The Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, saute pan, slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker, warmer, and yogurt maker. It seems that the only thing this kitchen show pony doesn’t do is sanitize socks.
Our great-grandmas and grandmas knew what they were doing when they steamed vegetables with their metal contraptions.
Because the food is not boiling directly in water, nutrients are retained and cook time is faster. No added fats are needed so the calorie count stays low without sacrificing flavor.
If you have this must-have gadget of the year or just a cabinet full of pans that could use some accessorizing, steamer baskets are a welcome addition to any home arsenal.
They can work with both old fashioned and newfangled pots.
Before jumping into product potential, let’s discuss the versatility of steamer baskets.
|#1. Oxo Good Grips Silicone Steamer|
Our Best Pick
|#2. Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel |
|#3. Ekovana Stackable Insert Pans |
|#4. Instant Perrt Six Quart |
|#5. Aozita Steamer Basket with Removeable Dividers and Rack |
Not Just for Broccoli Management
Steamer baskets of all type (metal, silicone, bamboo) are well known as the vegetable masters, but they can do so much more.
Put the eggs on a rack or steaming basket to keep them out of direct contact with the hot water. Set the electric cooker to low pressure.
You get perfect eggs without wasting energy or having to watch the pot. Poaching isn’t a problem either. Crack eggs into a silicone baking cup and place into a steam rack or basket and set for 2-5 minutes. Easy.
- Soft: 3-5 minutes
- Medium: 5-7 minutes
- Hard: 8-9 minutes
Dumplings and Muffins
Dumpling, breads, muffins, and cheesecakes are always better with a little moisture injection. With a container-in-basket method, it’s easy to create a cornbread that’s even better than the a cast iron skillet.
Nobody Likes a Soggy Bottom Meatloaf and Other Sundries
Ground beef, small hams, chicken, and other meats that don’t cook as well or would absorb too much liquid benefit from a little lift. You want formed loafs to cook thoroughly without braising.
When elevated by a steamer rack or basket moisture is distributed more evenly around the food. This simple technique results in better browning, crispiness, and no waterlogging.
1. OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Steamer with Extendable Handle
It’s back to basics. When in doubt reach for a classic design and stainless steel petal steamer. The folding, metal leaves allow for an instant fit in pots 8 inches in diameter and up.
The flexible design works equally well in an old pot or electric cookers. The feet are just under two inches, keep the food away from liquid, and fold flat for storage.
Best features. This simple, easy clean gadget has a modern upgrade, too. The stay-cool handle grip (an Oxo signature) has a hole for a fork to lift instead of fingers.
Pro: satisfaction guarantee, dishwasher safe, fits several size pots, extendable handle
Con: sometimes the extendable handle loosens, best to hand wash
2. Oxo Good Grips Silicone Steamer
Felixible silicone brings it up a notch. Silicone has taken over a lot of the high heat tasks in the kitchen. Able to withstand temperature of 500 degrees, Oxo’s Silicone Steamer has such a low profile, it can sit in the corner of a drawer.
Silicone feet and high sides, keep food contained and away from the cooking liquid. It can accommodate electric or regular pots of a 7-inch diameter or greater.
Material flexibility allows the handle to fold down and fit secure without fear of interfering with lids. It’s large enough to steam fish and rather sizable chucks of vegetables.
Best features. This little steamer can be rolled up like a scroll and the handle locks over the legs, keeping it in just the right shape to fit into a drawer pocket or even into an upright storage jar.
Pro: food-grade silicone, dishwasher safe, large capacity, flexible handles
Con: legs may be too short for steaming in a regular pot if too much water is added
3. Ekovana Stackable Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker Steamer Insert Pans – For Instant Pot 6-Quart
Steam all the things. The bamboo stacking steamer design gets a major upgrade in Ecovana’s 2-tier pans made especially for electric pressure steamers.
This product can go the extra mile with pot-in-pot cooking when single steamers can’t. It will not only steam fish, mean, and vegetables but can also serve up cheesecakes and layered pasta dishes.
Durable stainless steel body and lids are dishwasher safe, and the convenient handle lifts both tiers together for hassle-free extraction.
The size fits perfectly in 6-quart cookers, is snug in a 5 quart, and rests in an 8 quart with ample room.
Ekonova is a company committed to its customers and boasts a 100 percent, money-back, satisfaction guarantee.
Best features. The included handle can be used to lifted spring form pans and Pyrex bowls used in the pot-in-pot cooking methods.
The containers can go from cooker, to service, to fridge which saves the need to dirty dishes or find orphan lids to the Tupperware.
Pro: prompt customer service and full guarantee, versatile handle, cook two meals at once
Con: each layer is 1.5 quarts, may not fit all electric cooker types
4. Instant Perrt Six Quart Steamer Basket
For those big jobs. If you want to steam a bunch of eggs, corn on the cob, or whole potatoes, this tall mesh steamer basket sold by Instant Perrt can handle the bulk.
It is friendly to pressure cookers and was built to fit the 6-quart Instant Pot. The two hand grips facilitate even lifting even with heavy weight and are looped not welded.
This means the handles fold up and out of the way and won’t interfere with the lid.
Best features. The mesh is fine enough to throw in bones and vegetable scraps to make homemade stock.
Pro: kitchen grade stainless steel, custom fit
Con: basket not made to fit higher than 6 quarts, mesh is hard to clean
5. Aozita Steamer Basket with Removeable Dividers and Rack
Score for versatility. If you are looking for the most bang for the buck, Aozita’s stainless steel basket combines the separation of stacking baskets with the ease of the basic petal steamers.
The modest hole size works well for meat loaf and other soft foods like dumplings, firm rice puddings, bread puddings, and Portuguese style couscuz.
If more than one is purchased, they can be stacked in larger capacity cookers to create a multi-tier much like the bamboo steamers.
Best features The removable dividers sections the base into three and the included rack to keep the base lifted out of the cooking water can also be used separately as its own steaming rack, a cooling rack, and a trivet.
Pro: stainless steel, models fit 6, 8, and 10-quart cookers, dishwasher safe, 2-inch legs on the rack
Con: limited 1-year warranty, low sides
Which Contender Deserves Cabinet Space?
Although all the featured items have their appeal depending upon your individual needs, two accessories lead the pack.
Whether electric or cooktop, this deceptively simple Good Grips tool fits any pot like no other on the list. Flexible handles won’t crowd the pot or interfere with the pressure cooking seal. It’s number one in compactness.
Ekovana Stackable Insert Pans have the advantage doing more than just sit in a pot. They perform the function of casserole dish, serving tray, and storage container.
They can go right from fridge to reheating too. More than one meal can be prepared at a time by putting the longer-cooking items on the bottom and the delicate ones on the top.
Because the tight-fitting lids and the body aren’t mesh, cleaning is easy. These time savers can do just about anything from roast chicken to quiche to custard.
Whether you choose stainless steel or silicone, remember that the grandmothers of kitchens past had the right idea.
When it comes to buying steaming accessories, ask two questions: is it easy to clean and what else can it do?