Bamboo steamers are great because they absorb moisture really well, keeping condensation from pooling up under the lid and dripping all over your food. But if you don't have one of the best bamboo steamers, you can end up with a soggy pile of shredded reeds after just a few uses. Cheap bamboo steamers tend to disintegrate quickly, so it's important to look for one that's well-built and extra durable.
For a durable steamer, the bamboo needs to be sourced from thick, high-quality reeds and woven together tightly to ensure that they don't unravel. They need to be strong enough to handle repeated soaking, steaming, and hand-washing without getting soggy and fraying. One of the best ways to get a sense of a basket's strength is to read the reviews—which I have already done for you to make your life simple.
Below, I compiled a list of the best bamboo streamers on Amazon (all of which I carefully vetted for durability, scanning dozens of reviews to find the ones that are the most well-loved). Additionally, all of my selections have sturdy lids that hold in steam well to properly cook your food. I've included a range of sizes (listed from the smallest to the largest) so you can find the best fit. I also included one of the best rice steamers out there, in case you're interested in whipping up some traditional sticky rice, too.
1. The Best Small Steamer
Helen Chen's Asian Bamboo Steamers (2 Pack)
What makes it great: For smaller meals, this 4-inch bamboo steamer is perfect in terms of both size and durability. It features sleek, hand-crafted slats of bamboo that are strong and beautifully woven together with wooden pegs (which means there are no metal components that could rust or wear down). The lid fits snugly on top, creating a tight seal to lock in steam. It comes in a pack of two that can be stacked together if you want to cook a couple of dishes at once. Like most bamboo steamers, this one is hand-wash only.
What fans say: "Why did I wait so long to get a bamboo steamer? I love this thing! I use it almost everyday. I’m a dumpling fanatic, which is the reason I purchased the steamer. But I use it for far more. The fresh, clean bamboo smell is wonderful and makes you feel like you’re cooking healthy. I line it with cabbage leaves and then eat them too because they’re delicious. Quick rinse and clean up is done. It dries fairly quickly too. My bamboo steamer is now my favorite kitchen appliance!"
2. The Best Medium-Sized Steamer
VonShef 2 Tier Bamboo Steamer
What makes it great: With more than 600 reviews on Amazon, fans say they love this two-tier bamboo steamer due to its durability, versatility, and attractive looks. The delicately woven bamboo is both water-resistant and quick-drying, so it won't get soggy or develop any weird smells. This one does feature metal rings (which, generally speaking, can be prone to rust), but reviewers noted that this makes it stronger and none complained of any rust or wear. The lid is perfectly shaped to fit on top with a tight seal, and the separate compartments allow you to cook two different dishes at once. On top of that, it comes with a pair of chopsticks and 50 wax liners.
What fans say: "I want to start off by saying that I am a professional chef. This is an amazing buy!!!! Don't hesitate. Just do it. It comes with two pairs of chop sticks and paper liners. My mind was blown. (We just use cabbage leaves or banana leaves in the restaurant.) It is built well and sturdy. Handle is super secure. Buy this steamer and then buy a dumpling book. Treat yo-self."
3. The Best Large Steamer
HUANGYIFU Handmade Wooden Steamer
What makes it great: If you cook big meals or lots of dishes at once, this three-tier food steamer offers plenty of space, as well as high-quality material. Although this one is made from Japanese red-cedar wood rather than bamboo, it has similar properties in terms of being absorbent and preventing moisture from dripping onto your food. The three tiers are each almost two inches deep, and the cedar puts out a sweet aroma while you cook. Lightweight, durable, and easy to use, it's no surprise that this steamer has a near-perfect rating on Amazon.
What fans say: "Absolutely stunning! Good quality and smells very good. Big size enough to serve 4 person."
Also Great: This Bamboo Rice Steamer
Thailand Sticky Rice Steamer Pot and Basket
What makes it great: If you like making sticky rice —or want to give it a try for the first time — this bamboo steamer basket is a durable option that makes it easy, healthy, and super delicious. In addition to the top-grade, hand-woven bamboo, it comes with a sturdy aluminum steaming pot that's specifically designed to not burn the basket. The bamboo reeds are sewn across the top, and the pot itself has a smooth, shiny surface. Just one note: because it ships from Thailand, reviewers have noted it takes several weeks to arrive.
What fans say: "After taking some Thai cooking classes in Thailand I [knew] I needed a sticky rice cooking basket and pot (it's easy to scorch the basket if you don't have the correct pot to go along with it). These fit the bill perfectly and are exactly what is used in tradition Thai cooking. They are reasonably priced and give flair and a sense of authenticity to your Thai cooking."
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