for a rounded rice cooker style format, with enough capacity for a meal for two or three people? This BLACK+DECKER HS2241WD might just fit the bill, very easy and convenient to use, a medium sized option that will work for small families, with accessories like the steamer tray, rice container, and even a stand for boiled eggs!
BLACK+DECKER HS2241WD Features:
- Power indicator light
- Timer up to 75 minutes
- BPA free steam tray
- Water level window
- Integrated egg holder
What We Think of the BLACK+DECKER HS2241WD
Black+Decker presents us here an improved version of its steamer which was already appreciated in particular to make rice, in addition to the traditional steamed vegetables.
We appreciate the small finishing touches that make the difference, such as the small window to see the water level, or the tray with small teeth to cook eggs without them rolling.
It’s not a huge steamer, more of a medium size, but its efficiency is not reduced, with its timer allowing to go up to 75 minutes for tasty recipes.
We like the elongated, slightly rounded shape, which gives it a certain look, whether you like it or not, but mostly allows you to cook elongated vegetables or enough food for a small family, without taking up too much space like a large rectangular cooker.
Like all steamers, the steam accumulates in the lid, but it seems that in this model, due to its rounded shape, the accumulation is accentuated on the edges: it should therefore be used with care when opening it, as hot water can flow out.
The only design point that we can really criticize is the holes of the steam basket which are a bit too big, and where small pieces of food can fall out, think of a broccoli whose small bouquet would come off for example.
Once tamed, it remains an excellent steamer for a good price, a choice that can suit both rice and vegetables, staying in a good intermediate size that does not take up too much space.
For many it was already a classic, but we prefer this new version of the BLACK+DECKER HS2241WD steamer. It is reliable, efficient, in a unique rounded style that we especially like the intermediate size, and the accessories for rice and eggs: an excellent choice of steamer for a single person, a couple or even a small family.
5. Costway 49465-CYKC – Best Multi-Layer Stovetop Steamer
Looking for a steamer that works on the stove, even the induction ones, but with more room than the little pot with one steaming basket? Introducing the Costway 3-Tier 49465-CYKC, a monster stainless steel steamer with multiple accessories, multiple tiers, for a total capacity of 8 liters.
Costway 49465-CYKC 3-Tier Features:
- 304 stainless steel
- Induction compatible
- Glass lid
- All parts snap together for storage
- Steam inserts
- Dishwasher safe
What we Think of the Costway 3-Tier 49465-CYKC
Here’s the next level in stovetop or stovetop steamers, with this Costway containing not 3 but 4 compartments!
The basic pot can be fitted with a steam rack, and then you can add the 3 tiers for more food and fun, opening up the possibilities and creativity in steaming.
One of its strong points is that it is compatible with induction hobs, which is not the case for all models of this size, allowing you to mix modernity and power to heat and boil water very quickly with the traditional bain-marie technique with pots and steam grids.
Be careful though, we remain in a decent quality of stainless steel, but the construction of the basic cauldron remains quite thin, and it can easily mark, whether by taking a blow, but also a burning, black spots will appear quickly, or rust if it is not dried well after use.
A maintenance concern that must be kept in mind to ensure its longevity and avoid marks or rust.
It is nonetheless impressive, and once mastered, it can open the doors to extravagant and nourishing recipes for a whole regiment.
We like this big Costway 3-level steamer 49465-CYKC, obviously for its size and the number of steaming baskets you can use at the same time! It’s a pity that the steel is a bit thin and marks quickly, but with care, it will become a good ally for eccentric recipes, and moreover it works with induction plates.
6. VEVOR 5-Tier Stainless Steel Steamer – Best for Large Families
Vevor 5-Tier Steamer Features:
- 304 stainless steel
- Thick-bottom base pot
- Induction compatible
- 5 levels of capacity
- Raised lid and riveted handles
- Several configurations available
What we Think of the VEVOR 5-Tier Stainless Steel Steamer
If you need the heavy artillery when it comes to a stovetop steamer, this model from Vevor seems like a good choice since it features no less than 5 steaming compartments, a veritable tower of food that cooks healthy.
It can also simply be used as a stove, for example, to keep a lot of food to serve before a big meal, when making dishes as you go, or a meal with multiple choices.
All of this is supported by a quality pot for boiling water, with a thick steel bottom that will be durable and withstand hours of heating, as well as being compatible with induction plates.
