Best Bamboo Steamers

The 10 Best Bamboo Steamers for Bao, Broccoli and More

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If you are looking for a fat-free cooking solution, then look no further than the bamboo steamer! Not only does steaming your food means you can cook it without adding any fat; steamed food also keeps most of its color and texture, and perhaps more importantly more of its nutrition when compared to other cooking methods.

In this review we look in detail at bamboo steamers, including what you should consider when choosing one and how to prepare or ‘season’ a bamboo steamer before using it for the first time. We also look at some of the foods you can cook in the steamer, as well as how to clean it after use. To help you to choose a steamer, we also offer reviews of a range of the best bamboo steamers available.

​Best Pick

​​Joyce Chen 26-0013 Bamboo Set Steamer

Our Best Pick: Is the Joyce Chen two tier bamboo steamer which is a traditional 10" diameter bamboo steamer that also comes gift boxed.

​Budget Pick

Helen Chen's Asian Kitchen 10 Bamboo Steamer Basket

Our Budget Pick: Is the Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen two tier bamboo steamer basket that also comes with instructions and a recipe booklet to help get you started!

Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Bamboo Steamer

1. ​Joyce Chen 26-0013 Bamboo Set Steamer  

Highlighted Features

  • A natural bamboo steamer with two tiers
  • Designed by famous restaurateur Joyce Chen
  • Has a 10" diameter and stands 6" high
  • Comes presented in a gift box
  • Steaming papers can be purchased from the manufacturer

The Joyce Chen two tier bamboo steamer (26-0013) has been designed by the famous restaurateur Joyce Chen, who opened her first restaurant in Massachusetts back in 1958. This is a 10" diameter steamer basket which stands 6" high; ideal for using inside a wok or over a stockpot which has a diameter two inches larger than the steamer.

It also comes in a gift box and you can buy steaming papers/basket liners from the manufacturer to fit this steamer. The two stackable baskets are made from woven bamboo and the domed lid on the steamer acts to trap in moisture. This should be hand washed in water and allowed to dry out before putting away.

The odd buyer has commented that this steamer has an odor with it which can take some time to wear off and as a natural bamboo steamer there is a risk of some peeling or natural movement with the bamboo.


  • Two tier
  • Pure bamboo steamer
  • 10" diameter
  • Comes gift boxed
  • Basket liners available


  • It may take some time for the odor to wear off the steamer
  • There is a risk of some peeling or natural movement of the bamboo

2. Helen Chen's Asian Kitchen 10" Bamboo Steamer Basket 

Highlighted Features

  • This is a two tier natural bamboo steamer
  • Has a tightly woven construction
  • Is 10" in diameter and stands 7.5" high
  • Includes instructions and a recipe booklet

The 10" Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen two tier bamboo steamer basket has been tightly woven and constructed to keep steam in for faster cooking. This two tier steamer that stands 7.5" high and also comes with an instruction and recipe booklet.

This should be hand washed without any dish soap and allowed to air dry. Some buyers have commented that this can have an odor to it and others have been disappointed with the quality of this as in some cases it has been received without the lid being able to fit properly. This can also be rougher to handle than other bamboo steamers.


  • Two tier
  • Pure bamboo steamer
  • 10" diameter
  • Includes instructions and recipes


  • Some buyers have been disappointed in the quality of this
  • There is a chance that the lid may not fit properly
  • The bamboo can be rougher than other steamers

3. VonShef Premium 2 Tier Bamboo Steamer

Highlighted Features

  • A traditional and woven bamboo steamer with stainless steel bands for durability
  • The steamer also comes with 50 wax basket liners and two pairs of chopsticks
  • This two tier steamer is 10" diameter

The VonShef two tier bamboo steamer kit includes a premium two tier steamer, 50 wax steaming papers and two pairs of chopsticks. The 10" bamboo steamer is naturally woven and has stainless steel bands around the baskets for extra strength and durability.

