The Best Vegetable Steamer Basket

Sunsella Vegetable Steamer

Our Top Pick for 2016: Sunsella Vegetable Steamer
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $18.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Steamed vegetables are a delicious way to get your daily dose of vegetables. They can be added to almost any meal for as a colorful side dish. A steamer basket lets you steam your vegetables to perfection, creating mouthwatering food your family will love. With the right basket, you’ll be able to use the cookware you already have with a steamer that is easy to use and clean. Quality materials and good construction will give you a steamer that will last.

Table of contents

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Handle Hole
Collapsible
Easy To Use
Dishwasher Safe
Easy Removal
Removable Center
Fits Pots 8″+
Stable And Durable
Expandable To 9.25″
Sturdy
Removable Center For Large Items
High Quality
Extendable Handle
Premium Quality
Collapsible With Removable Legs

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Sunsella Vegetable Steamer

Sunsella Vegetable Steamer Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $18.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerThe Sunsella Vegetable Steamer (SVS) is a versatile steamer that can be used for more than just vegetables. It can be used to cook fruit, desserts, meats, and eggs as well. Steamed foods retain more of their nutrients than with other cooking methods such as boiling where nutrients are lost in the water. Be sure that any pan or pot you use has a lid because the steam needs to surround the food to cook properly.

The expandable petal design allows the SVS to fit in pans of various sizes. When you are cooking for two, you can use it in a small saucepan but when you need to cook for a crowd in can fit into a much larger pan that will allow you to meet your needs. This collapsible design also makes it easy to store. It can be stored open or the petals can be folded across the top making the profile similar to small serving bowl.

The SVS comes in two sizes – 5.3 inch to 9.3 inch diameter and a 6.4 inch to 10. 4-inch diameter option. To know which size is right for you, measure the pots and pans you already have and determine which sizes you are most likely to use. If ou cook for a larger group, the larger size would be the best choice for you. While those that regularly cook for two or three will probably be satisfied with the smaller steamer basket.

Made of 100% stainless steel, the SVS is made to last. Stainless steel is a favorite in the kitchen because it has many of the properties needed in cookware. It is rust and high/low-temperature resistant, which is essential in a steamer as it will be exposed to extreme heat with steam. It is strong, so the steamer basket won’t be flimsy and break. The SVS can even be used in a pressure or slow cooker to give you more variety in the ways you can cook with it.

The bottom of the SVS has legs on it to hold the basket out of the water. These legs are also made of stainless steel, which makes them durable and strong. There is a removable post with a ring in the center of the basket.The post can be removed to allow you to cook larger items like meat. It also makes it simple to remove the basket from the pan by grabbing the ring and pulling straight up to bring the food and basket out of the pot or pan.

Another benefit of stainless steel is the ease with which it can be cleaned. The SVS is dishwasher safe to make cleanup simple and fast. If you are washing by hand, the petals need to be handled carefully. The design has small hinges on the petals that, if roughly washed or scrubbed, can come off. They can be reattached easily but you should be able to avoid this problem with gentle rinsing and scrubbing before loading in the dishwasher.

The SVS comes completely assembled out of the box.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Steamer

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Steamer

View it on Amazon for $17.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerThe OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Steamer (OXO) has some unique design features that make it stand out amongst steamer baskets. The OXO fits in an 8-inch diameter or larger pot.

The handle of the OXO is what makes it different from the rest. An arched, black handle creates a space that a fork or other utensil can fit into to allow you to remove the basket without your hands getting in the steam. Steam burns can penetrate deep and this design works to prevent this kind of accident.

The handle also extends and locks into position while you are filling and moving the basket. It then retracts to allow for the lid of the pot to fit correctly while cooking. Keeping a good seal on the lid is essential to reaching the correct temperature and for cooking the food evenly. There were some problems with the handle extending during cooking, knocking the lid off the pan. However, OXO has improved the design to eliminate this issue. Any users that reported the problem received a replacement handle that stayed in place while cooking.

