Steaming your vegetables is not only an easy way to prepare them, but a delicious one, too. That said, without the right equipment, you could end up with wet, soggy veggies — which is why you need one of the best steamers for vegetables.
There are two key factors to consider when shopping around. The first is whether to go with a manual or electric steamer. Each has its pros and cons. A manual steamer makes it easier to heat your veggies evenly without overcooking them. The tradeoff is that it does need to be watched constantly, and it takes up burner space on your stovetop. Electric steamers, on the other hand, can be left alone while they cook, leave your burners available for other dishes, and require much less effort overall (please read: great for lazy cooks like myself).
Once you've decided between a manual or electric model, the next thing to think about is the materials. You'll want your steamer to be made of durable, high-quality components, such as aluminum, glass, stainless steel, or even bamboo. While plastic isn't the ideal material for a steamer, it does tend to be a more budget-friendly option.
To help you make a good decision, I've made a list below of the best steamers for vegetables, including a wide range of styles. Scroll through to find the one that best fits your veggie-steaming preferences.
The Best Manual Steamers
Manual steamers cook your vegetables evenly and efficiently without the risk of overcooking them. The downside is that the process tends to take longer and requires closer monitoring.
A Simple, Stainless Steel Basket
What's great about it: This simple and efficient vegetable steamer basket works together with your existing lidded pot (as long as it's at least 8 inches in diameter). It features a sturdy, removable handle, and the basket itself is made with sleek, stainless steel. Dishwasher-safe, it folds flat when you're done, making this the most space-efficient option on my list.
What fans say: "This little gadget makes cooking veggies and/or potatoes easy and effortless! I place the veggies or potatoes on this steamer above the meat and cook along with the meat times....veggies come out perfect every time!"
A Sturdy, Two-Tier Bamboo Steamer
What's great about it: Not many products on Amazon boast a perfect rating, but this impressive bamboo steamer comes pretty close, with 4.9-stars from reviewers. As one fan pointed out, it's made with 100-percent bamboo components, unlike many similar products that are made with rust-prone wires that often leave an aftertaste. This option also works on your stovetop with your own pot (or pan).
The two-tier design offers easy, stackable baskets with slats underneath, so you can steam lots of different veggies at once. Plus, the bamboo soaks up the extra steam (a feature that metal steamers don't offer), which prevents condensation from dripping on the food.
What fans say: "You can prepare veggies, and fish all at the same time. Its so well made and is very easy to clean. It comes with chopsticks, and a small ramekin for sushi dipping. I love it."
A Three-Piece Pot And Steamer Set
What's great about it: Made with top-grade stainless steel and a sturdy aluminum core, this high-quality veggie steamer pot offers an exceptional combination of strength and durability. The 3-quart pot is constructed with a built-in steamer basket that fits 2 quarts of vegetables and evenly distributes heat. The glass lid is well-vented to let steam escape, while the handles are made with heat-resistant material that won't burn your hands.
With an impressive 4.8-star rating on Amazon, this is a great option if you don't own a pot that would work with a basket or bamboo steamer.
What fans say: "There is something so delightful about this steamer. Maybe it's the extra veggies I cooked getting to my brain, but it is simple to use and a decent size for what I need. And my broccoli tasted great!"
The Best Electric Steamers
Electric steamers are perfect if you prefer a more "set it and forget it" style of cooking. Often equipped with an auto-shutoff, they require less monitoring, and you can keep your stovetop free for cooking other things. The downside is they sometimes don't cook food as evenly, and they take up space on your countertop.
A Budget-Friendly Two-Tier Electric Steamer
What's great about it: With 1,400-plus reviews, this 5-quart electric steamer is a fan favorite among budget shoppers. It doesn't have all of the bells and whistles of some of the higher-end electric models, yet it does a great job of evenly cooking food in a fast, efficient manner. Like the bamboo option, it has two tiers, so you can steam multiple dishes at the same time. It features a strong, 400-watt motor and a 60-minute auto shutoff.
What fans say: "I absolutely love this food steamer veggies cooked and super soft in under 30 minutes! And you can get a large amount into these containers ... Very easy to clean. Great product!"
A Stainless Steel Electric Steamer At A Mid-Range Price
What's great about it: Built with an 800-watt motor, this powerful vegetable steamer has double the wattage as the previous selection. Not only that, it holds 8.5 quarts (more than any other option on this list) and can generate steam in 5 seconds. While the Oster model is made with plastic, this one is constructed with chic and durable stainless steel. Similarly to both the Oster and the bamboo basket, it has two tiers for multi-vegetable cooking, as well as a non-slip knob to prevent you from dropping the lid.
What fans say: "It was nice looking, it was versatile, it was easy to clean, it cooked fast and thoroughly, you can cook numerous types of veggies at one time, easy to assemble. So far, I have been completely satisfied."
A Splurge-Worthy Digital Steamer
What's great about it: If you love steaming food and want the very best for your kitchen, this high-end Cuisinart food steamer offers top-of-the-line materials and sleek, digital components. It features a crystal-clear glass steaming chamber and an ultra-durable stainless steel heating tray. The 5.2-quart steamer showcases five different pre-programmed food settings, including seafood, poultry, grains, vegetables, and a manual setting (the latter of which needs to be monitored). The LCD control panel displays clear numbers, and it has a convenient, 60-minute auto shutoff.
What fans say: "LOVE!!!! Beautifully made, it's large but not too big for a single person. I'm a vegan so veggies are my life and this is incredible ;) Very easy to use, steams fast, simple to clean up, engineered and designed very well. When you lift the lid to remove the metal plate holding the veggies, the handles are not hot - I was impressed with that detail. Highly recommend!!"
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.