This basic cauldron can moreover be used as a simple pot, remaining deep enough, considering, in addition, the raised lid that adds depth, it will hold a lot of food just in simple cooking.
Be careful with the screws of the handles of the lids which are not stainless, so you have to wipe them well after use to avoid rust.
Of course, with so much height and so many levels that steam at the same time, you have to be careful with the accumulation of steam and possible leaks on the sides, it is better to keep an eye on the cooking.
But again it’s a matter of habit and handling, after all we are not dealing here with a product for beginners, but for experienced cooks.
Ideal for small restaurants, large families or events, or simply generous steaming recipes such as puto from the Philippines or ablo from Togo, or of course all Asian bites like dimsun: a steamer that opens big doors.
We are impressed by the height of this 5-level Vevor, a great choice for ambitious and generous cooks! While not top of the line or of outstanding quality, this steamer holds up very well when taken care of and used properly, it will handle hours of cooking, and industrial quantities of good steaming recipes.
7. Rutai Bamboo Steamer – Best Tradition Bamboo Steamer
Do you want to travel to the origins of Asian steaming with traditional handmade bamboo, while using an appliance made of ecological and sustainable material? Here is a choice that defies modernity without losing efficiency and delicious flavors with the Rutai bamboo steamer, which will allow you to explore oriental recipes like dumplings, with two cooking levels, and accessories included.
Rutai Bamboo Steamer Features:
- Handmade bamboo basket
- Two steamer baskets, two levels
- Parchment paper
- 2 ceramic bowls
- 1 pair of chopsticks
What We Think of the Rutai Bamboo Steamer
We can’t help but be charmed by the wooden look of this steamer from Rutai which takes us back to the Asian traditions of steaming.
The principle here is simply to put the wooden steamer in a pot with water, or on a wok with water: and it works very well once stabilized.
With its two levels, this steamer gives enough space to make vegetables, rice, and fish, but especially all the small bites of type “dim sum” i.e. dumplings, Chinese raviolis, or fish balls.
The price to pay for this bargain is the cleaning time and especially the drying that must be done by hand, with several maintenance steps including rubbing it with some specific products including oil to maintain it.
An essential part to avoid any moisture and mold that could appear, and to extend its life.
Like any fine wooden object subjected to humidity, this steamer is obviously subject to deformation and could warp with time.
However, when you consider its very reasonable price and the accessories that come with it, including two adorable little ceramic sauce bowls, as well as the parchment paper sheets for cooking, this Rutai steamer stands out as a superb choice on the woody side!
We are enchanted by this Rutai bamboo steamer for its traditional Asian side, a good choice for lovers of oriental cuisine, especially for all dim-sum style recipes, but also for rice and vegetables. You will have to be meticulous and patient with the maintenance, but for the reasonable price and the small accessories, here is an excellent traditional and eco-responsible choice!
What to Know Before Buying a Food Steamer
The world of steam cooking is very vast, just considering the fact that there are several techniques and different types of appliances.
It is therefore important to ask yourself several questions in order to refine your choices and directions, and above all to enjoy your daily cooking.
Let’s try to go through the essential criteria and questions to study before you start the quest for the perfect steamer (or steamer) for you, which will lead you to the perfect cooking!
Why Buy a Steam Cooker?
Pressure cooker, pressure cooker, steam cooker, steamer, rice cooker: appliances using steam cooking have been present for a very long time in kitchens all over the world, even in Asia or Africa for certain traditional dishes, especially all the small bites, dimsum in Asian cuisine for example.
- Flavors and Fragrances: steaming, by burning less and reducing less the food than cooking in oil in the pan for example, allows to develop of different flavors, often preserving better the natural fragrance of the food, since it is simply cooked with water.
You will simply notice that steamed broccoli tastes very different from baked or pan-fried broccoli. Many recipes also allow you to mix flavours by combining several foods, herbs and aromas in the same steaming.
- Textures: Unlike other cooking methods such as grilling, frying or pan-frying, steaming, which is less violent in a sense, often preserves the original texture of the food without deconstructing it.
It is therefore an argument for the pleasure in the mouth of the texture of the food. The texture of some steamed rolls or ravioli is also very different from baking.
- Healthier Cooking: One of the most praised aspects of steaming is that it is healthier and more nutritious than the overused Western cuisine.
There will already be much less fat than in cooking with oil or butter, when you think of frying for example, the calorie content will be much lower.
But there is also the nutritional aspect: steaming preserves much better the natural nutrients of food, whether it is vegetables, fish or legumes.
