How to steam vegetables with a steamer

Updated February 21, 2017

Fresh steamed vegetables are a healthy alternative to canned or frozen varieties. Not only do they retain their natural colour and shape, but they retain vitamins and nutrients, as well. Because they cook quickly at a high temperature, flavour is enhanced and overall appearance in maintained. Hob steamers are ideal for preparing fresh vegetables that complement your main dish. With a few minutes of preparation, you can have fresh steamed vegetables in minutes.

Wash and pare vegetables as you would for boiling. Cut into uniform size pieces. Cooking vegetable pieces of the same size and thickness ensures that all vegetables are evenly cooked in the same amount of time. Steam whole vegetables, if preferred, but allow for a longer cooking time.

Fill the bottom pot with several inches of water and bring to a boil. Place the steamer basket in the pan. The water should not reach the bottom of the steamer basket. Fill with vegetables and cover tightly with the lid. Reduce heat to maintain a light boil. You can make your own steamer by resting a metal colander inside a suitable pan of boiling water and covering tightly with a fitted lid.

Steam for the appropriate length of time. (See Resources.) Generally, a cooking time of five to 35 minutes is required, depending on the vegetable. Turn off the steamer and allow it to cool for a few minutes before removing the lid. Use caution, as escaping steam is very hot and can easily burn your skin.


Experiment with cooking times to find the time that works best for you.

Things You'll Need

  • Vegetable steamer
  • Fresh vegetables
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About the Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.