Best food steamer for simplified, nutritious meals

Veggies and rice have never been easier to prepare…

assortment of best food steamers

by Piper Huxley |
Updated on

When healthy eating calls, there is nothing better than investing in the best food steamer for your kitchen. Not only is it great for you, but steaming is light on your budget and doesn’t waste our planet’s precious resources. Low maintenance, a food steamer locks in all the minerals and vitamins, meaning your 30 plants-a-week promise is going to be bursting with goodness. Safe to say, there are plenty of benefits to buying a food steamer for your hob, microwave or sideboard.

What are food steamers used for? Well, of all the gadgets to help save money, a food steamer may be the healthiest. Steaming is an excellent alternative to frying, baking or roasting; there is no need for fats or oils, making it lower in calories. But, what about the flavour? Isn’t it bland? Samin Nosrat on the tenets of good cooking, taken from her book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: “Play to each element’s strengths: use Salt to enhance, Fat to carry, and Acid to balance [the] flavour.”

Best food steamer at a glance

Best food steamer overall: Morphy Richards 3-Tier Food Steamer – Buy now on Amazon UK
Best bamboo food steamer: ProCook Bamboo Steamer - Buy now on ProCook
Best food steamer for microwave: Sistema Microwave Steamer – Buy now on Amazon UK

So, with a steamer, we recommend adding salt before and drizzling on acidity when serving, which can be anything from lemon juice to vinegar. Or, get creative with herbs, butter or olive oil. Much like an air fryer, a food steamer is an asset to your kitchen for quick and easy cooking. But, with a food steamer, the colour and flavour of your ingredients are kept safe, and ready for your tastebuds. This means all the vitamins and minerals have stayed intact to nourish your meal.

Remember to put all your raw carrot peelings and broccoli stems into your trusty compost caddy, too. This is another tip to turn your kitchen green, with sustainability in mind. Use an electric appliance, as opposed to the hassle of boiling or blanching your veg on the hob. Not only will the B and C vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc be preserved, but your energy bills will stay down. To join the veggie revolution, scroll below for the best food steamers and FAQs, answered by us.

Best food steamer

Best food steamer overall

Morphy Richards 3-Tier Food SteamerMorphy Richards / Amazon UK
Price: $21.99 (was £29.99)

Steam up to three types of veg in this Morphy Richards 3-Tier Food Steamer, suitable for all hobs. Though not an energy-saving electric appliance, this stainless steel set is still at the top of our list. With tempered glass lids and thermocore technology for efficient, even cooking, this three-tier steamer is high-quality and looks smart, too.

A customer commented: "Due to health concerns, I have been throwing out all our non-stick pots and pans and replacing them with stainless steel ones. After reading the reviews of other similar pots, I decided to purchase this steamer due to its reputable brand. Well, it doesn't disappoint me."

Sturdy and just the right size for a meal for many, this pick comes from a well-known brand. It's strong, and sturdy and promises ten years of durability. Perfect. We want to get our money's worth.

Pros

  • Featuring double spouts and a pouring lid for ease
  • Made from an energy-efficient bonded stainless steel base
  • Suitable for use on all hobs types and dishwasher-safe

Cons

  • Hob use only - so may not be kind to bills

Best bamboo food steamer

ProCook Bamboo SteamerProCook
Price: £25 (RRP £35)

www.procook.co.uk

Or, consider a beautiful, traditional ProCook Bamboo Steamer.

For vegetables, fish, dumplings and more, requiring no oil and preserving all of your nutrients, this steamer is fantastic. Boasting two sturdy, stackable layers, this steamer basket can be placed into a large wok. Just add water and bring it to the boil to steam your food. Sounds easy, right?

It's perfect for someone who doesn't want any more bulky gadgets cluttering the cupboards. It's a staple in Asian cooking - and why not a staple in getting veg ready for a roast? If you'd like to go a little more natural and save a bit of money on an electric appliance, this is a great choice.