- Safer Cooking: Contrary to the oven, the barbecue, or the frying pan which requires constant attention not to burn the food on the one hand, but also not to burn oneself or the house by forgetting to turn off the fire, a steamer, especially the modern electric models with automatic stop, allows a relatively less dangerous cooking, even if the steam is always to be approached with precautions.
You can mess up a recipe by overcooking, but you won’t end up with a burnt ingredient and black smoke…
- Keeping Warm: A simple advantage of steamers is that they can keep a dish warm, especially in models that have several layers, and therefore without the risk of burning or overcooking it.
What is My Budget for a Steamer?
Because of the variety and different types of models, there are really all price ranges when you start looking for steamers.
You can find small plastic models in the 30 or 40 CAD range, but we advise you to put in at least 50 CAD to find high-performance models with excellent value for money.
You will often have to approach 75 or 100 CAD to find quality models for the stove, with sufficiently robust stainless steel pots and lids.
But it’s when you approach 200 CAD and more that you will find excellence in terms of steam cooking, with modern programmable machines, simple to use and very efficient, in addition to holding a lot!
The size will obviously be a factor in the price, if you are looking for a simple steamer with a basket, or a model with 4 or 5 layers!
How to Buy the Best Food Streamer?
Here are some criteria that we thought were important to consider when choosing and purchasing a steamer, as there are many specifics and nuances in the field.
The Type of Steamer
Let’s start with the type of steamer, because there are different machines and processes for steaming.
- Electric: this is the most common type nowadays, the most modern. It is often a rectangular heating base, sometimes rounded, with a water tank that is filled, and one or more steam baskets, or suitable containers, that are placed on the base, with a lid on top.
Modern models often have a programmable mode, sometimes multifunction, allowing several programs of cooking of food, stopping automatically when the cooking is finished.
- On the Stove: inspired by the bain-marie technique, the steam cooker on the stove uses the principle of having a basic pot in which water is boiled, and placing another pot or a steam basket on top, a stainless steel container with holes to let the steam through.
These models develop different designs allowing sometimes to stack several layers and to heat or cook several types of food.
- Wooden Model: this model of the steamer is inspired by oriental and Asian traditions, with models often round to be able to be put directly on a cauldron where water is boiled.
They can also be used with a wok, where it is sometimes easier to put the wooden steamer.
Often, it will be necessary to use parchment paper or cooking paper according to the type of food, and not to put directly the food on the wood.
In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, for example, to serve on the table when it is ready, the wooden models are more environmentally friendly, are often less expensive, but all effective to keep moisture and cook tender, even if their maintenance and cleaning are sometimes a little more complicated.
Size and Capacity
As you can see, steamers come in all shapes and sizes, from small round plastic ones for cooking rice to very large rectangular models with 4 or 5 layers!
Of course, the capacity, often indicated in liters, will be a determining criterion, depending on whether you are cooking a complete meal for a family of twelve or just small verrines of vegetables for a romantic meal (yes, some models allow you to use small glass containers to make desserts for example!)
However, don’t think that it’s only the large size that makes it efficient: depending on what you’re cooking, a smaller steamer will not only cook quickly and evenly, filling the space faster, but also cook more accurately, while using less water.
Of course, you’ll also need to consider the size of your kitchen countertop in this criterion, as some models are rather large and bulky.
The Ease of Use
Even if in general it is not complicated, some models are much more intuitive than others and easier to handle, for example if you are a beginner and you don’t want a too modern model with lots of parts and adjustments.
Often the electric models are easier to use than the stovetop models, but for people used to cooking, some models with stackable pots will be quickly mastered.
A matter of preference here and of cooking habit.
While steaming is generally safer than baking or cooking on the stovetop, aside from our grandmothers’ old-fashioned pressure cookers, it is still a consideration.
For example, you may want to choose a steamer with a timer that stops automatically and beeps when the cooking is finished.
Stovetop steamer models are often a little less safe because they require more attention and can’t shut off automatically.
We can mention here the materials: some plastic steamers will not necessarily be as durable as steel or glass models.
Everything will depend on your use, if you make a steam recipe only once a month or if you use the device daily.
As for the stainless steel stove models, you will also have to be careful with the cheaper models whose basic pot quality sometimes leaves something to be desired and can blacken or rust with time, if you use it intensively.
We do our best to provide you with a product comparison to help you choose the best steamer possible. If we have missed any information or new models, feel free to leave a comment below or send us a message.