Our test winner is the Tefal Food Steamer Ultra Compact: The appliance is high-quality in processing, easy to clean and ensures a delicious cooking experience. Our favourite with the test mark 8.9/10!
We have tested 6 steam cookers and paid special attention to handling and cooking results.
With a steam cooker, you can prepare whole menus healthily, gently and without additional fat. The preparation with steam, which originates from the Asian region, largely preserves the vitamins, minerals, and taste of the cooked food.
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The Rommelsbacher Food Steamer DGS 855 stands out from the other steam cookers in the test primarily due to its innovative display, which offers you an exact setting of the cooking time and numerous programs. The aroma distributor attachment and the heat retention function are two of the noteworthy features that only the Rommelsbacher steam cooker has in the test. Even cooking larger foods is no problem with this model thanks to the removable shelves. The only criticism in the test is that the cooking containers cannot be put into the dishwasher for cleaning. In addition, you should not rely on the cooking times according to the operating instructions.
TheFood Steamer 14209 from Medion scores with its simple operation and convenient cleaning in the dishwasher. It stands out from other models due to its strikingly large cooking containers. The water tank is also larger than most other steam cookers tested. If you often have to prepare a large amount of food, this model is a good choice.
TheElectric Steamer from Aicok is primarily characterized by its digital timer, thanks to which you can set the time quite accurately. Also, cleaning is very easy. But you have to plan in this for researching the cooking times because these are not listed in the instructions for use.
The Food Steamer Cook@home by Russell Hobbs with a separate rice bowl and three steam cooking containers convinces with its innovative operation and time-saving cleaning. However, the cooking times shown in the instructions do not always correspond to practical use.
The Fitfoodie Electric Food Steamer by Aigostar scores with its innovative operation and convenient cleaning. On the other hand, the cooking times are unfortunately unreliable. The instructions for use are also difficult to understand.
Caution, hot! Protect yourself with gloves or oven mitts.
Cut food into pieces of the same size, then they will cook at the same time.
Also, cook your food with other liquids such as wine or vegetable broth.
For solid foods such as rice and pasta, use a closed cooking basket without holes and pour some water into the container. The ingredients are cooked by the steam.
Sauces and other liquid dishes can also be prepared in the closed cooking basket.
In the run-up to the test, we defined practical requirements and the following test criteria:
In order to be able to evaluate these criteria, we have defined several tests for the steam cookers. In these, all appliances must cook vegetables, meat, and rice. The steam cookers are prepared according to the instructions for use and the volume of the water tanks is checked. The enclosed accessories are also checked before the first run. As soon as the first foodstuffs are cooked, the handling, user-friendliness, and safety of the appliances are assessed. Since many appliances have an enclosed cooking chart, the information contained therein is compared with the actual cooking results. The finished dishes are then tried by several test persons in order to maintain objectivity. Finally, the cleaning of the appliances is assessed.
In order to rule out errors and to ensure the stress of everyday use, each test takes place in several rounds.
The test criteria are given percentages depending on their importance. The final score is then objectively calculated from the test criteria using an algorithm.
Our product selection is based on an observation of the current market. In addition to popular branded products, we also include insider tips in our selection. Criteria such as price and range of functions are an important factor for us. The test field is also determined by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest).
The devices are purchased anonymously or lent to us by the manufacturer. Dealers and manufacturers have no influence on the tests and our evaluation.
As soon as new relevant products come onto the market, our test field is extended by these. The new products go through the same test as the already tested devices.
Steamer - the special and healthy way of preparing food
For over 1,000 years, people in Asia have started to prepare food indirectly in steam and not in water. The steam cookers that were used at that time were certainly very similar to the small double-walled bamboo baskets that are still used in Asia today.
This principle has become particularly popular in Japan, China and India. Even today, many dishes, such as steamed dumplings (dim sum) or filled steamed rolls, are prepared here in a cooker of this kind.
In Western Europe and America, the principle of steam cooking did not become established until the 1980s. Of course, these steamers have changed since then, but the principle of steam cooking has remained the same.
Steam cookers have been known in Asia for a long time, but have only been used in Europe since the 1980s.
Since the food in a steam cooker can neither dry out nor become cold and since a relatively large amount of food remains fresh in the appliance, the professional catering trade first became interested in these appliances.
They have only been found in private households for about 20 years. Although they are still regarded today as a rather exotic kitchen appliance, they should not be missing in the kitchens to ensure a healthy and very tasty diet. Further information on the steam cooker can be found in the following guide.
