The Different Kinds of Steamers And Which One Might Be Right For You

Buying a steamer is pretty sacrosanct for your restaurant if you cook a lot of vegetables, fish, or just want to be healthy-conscious when cooking your dishes. But while most steamers might look like a microwave or an oven, there are different steamers for different applications.
By Alpha from Melbourne, Australia (Timsum steamer – Jok Sampet) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Going Convection vs. Going Pressure

A convection steamer is probably the most common steamer you can get. What is great about convection steamers is that, like most equipment such as ovens, you can open them while it’s steaming so that you can check on foods or even add seasoning in the middle. Convection steamers are readily more available, as a steamer are fairly common in restaurants.

But a pressure steamer works on a completely different ground. As pressure steamers are built to cook food more quickly, they will cook food on an increased atmospheric pressure (as much as 15 PSI, depending on what steamer you buy). So unlike convection steamers, you can’t open the compartments while they are cooking. As they also cook on a higher pressure, they typically will cook on higher temperatures.

Where Will Your Steam Come From?

On most cases, your steamer will come with a boiler in which you will put your water/connect your boiler to its own water line and drain after (which by the way, you will have to clean the boiler reservoir once in a while). But if you’re running a smaller kitchen, then you might get away with having a steamer without a boiler, on the benefit of having your equipment last a LOT longer.

But there are even other types of steamers where you can have a direct steam capability (make sure the steam’s certified to be clean), although those tend to be the hardest to find. Like water boilers, steamers are affected by the water quality. If your municipal water connection tends to be dirtier than average, then you might have to clean it more than usual.

How About Combi Ovens?

For some chefs, a combi oven is all they will need for their kitchen. Combi ovens can not only cook and steam, but can do both in food at the same time. Combi ovens don’t suffer from the losing moisture of convection ovens and won’t overmosit the food from too much steaming.

However, combi ovens can be some of the most expensive equipment you can buy. Usually your most expensive ovens might go around the price of a new family car. But int the world of combi ovens, they are more comparable to a luxury sedan.

As more people become health-conscious with how they eat, steamers are becoming more essential to cooking service. Want steamers? Call One Fat Frog and get started with us: (407) 480-3409.