Best bamboo steamers TechnoBuffalo 2020
Hey, home cooks! are you tired of fending off the pop and sting of oil spatter, accidentally charring your chicken to a crisp, or blasting your glasses with billowing fog as you pry open the oven? Consider preparing your meals in a bamboo steamer instead! Gone are the days of soggy, limp veggies. Steaming typically eschews fats in its cooking process, making it an easy alternative for healthier food. We've found a clear favorite in Mister Kitchenware's 10 Inch 2-Tier Handmade Bamboo Steamer. Bamboo steamers are one of the oldest cooking vessels, but we're confident that each of the bamboo steamers below will appeal to the modern cook.
- Best Overall: Mister Kitchenware 10 Inch 2-Tier Handmade Bamboo Steamer
- Most Eco-Friendly: Zoie + Chloe Bamboo Steamer Basket with Bonus Reusable Cotton Liners
- Sturdiest Basket: VonShef Premium 2 Tier Bamboo Steamer with Stainless Steel Banding
- Best for Batch Steaming: Helen's Asian Kitchen 12-inch 2-Tier Bamboo Steamer
- Best Gift Set: Cooking Gift Set Co. Chinese Soup Dumpling Kit
- Best for a Crowd: XMYZ 12 Inch 3-Tiered Wooden Steamer with Deep Baskets
Best Overall: Mister Kitchenware 10 Inch 2-Tier Handmade Bamboo Steamer
Whether you're new to steaming or a seasoned pro, this affordable bamboo steamer by Mister Kitchenware is universally loved by cooks. Right out of the box, the buyer is provided with everything they'll need for a first foray into steaming. Its baskets are average depth and diameter, but the domed lid on the top tier is incredibly useful. It helps to create distance between the contents of the basket and discourages the inevitable condensation from flooding your food.
The included chopsticks and sauce dish are a nice touch as well. Its capacity is best for serving 2-3 people. Using liners and cleaning your steamer correctly is vital in proper maintenance over time. Most steamer liners consist of parchment or waxed paper, which are discarded, but this steamer comes with reusable and washable mesh liners, a rare find.
Some steamers require additional accessories, such as metal ring adapters, to properly perch themselves above a source of boiling water. Not this one; it has standard sizing and should fit fine over a pot with a 9-inch diameter opening. If you do opt for a ring adapter, pick one that is wider than your pot or pan but make sure it's narrower than the steamer on the inside.
- Chopsticks and sauce dish included
- Domed lid discourages condensation
- Reusable liners lessen waste
- Capacity insufficient for large groups
- Basket depth is average
- May need an adapter ring
With its classic design, accessories, and mid-range size, it's an easy way to enter the realm of steaming.
Most Eco-Friendly: Zoie + Chloe Bamboo Steamer Basket with Bonus Reusable Cotton Liners
Living a carbon-neutral or trash-free life is important to many people. Also essential is ensuring your food is free of any added chemicals after you prepare it. This bamboo steamer basket from Zoie + Chloe is just the ticket; it seems to be one of the only steamers that provide reusable and washable cotton liners. As mentioned previously, waxed paper liners are the standard, but they tend to disintegrate or melt onto the wood. These cotton ones can be washed with the rest of your laundry and used nearly indefinitely.
This steamer is traditionally built, with only bamboo used in its construction; no metal or wires are present. It's only 1.5 inches deep, nearly an inch less than comparable steamers. Since it is so shallow, I recommend sticking to low-profile foods, such as cut veggies, gyoza, and shumai, that won't stick to the lid or the tier above it.
- Minimized waste, easier cleanup
- Cotton liners are tightly woven and don't tear
- Sold in 8-inch and 10-inch diameters
- Washing liners takes longer
- Shallow basket depth
- Food choices limited to its capacity
The reusable cotton liners can be tossed right in with the rest of your laundry, making cleanup a breeze.
Sturdiest Basket: VonShef Premium 2 Tier Bamboo Steamer with Stainless Steel Banding
When using a steamer, you generally don't need to worry about burning your food. It's a gentle cooking method. But what about singeing the steamer itself? It's incredibly common, especially if there's a short distance between your steamer and heating element of choice. While bamboo steamers are typically resilient and can be used for years with proper care, the wood itself is still prone to degradation and scorching over time.
This two-tier bamboo steamer from VonShef is reinforced with stainless steel bands, and a bottom ring prevents the wood from being burned. Steamers are commonly used in woks, and this one would be perfect for that. The bands add long-term durability and maintain the steamer's shape. The metal banding heats up, so use potholders or a towel to handle this steamer. Waxed basket liners might stick to your food or the steamer as well since it holds more heat due to the steel bands.
- Steel bands protect the wood
- Includes two pairs of chopsticks
- Improved sturdiness, overall longevity
- Metal can burn your hands
- Waxed liners may stick
- Sauce dish not included
Steely and sturdy
If you prefer using your steamer over a wok, the metal bands will prevent the wood from scorching on contact.
