Steam cooking is healthy and delicious, but steaming foods the traditional way can be messy. That’s where a steam microwave steps in.
This useful appliance is perfect for those who want to steam cook foods fast and with minimal trouble. In addition, a steam microwave also has all traditional microwave functions. But how to find the best microwave with a steam function?
We spent countless hours of research and spoke with experts to find the top microwaves with a steam function on the market. Don’t waste time or hard-earned cash; read on to find the best option for you.
What is a Microwave With a Steam Function?
A microwave with a steam function is an appliance that combines the benefits of a microwave with those of a steam oven. The main advantage of this system is that it merges the benefits of cooking with steam with the speed and power of a microwave oven.
The result is healthy food that’s ready to eat in mere minutes.
For instance, steaming fish in a steam oven or a bamboo steamer requires about 15-20 minutes. Cooking the same dish in a steam convection microwave oven only takes up to five minutes.
In addition to steam cooking, you can also take advantage of the other microwave functions. For instance, you can use the appliance to heat leftovers fast, speed-thaw frozen foods, make popcorn or mug cakes, and so on.
Benefits of Using a Steam Microwave
Using a steam microwave instead of a steam oven or steamer to cook dishes comes with a bunch of benefits. Check out the most important:
Improved Cooking Speed
Microwaves with a steam function cook food about four times faster than conventional methods, including steam ovens and traditional steamers.
Steaming in a microwave allows the steam to penetrate deeper into the food compared to other streaming methods. This results in a richer concentration of nutrients while excess fats are removed.
Reducing the cooking time makes it easier to preserve the food’s flavor and texture. The food is not only healthier but also more delicious.
Reduced Use of Fats
Steaming allows you to cook foods without adding too many fats or oil. This makes the method ideal for combating excess weight as well as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
No Taste Transfer
Because the microwave heats water molecules differently than regular heat, steaming in a microwave prevents taste transfers between foods when steaming on multiple tiers simultaneously. This means that you can cook savory and sweet foods at the same time.
Most microwaves with a steaming function feature pre-programmed steam settings. All you have to do is to select the food type and weight, and the system will calculate the temperature and cooking time automatically.
Disadvantages of Steam Microwave Ovens
While steam microwaves have a lot of advantages, they also have some drawbacks, including:
- Steam microwaves are more expensive than standard microwaves.
- They are harder to clean compared to steam ovens, especially after using the other microwave functions.
- Microwaves are incompatible with metal cookware and some plastics. You can only use microwave-friendly containers.
Does Steam Oven Replace Microwave?
A steam convection oven is an appliance designed to fulfill one purpose: allow people to steam cook their foods without making a huge mess. A microwave with steam cooking is much more versatile. Yet, which one should you choose?
Microwaves vs. Steam Ovens: How do they Differ?
A microwave with a steam function and a steam oven may look alike, but the two are very different. The table below can help you pick the right type for you.
|Microwave with steam function||Steam oven|
|Cooking||Cooks with superheated steam when the steam function is on. Uses microwaves to cook food quickly when other functions are selected.||Cooks with superheated steam only.|
|Steam cooking time||4-6 minutes||20-30 minutes|
|Other cooking functions||Multiple pre-programmed settings.||Steam cooking only.|
|Cleaning||It may require some scrubbing.||Easy to wipe clean.|
|Cookware||Microwave-friendly only.||Any type of heat-resistant cookware.|
|Professional installation||Only for built-in models.||It is required for most models.|
Best Microwave With Steam Function
1. Panasonic NN-SD975S Countertop Microwave Oven with steam cooking
The Panasonic NN-SD975S may lack a specific steam cooking function but is a versatile choice for all cooking needs. Twenty preset functions allow you to steam, braise, or poach a variety of foods.
Steam cooking in this appliance is as easy as it gets. The preset cooking options allow you to steam cook fresh or frozen vegetables, rice, or fish filets. To cook delicious steamed meals, place a few tablespoons of water and the food in a closed container and select the desired cooking option.
The microwave will do everything else on its own, setting the right cooking temperature and time.
Alternatively, you can set the desired cooking time and power to steam cooks other foods, such as buns or dumplings.
Why We love it
Easy to control
The intuitive control panel and preset functions make it a cinch to operate. You do have to read the manual first, but once you get a grasp of it, using the various settings and cooking foods is a breeze.
There is hardly anything more frustrating than ending up with partially cooked or only partially thawed food when using the defrost setting of a microwave. This will never be an issue with Panasonic NN-SD975S; the cyclonic wave inverter technology heats foods evenly, allowing for complete and even defrosting.
This microwave oven boasts a larger capacity compared to most countertop microwaves – 2.2 cubic feet vs. about 1.6 cubic feet, on average. In other words, you can fit in and cook or thaw a full 11lbs turkey.
Another feature that makes a difference compared to other microwaves out there is the power. The NN-SD975S from Panasonic has 1,250 watts, whereas most microwaves don’t exceed 1,000 watts.
These numbers may mean nothing to you, but translated into cooking power, they mean that you can cook the food faster. Fast cooking comes with advantages, such as better flavor and a higher amount of nutrients retained.
What Could be Better.?
This microwave has a dim interior light that makes it hard to see what’s going on without opening the door. When steaming foods, interrupting the process can have a negative impact on food texture and flavor.
Another thing we’d improve is the tiny display. The digits feel crammed and sometimes make it hard to read the cooking time.