Some buyers have been disappointed with the quality of the steamer baskets and found they can be prone to developing mold even when cleaned and stored properly. You may also find the baskets are not quite as deep as other bamboo steamers.


  • Two tier steamer
  • Includes papers
  • 10" diameter
  • Steel banded for durability


  • ​May be at risk of going moldy even when stored properly
  • ​Some consider the baskets are not as deep as other bamboo steamers

4. Mister Kitchenware 10 Inch Handmade Bamboo Steamer 

Highlighted Features

  • Bamboo steamer with a 10" diameter
  • Traditional design with slatted bases and woven and domed lid
  • The kit also includes 10 reusable basket liners, a sauce dish and pair of chopsticks
  • Comes with a 60 day money back guarantee

Including 10 reusable steaming liners, sauce dish and pair of chopsticks, the Mister Kitchenware two tier bamboo steamer kit also comes with a traditional bamboo steamer. The steamer is a 10" diameter steamer with traditional slatted bases on its two baskets and a woven and domed lid. This also comes with a 60 day money back guarantee.

There can be a risk of the lid not fitting properly on the steamer which prevents it from sealing properly and the odd buyer has found that this can develop mold quite soon after purchase. Some owners have also found the reusable liners can only stand up to gentle washing after use.


  • Two tier
  • Traditional bamboo
  • 10" diameter
  • Includes reusable liners
  • ​Money back guarantee


  • May start to turn moldy quite soon after purchase
  • The reusable liners will only tolerate gentle washing
  • Some buyers have received lids that do not fit properly onto the steamer

5. Hcooker Three Tier Bamboo Steamer 

Highlighted Features

  • A traditional bamboo steam with stainless steel bands for durability
  • Available in a range of diameters, this has three tiers
  • Includes three cotton basket liners that are reusable

Available in a range of diameters, the Hcooker three tier bamboo steamer is a traditional steamer with a woven lid, but this also has stainless steel bands on the edges of the basket and the lid to improve its sturdiness and durability. This steamer also comes with thee reusable cotton liners. As this does have metal banding it is more expensive than other three tier bamboo steamers


  • Three tier
  • Available in different diameters
  • Steel banded
  • Includes reusable liners


  • Is more expensive than other three tier bamboo steamers due to the metal banding
  • As a three tier steamer it will take longer to cook foods

6. Happy Sales HSST-BMB08, Three Piece 8 Inch Bamboo Steamer 

Highlighted Features

  • A two tier bamboo steamer
  • Traditionally designed with a domed woven lid
  • Has an 8" diameter and is ideal for smaller woks or pots

The Happy Sales two tier bamboo steamer (HSST-BMB08) is an 8" diameter steamer ideal for smaller woks or stockpots, although the odd buyer has commented that this may need a steamer ring to work well in smaller pots. This is a traditional steamer with a woven domed lid to keep steam in.

Some buyers consider this is a little too small and there is a chance that you may be disappointed with the quality of this particular bamboo steamer.


  • Two tier
  • Traditional style
  • 8" diameter
  • Woven domed lid


  • Some buyers consider this 8" bamboo steamer to be too small
  • May need a steamer ring in smaller pots
  • The quality may not be as good as you would expect

7. Hcooker Three Tier Bamboo Steamer

Highlighted Features

  • A traditional style bamboo steamer with a woven lid
  • This is a larger three tier steamer
  • Includes three cotton liners that can be reused
  • This is available in a range of diameters

The Hcooker three tier bamboo steamer is available in a range of diameters up to 12" and is a traditional style bamboo steamer with a woven lid to keep moisture in. This should be hand washed only and allowed to dry naturally. These steamers also come with three reusable cotton liners.

As you can buy this is various diameters, do check that the one you want is the correct size as some are very small and will only be suitable for steaming single buns.


