The Best Steamer Baskets for Fast and Healthy Meals, According to Our Tests

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Best Steamer Baskets

Food & Wine / Kristin Kempa

When you think of steamer baskets, you might conjure an image of mushy, overcooked broccoli lacking in the flavor department. But anyone who knows steamer baskets can tell you this doesn't have to be the case. Steamed veggies (and dumplings, chicken, fish, and more) can still be delicious without losing texture. These conveniently slotted baskets hold food above boiling water in a covered pan, allowing it to cook without touching the water.

Steaming can cook veggies quickly without using oil or the oven, and it can actually retain texture better than boiling or blanching. You can even impart extra flavor by adding flavorful ingredients to your steaming water, like onions, herbs, and spices, or steam with wine for intensely flavorful and perfectly flakey fish. After testing the most popular models on the market for performance, capacity, and ease of cleaning, a few models emerged as clear winners.

Best Overall

KitchenAid Universal Steamer Basket

KitchenAid Universal Steamer Basket


Pros: We loved the versatility and ease of use this basket provided.

Cons: The design of this steamer basket made it challenging to clean. 

This steamer garnered an enthusiastic “yes!” when we asked our testers if they would recommend it to a friend. They loved the versatility of this basket; it works well for large or small pots and a pressure cooker. We also loved the capacity of the design, with one tester saying, “The petals sat flatter than some other baskets, meaning it could be loaded up more with dumplings or if you were making buns.” However, when it came time to clean up, our tester did note it was hard to clean thoroughly. The collapsable petals interweave over one another, making it challenging to clean between them.

Price at time of purchase: $20

  • Material: Stainless steel 
  • Dimensions: 6.4 x 6.4 x 2.8 inches
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Instant Pot friendly: Yes

Best Value

Joseph Joseph Bloom Steamer Basket

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Pros: We loved the flexible silicone design and added safety features. 

Cons: This basket has a smaller capacity than some of our other favorites. 

If you’re looking for a good deal on a steamer that gets the job done, look no further than this Joseph Joseph model. The silicone material is easily flexible and can fit many pot sizes, making cleaning a breeze. The added silicone bumpers insulated the petals to keep your hands from touching anything too hot. The one thing we wish we could change is the capacity. Our testers thought this would be good for smaller jobs, but one said, “The way the petals fold inward limit its capacity in anything but a large pot. Good for steaming veggies and not other items that must be spaced out.”

Price at time of purchase: $10

  • Material: Polypropylene and silicone
  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 5 inches
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Instant Pot friendly: No

Best Large

Farberware Professional Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer

Farberware Professional Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer


Pros: This steamer has a large capacity and sturdy design. 

Cons: Our testers thought this steamer was priced slightly high for its performance. 

When cooking for a crowd, nothing is worse than realizing you have to do something twice because your equipment isn’t big enough for just one batch. We loved this steamer basket because of its sturdy design, and in our tests, it fit all of our veggies and the second most number of dumplings — with room to spare. We loved how high quality and well-made this model felt. There were no signs of flimsy metal anywhere. While we liked this steamer, our testers did note that it felt similar enough to other steamers that were lower in price. 

Price at time of purchase: $19

  • Material: Stainless steel 
  • Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 1.65 inches
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Instant Pot friendly: Yes

Best Silicone

OXO Good Grips Silicone Steamer

OXO Good Grips Silicone Steamer


Pros: This easy-to-clean model is an excellent value with exceptional versatility.

Cons: The floppy material of this steamer means food doesn’t stay put during cooking, which can be frustrating. 

Silicone is the way to go for versatility when it comes to steamers. The flexible material means the basket can easily adapt to any size pot. Our testers raved about how easy this model is to clean — everything just slides off easily. Claire Onidi, the food blogger behind Jugo Feed, says this OXO model is her favorite. “Unlike stainless steel steamers, this silicone steamer won’t burn your fingers,” she says. “The best part is I don’t tear up my fingers trying to clean it like I would with a metal steamer basket. There are no flaps or crevices, so it’s a breeze to clean.” 

Silicone is also a very durable material by nature, so at $17, this basket feels like a great value. Though, with the flexibility of silicone comes a lot of wobbliness. Our testers were slightly annoyed that food slid around in the basket without staying in place, especially during the broccoli test. 

Price at time of purchase: $17

  • Material: Silicone
  • Dimensions: 7.25 x 3.75 x 10.5 inches
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Instant Pot friendly: Yes

Best Versatile

Consevisen Steamer Basket Stainless Steel

Steamer Basket Stainless Steel


Pros: We loved this model's versatile design and the easy-lifting handle.

Cons: The loose petals on this steamer made it feel less durable than others. 

This steamer has the classic petal design we’re all used to but with a unique feature; it opens all the way and partially, as well as closes flat for versatile cooking. We also loved the convenient fork slot for easy, hands- (and burn-) free lifting. On the other hand, we didn’t like how loose the petals felt, especially after our durability tests. Nevertheless, it feels like an excellent value at such a low price, even if it doesn’t have the potential longevity as other models we tested. 

Price at time of purchase: $11

  • Material: Stainless steel with silicone feet and handle
  • Dimensions: 5.9 x 5.9 x 2.7 inches
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Instant Pot friendly: Yes

Best Collapsible

Martha Stewart Stainless Steel Folding Steamer Insert with Handle

Martha Stewart Stainless Steel Folding Steamer Insert with Handle in Taupe

Bed Bath & Beyond

Pros: For a collapsible model, we liked the ease of the large capacity and highly durable design.