A steam cooker is a kitchen appliance that uses steam to cook raw food evenly without overflowing or burning.
Caution, hot! Protect yourself with gloves or oven mitts.
This positive aspect allows the steam cooker not to be constantly supervised. Since the steam inserts are stacked on top of each other, it is possible to prepare several dishes at the same time. This saves time and energy.
This gentle cooking principle not only keeps the food juicy, but it also intensively develops its own taste. This means that they only need a little seasoning or no seasoning at all. In addition, not only the valuable vitamins, nutrients and colour are retained, the vegetables also retain their bite. The addition of fat is not necessary during steam cooking.
All this stands for a healthy diet. The steam cooker is therefore ideal for the catering trade and for private individuals who attach great importance to a healthy lifestyle. But a steam cooker is also suitable for people who are very busy at work, who usually have little time to cook, or for those who do not like to stand at the stove for long periods of time. Once you've tried it, you won't want to do it without it anymore.
With a steam cooker, gentle preparation of the food is possible, because the cooking of the food is done with steam.
These kitchen appliances are offered on the market as steam cookers for the stove and as electric steam cookers. As already mentioned, in a steam cooker the food is cooked in steam without adding fat or oil. With this cooking method, the minerals, trace elements, and vitamins are largely retained as they are not washed out into the cooking water. The food is not only tastier but also healthier.
But before you can start cooking with a steam cooker, there are a few things you need to be aware of:
First, pour the maximum possible amount of water into the water container, the main component of the steam cooker. Most models are equipped with a water level indicator. However, there are also appliances that flash when the water level is too low or switch off when the water is completely lacking. Refilling during cooking is usually not a problem, as many steam cooker models have refill openings.
Tip: Green asparagus is ideal for steam cooking. Simply remove the outer leaves and steam for 45 - 60 minutes.
Once the water container is full, the food to be cooked must be placed in the individual cooking containers. It is even possible to prepare several dishes at the same time, as the steam cookers are usually equipped with several cooking inserts. Steam cookers are offered with three or two containers, but there are also models that have only one cooking option. Many manufacturers also offer a special application for cooking rice.
This is not perforated in the bottom. When using this insert, it is important to ensure that an appropriate amount of water is added to the rice and that the rice insert is placed in the upper cooking container. A holder for boiling eggs in the steam cooker is also often supplied.
The filled, perforated cooking containers are stacked over the water so that the container with the longest food to be cooked is at the bottom. The heat is highest at the bottom and lowest at the top. The cooking process can now be started. Some steam cookers in the higher price segment have integrated programs that automatically determine the cooking time.
But there are also steam cooking appliances available that allow you to change the cooking times individually. However, it can happen that water has to be refilled. This depends on the duration of the cooking process. Even the temperature of the different levels can be set flexibly in many steam cooking appliances. Once the cooking process has started, no further steps are required; the steam cooker does everything on its own.
First, the water is heated to boiling temperature so that it evaporates and the steam rises from bottom to top. During this process, small water droplets full of energy are formed, which rise upwards and penetrate through the small holes in the inserts into the cooking container. They surround the food and attach themselves to it so that the heat and moisture can penetrate deep into it and unfold their effect.
Due to the even, deep penetration of the water vapour into the food to be cooked, the plant cell structures swell strongly. This process enables the human body to absorb many vitamins, which are otherwise difficult to separate from the plant structures. The result is improved digestibility, for example of vegetables.
Once the cooking process is complete, many steam cookers emit an acoustic signal that the cooking process is complete. The cooking containers can now be removed from the appliance. It should be remembered that the containers are very hot and it is advisable to use potholders when removing them. After the food has been removed from the containers and placed on plates, it can be served.
All dishes prepared in a steam cooker are neither overcooked nor diluted and, since all flavours and nutrients are retained during the cooking process, they are tastier and healthier than conventionally prepared dishes.
Cooking appliances for steam cooking, which enable the gentle cooking of food, have their origin in Asia, but have also been known in Germany for a long time. Therefore, it is not surprising that the steam cookers are offered in different versions on the market. Here the customer can choose according to application and own preference.
Steam cooker for the stove - multifunctional in the kitchen
A steam cooker for the stove is a model that consists of a pot with a lid and a cooking insert. These cookers are usually suitable for all types of cookers. Their base construction ensures even heat distribution and long heat storage for efficiency during cooking. Some of these steam cookers are equipped with a thermometer for temperature control.
