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7 Best Vegetable Steamers for Nutrient-Rich, Plant-Based Meals

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While there are many options when it comes to cooking vegetables, there’s only one way which will preserve all the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins and that is steaming.

Steaming veggies is a gentler, cleaner process and it will help maintain their shape, texture, and flavor better than frying and boiling will.

Given vegetables are one of the most important parts of a plant-based diet, it’s essential to own the best tools for cooking vegetable-forward dishes.

Here we’ve rounded up the best vegetable steamers to get you on the right foot toward a healthy, plant-based lifestyle.

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Quick List of Top Picks

Benefits to Steaming Vegetables

No doubt vegetables are super healthy for us, but when we cook veggies it helps increase the amount of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamins available to our bodies.

Boiling vegetables causes most veggies to lose essential vitamins and minerals into the water due to their water-soluble nature.

Examples of particularly vulnerable vitamins and minerals lost when boiling are vitamins C and B, folate, thiamine, and polyphenols (as found in kale, spinach and broccoli).

Steaming is by far the best cooking method to gain the most from vegetables.

This process helps break down the plant cell walls and thereby assists our digestive system in absorbing the most nutrients.

In other words, you will gain more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, iron and protein from eating steamed vegetables versus eating them raw or boiled.

For instance, eating steamed spinach or carrots leads to higher levels of beta carotene in the blood which converts to vitamin A.

The Low-Down on Vegetable Steamers

In general, you’ll find a few different kinds of steamers on the market, and those include steamer baskets and electric steamers.

The baskets are basically accessories you add to pots and steam veggies using a little water in the bottom of the pot.

There are basic steamers which usually have petals or ‘wings’ which fold out or in, and are typically made of stainless steel.

Then there are silicone baskets or slings made to use in pressure cookers, but you can also put them in pots.

Electric steamers include a basin for water and often allow for more than one food item to be cooked simultaneously or for large batches.  If you steam lots of veggies often, electric steamers are usually the best option.

Some helpful tips to keep in mind when steaming veggies – remember different kinds of produce require longer or shorter cook times.

Also, cutting veggies uniformly will enable even cooking while steaming, and try to arrange them in a single layer within the steamer.

If you want to spruce up blander tasting foods, try adding something like leeks, tea, onions, or herbs to the water.

It’s also important to not use too much water when using a basket steamer since it could end up boiling your veggies; this would be counterproductive to retaining the essential nutrients.

Things to Look for That Differentiate These Products

Each steamer in our roundup is unique and offers different features which are designed to suit your needs.

While they all steam veggies and other items such as grains, there are a few differences to note.

The more traditional steamers are made with stainless steel and are collapsible to fit inside various pots.

There are a couple silicone steamer baskets which are compatible with pressure cookers or stovetop pots.

If you are looking for a stand-alone steamer, check out the electric steamers we have here which hold water and have a self-contained steam system (there is a translucent plastic or glass model).

Multi-tasking is also possible with a few steamers which offer tiers stacked over one another so you can cook more than one food item at a time.

Also, check out the all-in-one set which includes a large pot, steamer basket and tight-fitting lid.

The most unique of our steamers is the handmade bamboo model with slats to circulate the steam throughout the 2-tiers.

7 Top Picks for Vegetable Steamers

Whether you are looking for a self-contained vegetable steamer, or one compatible with pots or an instant pot, we have one here for you to check out!

Classic Cuisine Vegetable Steamer Rice Cooker

Vegetable Steamer Rice Cooker- 6.3 Quart Electric Steam Appliance with Timer for Healthy Fish, Eggs, Vegetables, Rice, Baby Food by Classic Cuisine

Steam 2 foods at once with Classic Cuisine’s vegetable and rice steamer! I like the versatility this steamer offers, and since it is clear, you can monitor the food while it’s cooking.

There is a convenient, built-in timer and water gauge which puts you in control and ensures the water level is consistently the correct amount.

Stacked on top of one another, the layers include the strategically designed rice bowl, the upper and lower steam trays, and the drip tray.

This is an electric steamer; so it is all self-contained without a need for boiling water or any pots and pans.

There is a tray built-in to hold eggs, which is of no use on a plant-based diet; so I think this is perhaps one unneeded feature on this steamer.

Dishwasher-safe and holding up to 6.4 quarts, the steamer’s dimensions are 1” (L) x 12.25″ (H) x 7″ (W). The base is 4.5” and the bottom and top steamer trays are 3.5.”