However, you will need a decent-sized wok or frying pan to fit it in.

Pros

  • Comprises of two sturdy, stackable layers
  • A traditional way to cook veggies, fish and more
  • Fits any 26 cm saucepan, stock pot or large wok

Cons

  • Only two layers - may not suit large households

Best digital food steamer

Lakeland Digital 3-Tier Electric SteamerLakeland

We love the Lakeland Digital 3-Tier Electric Steamer.

It simplifies healthy cooking for the whole family with its three tiers that allow simultaneous cooking of various foods. It comes equipped with dedicated programmes to ensure perfect veggie and rice.

A customer commented that they replaced a well-known brand that wasn't performing well with a Lakeland model - and were pleasantly surprised. Not only does it look presentable, but there is "way less steam in the kitchen [and] perfect results." They, also, love the 3-year warranty for security.

With an LCD and timer, it offers convenience and efficiency, and its easy-clean design ensures hassle-free maintenance and storage. Though the tray bases are said to be a little flimsy, they stay in place and have to be clean and fitted with care. No more guesswork, either. Veg and rice - easy.

Pros

  • With five cooking programmes to take out any glasswork
  • Easy to use, clean and nest together for compact storage
  • With three stacking tiers and a 1.5L rice bowl for perfection

Cons

  • Some customers say the baskets can click out of place easily

Budget electric food steamer

Salter 3-Tier Food SteamerSalter / Amazon
Price: £15.99 (was £39.99)

Ideal for cooking rice, meat and vegetables for an entire meal, this Salter 3-Tier Food Steamer is another great option. Save 69% off your energy bills with this efficient way to cook delicious meals. With a stainless steel finish, this stylish steamer can be stored with ease.

A customer commented: "The design is generally good, but I think the lid could be improved as it is sometimes a bit difficult to fit on." So, maybe, the lid is a little tricky to pop on and the instructions are a little lacklustre - but what are the other positives? Well, it's budget-friendly, efficient, stylish, cheap to run - and great for anyone who "is looking for an easy way to eat healthily," they added.

At a fraction of the cost of an electric hob, this steamer comes with three tiers, a lid and a rice bowl, which can all be cleaned in the dishwasher. Easy, convenient and stylish. What's not to love?

Pros

  • Experience a fast, efficient way to cook delicious food
  • With easy clean accessories which are dishwasher-safe
  • Boasts a large water reservoir and a 60-minute timer

Cons

  • Lacklustre instructions and no pre-set modes

Professional food steamer

ProCook Professional Stainless Steel Steamer SetProCook
Price: £79 (RRP £169)

www.procook.co.uk

Super smart and industry-standard, this ProCook Professional Stainless Steel Steamer Set is a great choice for continued, weekly use, whether for in the week or for a Sunday roast. This stainless steel set comes with a heat-resistant glass lid and robust handles. It's suitable for all hob types including induction, and in the oven up to 260C. And, washing up is a breeze as it's dishwasher safe.

A customer commented that it's "excellent quality". They had to replace their "faithful old steamer" as it didn't work on their new induction hob. So, that's a plus of this steamer set. It's safe on all hobs, oven safe up to 260 degrees Celsius and dishwasher safe, too. What a win.

For long-lasting durability, we'd recommend investing in this pick.

Pros

  • Complete with a heat-resistant toughened glass lid
  • Professional heavy-duty stainless steel for even heat
  • Safe for all hob types, ovens up to 260 and dishwashers

Cons

  • Some customers have an issue with the tier seals

Best food steamer for large families

Russell Hobbs Food Collection 3 Tier Food SteamerDunelm / Russell Hobbs

With a convenient 60-minute timer, this steamer features dishwasher-safe baskets, integrated egg holders, a transparent window to check on your dinner and more, this steamer is great. Quick cooking, quick cleaning. What more could you want? It even has a drip tray to collect water waste.