  • Three tier steamer
  • Traditional style
  • Various diameters
  • Includes reusable liners


  • Some sizes are very small, so do double check your diameter measurement before ordering
  • Will take food longer to cook if all three baskets are used

8. Zoie + Chloe 100% Natural Bamboo Steamer Basket 

Highlighted Features

  • Traditional steamer made from 100% bamboo
  • Available with an 8"or 10" diameter
  • This also comes with two cotton reusable liners

The Zoie + Chloe two tier bamboo steamer is a traditional steamer to hold in moisture during cooking. Made from 100% bamboo, this is available as an 8"or 10" diameter steamer. This also comes with two reusable cotton liners. Some buyers have been disappointed with the durability of this steamer and the odd buyer has received this steamer without the reusable liners.


  • Two tier
  • 8"or 10" diameter
  • 100% bamboo
  • Two reusable liners


  • There is a risk that you may receive this steamer without the reusable liners
  • Some buyers have not been impressed with the quality of this steamer

9. Flexzion Bamboo Steamer Basket Set 

Highlighted Features

  • A steamer kit that includes an 8" or 10" diameter bamboo steamer
  • Traditional style steamer with a bamboo woven top
  • The steamer has stainless steel bands for extra durability and strength
  • Also comes with 50 perforated liners and two pairs of chopsticks

The Flexzion tow tier bamboo steamer kit is available with an 8" or 10" diameter steamer. The traditional steamer is made from bamboo and has a woven top with stainless steel banding around the edges for strength and durability. This also comes with 50 perforated basket parchment basket liners and two pairs of chopsticks.

There is a small risk of receiving this steamer with some damage and as a banded steamer, this is made with other materials, rather than just natural bamboo.


  • Steamer kit
  • Two tier
  • 8" or 10" diameter
  • Steel banded
  • Includes parchment liners


  • Not all buyers are keen on buying a steamer with metal banding
  • There is a risk of receiving this steamer kit with shipping damage

​10. Juvale Bamboo Steamer Basket 

Highlighted Features

  • A 10" diameter two tier bamboo steamer
  • Made from natural bamboo and traditionally constructed
  • Also has stainless steel bands for strength and durability

The 10" diameter Juvale two tier bamboo steamer is a traditionally constructed steamer with the addition of stainless steel bands to strengthen the steamer. This may not last as long as expected as the odd buyer has experienced some damage to the basket after only using for a couple of times.


  • Two tier
  • 10" diameter
  • Traditional style
  • Steel banded for durability


  • Even though this is steel banded it may not last as long as expected
  • May become damaged after occasional use

Things to Consider Before Buying A Bamboo Steamer

Steaming is a moist-heat cooking method that is able to cook food in an enclosed environment by surrounding it with hot vapor. When foods are cooked in this way, it allows the color, flavor, texture and more of the nutrition to remain in the steamed foods. When we steam food, there is no need to add any fat to it for cooking which also makes it a very healthy cooking method.

Steaming also reduces the risk of overcooking food and in fact a steamer ensures that foods such as bao remains fluffy and light.

A bamboo steamer can be used to cook a wide range of foods such as vegetables, fish and seafood, chicken, steak, tofu, dumplings, bao and much more. You can also steam rice if you pre-soak for an hour or so before cooking and a steamer makes a handy warmer for foods such as tortillas.

Choosing a Steamer

The traditional bamboo steamer is usually composed of one to three bamboo tiers (or baskets) which interlock with each other along with a tight fitting lid which is woven from bamboo.

When choosing a steamer, look for one made from premium bamboo and you may prefer one which is joined naturally with bamboo wick or nails rather than any glue, wires or stainless steel bands - although these can give stability and durability to the steamer.

The base of the tiers or baskets should have bamboo slats that are wide enough to allow steam through to cook both levels and the lid should be tightly woven bamboo which is also able to sit tightly on the steamer.

The use of a bamboo steamer in Southern China actually dates back around 5000 years. Although most bamboo steamers are no longer produced by hand, the traditional manufacture of a bamboo steamer can take as much as a couple of hours.

