One way to keep from fats or oil in your diet is to steam your food. It also helps preserve flavors that can vanish when food is boiled. While you essentially need a piece of special equipment to steam food, you can make steaming easier by using the small food steamer.
I spent more than 20 hours researching for different types of food steamers and discovered that cooking capacity, controls, and steamer baskets were very important. If you’re planning to buy a new food steamer, then you’re fortunate because I’ll make it easier for you by reviewing five of the best brands on the market today. Now, let’s get started.
Top 5 Best Small Food Steamer Reviewed
1. Editor’s Pick – The Best Product:Oster 5712 Electronic 2-Tier 6.1-Quart Food Steamer
The Oster 5712 Electronic Food Steamer is the best product because it has the best features in the marketplace. This 2-tiered food steamer has a capacity of 6.1 quarts, which is enough to prepare a whole meal for your family.
I prefer this model because it has a lot of convenient control functions, such as delay cooking time up to 12 hours, auto keep-warm function, instant steam-function, and 95-minute digital timer with LCD display.
You can monitor the water level by looking at its external water-fill system with a transparent reservoir. The steaming trays are collapsible so you can store them easily in your counter cabinet. Also, it includes other essential accessories including two steaming bowls <3.8-quart and 2.3-quart> and 8 egg holders.
- Has six pre-programmed settings
- Made of rigid plastic and great features
- Convenient to use and clean
- Very accurate with its digital timer
- Generates powerful steam quickly with its 900-watt steaming design
- Built with a clear water-level indicator
- Made with a secure grip side handles and secure-fitting lids
- It would have been perfect if it has an audible timer to signify the end of cooking
Doesn’t allow you to set the timer less than 5 minutes
- Some water may get stuck in the reservoir
2. Aicok Food Steamer BPA-Free Healthy Steamer 9.5 Quart 3-Tier Electric Steamer
The Aicok Food Steamer is the second-best product because it also got some nice features to boot. This 3-tier electric steamer has a large 9.5-quart capacity and a powerful 800W steaming design.
You can bet that it’s safe because the plastic baskets are BPA-free, meaning that the baskets don’t leach any chemical substance into your food. This food steamer features a timer that you can set up to 60 minutes and an audible shut-off feature to indicate the end of cooking or no water in the base reservoir.
It’s also built with a water level window and a 2-year warranty. You’ll have no trouble in cleaning because the stackable baskets can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
- Has the largest capacity
- Heats up quickly and cooks evenly
- Made of sturdy BPA-free steamer baskets
- Built with a water level window to monitor the water level
- Offers a 2-year warranty
- Has a timer with an audible shut-off feature
- Easy to use and clean
- It would have been nicer if the timer is digital not clockwork
- The instruction manual lacks information
- The unit base is small
3. Budget Pick – The Best Product With Limited Budget: Oster CKSTSTMD5-W 5-Quart Food Steamer
The Oster CKSTSTMD5-W Food Steamer is a great option for those with a small budget. With its 5-quart capacity, this unit can make small dishes from fish to light vegetables.
Just like any other expensive models, the CKSTSTMD-5 is built with nice features, such as a 60-minute timer, auto-shutoff, and power indicator light. The unit automatically shuts off when the cooking cycle ends and when water is gone in the reservoir.
The power indicator light offers you a visual reference to know when the unit is on. The steaming bowls are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning and they nest for easy storage.
- Made of dishwasher-safe parts for easy cleanup
- Convenient to use
- Built a 60-minute timer with auto shut off
- Small and compact for easy storage
- Very affordable
- The power is a bit erratic
- The water sometimes overload the food so the bottom tier is unusable
4. Upgrade Pick – The Highest Quality Product With High Price: T-fal VC1338 Balanced Living Compact 2-Tier Electric Food Steamer, 4-Quart
The T-fal VC1338 Food Steamer is a great upgrade for those who want advanced control functions. This 2-tier food steamer is very easy to use with its six preprogrammed settings including fish, chicken, and eggs. It comes with digital controls with a 60-minute timer for accuracy.
One of the steaming bowls has a removable base plate to cook large food items, like chicken. I really love that you can watch the level from the outside. The trays are small but the unit is compact for easy storage.
- Built with great advanced features
- Compact and easy to store
- The water levels are easy to monitor outside
- One of the trays has six little egg holders
- Includes a water runoff tray to make stock
- Works quietly without any mess
- Very small
- A bit overpriced
5. Niche Pick – The Best Food Steamer For Durability: Cuisinart STM-1000 CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer, Stainless Steel
If you like a solid food steamer, then try the Cuisinart STM-1000 which is made of stainless steel steaming tray and a glass lid. The glass pot is dishwasher-safe so you don’t have to worry about a messy cleanup. This steamer features an LCD control panel for great convenience and a 60-minute countdown timer.
I really like that you can start and stop the unit anytime. It has five preprogrammed food settings which include grains, vegetables, and seafood. There’s also a reheat button for a quick steaming process.
