The Best Food Steamers for Vegetables and More

We searched far and wide to find the best food steamers, including our top pick: the Oster Dutch Oven with Steamer Basket.

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best food steamers
Photo: Amazon

Food steamers are an easy and healthy way to cook your food, speeding up the cooking time while locking in the nutrients and flavor. You can use them to cook everything from vegetables to meat to eggs — no oil or butter needed.

To determine the best options, we asked our Allrecipes Allstars for their recommendations based on their hands-on experience as well as what they look for in food steamers, including durability and ease of use and storage. Below, you can learn more about the best food steamers on our list, starting off with Oster Dutch Oven with Steamer Basket as our top choice, which is easy to use and versatile, allowing you to cook a variety of foods without much effort. So if you're ready for dinner… let's get started!

Our Favorites

Best Overall: Oster Dutch Oven with Steamer Basket

Best Food Steamers

Also available at Walmart and Target.

Why It's Great

  • Multifunctional design
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Affordable

Grain of Salt

  • Handles get hot

This Dutch oven plus steamer basket combo from Oster comes in as our top choice because it has everything you need to start steaming as soon as it arrives. The two-for-one model allows you to use the parts together or the pot on its own. The Dutch oven is excellent for preparing soups and stews in small to medium batches.

Made for stovetop use only (up to 400 degrees), it's not a suitable option for those with induction cooktops. Overall, this model is a winner for its sturdiness, durability, and reasonable price.

The Details: Made from steel; 3-quart capacity; hand wash

Best Electric: Hamilton Beach Digital Food Steamer Plus Rice Basket

Best Food Steamers

Also available at JCPenney and Walmart.

Why It's Great

  • Steams quickly
  • Features a keep warm setting
  • Easy to store

Grain of Salt

  • Short electric cord

Electric food steamers are as easy to use as slow cookers because all you have to do is pour water into the reservoir, add your food, and then plug it in and set a timer. We love this electric model from Hamilton Beach in particular because of its customizable, user-friendly design. It features two tiers that allow you to steam two different foods at once, or you can take the divider out to cook larger foods, like crab legs and corn on the cob. As a bonus, the steamer comes with a rice bowl suitable for cooking rice and other small foods in the top tier.

The food steamer has an easy-to-read water gauge that lets you know when it's complete and ready to steam. The automatic warm setting makes sure your food stays hot until it's time to eat. It's important to note that the steamer can only be set to cook for one hour; however, you can restart it if you need your food to steam longer.

The Details: Made from steel and plastic; 5.5-quart capacity; hand wash

Best Large Capacity: Bella Two-Tier Food Steamer

Best Food Steamers

Also available at Walmart.

Why It's Great

  • Lots of cooking space
  • Stackable containers
  • Inexpensive

Grain of Salt

  • Plastic trays

With a 7.4-quart capacity, this food steamer is great for cooking family-sized dinners. We like that it has two separate containers so that you can steam two different foods at once, like multiple salmon filets and a large batch of vegetables. The steamer has an easy-to-use timer that can be set for up to one hour and a helpful chart that shows the cooking times for a variety of foods right on the appliance.

Two of our favorite features are its automatic shutoff function when the water runs out and its water reservoir window that allows you to easily see whether or not you need to add more. If the water is at the minimum line, you can simply pull out the tray and pour more in to finish the steaming process.

The Details: Made from steel and plastic; 7.4-quart capacity; hand wash

Best Basket: GoodCook Stainless Steel Expandable Steamer Basket

Best Food Steamers

Also available at Walmart.

Why It's Great

  • Can be used on multiple pots
  • Easy to clean
  • Affordable

Grain of Salt

  • Limited on what you can steam

The tried-and-true steamer basket is a low-tech option that gets your veggies steamed to perfection without breaking the bank. Thanks to its adjustable design, you can expand it from 5 to 9 inches inches to fit over different sizes of pots.

Allstar Brenda Venable is a fan of her steamer basket for its flexibility and easy storage. "I like that it's collapsible, so it doesn't take up too much room in the cupboard," she says. This steamer is dishwasher-safe and rust-resistant, so it will hold up for years. If you're considering a steamer basket, like this one, make sure to measure your pots beforehand to ensure it will be compatible with your cookware.

The Details: Made from steel; expands from 5.5 inches to 9.25 inches; dishwasher safe

Related: The Best Mandoline Slicers for Prepping Produce

Best Microwavable: EuChoiz Microwave Steamer Collapsible Bowl

Best Food Steamers

Available at Walmart.

