Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Steaming food has been a widely used method of preparing food in a healthy and nutritious way for many years. If you like to eat a healthy and balanced diet or are looking for a good alternative to effectively reheat food, a steamer is just what you need.

In our comprehensive steamer test 2021 we want to give you the most important information about steamers and present some products. We also answer the most frequently asked questions in our comprehensive guide.




The most important facts

  • In a steamer, any kind of food is cooked gently. This method allows important vitamins and nutrients to be preserved.
  • Steam cookers come in a variety of design methods. The three main types of steam cookers are built-in or mobile steam cookers and the stovetop steamer.
  • Preparing baby food in a steamer is particularly popular.

The Best Steam Cooker: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for steam cookers

Thinking about buying a steamer is not exactly easy. Especially since there are so many different types on the market. With the evaluation criteria we have compiled, we want to give you a little more insight.

Built-in or mobile appliance

Whether a built-in or a mobile appliance is right for you depends on several points. Firstly, it is clearly a question of space in your kitchen. If you only have a kitchen with little storage space and you don't know where to put things anyway, then a built-in steamer is not really the best thing for you. In general, having a steamer retrofitted into your kitchen is a costly proposition either way.

A built-in steamer is significantly more expensive than a freestanding steamer.

However, if you have the opportunity to remodel your kitchen or you want to buy a new kitchen anyway. A built-in steamer is definitely the more elegant and satisfying solution in the long run.

The question of cost and benefit is also an issue. If you use the steamer very often, it is definitely worth buying a built-in steamer, which is definitely more expensive than a mobile appliance.

The clear advantage of a mobile appliance is that it can be stored away easily. This means that if you would like to have a steamer but don't need it regularly, you might be better off with a mobile appliance. A mobile steamer is also much more attractive in terms of price.

Built-in steamer:

Advantages
  • Integrated in kitchen
  • very practical for frequent use
Disadvantages
  • Expensive
  • Not easy to install and remove

Mobile steamer:

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be easily stored or removed when not in use
Disadvantages
  • Free-standing, i.e. gets in the way
  • Hard to clean

Price

It is almost impossible to set a limited price range for steam cookers, because there is a steamer at more or less any price from 20 euros to 1000 euros.

To help you narrow this down a bit, we show you in the table below at what price you can buy steamer pots, electric steamers and built-in steamers.

Steamer type price
Steamer pot 20 - 80 euros
Electric steamer 25 - 120 euros
Built-in steamer 300 - 1000 euros

Steamer for baby food

Steam cookers for baby food are usually combination appliances that can steam cook and mix. Such a food processor is easy to operate and can also be used with just one hand. This is definitely an advantage when you have to prepare the porridge with your baby in your arms.

Another special feature of these baby food steamers is that they are programmable so that the food is mixed directly into porridge after the cooking process. Of course, you can also process the cooked food without pureeing it.

A special feature of steam cookers for baby food is that they have an additional pureeing function.

The big disadvantage of a steamer for baby food is clearly that you cannot prepare large quantities of baby food. This means that if you like to cook food in advance, you will have to do this in several runs.

Also, baby food steamers are often not the cheapest steamers on the market. Since many of these appliances come from renowned brands, the products are also correspondingly expensive.

If you want to buy a steamer especially for baby food, which may also have the additional function of pureeing integrated, you should expect a price of around 100 euros.

Diameter of upper rim / base

Whether the diameter of the upper rim or the base is a relevant purchase criterion depends on whether you want a mobile steamer or not.
When buying a mobile steamer and especially a steamer pot, you should definitely consider the above-mentioned diameters.

Basically, the wider your steamer, the more room it will have in your pot. The decisive factor for the size of your pot is clearly the number of people or the amount of food you want to prepare at the same time.

In the following table, we would like to give you an approximate idea of which diameter best suits your requirements.

Number of people diameter
up to 2 people 15 - 20 centimetres
3-4 people 20 - 25 centimetres
from 5 people 30 - 45 centimetres

It is also important to note that the diameter also depends on the height of the pot. With the steamer, in contrast to roasting, not everything has to be on the bottom of the pot. This means you can also stack the vegetables or fish loosely on top of each other to save on the diameter of the pot.

Installation height

If you want to buy a permanently installed steamer, you should now feel addressed. Because the installation height is one of the most important decision-making criteria when buying your steamer.

The installation height is the height you have available in your kitchen niche to install an appliance. You can easily measure the height, width and depth of the opening. If you are not sure, it is worth consulting an expert who can measure it for you on site.

Like any kitchen element, steamers from most suppliers are standardised and comply with Euro kitchen standards.

Listing all available sizes here is far beyond the scope of this article.

If you want a built-in steamer, it is definitely worth consulting a kitchen professional who can plan the installation optimally for you.

The recess dimensions for your desired steam cooker can be measured yourself or can be measured by a professional.

Decision: What types of steamers are there and which is the right one for you?

Buying a steamer is often a one-time thing. Therefore, it is even more important to find the right steamer for you. In our decision section, we will show you the different types of steamers and help you find the right steamer for your household.

To give you a brief overview, we will first show you the advantages and disadvantages of the different steamers. Later in this section, we will explain the different types in more detail.

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Stove-top steamer Mobile, easy to store, inexpensive, fits on any cooker Requires storage space, must be washed after each use, tedious with frequent use
Electric steamer Can be stored away, inexpensive, large selection when buying Requires a lot of space, not visually attractive, requires additional energy
Built-in steamer Very practical for frequent use, often multifunctional Very expensive, can hardly be installed yourself, difficult to install in an existing kitchen
Combination steamer Several functions in one appliance, good value for money Possibly not all functions usable, complicated

As you saw in our comparison above, each steamer has its advantages and disadvantages. To make your decision a little easier, we will present the individual types in detail in the next section.

Dampfgarer Herdplatte

Stovetop steamer

Steamers for stovetops are very practical if you only want to prepare certain things in your steamer. Steam cooker pots are often normal cooking pots with special inserts. This means that you have a normal cooking pot and use a special cooking sieve for steam cooking in order to cook your food gently.

Dampfgarer elektrisch

Electric steamer

These tower-like appliances usually have several levels. They allow you to cook different foods at the same time without transferring the taste of the other food.

A special feature of the steamer is that several foods can be cooked at the same time without transferring the taste.

Electric steamers are suitable, as mentioned earlier in this article, especially if you need to use your steamers from time to time but do not have the money or space to buy a built-in steamer.

Einbau Dampfgarer

Built-in steamer

If you are thinking about buying a new kitchen or remodelling your existing kitchen, you may well consider getting a steamer.

Dampfgarer Kombigerät

Combi steamer

A steam cooker combi appliance is any appliance that has other functions in addition to the usual steam cooking functions.

With some appliances, these functions include pureeing, while with others they include oven or microwave functions.
When buying such a combination appliance, we recommend that you pay close attention to the reviews. Often, additional functions are not as powerful as expected or do not produce the same result as an appliance that only has this function.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about steam cookers answered in detail

What is a steamer?

A steamer is an appliance or cooking pot that allows you to cook food in a gentle way.

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Steamers cook food without losing important nutrients. This is unique compared to other methods of cooking.
(Image source: Cooker King on Unsplash)

By the term gentle cooking, it means cooking food without losing important vitamins and nutrients. The preservation of these important nutrients is made possible by slow cooking with low heat.

How does a steamer work?

Steaming is a chemical process that allows food to be cooked using hot water vapour. Unlike cooking in boiling water, steam cooking is gentler as the process is slower and uses less heat.

Who is a steam cooker suitable for?

A steamer is suitable for anyone who likes to prepare healthy and delicious food. A steamer is also ideal for preparing baby food.

Vegetable, fish and meat dishes in particular can be prepared well in your steamer.

What is the difference between a steamer and a steamer?

In principle, a steamer and a steamer are the same thing. However, mobile appliances are often referred to as steamers and built-in appliances as steamers.

In the end, however, steamer is just the English word for steam cooker and can therefore be used for both.

What size steamer should I buy?

The size of your steamer depends on how many portions you want to prepare at once.

A little further on in this article you will find a table to help you decide on the size of your steamer.

How much does a steamer cost?

It is not easy to give a definitive price for a steamer. Prices vary greatly depending on the type of steamer. Simple electric steamers and steamer pots are available for as little as 25 euros. But if you want a high-quality built-in steamer, the price ranges from 300 to 1000 euros.

As a rule of thumb, the higher the price, the more functions the steamer offers. Possible additional functions include features like a timer, multi-functions like pureeing or plate warming functions.

What are the alternatives to a steamer?

Basically, any other heating method or cooking method is an alternative to a steamer. It all depends on the type of food and how you want the end product to taste and look.

If we take vegetables as an example, they can be boiled in water, sautéed or even microwaved as an alternative. It is exactly the same with other foods.

How do I clean and descale a steamer?

Built-in steamers often have a cleaning function built in and you can follow the instructions on the appliance itself. Usually, a powder is emptied into a cleaning compartment and the cleaning process is started automatically.

Electric, mobile steamers can often be cleaned with a wet sponge and some washing-up liquid. Running a cooking process without food also helps to clean and disinfect your steamer. This is because the heat of the steam kills existing bacteria.

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Steam cookers are very easy to clean. Electric steamers should be decalcified in regular intervals. Otherwise, cleaning with washing-up liquid and water is sufficient.
(Image source: Scott Umstattd on Unsplash)

A pressure cooker is even easier to clean, because you can clean it like a normal cooker with washing-up liquid and a sponge after each use.
Whether your pressure cooker is dishwasher safe depends on your product and should be read in the instructions.

What water do I need for a steamer?

Basically, you can use conventional water from the tap for your pressure cooker. This means the same water that you would use for your coffee machine or kettle.

However, if you have particularly calcified water, you should perhaps prefer decalcified water or decalcify your steamer regularly to avoid premature damage from limescale residues.

What foods are suitable for the steamer?

You can actually prepare almost anything in your steamer. From vegetables, meat and fish to pasta or rice. In principle, any food can be prepared in a steamer. However, some recipes only get their intense flavour through, for example, hot frying or baking in oil.

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Vegetables are ideal for preparation in your steamer. Potatoes, carrots and all types of cabbage are particularly suitable.
(Image source: Markus Spiske on Unsplash)

In the table below, we would like to show you which foods are particularly suitable for preparation in your steamer.

Food type examples
Vegetables artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes, courgettes, asparagus, beans, sugar snap peas, spinach, chard and beetroot
Meat Pork, veal and poultry
Fitted fish turbot, halibut, cod, haddock, redfish, golden perch, trout, zander, salmon, char or pike
Cereals/rice rice, millet, pasta, couscous or quinoa

Which dishes are suitable for the steamer?

All dishes that are heat and steam resistant are suitable for use in the steamer. However, silicone moulds and rusty dishes should not be used in the steamer.

Pay particular attention to the grate. The smallest rust spots on your dishes can cause corrosion in your steamer and damage it permanently.

Image source: Wathanasing/ 123rf.com

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