Best for Batch Steaming: Helen's Asian Kitchen 12-inch 2-Tier Bamboo Steamer
In recent years, meal prepping has gotten more popular, and new recipes are continually being developed to make cooking in bulk simpler. However, what isn't usually addressed is optimizing your cooking methods to help expedite your prep time. Most recipes end up sauteed or roasted, but steaming should be considered too, especially if you meal-prep for health reasons.
This foot-wide, two-tier bamboo steamer from Helen's Asian Kitchen makes prep day easy. It has ample capacity to cook and assemble an entire week's worth of veggies, grains, and proteins for one person. Vegetables stay crisp when appropriately steamed, and won't get too mushy when reheated later in the week. Steaming is a speedy cooking method as well, so you won't feel chained to your kitchen and can get started with the rest of your day. However, steaming doesn't tend to add any texture differences to your meals, so you may want to prepare certain ingredients differently for greater variety.
- Large capacity and deep baskets
- Quicker than other prep methods
- Can steam different foods simultaneously
- Less texture differences between foods
- No metal to protect wood
- Can get heavy if packed with food
Best for Batch Steaming
Shortens prep day
Spend more time outside the kitchen on prep day with this large-capacity steamer.
Best Gift Set: Cooking Gift Set Co. Chinese Soup Dumpling Kit
We all have that one friend—the foodie who's tried it all and started experimenting at home with their favorite dishes. This Xiao Long Bao kit from Cooking Gift Set Co. might be the one specialty kit a foodie's kitchen lacks, and it comes with every accouterment a dim sum devotee might wish for. These dumplings are unique, though. They're filled with a hot, savory broth and encased in a pillowy dough, and are an ideal comfort food for cold temperatures. The bao dough recipe included with the kit is surprisingly adaptable; simply skip the sugar and yeast to make potsticker wrappers.
The 100% bamboo steamer in this kit is relatively petite, at 8.25 inches in diameter, but it fits 6-8 dumplings comfortably on each tier. Recipients of this gift will also appreciate the attention paid to traditional tools. The double-ended roller is especially helpful to get the dough circles as thin as possible, and the specially-sized spatula helps to tuck in precise amounts of filling. A quick note: refined flours (i.e bread flour) are best; otherwise, the dough will be too claggy and tough when fully cooked.
- Adaptable dough recipe
- Unique gift for cooks
- Traditional tools ensure authentic results
- Dough recipe isn't gluten-free
- Feeds 1-2 per batch
- Only refined flours yield tender dough
Best Gift Set
Creative gift giving
Gift this kit to your favorite foodie, because life is so much better with soup dumplings in it, and maybe they'll share.
Best for a Crowd: XMYZ 12 Inch 3-Tiered Wooden Steamer with Deep Baskets
One of the many activities I miss from pre-quarantine days is dinner parties. I love to cook, and it's a beautiful way to show people you care about them or introduce them to new dishes they'll appreciate. Fortunately, feeding an army of friends and family is simple with XMYZ's three-tiered, foot-wide Japanese cedar steamer. I chose to highlight the largest of their offered sizes for just this reason; it's an excellent investment.
Not all wooden steamers are made of bamboo, and using this one will waft the pleasant lemony scent of Cryptomeria japonica through your kitchen. Like with any steamer, the flavor and fragrance the wood impart to your food will be more assertive at first and decrease over time. Conveniently, XMYZ offers this steamer in just about any size or configuration that cooks could wish for and they offer the broadest range of options thus far. Providing a personal steamer each guest can fill, about 7-inch diameter is likely best, could be a fun way for them to DIY their dinner.
- Diameters sold are between 7-12 inches
- Less steam escapes, tight joins
- Two or three-tier models available
- Not all sizes have three tiers
- Larger capacity, higher price
- Made of Japanese cedar, not bamboo
Best for a Crowd
Feeding friends and family
Dinner parties, large families, and meal preppers will appreciate the deep baskets and extra tier.
Steamed food isn't anywhere near as bland and joyless as it's perceived to be, but it's especially helpful to remember that it's not just for cooking dim sum spreads or other pan-Asian foods — get creative! Season the cooking liquid however you'd like, and it will impart additional flavor to dishes while they steam. Dipping sauces, such as chili oil, are indispensable to add a burst of bold flavor. Mexican tamales, English sticky toffee pudding, and littleneck clams are traditionally steamed as well.
Ultimately, the steamer that's right for you will come down to the same factors each time: capacity, diameter, and construction. Remember to consider that woods other than bamboo may be used to construct your steamer, affecting your food's flavor. Mister Kitchenware's 10 Inch 2-Tier Handmade Bamboo Steamer meets all of the most important criteria. With its washable mesh liners, chopsticks, and sauce dish, you have everything you need to test your new steamer for the first time. If you're really concerned about the bottom tier scorching over time, then adding an adapter ring to elevate your steamer should alleviate your worries. Harness the power of water vapor, and steam with confidence!
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Lili Angrisano is a Freelance Contributor for TechnoBuffalo. You'll find her designing her next cosplay, conquering her 700+ book (and counting!) Kindle library, or tending her apartment garden in her spare time.
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