What We Like

  • Stackable trays and versatility
  • Water gauge, built-in timer and it’s see-through
  • Easy to use with helpful instructions

What We Don’t Like

  • Slightly difficult to stack together
  • Plastic is thin and could be better quality
  • Uses a lot of water
  • May be prone to leakage

OXO Good Grips Silicone Steamer

OXO Good Grips Silicone Steamer, Green

From OXO, this silicone steamer is ideal for pressure cookers and can be used elsewhere such as in pots on the stove or even in the microwave.

The basket is designed with high walls to hold all your veggies securely while steaming and will keep them from falling into the water.

Also, the silicone feet stabilize the steamer over water and won’t scratch your pots!

The pleats allow the steamer to flex to accommodate pots or pressure cookers which are 7” in diameter or greater.

The flexible handles stay cool for easy removal after steaming, and they also fold and lock in place making way for a pot lid.

This steamer is all one piece! It is dishwasher safe and easy to store since it will roll up and the handles hook onto the feet.

Fun fact – silicone is not plastic and therefore is BPA-free and much safer. It is also heat resistant hence the cool touch handles.

What We Like

  • Versatile
  • Easy to store and clean
  • Great for pressure cookers
  • Cool-touch handles
  • Large capacity

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t fit certain pots or utilize the whole space
  • Handles may be cumbersome to fold and lock together
  • May seem flimsy or awkward given it is silicone

Mister Kitchenware 10 Inch Handmade Bamboo Steamer

Mister Kitchenware 10 Inch Handmade Bamboo Steamer, 2 Tier Baskets, Healthy Cooking for Vegetables, Dim Sum Dumplings, Buns, Chicken Fish & Meat Included Chopsticks, 10 Liners & Sauce Dish

Allowing you to steam multiple food items at once using the 2-tier construction, the bamboo steamer by Mister Kitchenware is really unique and also handmade!

Bamboo naturally absorbs condensation and prevents it from dripping onto the food, while the circular shape and slatted bamboo bottom of each layer allows for steaming of different foods at the same time.

The domed lid helps the steam circulate evenly throughout the layers making this a very efficient process and it won’t leave you with soggy veggies.

Each tier is 10 inches in diameter (9.25 inch internal diameter) and 2.4 inches deep.

Since bamboo is not dishwasher-safe, it is recommended you clean the steamer with vinegar – you’ll need a half cup of vinegar to a gallon of hot water and a cloth. The liners are also reusable after cleaning.

Mister Kitchenware offers a 60-day money back guarantee if you aren’t fully satisfied, but the company is pretty confident you will be.

What We Like

  • Handmade bamboo and slats for circulation of steam
  • Multi-food capacity
  • Bamboo doesn’t compromise flavor of veggies
  • Reusable liners
  • Good price point

What We Don’t Like

  • Bamboo may lend itself to possible breakage/splintering and mold growth

QuickerNest Instant Pot Silicone Steamer Basket

Instant Pot Silicone Steamer Basket or Sling - Non-Scratch IP Insert Fits in Ninja Foodi Pressure Cookers and Cooking Pots - Accessory for Instant Pot 6 Quart

If you are looking for a compatible steamer to use as a sling for your instant pot, this is a great one to check out! The QuickerNest Instant Pot Silicone Steamer Basket uses FDA-approved silicone which sustains heat and will not break.

Unlike stainless steel or plastics, you need not worry about harmful chemicals leaching into your food.

I like the large capacity of the basket which utilizes the most space in the instant pot or regular stovetop pot, the high walls hold food, and the sturdy legs keep it from causing any potential damage.

The many holes throughout the steamer allow for the steam to circulate within the pressure cooker, and the cool touch handles lock together.

As mentioned, this is great for instant pots which are 6 and 8 quart size or other pressure cooker brands or rice cookers.

This steamer is dishwasher safe and it folds flat for easy storage!

What We Like

  • Silicone doesn’t damage pots and sustains heat
  • Easy storage and cleaning
  • Great to use as a pressure cooker sling
  • Grains and beans will hold and not fall through the holes
  • Large capacity

What We Don’t Like

  • Silicone tends to make this a little floppy
  • Since the material absorbs heat, cooking times may vary

Cuisinart STM-1000 Digital Glass Steamer

Cuisinart STM-1000 Digital Glass Steamer, One Size, Stainless Steel

If you are like me (and many other vegans) who cook the majority of your meals at home, handy self-contained kitchenware is something to get excited about.

If this is true for you as well, you may want to check out this Digital Glass Steamer by Cuisinart!

It delivers a powerful steam system moving the steam from top down and surrounding food all within a large 5 liter glass pot (which is also dishwasher safe)!

There is a LCD control panel which enables you to start, stop or pause cooking and there’s even a reheat button.

