How-To: Basics of Steaming

Follow these techniques to make simple and healthy dishes, then watch our how-to video.

How-To: Basics of Steaming

Steaming is a healthy way to cook vegetables, meats and fish.

Step 1: Using a Collapsible Steamer Baskets

The collapsible steamer baskets are inexpensive and popular. Fill the bottom of a pot with a half-inch of water.

Step 2: Add Veggies to the Steamer

Drop in the steamer. Then add veggies, smaller pieces work best. Cover the pot and turn the heat to high.

Step 3: Bring to a Boil

Bring to a boil and let it steam. When is it done? It's up to you. Wait until they're tender or take them out earlier for a crisper crunch. Tip: Cooking times vary for different vegetables. Check your recipe for specifics.

Step 4: Using a Bamboo Steamer

A stackable bamboo steamer allows you do some more advanced techniques, like cooking a whole meal in layers.

Step 5: Layer the Veggies

Add the bottom section of the bamboo steamer to a pot with boiling water about 2-inches deep. Layer in some veggies, like bok choy.

Step 6: Add Flavor

Add aromatics, like sliced garlic and ginger or herbs. These flavors will rise with the steam to season your top layer. It's a healthy and delicious way to impart flavors naturally. Tip: Onions, garlic, herbs, ginger and citrus zest make great aromatics.

Step 7: Add the Protein

Now for the top layer, this is great place to cook meat or fish, and it makes it easier to check to see if it's done. Start with a layer of lettuce and place the protein on top. It'll make removing the ingredients from the steamer easier.

Step 8: When Is It done?

For fish, you'll know if it's done if it's opaque and firm to the touch.

Step 9: Using a Makeshift Steamer

You can also create a makeshift steamer. All you need is a pot with some boiling water and something to suspend food over it.

Step 10: Start Steaming

A handheld strainer like this works perfectly. Cover the pot and steam to your liking.

Step 11: Enjoy!

Try these techniques and steam your way to healthier eating.