2. Commercial Chef CHM009 Countertop Microwave Oven
Perfect for dorms and small homes, this mini microwave fits on the tiniest countertop. Despite its reduced size, it features multiple cooking functions and convenient one-touch buttons for some of the most popular foods.
Like the Panasonic, this microwave doesn’t have a preset steaming function, but you can use it as a steamer by simply adding a bit of water into the cooking dish. Set the cooking time and power based on the food you want to cook, and you can steam anything from rice and veggies to dumplings.
An excellent choice for households with children, it comes with a push-button style door and a convenient child lock.
Why we love it
While most people search for the biggest microwave out there, those with little available space will definitely like this model. It doesn’t fit a huge turkey, but it’s perfect for singles or a small family – and is tiny enough to find its place even into a studio apartment.
If you’ve ever tried to defrost food in a microwave, you know that setting the right weight is key to successful thawing. But what if the label is erased?
With the Commercial Chef CHM009, you don’t have to second-guess things anymore. The auto-weight and speed defrost will get your food from solid-frozen to pan-ready without hassle.
Multiple power levels
This microwave isn’t the most powerful out there – it only goes up to 900 watts – but its ten cooking power levels translate into incredible versatility and flexibility.
What could be better
The microwave has a lovely design overall, but the metallic feet have no grip. Thus, the oven tends to slide on the countertop when you open the door or operate it.
Compared to similar microwaves, this one takes a longer time to cook or heat foods.
3. Galanz GLOMJA17S2B-10 Range steam cooking function Microwave
If you love a streamlined kitchen look and would rather go for a built-in microwave, the Galanz GLOMJA17S2B-10 could be the best one for you. Its over-the-range installation makes it perfect for those who like easy access without any bending.
Although not the biggest microwave out there, the 1.7 cubic feet capacity suits mid-sized families. You can use this microwave to reheat foods or to steam cook delicious dishes in no time.
Next Read: Microwave with popcorn button: Is it a good choice for you?
Making some food after a full day is also easy with this microwave. Nine preset programs make it easy to cook meat, veggies, pizza, and even grilled cheese. Throw in 11 power levels and an eco-function, and this microwave is one of the best on the market.
Why we love it
Nine programs, 11 power levels, and 30-second express cooking make it a cinch to cook or reheat food.
Microwave and range hood in one
Designed to install above the range, this microwave incorporates a 2-speed exhaust fan that removes smoke and odor from your kitchen.
People with little to no countertop space will find this microwave incredibly practical. Install it over the range or under an upper cabinet.
What could be better
While all microwaves make noise, this model is rather loud. Not only is it louder than other microwaves, but the turntable is also noisy.
This microwave is generally reliable, but the customer support is almost inexistent. If you do have a problem with your unit, arm yourself with patience until you solve the issue.
4. Farberware FMO22ABTBKA with Smart Sensor Cooking
Farberware FMO22ABTBKA is a good choice for big families on a budget. It has the same capacity as the Panasonic NN-SD975S and almost the same power – an excellent choice for steaming, brazing, grilling, and general cooking.
A streamlined design makes it perfect for all kitchens. The microwave presents a stainless steel cabinet with a brushed finish, a black control panel, and a black glass window.
If you’re not quite the microwave master, you’ll also like the smart sensor that detects when your food is cooked to prevent overcooking.
Why we love it
Cooking made easy
In addition to the preset programs and variable power settings, the smart technology helps you prevent overcooking.
This is one of the few microwaves that adjust the cooking temperature mid-cycle to provide the perfect finish.
What could be better
Despite its fashionable looks and multiple features, this isn’t the most durable microwave out there. It brings good value for money, though.
Ease of use
Mismatches between the user manual and the actual microwave control panel make this microwave frustrating to use by beginners.
Comparison Chart of Microwaves With Steam Cooking
|Panasonic NN-SD975S||Commercial Chef CHM009||Galanz GLOMJA17S2B-10||Farberware FMO22ABTBKA|
|Capacity||2.2 cu. ft.||0.9 cu. ft.||1.7 cu. ft||2.2 cu. ft.|
|Max power||1,250 watts||900 watts||1,000 watts||1,200 watts|
Microwave with Steam Function Related Questions
How to Use Steam Function Microwave?
Selecting the steam function is very easy:
- Press the steam cooking button
- Select the food you want to cook
- Place a bowl containing a bit of water, salt, and the food in the microwave
- Press the start button
If the microwave doesn’t have a steam cooking function, place the bowl with the food and water in the microwave, select the cooking time and temperature, then press the start button.
Next Read: Best Microwave Without Turntable in 2022 (Review)
What Can you Cook With a Steam Oven?
You can stream all sorts of foods, including meat, fish, vegetables, dumplings, etc.
Will You be able to Maintain or Clean a Steam Microwave?
A microwave with steam cooking is often easier to clean compared to standard microwaves. The steam softens the grime and grease inside the microwave and makes them easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth.
How to Maintain a Steam Microwave?
Maintain the microwave by cleaning it after each use. Once a month, deep-clean it with baking soda and white vinegar.
Steaming foods in your microwave is quicker and easier than cooking in a steamer or steam oven. The steam function makes things even easier, helping you eliminate guesswork regarding cooking time and temperature.
We hope the guide above can help you pick the best microwave with steam function for you.