Cons: The extra large size of this basket made it challenging to use. 

This steamer was one of the largest we tested; it fit a whopping 23 dumplings! This basket is for you if you have a large family or often cook for a crowd but don’t have the space for large appliances and gadgets. Our testers loved the large, sturdy base and thick metal petals, noting how solid and durable it felt throughout testing. We love a big steamer basket for big batches, but we felt like it was sometimes too big during our tests. One tester said, “Even in my larger pot, it wasn't fully extended. I had to push to get it in.”

Price at time of purchase: $40

  • Material: Stainless steel with silicone feet
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 2 inches
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Instant Pot friendly: Yes

Our Favorite 

Our favorite steamer basket, the KitchenAid Universal Steamer Basket, snagged our top spot for outstanding performance in our tests and easy-to-use versatility. The OXO Good Grips Silicone Steamer is our favorite silicone design since it can seamlessly fit into any cook’s favorite pot thanks to its flexibility.

The Tests

Our testers put each basket through various tests, including steaming broccoli and dumplings. They then performed durability tests by dropping the baskets on the floor. The emerging winners were then opened and closed 20 times to test their durability after being dropped and used.

Factors to Consider


You’ll usually run into either stainless steel or silicone for steamer baskets that sit inside pots. Both materials have positives and negatives; the best material depends on your needs. The main benefit of silicone inserts is that the flexible material can easily fold and contort to any pot or pan and can also be used in cookers like an InstantPot. Silicone is also a breeze to clean; it can be rinsed off, while others can be tossed in the dishwasher. The downside is that their floppy nature can make them a bit difficult to handle. Stainless steel baskets are more versatile, and because of the petals that are often part of the design, they can accommodate many different amounts of food. This also makes them easier to store since they fold up relatively flat. In addition, stainless steel conducts heat better than silicone, so they heat up faster and retain heat longer.


Executive Chef Lydia Solano of Bakery Bar in New Orleans says size is the most important factor when shopping for a new steamer basket. “It is important to make sure you are buying a steamer basket that fits a pot you already have. Since you cannot put the steamer basket directly on the stove, you will need a pot to place it in and want it to sit properly above the water in the pot.” Larger baskets are great for big families or regular jobs like steaming dumplings for a crowd. Still, if you plan to use your basket only occasionally or for a smaller household, a smaller basket is a better way to go.

Design and Storage

The type of steamer basket design depends greatly on what you plan to use it for and how often you think you’ll use it. If you’re into meal prep or multitasking, consider the type that sits on top or high up in a pot. Sophia DeSantis of the vegan and gluten-free blog, Veggies Don’t Bite, says, “It’s especially great using those baskets that fit high up on a pot because it helps cut down on meal prep time by allowing you to quickly steam veggies while boiling water for things like pasta. Two things are done simultaneously and cut meal prep in half!” Some models have petals fold flat, and those are best if you’re short on cabinet space. 


Some baskets, like those made of silicone, can easily be wiped clean, while others take more time and elbow grease. Stainless steel models with a petal design can be the toughest to clean since several pieces move around. But for some, extra cleaning time is worth its performance and easy storage.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do you use a steamer basket?

    Steamer baskets come in a few different styles. Generally, you’ll find ones that nestle atop the opening of a pot or some that you set on the bottom of a pot that has feet that lift them an inch or two. Some require a lid on top, while others simply sit on top of the pot or have a petal design that can be cinched in to cover the food. Either way, the setup is mostly the same. Start with a pot that can fit your steamer and add a few inches of water, making sure the water level is at most an inch from the bottom of your steamer. Next, heat the water to a soft boil to generate the steam, and set your full steamer basket on top. How long to steam your food depends on the items, but most veggies only take a few minutes.

  • How do you steam without a steamer basket?

    If you haven’t snagged one of our favorite steamer baskets yet, you can still steam your favorite foods. This method doesn’t work as well as a steamer basket, but in a pinch, it can work. All you need is a fine mesh strainer, a pot that the strainer can sit in, and a lid that fits the pot. Fill the pot with water and set the strainer on top, ensuring it isn’t touching the water. Next, place your food in an even layer in the strainer and cover it with the pot's lid. Steam will escape the sides, and the curved surface area can lead to uneven cooking — two things that are remedied by using a steamer basket, but it can be good enough in a steaming emergency.

  • What is the best material for a steamer basket?

    The best material for a steamer basket depends on your preferences. Generally, the best two will be flexible silicone or durable stainless steel. Avoid any type of plastic or composite material. Silicone offers easy cleanup and flexibility that allows them to fit more sizes of pans. That said, their flexible nature has the downside of a slippery texture and lack of rigidity that can lead to some catastrophic dropping. Stainless steel is more durable but is usually harder to clean and can’t adapt to different pots.

What Didn’t Make the List

Strong Contenders 

  • Starfrit Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer ($11 at Amazon)

Results Still Simmering 

  • OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Steamer with Extendable Handle ($23 at Amazon)
  • Sayfine Vegetable Steamer Basket ($12 at Amazon)

Low Performers

  • MSC International Joie Silicone Steamer ($12 at Amazon)

Our Expertise

Nick DeSimone wrote and compiled this piece using the insights we collected during our lab tests. Nick has worked in professional kitchens for nearly a decade and is familiar with all types of kitchen equipment. Nick also spoke to three culinary professionals, from food bloggers to chefs, who field-test steamers constantly and know what works best.

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