A lot of people see steamer baskets as a sort of “extra” when it comes to kitchen accessories. While it’s true that they’re not really a “must” for everyone, they do boast a lot of benefits that other accessories just aren’t capable of.
Read on to find out what a steamer basket will do for you. Mine has changed my life. But I guess that’s just a nutritionist’s opinion. 😉
What they’re for
Steamer baskets have a wide variety of different uses. Really, you can steam anything and everything you can imagine. I have literally everything with steamer baskets, but I most commonly find myself using them to…
- Steam veggies
- Steam fruit
- Steam seafood (shrimp, crab, lobster, oysters, etc.)
- Make dumplings
And while most are made to fit inside medium-large size pots, some are made for both pots and pressure cookers. I personally decided to buy a steamer basket that would suit both, and in the next point I illustrate why.
Why they’re awesome
Steamer baskets are awesome for the same reason pressure cookers are. They lock in the flavor and nutrients of food. Instead of all the awesome bits boiling off into the water, they remain in the food so that we can ingest them.
Used on their own, steamer baskets and pressure cookers lock in an immense amount of flavor. But used together, their nutrient and flavor-locking power is doubled. Honestly, it’s a dining experience that’s hard for me to put into words. It’s the kind of thing you have to smell and taste for yourself to fully understand.
But since we’re communicating via the internet, I’ll describe it to you like this…
Succulent. Delectable. Savory. Divine. Zestful. Scrumptious. You get the picture. And I’m talking about veggies here.
But these handy little devices aren’t just about health and flavor benefits. They’re about convenience too. The collapsible variety opens up to 9 inches in diameter, but will close to 5 inches when it’s time to clean up. Having to store so many things in a small kitchen myself, I find this feature super handy.
And on top of that, a lot of them are dishwasher safe too. Those are a lot of benefits for an accessory that so effortlessly seals in flavor and nutrients, that’s for sure.
The best steamer baskets
Having a passion for health and cooking, I have tried and tested a lot of these guys. And I mean a lot. Probably around 20 of them to be exact.
But they’re certainly not all the same. As you can see, I take a liking to the stainless and bamboo ones. And over the years, I’ve narrowed my absolute favorites down to three. If you’re looking to pick one up for yourself, these ones won’t disappoint.
Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless Universal Steamer
- Fits into pots 2-4 quarts
- Sturdy build
- Long handle to prevent burns and ensure ease of use
- Tall sides which slow cooking speed
Joyce Chen 3-Piece Steamer Set
- Neat look and feel of bamboo
- Sturdy build
- Comes with two levels to steam lots of different foods at once
- 10 inches in diameter and doesn’t collapse
OXO Good Grips Pop-Up Steamer
- Roomy when open yet collapses for easy storage
- Built durable – it’s made to last
- Silicone handle prevents burns
- Handle is a little long. You have to pop it into the “DOWN” position for it to fit in most pots and pressure cookers.
How to work one
Have I sparked your attention on these fancy little accessories yet? Still a little confused on how to use one? Don’t worry.
Any kitchen appliance you’ve never used is going to be a little intimidating. So let me walk you through it to up your confidence. It’s easy, I promise!
Obviously, each steamer basket works a little differently. But this is the overall process you’ll use with just about any of them.
Step 1: Get out your pressure cooker and fill it with a couple inches of water.
Step 2: Place your steamer basket in pressure cooker. Most have legs that will stabilize the basket on the bottom of the pot. Check to make sure the water doesn’t go above the holes in the steamer basket. If it does, simply pour some of it out.
Step 3: Once the water level is good, remove the steamer basket and bring the water to a boil. Once it boils, reduce it to a simmer.
Step 4: Fill your basket with fruit, veggies, lobster, salmon – whatever tasty food you’re cooking up! Read the manual here as some steamer baskets will require some parchment paper or a little oil.
Step 5: Lower the steamer basket into your pot. Cook based on the food you’re steaming up, checking the water level and adding more as necessary.
Step 6: Dish out and enjoy!
See, that wasn’t so hard! Steamer baskets are awesome, aren’t they? If you’re looking to become a little healthier or maybe just enjoy veggies a little more, I suggest you put one of these guys to the top of your shopping list. It’ll give you years of great meals and wholesome nutrients for minimum cash and effort!