An advantage of these appliances is that they can be used in addition to steam cooking for various types of cooking, such as braising, roasting, cooking. They are also suitable for the oven. However, you should read the operating instructions beforehand and check whether the lids of these cookers may also be used in the oven.
Electric steam cookers - table steam cookers that are perfect for the kitchen
The electric steam cookers are in turn divided into three variants. These are steam cookers with three steam inserts, two inserts or one cooking container. The arrangement variants of the cooking containers are manufacturer-dependent. Although the containers are mainly stacked on top of each other, there are also models in which the cooking containers are arranged next to each other. These do not require as much space in height, but the footprint is slightly larger. When removing the shelves or partitions, it is possible to turn the steam cooker with three containers into a large cooker.
Since the electric steam appliances are otherwise not very large, but free-standing, they can be placed on a table without any problems. This is why they are also called "table steam cookers". Only one socket is required for the energy supply for their operation.
A major advantage of these appliances is that they are available with several cooking containers. The cooking times of food such as meat, vegetables, fish, rice and other foodstuffs are automatically pre-set on the basis of pre-set programmes. After selecting the desired program, the food is cooked in the time specified by the program. The devices with a timer allow the user to set a cooking time of up to one hour. Only when the time is up, the steamer automatically enters the warming mode, in which the food is kept warm for one hour.
Of course, cooking with three cooking containers also saves electricity compared to steam cookers for the stove (three hotplates for three meals).
The versatile electric steam cookers are excellent entry-level models. Thanks to the different levels, they can be used to prepare complete meals for the family. But also more expensive models, equipped with various features, are available.
Universal steam cooking inserts - the simple, flexible variant
Universal steam cooking inserts are a very uncomplicated variant of steam cooking. They are similar in shape to a bowl, are made of either silicone or stainless steel and fit into any cooking pot available on the market. The application is also simple. Just fill the pot with a little water, hang the cooking insert with the food and cover with the lid. This is the only way to prevent steam from escaping. However, this variant is not suitable for simultaneous cooking of several dishes, as the aromas of the individual foods would mix with each other. As there are no preset programmes for this cooking method, the heat can only be controlled manually.
The advantage of universal steam cooking applications is, on the one hand, the favourable purchase price and, on the other hand, its flexibility in use. In addition, this cooking variant can be used immediately without the need for further purchases. For these reasons alone, steam cooking is a very good solution for newcomers. The universal steamer inserts are also ideal for people who want to taste the food cooked with steam.
Bamboo steamer - the traditional way of cooking
If you want to cook your rice or other food in the traditional Chinese way with steam, you should use the bamboo steamer. Baskets with slits in the bottom are used. Since several baskets can be stacked on top of each other, cooking different foods is possible at the same time. The tops are placed on top of each other in a matching pot filled with water. After the water has been heated, the rising water vapour circulates through the slots in the base through all the tops. This ensures that the food is cooked gently.
The taste of the dishes is not only very intense, it is also not possible to mix the aromas. A nice side effect of cooking with a bamboo steamer is the pleasant smell of the bamboo wood, which is created by heating the baskets. In addition, it is very decorative and an eye-catcher in every kitchen.
Steam cooking systems - perfect fitting, reliable and optimal for pot and roaster
Steam cooking systems are offered in the form of pots and pans as complete systems for steam cooking. They are the further development of the universal steam cooking inserts. In these models, the containers are not only adapted to the corresponding pot or roaster, they are also equipped with handles or feet. These are designed to prevent the use from coming into contact with the water underneath. The water to be filled should amount to about one fifth of the total volume of the food to be cooked. The tightly closing lid ensures that the water vapour cannot escape from the inside of the cooking vessel.
The pot-like systems are very suitable for small portions. However, it is also possible that the flavours mix when several foods are cooked at the same time. If larger portions are to be steamed, the roaster-like system should be used. The food to be steamed can be placed next to each other and cooked thanks to the rectangular shape. Some manufacturers have provided dividers to separate the ingredients so that the flavours of the individual foods are not falsified. The exact control of the cooking process is made possible by the integration of a thermometer in various models. Of course, the cooking vessels can also be used as classic pots or roasters.