- Has a very solid construction
- Built with convenient digital control functions
- Made with a powerful steam system
- Easy to clean
- The handles of the metal plate are heat-proof
- A bit heavy
- Vulnerable to breakage
- May contain harmful chemicals
Best Small Food Steamer Buying Guide
Selecting the best small food steamer could be quite overwhelming, especially if you’re new to this equipment. The truth of the matter is, there are hundreds of different brands and models available on the market.
If you don’t understand food steaming and are unmindful of what features to look, then you’ll probably make a bad buying choice.
In this buying guide, I’m going to cover all you need to know about food steamers and how to choose the best one that fits your needs.
Types Of Food Steamer
Best food steamer/ Electric Steamers
Our food steamer reviews focus mainly on electric steamers because they have the best features and the easiest function. An electric food steamer is created to steam food in a free-standing machine. Some models have many compartments while others have built-in timers for accuracy.
Watch how to use a food steamer in this video:
Aside from electric steamers, do you know that there other types of food steamers in the marketplace? Let’s check them out.
* Steamer Baskets
This type of steamer basket is either collapsible or not. The collapsible steamer baskets are designed to fit into different sizes of pots and they collapse to save storage space. The non-collapsible steamer baskets are made to fit inside or over a dedicated pot.
* Bamboo Steamers Or Chinese Steamers
This type is made exclusively for Asian cuisines. Over time, they can give a unique feature to the foods they cook.
* Microwave Steamers
This type of food steamer is made of steamed food inside a microwave. They’re an affordable option for those who want to create the occasional steamed side dish.
Advantages of Small Food Steamer
The main selling point of food steamers is to cook more healthily. Not only that, but you can also expect the following advantages:
Retains Nutrients: Steaming food keeps most of the nutrients in food, such as vitamin B1, vitamin C, and other water-soluble vitamins.
Versatility: Aside from vegetables, you can also use a food steamer to cook chicken, rice, pasta, fruits, and even hard-boiled eggs.
Keeps Texture: Unlike boiling when the texture of vegetables and fruits is lost, steaming can keep their unique texture.
Easy To Flavor: You can add flavor to your food by putting spices in the water.
What To Look For Buying The Best Small Food Steamer
* Cooking Capacity
Food steamers come in various cooking capacity- from small 1-quart steamers to huge 10-quart or larger electric steamers.
In buying the best small food steamer that fits your needs, choose a cooking capacity that can accommodate the volume of food you’re frequently steaming. If you only plan to steam some occasional side dishes, you can look for those tiny, space-saving food steamers.
However, if you intend to prepare some whole meals for your family, look for models that have at least 5 quarts in capacity. Consider buying at least an 8-quart food steamer if you have a larger household or if you want to steam food for events.
* Steamer Baskets
Most steamers feature three stackable baskets that have holes at the bottom to let the steam go through. The steam baskets can either be of equal or variable size.
Equal-size baskets can be rearranged to vary the temperature intensity while the variable ones are more compact to store. Some better models have removable bases to make a taller steaming compartment for cooking larger food items.
This creates more cooking flexibility and ease of cleaning. The material of steamer baskets is also important. Look for heavy-duty plastics, glass, stainless steel, or other durable materials.
* Construction Material
Avoid buying a food steamer that’s built with very flimsy plastic materials. You want food steam that’s made of durable materials to withstand heavy use.
The exterior part should be made of sturdy materials, like rigid plastic, ceramics, and stainless steel. Make sure that the handles and controls are attached securely.
* Control Functions
The best food steamer should have a lot of convenient control functions, such as keep warm function and digital timers. Most food steamers have a clockwork timer to set the steaming time.
I found that clockwork timers are sometimes inaccurate. For more accuracy, look for digital timers. Some of these expensive steamers even have a delay function which allows you to set them working at a specific time.
A keep-warm function to keep the food warm for a couple of hours. You need to program this feature during cooking, though, and make that you top the water level to work. Other control functions that you should look at are safety shutoffs, adjustable heat settings, and pre-programmed buttons.
* Water Levels
Look for visible water gauge and water inlets for convenience. With an external water gauge, you can easily tell how much water is left in the steamer chamber. This can help you prevent the steamer to boil dry.
An external water inlet allows you to put more water into the water chamber without taking the baskets off. This feature minimizes the risk of getting scalded.
Products that are made of quality materials can fail on occasion and be defective when you buy it. That’s what it’s always a better idea to check for warranties.
A warranty will allow you to return a defective unit for replacement or refund. The longer the warranty, the longer your peace of mind when buying a food steamer.
When taking the buyer’s guide into consideration, the best small food steamer is Oster 5712 Electronic Food Steamer.
It’s built with great features that we’re looking for including a timer, keep warm setting, and an external water-fill system. Just like any other expensive models, the Oster 5712 has delay cooking time function and pre-programmed settings.
If you’ve tried buying a food steamer, let us know how it went in the comment section. You can also share this article with your friends and family if you like.