Which steamer baskets are best?
Trying to eat healthy meals when you’re running from one activity to the next is challenging. However, one kitchen gadget that’s up to the task is a steamer basket. This versatile kitchen must-have can prepare vegetables, potatoes, fish and more. Plus, steaming your food is one of the healthiest preparation methods.
There are a variety of steamer baskets to suit every lifestyle. However, if you’re looking for a versatile silicone one that you can use with an Instant Pot or on the stovetop, Instant Pot Official Silicone Steamer Basket is an ideal choice.
What to know before you buy a steamer basket
How does a steamer basket cook food?
Steaming is a healthy method of cooking food for several reasons. First, it does not require additional oil and even allows extra fat from meat to cook off during the process. Steaming also keeps vegetables as close to their natural state as possible, preserving much-needed fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Steaming requires boiling water and a type of vessel to separate the food from the water. You can use a steamer basket or a dedicated steamer pot. Because the food is cooked by hot moisture and not by the water, your food will never come into direct contact with the water.
Types of steamer baskets
- Collapsible steamer basket. Collapsible steamer baskets are usually made of stainless steel, which is convenient because it heats up quickly. Collapsible steamer baskets fold in when not in use, so they don’t take up much storage space. Another benefit is that it can fit several different-sized pots and pans. One of the downsides of a stainless steel collapsible steamer basket is that it can scratch pans.
- Silicone. Silicone steamer baskets are incredibly versatile. They are mainly used in pressure cookers but can also be used with stovetop pots. Because these baskets are made of a flexible material, they can fit inside pots and pans of all sizes.
- Bamboo. Bamboo steamers are used for a variety of different foods like dumplings, vegetables and fish. While they don’t heat up as fast, they cook evenly. One benefit of bamboo steamers is that they often come with several tiers so that you can cook a whole meal at once.
What to look for in a quality steamer basket
A steamer basket needs to fit inside of a pot, so finding the right size is essential. If you want to use it in several different pots, both expandable stainless steel steamer baskets and silicone steamer baskets can fit a variety of pots and pans. If there is a specific pot you always plan to use for steaming, just make sure the dimensions will fit.
A steamer basket gets extremely hot while inside the pot. This makes it challenging to take the steamer basket out of the pot. Handles on the side of a steamer basket will make it much easier to remove the basket and place it into the pot. Some even have a middle handle for easy lifting.
Many steamer baskets have little feet to sit on the bottom of the pot and keep the food out of the water. It’s a good idea to pay attention to the material of the feet as well as the height. If the feet aren’t high enough, you won’t be able to fit enough water into the bottom of the pot without touching the food. When it comes to the material, stainless steel feet can scratch up pots, which is why many steamer baskets have switched to silicone feet.
How much you can expect to spend on a steamer basket
Steamer baskets vary in price depending on size and material, but you can expect to spend between $10-$30 on a steamer basket.
Steamer basket FAQ
What foods can I cook in a steamer basket?
A. A steamer basket is versatile and can be used to cook a variety of foods, including vegetables, dumplings, seafood, potatoes and even some meat. If you’re unsure, try to look up a recipe before steaming.
Is my steamer basket dishwasher-safe?
A. The majority of steamer baskets are dishwasher safe, but it depends mainly on the material. For example, bamboo steamers are not dishwasher safe. It’s essential to consult the manufacturer’s guide before putting your steamer basket in the dishwasher.
What are the best steamer baskets to buy?
Top steamer basket
What you need to know: While it was designed to be used in an Instant Pot, this versatile steamer basket can fit a variety of stovetop pots.
What you’ll love: This steamer basket can fit a 6- or 8-quart Instant Pot, as well as several stovetop pots and pans. The handles are made to interlock, so they easily fit under a lid while cooking or roll up and lock when not in use.
What you should consider: Because it’s made of flexible silicone material, it can be difficult to get your steamer basket out of a tall pan without dropping food.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top steamer basket for the money
What you need to know: With a stainless steel basket and silicone feet and handle, this steamer basket is an upgrade to the classic steamer basket that won’t scratch your pots.
What you’ll love: Since it’s expandable and collapsible, this steamer basket fits a plethora of pots, pans and pressure cookers. It also folds down when not in use and won’t take up a lot of storage space.
What you should consider: The silicone handle gets really hot and can even melt if not used correctly.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: With several stackable layers, this bamboo steamer can fit a lot of vegetables, dumplings or seafood.
What you’ll love: Unlike most steamers, bamboo absorbs extra moisture and condensation instead of allowing it to drip on the food. This steamer basket also comes with 10 liners and a sauce dish.
What you should consider: It’s not dishwasher safe and requires hand-washing with soap and vinegar.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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