The steam oven / built-in steam cooker - the highlight of every kitchen
The steam oven is a combination of a steam cooker and oven. This means that it combines the functions of a steam cooker and an oven. These kitchen appliances can cook food with steam as well as with hot air or top and bottom heat. Some appliances even have a grill function.
These kitchen appliances are able to prepare food in larger quantities due to their many functions and corresponding programs. Various cooking options are available, such as steaming, roasting, grilling, steaming, baking and more. Blanching, drying, vacuum cooking, regenerating or defrosting are also possible with the steam oven.
In order to preserve the nutrients during steam cooking of foods such as vegetables or fish, the vital steam, 100 percent steam, should be used here. 50 percent steam or 50 percent hot air should be selected if dishes such as puddings or terrines are to be warmed or cooked. For preparing a perfect, juicy roast with a crispy crust or baking a cake, the interval steam, 25 percent / 75 percent hot air, should be selected. However, the pizza can only be cooked with hot air. This is the only way to make it crispy.
However, since a steam oven has programs and recipe suggestions that are tailored to each dish, only the appropriate selection is required. This ensures precise cooking. The integrated core temperature sensor shows when the food is ready. A signal tone also indicates that the cooking process has been completed. These meals, prepared in a steam oven, are not only very tasty and healthy, but they also always succeed.
The main advantages of the steam oven are the guarantee of success of the food prepared with it and the variety of programmes. Also, the fact that several dishes can be cooked at the same time while reducing the amount of time is not to be dismissed. In addition, no additional space is required as this kitchen appliance is integrated into the kitchen unit instead of the classic oven.
As far as installation is concerned, however, it should be borne in mind that steam ovens distinguish between appliances with a separate water container and appliances with a water supply per connection. It is therefore important to ensure that the water connection and drain are in place in the kitchen.
Steam cooking in a pressure cooker - a cooking method when you need to cook quickly
Steam cooking in a pressure cooker uses a sieve insert on which the food to be cooked is placed. In this type of steaming, the rising steam presses the oxygen onto the pot by means of a valve. As the pressure in the pot rises, the temperatures rise. The energy is transferred to the food, which is then cooked more quickly.
The fast cooking process preserves most of the vitamins and the prepared food also scores with its taste. In order to prevent overcooking, it is important to observe the cooking times.
Many foods and dishes prepared in a steam cooker are better tolerated than conventionally cooked foods. These include
Vegetables - the taste is delicious and your own touch is retained
Vegetables that can be steam-cooked without losing their bite and good taste include broccoli, cauliflower, peas, carrots, kohlrabi, green beans, asparagus, peppers, potatoes and even mushrooms. Depending on the type of vegetable, the cooking time is between five and a maximum of 25 minutes.
Cut food into equal pieces, then they cook at the same time.
Some steam cookers have a timer that can be used to set the form of preparation by means of an LCD timer. Important information and recipes can also be found in the accompanying booklets.
Meat - varieties that are particularly suitable for steam cooking
Of course, it is also possible to cook different types of meat with steam. Chicken meat becomes particularly tender and juicy when it is prepared in a steam cooker. This is possible due to the precise setting of the exact cooking time. However, the meat does not get a golden-brown crust in a steam cooker. However, the taste of the finished product leaves nothing to be desired. Since the steam cooking inserts can usually be removed individually, whole poultry can also be cooked without any problems. The cooking time for poultry is ten to 15 minutes, for a chicken only six to ten minutes.
Cook your food with other liquids, e.g. wine or vegetable broth
In addition to poultry, pork, beef, and veal can also be prepared in a steam cooker. The taste of the meat remains the same with this type of preparation. Pork and beef take 20 to 25 minutes to cook. Unless it is cut into slices and placed in the steam cooker. The cooking time for both types of meat is then reduced to eight to ten minutes. If veal is put into the steam cooker, you have to wait about 20 minutes until it is ready. The cooking time is only about 10 minutes if the meat is sliced. More detailed information on guide values or recipes for the steam cooker can be found in the relevant operating instructions.
Fish and seafood - wonderful to prepare in the steam cooker
Especially lean, tender fish meat can be prepared wonderfully in a steam cooker. To do this, prepare a spice brew and put it in the steam cooker instead of the water. The steam cooker container with the whole fish or fish fillet should now be placed over the simmering spice brew. Add a few more herbs, lemon, and some salt and cover the container. Make sure that the fish does not touch the simmering broth. It may only be cooked by the rising steam.