To make a steamer by hand, the skin is removed from the bamboo plant and soaked in water so that it becomes more malleable. This skin is then shaped into a circle and bamboo nails are added to keep it in shape. The base of the basket is then made from bamboo strips and the lid of the steamer is hand woven.

Steamers come in a variety of diameters, but note that the diameter is the outer diameter, so always reduce this by around one inch for a better idea of the cooking space available in the baskets. The steamer should be the correct diameter to sit in a wok or pot which is slightly wider than the steamer.

When the steamer is placed in the wok, it should sit in far enough to remain balanced and stable. Steamers are best used in a wok, not only due to the larger diameter and rim of the wok, but also because woks are thinner, making it easier to not only heat the water, but also regulate the temperature during steaming.

If you do prefer to use a wok with a bamboo steamer, remember that if your wok is seasoned, boiling water in it will remove the seasoning. You can also use a wider pot such as a stockpot or even a large skillet (depending on its depth) with a bamboo steamer.

The best all-purpose steamer to consider is a 10" diameter as this will sit comfortably in most woks and should easily allow you to steam a meal for two or appetizers for more.

Preparing A Bamboo Steamer for Its First Use (Or ‘Seasoning’)

When you buy a new bamboo steamer you will need to prepare it before you can use it to steam food in. This means you should always allow a day or so extra before you need to cook your first meal in it.

First of all, place the steamer in some hot water in the sink with just a little dish soap. Wash each part of the steamer, drain the soapy water and then rinse the steamer well. Add fresh hot water to the sink and then soak for an hour. Finally, add some hot water to a large pot and soak for another two hours. Remove from the pot and allow the steamer to dry out.

Finally, assemble the steamer and allow it to steam for 30 minutes. It is now ready to use for cooking with.

Not only does preparing a bamboo steamer by soaking it ensure it is clean for using, it also helps improve heat distribution within the steamer.

How to Use a Bamboo Steamer

Generally, food should not be placed directly into a steamer basket without some form of layer as otherwise there is a good chance that the food will stick, unless you are cooking vegetables that will not stick.

Liners are often parchment or wax paper which may or may not be perforated and these are only suitable for single use. Cotton or other natural fabric liners can be washed and reused, as can silicone liners.

If you do not have any basket liners, then just cut some parchment paper to fit. Other options for lining include cabbage or lettuce leaves as these will add a little mild flavor to the foods. Even corn husks or banana leaves can be used as liners.

The food should be placed in an even layer in each basket, with foods such as bao and dumplings placed around half an inch apart to prevent them from sticking to each other.

If you have food with a lot of liquid seasoning, then you can place it on a shallow dish or plate inside the basket for steaming.

The food that will take the longest to steam should be in the bottom basket but be prepared to change the baskets around to ensure that all tiers have enough steam – especially if you need everything ready to eat at the same time.

To see how much water you will need in your wok for steaming, place the bamboo steamer in the wok or stock pot and see how deep it sits in the pot. Then remove the steamer and add water to just below this point. In most woks and pots this is often around the 2" mark. You may want to add some crushed garlic, lemongrass or slices of ginger to the water for extra flavor or you can even use broth or stock as the liquid to give a richer flavor to the foods being steamed.

Never add more liquid to the wok or pot than below where the steamer sits as otherwise the extra liquid will partially submerge the food in the bottom basket, meaning that food will be boiled rather than steamed.

Once you have the water in the wok, turn on medium heat and allow the water to come up to a simmer– but not boil. Then place the bamboo steamer with your basket liners and food in over the water to allow the food to cook.

You will need to keep an eye on the water quantity at the bottom of the wok and if it starts to get low then add more water. If the water becomes too low, not only is there is a risk of the bamboo steamer burning, but the food will also stop cooking.

When you check on your food, always open the steamer lid facing away from you to reduce the risk of a scald and use an oven mitt and/or tongs to move the baskets around or extract the food from them.