When steaming larger items, the handle can be completely removed. In this case, you must remove the food before you can remove the steamer but it creates great versatility in the kinds of foods you can cook. You can do everything from fruits and vegetables to seafood and chicken with this healthy cooking method.

The OXO is made of stainless steel so that it has all the benefits this sturdy material offers such as rust resistance, high/low-temperature resistance, strength, and easy cleaning. It can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher. The only part that is not stainless steel is the handle piece on the center post, which is also dishwasher safe. If you are going to cook meats, you may want to spray the basket with a nonstick cooking spray to make clean up easier.

It should be noted that a few users had the plastic handle partially melt in their dishwasher. If you use this steamer in a crock pot or pressure cooker, you may want to remove the handle to be safe. As with similarly designed steamer baskets, there are hinges at the base of each petal that need to be handled carefully so as not to break them off while cleaning.

Feet, located on the bottom of the basket, keep the OXO elevated 1 ¾ inches above the water. The feet can also be folded down, which puts the food only a ½ inch out of the water if needed. Nutrients are best retained when they are not dissolved in water, making steaming an excellent way to cook food with optimum nutritional value.

The petals can be folded over the top, saving space and for easy storage in the kitchen.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Delightful Chef Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer Basket

Delightful Chef Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer Basket

View it on Amazon for $19.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardThe Delightful Chef Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer Basket (DC) is another quality steamer that is versatile enough to fit in several different sized pots and pans. The petals can be expanded or contracted to fit 5 ¼ inch to 9 ¼ inch diameter cookware.

Expandability helps this steamer basket work for any size family. If you regularly cook for two or three people, you’ll be able to fit the DC in a small pan for a few vegetables to add to your dinner. While those that have a large family, can use it in larger pans to cook for a crowd.

Using the familiar petal design, the DC works similarly to other steamers. All parts and components are made of stainless steel, including the feet. Feet are often a weak point for steamers because they are in the water at high temperatures, which can quickly break down low-quality materials. With the corrosion and temperature resistance of stainless steel, the DC will last.

A removable center post can be used to remove the basket. When cooking large food items you can remove the post to make room in the steamer. Without the post, you’ll have to remove the food from the pot or pan before you remove the steamer. With the post removed you will be able to cook a wide variety of foods such as fish, chicken, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. It can also be used to make baby food.

The sides of the center post are a little rough on the fingers. Some users reported that when the basket was loaded with a lot of food the post dug into their skin. Take care when removing any basket steamer that most of the steam has been released so as to prevent any burns.

The DC can work in pressure cookers or crockpots. This gives you more options and allows you to get food ready in advance. If you happen to have a crockpot with a delayed timer, you can even get your veggies ready in the morning before you leave the house and have a perfectly steamed side dish ready to eat when you get home.

The petals can be folded in onto the center for easy storage. Steam baskets can be stored inside of the pots that you use them in to conserve as much space as possible.

There is some assembly required as the feet and center post need to be attached upon arrival. Some users had trouble getting the center post attached correctly.

Delightful Chef includes a warranty that will replace or refund your money if you are not satisfied with the performance of the steamer basket.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Norpro 175 Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer

Norpro 175 Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer

View it on Amazon for $5.50*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickThe Norpro 175 Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer (Norpro) is a budget-friendly option that still performs well. It expands from a 5 ½-inch diameter to a 9 ½-inch diameter, making it useable for both small and large families.

The petals and base are made of stainless steel. Stainless steel is resistant to rust and high temperatures. If you plan to use it to cook meat, you will need to use a nonstick cooking spray to help prevent food from sticking. This will make cleaning the petals easier.

The petals fold towards the center for easy storage. It can be stored in the pans you use for cooking if necessary to save space.

Three feet on the bottom hold the Norpro out of the water. Be sure that the water level is lower than the food you are cooking. The feet are made of aluminum, making the Norpro lightweight but less durable than stainless steel. There have been some Norpros that began to break down at the joint between the feet and the base because of this weakness in materials.