Why It's Great

  • Great for single servings
  • Collapsible for easy storage
  • Dishwasher safe

Grain of Salt

  • Small size limits use to smaller portions

This mircowavable steamer bowl is the best choice for those with limited storage space and who tend to prepare individual servings rather than large batches. It cooks food in five minutes, collapses for fuss-free storage, and is dishwasher safe for a quick cleanup.

To use it, simply add a little water to the bottom of the bowl, place the partition inside and add your food (with seasoning for a boost of flavor). Then cover with the lid and set the timer for just five minutes. When removing it from the microwave, make sure to wear oven mitts as the bowl will be extremely hot.

The Details: Made from silicone; 1.5-cup capacity; dishwasher safe

Most Versatile: Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker

Best Food Steamers

Also available at Kohl's and Best Buy.

Why It's Great

  • Large capacity for steaming
  • Has nine cooking functions
  • Comes with a steamer rack

Grain of Salt

  • Pricey

Although it has a higher price tag than other models, this steamer has so much to offer, providing nine cooking functions in one easy-to-use appliance. Allstar Carol Miller has owned the Instant Pot Duo for about five years and loves how quick and efficient it is. "It's so easy to steam vegetables and then prepare them in the same pot," she says. "I love steaming cauliflower, draining it, adding the ingredients right into the pot, and giving it a whip with an immersion blender. The Instant Pot keeps it warm until I am ready to serve. What else could you ask for?"

In addition to steaming, the Instant Pot is also a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, stove top, yogurt maker, sauté pan, food warmer, sous vide, and sterilizer. At first glance, the control panel might look a little overwhelming; however, it's very intuitive and clearly labeled for its different functions.

The Details: Made from steel; 6-quart capacity; hand wash

Best Bamboo: Reishunger Two Tier Bamboo Steamer

Best Food Steamers

Why It's Great

  • Great for cooking and serving
  • Traditional design
  • Includes reusable cloth inserts

Grain of Salt

  • Cannot adjust the height of the basket

This traditional bamboo steamer is great for cooking chicken, beef, pork, dumplings, fish, and much more. With tightly woven, dome shaped lid, the steamer cooks food quickly and evenly at the ideal temperature.

Like other models with two tiers, this steamer allows you to cook multiple servings simultaneously, eliminating the need to prepare each separately. A plus side to this steamer is that the bamboo tray is beautiful enough to use as the serving tray, especially for dumplings, and will give your meal the look and feel of your favorite Chinese restaurant.

The Details: Made from bamboo; 8-inch diameter; hand wash

Related: The Best Food Choppers for Cutting Down on Prep Time

Our Takeaway

We chose the Oster Dutch Oven with Steamer Basket as our best overall pick because it includes a steamer and a pot that can be used together or separately. With a 3-quart capacity it's a great size for many home cook's needs.

How to Pick the Right Food Steamer

Electric vs. Stovetop

Electric steamers are usually more expensive and take up more countertop space. However, they're also easier to use and maintain. Stovetop steamers are cheaper and easier to store, but they can be less convenient, as they require an extra pot or pan for steaming your food. Allstar Amanda Scarlati likes steamer baskets because she can control how hot the food gets on the stovetop. "Having a variety of sizes and easy storage is important," she says.


The size of your food steamer depends on how many people you want to be able to feed at once. Most steamers come in 1 to 5-quart sizes, though some go up to 7 quarts. If you plan on cooking small amounts of food regularly, choose a small steamer with a 1-quart capacity or less. If want something that can handle larger batches, look for a steamer with at least a 5-quart capacity.

Additional Features

Some steamers have additional features that make them easier to use than others or work better in different kitchens. For example, Allstar Brenda Venable looks at the make of the steamer but also how it can fit into her current kitchen setup. "I look for a sturdy design, adjustable size, and stainless steel for its durability and cleanliness," she says. "I have limited space in my kitchen, so most tools must do more than one thing."

Common Questions

What is the best material for a steamer?

The best material for a steamer might be different from one home cook to the next. For stovetop use, we recommend a stainless steal basket that can expand to fit different sizes of pots. Stainless steel is durable and cleans easily in the dishwasher. If you're preparing individual servings, microwavable silicone bowls are an excellent choice.

What foods can you steam?

You can steam almost any food, including meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables. For example, you can cook salmon filets with herbs and lemon juice and steam broccoli florets with olive oil and garlic powder for a quick dinner.

How do you steam food?

Steaming food is simple and easy. All you need to do is place your food in a steamer, fill the bottom with water, and turn on your stovetop or electric burner. Make sure you don't add too much water, as this could cause your food to get soggy.

Why Take Our Word For It?

Stephanie Gravalese is a writer and photographer with a focus on food, farming, and the craft beer industry. With her expertise and market research along with the help of our Allstar community, Stephanie determined the best food steamers for every home cook.

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