Cooking Times

Leafy greens such as arugula will only take a couple of minutes to steam, broccoli around 7 minutes, while smaller cubed butternut squash or thinly sliced potatoes will take around 10 minutes or so. Onions can take as long as 20 minutes. The thinner that vegetables are sliced the faster they will cook and likewise, if some of the vegetables are over-ripe, then they will not take as long.

Depending on the filling, dumplings can take as long as 20 minutes and you may want to briefly fry them afterwards for crispy dumplings.

Fish fillets can take between five and ten minutes – depending of course on size - while a whole fish may take as long as 30 minutes. Chicken breasts will take around 20 minutes or more, but do check they are cooked to a safe internal temperature of at least 160°F. If the chicken breasts are thicker, then make a few small incisions in the top and bottom of the breasts to help them to cook evenly.

No oil is needed when cooking any food by steaming; instead, just add seasoning or a marinade.

As soon as food is cooked in a steamer it should always be served immediately and although it does take a little practice to get used to using a steamer, you’ll soon get the hang of it.

Cleaning A Bamboo Steamer

If your steamer is not especially dirty, then a hot water wash by hand will usually be enough. If there is any food residue then a soft nylon brush will usually be tough enough to remove it. Do avoid scrubbing too hard though, otherwise you may damage the bamboo. You could even just leave it to soak overnight in water.

A bamboo steamer should never be placed in a dishwasher and generally avoid the use of dish soaps as the fragrance will seep into and stay in the bamboo. If you do use one, then keep to a non-fragranced or milder fragranced soap.

If you have used a detergent and you do have some dish soap aroma in your bamboo steamer, then steam it empty with a slice of lemon in the water for a few minutes to help remove the odor.

Once your steamer is clean, give it a good rinsing and leave it out to dry fully – as long as two days - before storing it somewhere which is ventilated. If a steamer is put away damp or stored in an area without ventilation – especially if you live in a high humidity region - there is a high risk that the bamboo will develop mold.

Depending on the foods you cook in your bamboo steamer, it can develop odors. There are a number of ways that you can remove these lingering odors from your steamer. As fresh lemon can be used to remove dish soap, it can also remove odors. Just rub lemon over the surfaces of the steamer, then steam it in the wok for a few minutes and allow it to dry out.

A used tea bag can also be used as a cleaner to remove the odor. The steamer should then be rinsed well and left to dry.

An equal mix of white vinegar and water can be used to wipe over the surface of the steamer. If you clean it this way, then you will then need to steam it for five minutes to remove the vinegar odor and allow it dry. Any vinegar residue should disappear as it dries.

You could also brush on some baking soda for a few hours, leave it and then rinse well and allow to dry.

Why Bamboo Is Sustainable

Although bamboo steamers have been in use for millennia, it is only in recent times that the popularity of bamboo as a material in the home is increasing. Bamboo is naturally antibacterial and when it is processed, this antibacterial capability is not removed.

Some bamboo species can grow as much as 3’ per day and when it is harvested in as little as one year, bamboo will grow a new shoot rather than needing to be replanted. Bamboo can grow in many places including harsher climates and it does not need any fertilizers or other chemicals to support its growth. It can also provide opportunities in countries that need economic sustainability.

As a bamboo plant is able to produce 35% more oxygen than the same size of tree, this allows large bamboo plantations to act as ‘carbon sinks’ – removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.


In this article we have looked in detail at bamboo steamers, including how long these have been around for, as well the importance of the basket liner and just what you should consider when selecting a new bamboo steamer. We have also briefly touched on bamboo itself and why it is becoming such an important sustainable resource.

If you are new to bamboo steamers then we trust that this article has given you enough information to not only choose the best bamboo steamer for fat free and nutritious cooking, but also how to prepare it for use, use it and clean it up afterwards!
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Lilly Kim

Although Lilly loves Korean cooking, she also is a fan of Japanese cuisine and loves to fuse the two...

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