The following types of fish are suitable for preparation in a steam cooker:
Eel, halibut, trout, salmon, redfish, plaice, haddock, sole, pangasius fillet, prawns and scallops. The cooking time is ten to 20 minutes, depending on the type of fish, with a quantity of about 200 grams, and usually about 15 minutes. But you should not just rely on these times. It is better to always keep an eye on the cooking time. Thicker fish, such as a large salmon trout, should be cooked a little longer. Only when the dorsal fin of a large fish can be easily removed is the fish cooked. The wonderful taste, the preservation of nutrients and vitamins during steam cooking make the nutritious, protein-rich fish even more valuable for a healthy diet.
Persons who are willing to purchase a steam cooker should pay attention to some criteria in addition to the set budget before the purchase. These are:
What do I want to prepare? Since steam cookers are divided into electric stand-alone appliances, steam cooking systems, built-in and combination appliances, traditional bamboo steamers and other alternatives, you should know which appliance is suitable before you buy. It is also interesting to note that for certain foods, such as potatoes and rice, special cooking utensils are available on the market. However, since most appliances are very versatile and have additional cooking inserts, the food is prepared optimally.
How large must the steam cooker be? In addition to the type of steamer, the size and capacity of the appliance also play a role. As stand-alone appliances require space on the kitchen worktop or must be stored in the cupboard, the dimensions of the cooker should be taken into account when making a purchase. The capacity is also a very important purchase criterion. A steam cooker with two cooking inserts is sufficient for a single or small household. A family with two children is well advised to use an appliance with a capacity of nine to ten litres. Steam cookers or bamboo steamers can easily be stowed away in classic cooking pots. If you opt for a built-in steam cooker or a steam oven, no additional space is required; they are integrated where the oven or microwave was located.
Which inserts are supplied? Of course, the equipment of the steam cooker is important. Although most appliances are equipped with three cooking inserts, the accessories included in the scope of delivery are interesting. The quality of the inserts with and without holes is also important for the preparation options of the individual foods. Therefore, both versions should be purchased.
Can the food be separated using the inserts? The arrangement of the inserts is also a criterion that cannot be dismissed by hand. In order to prevent the tastes of the individual foods from mixing, it is advisable to place them either on top of each other or next to each other. Some manufacturers offer corresponding partition walls or special inserts as well as other accessories. However, it is essential to ensure that these are original parts. This is the only way to ensure a perfect fit.
What does the steam cooker consist of? The manufacturing material used for the steam cooker should not be underestimated. This can be stainless steel, plastic, enamel or glass. However, combinations of several materials are also used. In this case, however, it is essential to ensure that the vessels are only made of BPA-free plastic. The plasticizer bisphenol A can lead to health problems. This must be taken into account especially when preparing food for babies, as even the smallest amounts can cause health problems for small children. Another factor, which is only relevant for steam ovens, is a non-stick coating. Because grease can also be used in this kitchen appliance.
What is the capacity of the steam cooker? Two of the most important criteria when buying a steam cooker are the performance and the functions of the appliance. When making a purchase decision, you should know how often the steam cooker is to be used. With steam cookers, the output is between 800 and 1,800 watts. The higher the wattage, the higher the output.
Does the appliance have a timer or different programs? A particular advantage of steam cooking is an integrated timer or cooking time programmer. These enable the setting of different preparation times and preparation programs for the different cooking inserts. When the cooking process is complete, a signal tone should sound. On appliances with a keep-warm function, the steam cooker switches to keep-warm mode after the cooking process has been completed. To ensure that the cooker does not break when the water tank is empty, it should have a water level indicator and automatic switch-off. It is also an advantage if water can be refilled during operation. If a steam cooker with water connection is selected, check in advance whether the water supply and drain are in the kitchen.
Is the steam cooker or its inserts suitable for the dishwasher? With regard to cleaning the steam cookers, it is advantageous if the appliances have an automatic cleaning function or dishwasher-safe trays. Otherwise, instructions on the subject of cleaning can also be found in the operating instructions of the respective steam appliance.
The trend today is to prepare tasty, healthy dishes with steam. This preparation method not only ensures a high vitamin and nutritional value, but also makes it possible to cook without the use of fat. The dishes are characterised by excellent taste, bite firmness and intense colours. Various steam cooking appliances are available on the market for cooking with steam. Among them, there are also combination devices that are able to combine two different types of preparation. A steam cooker should not be missing in the kitchen of people who have chosen a healthy, tasty diet.
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