"New year, new me" … how many times have we made that promise to ourselves? You may have taken up yoga
or even invested in a home gym
, but the best way to start looking after yourself is by minding what you eat. Steaming your food is a great way to cut calories, as steamers require no fatty oils and lock in the nutrients of whatever you’re steaming, whether it's meat, fish or veggies. Steamers are also a great way to cook grains such as rice or quinoa, meaning you don’t have to fork out extra for a fancy rice cooker
. Food steamers are incredibly convenient and can usually hold around nine liters of food at one time. Their compact design also means they take up less space when cooking, which is perfect for all you busy people out there!
You will need to consider some things before getting a steamer. Think about how large you want your steamer to be, and how well it will fit in your kitchen. This will depend on the size of your countertops, and whether or not the steamer is storable too. If you are relatively short on space, you may want to opt for a smaller product or a steamer that can be put away in your cupboards or drawers. Decide how many baskets you want included in your steamer as well. Most steamers have between one and three baskets.
The number of baskets you want in your food steamer will depend on how many people you will be feeding, and what you will be cooking. Having several baskets will allow you to cook a variety of foods at one time. For example, if you have a three-basket food steamer, you could cook fish, veggies and potatoes all at the same time. That’s a whole meal! This is also ideal if you are cooking for people with different dietary requirements (vegetarian, for example), as the food is cooked in separate compartments. Be aware, however, that food steamers with two to three baskets tend to be more expensive than those with just one.
Think about the different features you want included in your new product. As healthy eating has become more popular, the features included in food steamers have developed too. You can now buy food steamers that include handy features such as:
- Indicator Lights - This will inform you when your food is ready to eat and cooked to perfection … yum!
- Delay Timer - Allows you to start cooking your meal even when you aren’t at home.
- Automatic Warmers - Keeps your food piping hot until you are ready to eat it, and reheats food too.
- Dishwasher Safe - Takes away the hassle of having to hand-wash the steamer yourself.
The cost of your new food steamer depends on several factors. Most food steamers are priced between $20 and $40, but there are some higher-end products that can cost up to $350. High-end food steamers include more features, such as separate rice cookers, drip trays, and even egg holders to help you cook the perfect boiled egg! These food steamers are ideal for professional cooks or those that have a passion for gadgets. Standard food steamers usually vary in price depending on how many baskets they contain, and how much food they can cook at one time. If you have a larger family, you may want a steamer in the $30 to $40 price range instead of a smaller $20 model. Cheap food steamers are available ($15 or less), but they may not be as durable, and won’t contain useful features such as timers and re-heating technology.
The features you will want included in your new food steamer will depend on your personal preferences, your cooking style, and how many people you will be cooking for. To help you choose the best food steamer for you, we recommend keeping an eye out for certain features to ensure you select a top-quality product. Good features include a water gauge, timers, a keep warm function, and external water inlets.
Construction and Design
A water gauge is great to have in your new food steamer, as it will inform you how much water is still in the steamer chamber. This will prevent you from dry boiling your food and ruining the taste and freshness of your meal. The majority of steamers also include a minimum and maximum water fill level, which will prevent the steamer from becoming too dry or spitting boiling water.
Timers are also preferable, as they allow you to set a cooking time. There are two different types of timers available in food steamers: clockwork timers and digital timers. Cheaper products tend to use clockwork timers, but these products can sometimes be a little bit temperamental and stop before the allotted cooking time. If you want a more precise product, a digital timer may be more suited to your needs. Digital timers often include the ability to delay cooking time, allowing the steamer to start cooking later on in the day or while you are at work. Note that digital timed steamers tend to be a bit more expensive.
Keep warm functions will allow you to keep your food warm for up to two hours after cooking. This is ideal for larger families with older children who come and go as they please, as well as familes whose members finish work at different times.
We recommend food steamers with external water inlets that allow you to add more water to the water chamber without having to remove the steamer baskets. This will reduce the risk of burning yourself, and makes the whole cooking process a little easier.
Performance and Ease of Use
Setting up your new food steamer is a simple process and shouldn’t take you long at all. Most food steamers will come with a handy instruction guide informing you how to put your steamer together, and how to use it and care for it. If you have any problems, simply log on to the manufacturer's website to find out a bit more information about your product.
Cleaning your new food steamer can sometimes be a little tricky. Most food steamers contain lots of holes and cooking baskets, which can be breeding grounds for dirt, food juices and bacteria. We recommend looking for a steamer with removable baskets that can easily be washed by hand, or placed in the dishwasher and then simply locked back in.
Choosing a food steamer can be difficult because of the number of styles and products that are available to you. We are hoping that after reading our buying guide, you have now figured out what type of food steamer is most suitable to your needs, and what features you want in one. This will make it a lot easier to find the ideal food steamer for you and your appetite! Have a closer look at our top five picks.
Hamilton Beach is one of the leading distributors of small household and professional-style kitchen appliances in the U.S. It distributes and sells over 35 million appliances every single year! Hamilton Beach products can be found in most households across America, and it's now expanding into new areas! Its superior product quality is what sets it apart from the rest, with a wide variety of collections that make home cooking and life in general easier.
Hamilton Beach’s 5.5 Quart Digital Steamer can cook a wide variety of flavorful dishes, and it's a number one seller on Amazon! This versatile product is stackable and allows for two-tier steaming, which means you can cook a variety of foods at the same time. The first tier is ideal for smaller quantities, while the center divider is perfect for larger foods such as chicken or fish. This steamer has an automatic warm setting which stops cooking when the food is ready, but continues to keep it heated so it’s ready when you are! The digital touchpad allows for easy use and has a countdown timer to make sure your food is cooked for the right amount of time. Although it's large in size, this steamer has nested storage, so it can easily be stored in cupboards without taking up too much space.However, its modern black and silver design means that if you wanted to leave it on your kitchen worktop for all to see, we wouldn’t blame you!
By now you know about what types of food steamer products are on the market, and what you want from your new steamer. If you aren’t a fan of the particular ones here, all the brands we have chosen have a large variety of products to choose from. Look through their other collections to find a food steamer that’s just right for you, then choose your favorite and start planning your next dinner party!