A customer commented: that it's "so easy to use and quick to clean", which is perfect for those of us who need quick, convenient veggies between racing around after the kids - and healthy, too.

For multiple varieties of food, this Russell Hobbs Food Collection 3-Tier Food Steamer has a generous capacity for family-style cooking. Though not the most stylish pick of the bunch, we'd recommend getting this if your household is large - and if you're looking to commit to a healthy diet.

Pros

  • Dishwasher safe with BPA-free baskets
  • Boasts a 9-litre capacity and a 60-minute timer
  • Good value steamer with a large capacity

Cons

  • You can't swap the baskets around

Best food steamer for microwave

Sistema Microwave SteamerSistema / Amazon
Price: $6.99 (was £7.99)

The Sistema Microwave Steamer offers convenient, healthy cooking in the microwave. Featuring a removable steamer basket and steam release vent for efficient steaming, it's dishwasher, microwave, fridge, and freezer safe. Plus, it's BPA and phthalate-free, ensuring safe and hassle-free cooking.

A customer commented: "We use one (or sometimes two) of these almost every mealtime...They do wear out, but they last a very long time, so that's not a fault, in my opinion." They're long-lasting, versatile, BPA-free and dishwasher-safe. However, they don't come with many instructions or cooking guides - so, you may have to start with a little guesswork. The more you use it, the better it gets.

Consider a microwave steamer to cut down on costs. It's perfect if you can't fork out for a larger pick.

Pros

  • Steam release vents for splatter-free microwave reheating
  • BPA-free, Phthalate-free and completely food-safe
  • Store leftovers and pre-prepared meals in this container

Cons

  • Not suited for those without a microwave

Verdict: Which is the best?

The Salter 3-Tier Food Steamer is versatile, budget-friendly and efficient.

FAQs

Are food steamers cheap to run?

Yes, typically, electric steamers are cheaper to run. They use low amounts of energy compared to stovetop cooking and oven baking, says the Trading Director at Salter, Duncan Singleton. They simply heat water for steam to pass through and soften vegetables, meat and more.

Most modern steamers require between 400 to 800 watts to run – and will only require around 20 minutes of use to get your veggies for a Sunday Roast. As a result, electric steamers tend to “require less electricity to run and are cheaper than traditional cooking methods,” he adds.

The Salter 3-Tier Steamer can save up to 69% on energy bills.

Is a food steamer healthy?

Yes – Steaming food is said to be “one of the healthiest modern cooking methods”, says Duncan at Salter. Steaming preserves all the goodies hidden away in your food – and when cooked this way, it keeps all of the tasty flavours, without “the need for excessive seasoning or sauces.” As this method does not require fats or oil to cook, it takes down the calorie content, too.

Is a food steamer the same as a pressure cooker?

No - though both use water to cook our food, pressure cookers and food steamers are different.

Pressure (and, indeed, some multi-cookers) uses high-pressure water vapours at high temperatures. Whereas, a food steamer allows veg to soften at water's boiling point, 100 degrees Celsius.

How do I clean a food steamer?

If you're unsure of how to clean your food seamer, don't worry, we have some tips.

If the steam baskets can be washed in the dishwasher, by all means - go for it. But, for longevity, it is recommended to wash the baskets by hand in warm, soapy water. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth.

As for the base of the electric steamer, wipe the outside and inside of the unit, unplugged, with a barely damp cloth. Ensure you never immerse the base unit, cord or plug in water, for safety.

Perhaps, you're wondering: can you descale a food steamer?

Tefal recommends descaling every 7 to 10 uses "to maintain an effective flow of steam and extend the life of your appliance." For this, make a solution of white vinegar and water, letting it sit in the tank overnight. In the morning, Tefal suggests rinsing the interior several times with warm water.

Piper Huxley is a Homes, Garden and Wellness Product Writer for Yours, an all-rounder who will write on anything from décor to wellness. When not scouring the net for the best home bargains, Piper is listening to a musical soundtrack and tending to her houseplants.

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