Also included is a 60-minute countdown timer and 5 preprogrammed settings. Granted you will not have any use for the poultry and seafood settings, it is nice to have vegetable and grain settings ready-to-go.

Not to worry if you are steaming other foods, there’s also a manual setting!

The 1 liter water tank is removable for easy filling and the stainless steel steaming tray flips to accommodate different kinds of food.

Overall, a great investment which will make cooking meals at home a whole lot easier, and it comes with a limited 3 year warranty.

What We Like

  • Great for veggies and steams efficiently
  • Made of glass and easy to clean
  • Large, 5 liter pot
  • Top-down steam system
  • Removable water reservoir

What We Don’t Like

  • Calcium buildup in steam tube may occur requiring descaling with vinegar
  • Loud beeping and may require restarting while cooking
  • Large size could cause a storage issue
  • Control knob and timer may be a little difficult to operate at times

Scandiware Collapsible Steamer Basket

Collapsible Steamer Basket - Fits Any Size Pot To Make Cooking Quick, Easy and Convenient - Vegetable Steaming Baskets Made From Dependable Stainless Steel That Cleans Easy and Lasts For Years

For those looking for a tried and true traditional steamer basket, this Scandiware Collapsible Steamer Basket is all you will need.

Since it is collapsible it will expand or shrink to fit many different pot sizes (from 5.3 to 9.3 inches), and the silicone-coated feet keep it steady in the pot without causing damage.

The sturdy “wings” made of stainless steel type 430 is 100% rust-proof and will hold food in place within the steamer.

Fully-assembled and ready right out of the box – all you have to do is place it in a pot over simmering water and pop the lid on!

Use a fork, tongs, or whatever will grab the center ring to safely pull the basket out of the pot after cooking is complete.

To clean, just insert the steamer in the dishwasher and storage is a snap since it collapses.

The company offers a lifetime guarantee and will send you a new one in the unlikely event it breaks.

What We Like

  • Collapsible; fits many different sized pots
  • High quality, rust-proof stainless steel
  • Fully assembled and ready to use
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Silicone-coated feet prevents damage to pots

What We Don’t Like

  • Feet are a little short and may lead to overcooked veggies
  • Post/ring isn’t rust-proof
  • Wings tend to break off over time and use
  • Small capacity

Cuisinart 77-35CG Chef’s Classic Stainless 3-Piece 3-Quart Steamer Set

Cuisinart 77-35CG Chef's Classic Stainless 3-Piece 3-Quart Steamer Set

This 3-piece, 3-Quart stainless steel steamer set is complete with everything you’ll need to steam veggies without needing to buy separate pots or find a steamer basket which fits the ones you own already.

The lid fits tightly to seal in the steam for effective cooking and the pot is even oven safe up to 500 degrees F (and freezer safe too!).

Encapsulated by stainless steel, the pure aluminum core distributes heat evenly without any hot spots.

This will hold a decent amount of veggies such as a full head or 2 of broccoli, about 2 bundles of asparagus, or even a couple medium-sized artichokes.

It looks professional-grade and is well-constructed with riveted stainless steel handles and side grips, tapered rim for easy pouring, and measurement markings.

This steamer set is dishwasher-safe and comes with Cuisinart’s lifetime warranty.

What We Like

  • Complete 3-piece set
  • Tight-fitting lid and stainless steel for even heat distribution
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Oven-safe
  • Large, 3-Quart capacity

What We Don’t Like

  • Possible discoloration after some use

Top Choice for the Best Vegetable Steamer

OXO Good Grips Silicone Steamer, Green

All of the vegetable steamers in our roundup are, well, the best! So as you can imagine it’s hard to pick a top choice among them.

Depending on your needs, and usual cooking methods, one steamer may have more use to you than another.

For instance, if you cook most of your dinners and/or have a large family, the electric steamers are probably a great choice.

If you typically only need to steam veggies for side dishes then perhaps the small, collapsible stainless steel steamer is the way to go.

However, overall for its versatility, construction, and usefulness we choose the OXO Good Grips Silicone Steamer!

The silicone, cool-touch handles allow for safe transport of your veggies, and the deep basket will hold everything in.

I really like how this can be used in a pressure cooker, on the stove or even the microwave, the side panels help it adjust to the pot size, and it easily folds up for storage.

The price is affordable and the material is non-toxic and has longevity without risking damage to pots.

Overall, a great little vegetable steamer basket and our #1 choice!

Meet

Katie Hill

I'm a vegan mom, and I love cooking new vegan recipes. Over the years of living a plant-based lifestyle, I've learned the benefits to our health and the environment. I enjoy hiking, skiing, and attending music events.

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