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Buy food steamers online - electric steamers, bamboo steamers and more

Updated on October 28, 2010

Buying a food steamer is all the new rage. It means you cook food by steaming it with hot vapour, rather than cooking it in boiling water. Because the food does not touch the water, there is a reduced loss of nutrient, and the flavours will be much richer. And because on top of that, no oil or butter is needed to cook in, your cooking style will be much healthier. Plus it will reduce or even eliminate the risk of overcooking or burning your meal.

You can cook several parts of your meals at once in a food steamer, and it is as easy as putting the ingredients in the steamer along with some water. You can use your steamer for cooking an entire three-course meal, blanching, reheating, or keeping food warm. Sounds perfect for a health conscious cook, people looking to try something new, and for if you want to make cooking easier. Food steamers are great to have in your own kitchen. But they are also perfect gifts for your family and friends who are trying to eat healthier.

Different types of food steamers

There are a few different types of steamers. You can buy a bamboo steamer, an electronic steamer or a stainless steel steamer. Most steamers are round and quite similar to double sauce pans, but there are holes in the base of the top pan, to let the steam from the boiling water through. The lid should be tight-fitting to keep the steam in the pan. Some steamers have multiple tiers. But there are also simple stainless steel baskets on short legs, which you can place in any pan. Nowadays there is even a microwave steamer for sale.

A Bamboo Steamer

A Bamboo steamer is a basket made of bamboo. It often has several layers, or tiers, so you can cook multiple foods at once. That way you can prepare an entire meal in just the one steamer. Just put the foods that need more cooking on the bottom. So meats on the bottom layer, and vegetables on top. The advantage of a bamboo steamer is that the bamboo helps to absorb the moisture and the excess heat.

Place the basket in a round bottom wok with water on the bottom of the wok, or put it on the rim of a pan containing boiling water. Not only is this a very easy way to cook. It will also look fabulous when you are cooking for guests. You can serve up your culinairy masterpieces in the bamboo baskets.

Electric Food Steamers

Electric food steamers are, the title says it all, electric. They are very easy to use. You put your food in, and set the timer. Hot steam will produced within seconds after turning the steamer on. You do not have to worry about your food burning or overcooking, it will turn itself off after the timer has expired. In the mean time you can concentrate on preparing other proponents of your meal.

An electric steamer is often a 2 tier food steamer or even more tiers. Again, this means you can cook several foods at the same time. The electric steamers are very easy to clean, especially if you use vegetable leaves or baking paper to wrap the food you are cooking in, or to simply place the food on top of it. 

A Microwave Steamer

Modern technology is way ahead of us. They've even invented microwave steamers. These are very simple to use. Just add water and the food you want to be steamed. Select the right microwave settings, and just watch it turn around behind the microwave door. These come in several sizes and with several numbers of layers. There are single serve ones, or ones big enough to feed the whole family. There are steamers with just one tier, or two, or even more. Whatever you want, Amazon online shop will have something that suits you.

A basket vegetable steamer

This is a little stainless steal basket that opens and closes like a fan. It will fit in the pans you already have, so you do not have to buy an entirely new pan. Just put water in the pan, put the basket steamer in, add the vegetables (or other food) and close the lid, and you are ready to go. It stands on three to four short legs, so it does not touch the boiling water underneath it. Try to keep it about 2 to 2,5cm above the water. Put your food on top and steam away!

Food suggestions

You can use a steamer to cook many different types of food, and not just vegetables, although that is the most common use. You can try to seafood and fish, or meat as well. Chicken is good for a steamer, and you can even steam pork chops. A lot of traditional Asian dishes are cooked with steamers, such as Dim Sum. Even a delicious dessert is possible.

When cooking meat, add some fresh garlic, ginger and herbs to enhance the flavour. The steaming times for fish and shellfish vary are different for different sizes. Steam fillets for about 8 to 10 minutes, take 10 to 15 minutes for fish steaks.

For a dessert you could steam pears, and serve it with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Or little fruit parcels, steamed in a packet with some orange juice added, and served with yoghurt.

Or try a recipe from one of these delicious cook books!


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    • Mieka profile image

      Mieka 6 years ago

      Steamers are great. I especially love using my electric food steamer for cooking fruit for deserts. Add a little ice cream, and voila!

    • loves2cook profile image

      loves2cook 6 years ago from Portland, OR

      Thanks for this informative comparison on food steamers and cookers. I recently acquired an electric rice cooker that steams vegetables and poaches meats as well... I haven't had the opportunity to test out its full capacities yet, but I'm looking forward to it, especially after reading this & seeing what all I should be able to do. Thanks!