A center post with a ring will help you to lift the basket out when food is fully cooked. Safely getting food in and out of the pot will help prevent injury.

While the Norpro is a good deal, it is, at best, for light users. The construction is not strong enough to last very long if used daily. This would be the kind of basket steamer to keep in your camping kit or to pull out if you only steam occasionally.


Pre-purchase considerations

Stainless Steel

Steamer baskets are usually made of stainless steel or a combination of stainless steel and aluminum. The best baskets will have all components made of stainless steel including the feet, base, petals, center post, and handle. Stainless steel resists rust and corrosion. It can also withstand high and low temperatures without warping or other damage. Making it ideal for a steamer basket that is exposed to high moisture and temperature levels during cooking. Stainless steel also gives strength to the structure of the basket. Aluminum is sometimes used in conjunction with stainless steel. Aluminum may be light weight but it is more susceptible to moisture and temperatures. Baskets made with it tend to corrode more quickly.

Petal Hinge

In general, basket steamers are made with a petal design wherein a series of petals can fold in or out depending on the size of the pan or pot used. When comparing baskets, check the petal hinges for strength and durability. This hinge is a common weak point, especially if the basket is being washed in a dishwasher. Check reviews for reports of petals falling off.

Handle

A steamer basket should have a center post with some kind of handle that allows you to place or remove the basket in the pan. Some baskets have a ring or T-post that allow you to easily get a good grip, while others have special handle features that allow you to pull the basket out with another kitchen utensil.All materials used to make the handle will need to be able to withstand the temperature and moisture of steaming. Stainless steel is the best option but other materials like aluminum or resilient plastics work as well. A removable post and handle give you greater versatility in the types of food you can cook. Once removed, you can steam larger amounts of vegetables, meat, seafood, eggs, and other foods that are too large for a basket with a post in the center.

Size

Most basket steamers are made to adapt to different sized pots and pans. If you regularly cook for a large group of people, you may want to look for a basket that opens to larger than 10 inches. This will give you plenty of room to steam enough vegetables for a group or cook enough meat for four or more people.A basket steamer that large may be too much for someone that cooks for themselves or only one other person. Smaller basket steamers can accommodate enough food for two or three people. They are usually less than 9 ½ inches in diameter.

Feet

Feet height is an important feature that can often be overlooked. Proper steaming requires the food to be kept out of the water. The feet of the basket should be at least one inch tall to keep food above water level. Some baskets have feet that can open and close to allow you flexibility in the amount of water used. Baskets are designed with three of four feet. If you are in the store, check the stability of the feet for wobbling or tipping both of which can result with the basket toppling over with hot food in it.

Cleaning

Basket steamers that can be cleaned in the dishwasher are the most convenient. Solid stainless steel baskets will hold up the best to use in the dishwasher. However, they have to have good construction, especially at the petal hinges, to withstand spray and heat of a dishwasher. When cooking meat or other foods that commonly stick be sure to spray the basket with a nonstick cooking spray to make cleaning easier.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

A good basket steamer should be durable and easy to keep clean. With the right basket, you’ll be able to diversify the types of foods you can cook. It can also give parents the option of making their own baby food. Steaming is a healthy way to cook as food maintains its nutrients far better when steamed in comparison to other cooking methods. Check user reviews to get a good idea of any problem areas before you purchase.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Benefits of Stainless Steel, assda.asn.au
  2. How Do You Use a Vegetable Steamer, foodrepublic.com, April 3, 2013
  3. How to Steam Vegetables: Four Easy Methods, enjoy-how-to-cook.com
  4. How to Use a Steamer Basket, geeksonfood.com
  5. Molly Watson, How to Steam Broccoli, localfoods.about.com
  6. Top 10 Collapsible Steamers 2016, wiki.ezvid.com

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