How to Cook With an Electric Steamer

Updated February 21, 2017

Cooking with an electric steamer is a simple task that requires a minimum of cooking skill. The main advantage of the electric steamer over the old-fashioned steamers is safety. With the old hob steamers you needed to keep an eye on the clock to know when to pull the food off the boiling pan of water. That boiling water itself was a hazard. With an electric steamer you plug it in, add the amount of water needed as per your recipe, set the timer and walk away. Everything is contained -- even the hot water is enclosed in the base of the steamer.

Remove all the trays from the steamer. Determine how many trays you need for your meal. Meat needs to be on the bottom, heavier vegetables in the middle and leafy vegetables on top. A good rule of thumb is to place starchy items like potatoes and root vegetables closer to the steam. Lighter vegetables are kept furthest from the steam.

Pour the specific amount of water required for your meal. Each electric steamer model is different; some have a "fill" line that indicates how far to fill the steamer.

Place the meat, fish or shellfish in the steamer tray. Allow room for the steam to circulate. Sprinkle on your spices or seasoning on the top. Place this tray on the steamer platform.

Fill your next tray with root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Place this on top of the meat tray on the steamer.

Fill the final tray with your leafy vegetables and place it on top of the second stray. Place the cover on top of this tray and turn the steamer timer on, as per the recipe's directions. When the timer shuts the machine off, remove the trays by taking the bottom tray off. The other trays will still be on top. Unplug the steamer and serve your meal.


Marinating foods for long periods (six to eight hours) can add even more flavour to them.


Make sure that you use potholders when removing the steamed food. The trays may still be very warm.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric Steamer
  • Meat, fish or shellfish of choice
  • Spices of choice
  • Vegetables of choice
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About the Author

Philip Powe started writing in 1987 for St. Louis area newspapers. He has since written for "St. Clair County Historical Society Journal" and the "American Association of State and Local Historians Journal." Concentrations are in home and garden, philosophy and history. Powe holds a Master of Arts in intellectual history from Southern Illinois University.