Electric steamer-worth purchasing?

Any opinions on them?

the bamboo steamers I have used are too shallow and I don’t want to cut parchment anymore :slight_smile:

I mostly want to steam bread and stuffed bao, sometimes vegetables and maybe fish once in a while and am looking for the easiest route


I have used these electric steamer when I was young, so my experience is limited. Most of the electric steamers have some advantages, but also some disadvantages. The disadvantages I know are:

  1. they are usually more difficult to clean than insert steamers, especially the heating element.
  2. they are usually not very powerful.

For example, this Hamilton Beach is 650 Watts max.

This Oster is 400 Watts.

This Euro one is much better. It draws in 1200 Watts.

Even then, a typical large heating element from an electric coil stove can top around 2500-3000 watts.

Just something to think about.

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I have a 2 tier 900w (at 220v) Tfal. It gets used for vegetables when we are more than about 8 people, which is around once a month. I wouldn’t be without it.

I’ve never cooked fish in it, and I’d be a bit worried about residual fishy smells permeating the plastic.

It frees up a couple of stove-top spaces, and we can run it in our utility room if the kitchen’s a busy place. We also often lend it to friends and family.

However it does take up a bit of real estate, both in use and in storage, and there are a number of large items to clean (the pots are ok in the dishwasher). Have a trial run with what you intend to cook to make your own assessment of timings, but you’ll only need to do that a couple of times before you get the hang of it.

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I can’t speak to an electric steamer but if you’re looking for easy I would suggest a metal steaming insert. It can be used in a dutch oven or stock pot. Either a collapsible one or something like this:


My rice cooker has a steamer insert but it’s not as deep as my largest bamboo steamer.

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Thanks! that might be just the ticket because it can fit in a large pot but the legs seem short, wouldn’t you need it higher for longer cooking times? Will look around for one that has higher feet

thank you re: the electric cookers everyone, I think that is probably not going to work for me

i am old-school and have no room for any more gadgets. i use this:

it fits in a small or large pot. in my 8-qt stockpot i can easily steam 5 pounds of potatoes with this.


We have the Cuisinart convection/toaster oven and steamer combo, and make regular use of it. Its the size of a toaster oven, and has all the functionality of a toaster oven plus steamer when desired.

We use it for steaming whole fish, chicken wings, etc… Works very well to freshen up day old or put new life into frozen bread. Suppose to be good for baking bread, as it will keep the dough moist when baking.

For ~$300, worth considering.


I’ve used my bamboo steamers just a couple of times. I have a large enameled steel stovetop one from an Asian market that I’ve use much less often than I thought I would, mostly because I bought it for stuff like whole fish and chickens, and then Mrs. O gave up meat. The one I use most is an aluminum stovetop of roughly 8 1/2" diameter and 6" deep that I got as a present over 30 years ago. I mostly just put stuff into the top part with nothing underneath, though I’ve found that parchment makes those frozen dumplings steam more evenly and the pan clean more easily. Cutting circles was a PITA until I remembered the old folding trick … I lay the circle out on a big hot pad and stab the holes in it with a cooking fork.

I have no real interest (in common I see with a lot of you) in getting one more damn thing that needs to be plugged in, especially when Old Clanky does just fine. I’ve developed several things to do with cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts that this is a big part of, it’s essential for those dumplings and frozen tamales, and all it needs is about an inch or so of water, which then goes back into the plant-watering pitcher.

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I was just today, while collecting water in the sink to flush the toilet, thinking of you :slight_smile: Best, Cath

I don’t know where you live, but if there is an Asian-focused restaurant supply store in your town, they probably have pre-cut perforated paper circles for steamer baskets. Dim sum places don’t cut their own!

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold