How to Use a Bamboo Steamer

Last Updated on October 13, 2021 by Boniface Muriuki

Steaming is a healthier and faster method of preparing your meals. It requires no added fat or preservatives but allows the food to cook in its natural flavor.

If you feel that you want to embrace steaming as a healthier cooking option, you should consider adding a bamboo steamer to your kitchen arsenal.

This steamer will make the art of steaming any of your favorite meals a breeze. This guide elucidates the crucial tips on how to use a bamboo steamer to get the best results.

How to Use a Bamboo Steamer

What is a Bamboo Steamer?

When you think of a bamboo steamer, what should come to your mind is a basket. Yes! A bamboo steamer is made using the same concept as the traditional baskets.

The steamer consists of interlocking baskets that are stuck on top of each other. It also has a woven lid that comes on the top.

Why You Need a Bamboo Steamer

Investing in a bamboo steamer may sound wasteful at the beginning. However, you will realize how important the appliance is after using it several times.

It guarantees not only a healthy cooking method but also a reliable and convenient one. Once you start the steaming, you’ll leave to continue with your other assignments. Your only duty will be to check the water levels in the wok.

Additionally, a bamboo steamer is highly versatile. You can steam as many food items as you wish, ranging from vegetables, bread, dumplings, rice, and many others.

Even better, the appliance has many basket segments, thus allowing you to cook many food items simultaneously. This kitchen appliance costs anywhere between $20 and $40, depending on size and other features. 

Best Bamboo Steamers to Consider

1. BirdRock Home 10 Inch Bamboo Steamer for Cooking Vegetables and Dumplings 

Best Bamboo Steamer for the Money


  • Designed using 100% bamboo giving you a natural option to cooking
  • Designed with 2 tiers letting you cook the meat separate from the vegetables and rice
  • Cooking Dimensions: Each Tier Offers 10″ Diameter x 2.4″ Depth; Interior Diameter: 9.25″

2. Mister Kitchenware 10 Inch Handmade Bamboo Steamer

How to use a bamboo steamer


  • Bamboo steamers can have stackable layers with slatted bottoms. Such multi-level steamers are highly efficient as they allow you to steam multiple items simultaneously
  • Each Tier Offers 10″ Diameter x 2.4″ Depth; Interior Diameter: 9.25″

3. Prime Home Direct 12 inch Bamboo Steamer Basket

Best bamboo steamer


  • Bamboo steamer is made of 100% organic bamboo
  • Includes a 10” basket, two chopstick sets, 1 sauce dish and 50 liners
  • It is non-sticky and perfect to steam vegetables, meat and fish or it can even be used as a rice cooker.
  • Two stackable layers fitting on top of each other, Each level allows a cooking space of 12” diameter with 3” depth.

4. Steami – Bamboo Steamer Basket (10 inch) with Liners and Recipe Guide

What is a bamboo steamer and how does it work?


  • 10 Liners that make clean up easy and prolong the life of your steamer.
  • Easy to follow recipes for steamed vegetables, soup dumplings and pork dumplings.
  • 10 inch two-tier design is practical and versatile. Large enough to cook full meals. Racks are interchangeable and can be rotated during steaming to regulate cook time and temperature.
  •  100% eco-friendly bamboo. The BPA free all bamboo construction

Bamboo Steamer Set Up 

A bamboo steamer works by steaming your meals to unmatched doneness. The steamer is placed on top of a wok of simmering water.

As the water simmers, steam rises through the open ridges available on the bottom of each basket. It rises through the layers of the bamboo steamer, cooking everything that is inside the baskets. 

If you’re new to using the bamboo steamer, you should follow these steps for the best results:

  • Fill the Trays/Baskets. You should put all your ingredients in the available trays. Ensure that you add food with the same cooking time to each tray. The ones with a shorter cook time should be at the top. Once you’re done, you should cover the steamer using the lid.

When cooking food that may leave an odor, such as fish, you should always line the bottom of the basket with banana leaves or a perforated parchment paper. 

Additionally, you should ensure that you space the food to prevent sticking and allow air circulation. 

  • Prepare Your Wok. You should fill your skillet/wok with approximately 3 inches of water. The water level should not exceed the rim of the bottom layer of the bamboo steamer. Once the water boils, you can reduce the heat to allow your food to simmer and slow cook. 

Do not allow your food to be submerged in water.

  • Place Your Bamboo Steamer. Once the water starts simmering, you should place your steamer in the skillet/ wok. Always keep checking the water level. If it reduces to a low level, add more to prevent your food from burning. 

Advantages of a Bamboo Steamer 

  • Lightweight. When you compare this steamer with other cookware, you’ll be amazed at how light it is! It is easy to handle the appliance even when it has food in it.
  • It is Stackable. Like we’ve earlier indicated, the bamboo steamer comes with many stackable baskets. This way, you can steam more than one food item simultaneously.
  • Highly Aesthetic. A bamboo steamer is natural and attractive. It oozes elegance and class, and you can be sure that it will be a mark of excellence in your kitchen.
  • Easy to Use. Cooking with a bamboo steamer requires little supervision. The risk of your food burning is minimal. All that you’ll be required to do is check the water levels regularly.
  • Relatively Affordable. Compared with stainless steel, copper, and other exotic cookware, buying a bamboo steamer is undoubtedly affordable. 

What are the Disadvantages of Bamboo Steamer?

  • Absorbs Odor. Bamboo steamers absorb odor! When you’re cooking fish, you should line the basket with banana leaves to prevent odor retention. 
  • Relatively Difficult to Clean. Washing the steamer after cooking can be a hassle. It is challenging to get rid of any odor form (you can use lemon or tea bags to eliminate the odor).

How to Clean Your Bamboo Steamer 

Cleaning your bamboo steamer is one of the essential maintenance tips. Ensure that you clean it thoroughly after every use. Follow these steps:

Rinse the Steamer

Immediately after you remove your food, you should rinse the steamer using warm water. This is particularly important if you’d used leaves or parchment paper when cooking.

If there are any remains of the leaves, then you should soak the basket in hot water for approximately 5 minutes, then rinse it. 

Avoid Using a Dishwasher 

Your bamboo steamer will serve you for a long if you hand wash it. Dishwashers are characterized by harsh detergents, which will undoubtedly reduce their lifespan.

Wipe Away Any Food Remains with a Non-Abrasive Scrubber

In case the rinsing did not remove all the dirt and food remains, you can use a scrubber/ a bristled scrub brush to get rid of them. However, it would be best if you were gentle throughout the entire process to avoid damaging the baskets. 

Avoid dish soap as bamboo is porous and may soak the detergent leaving behind a residual smell that may be transferred to your next meal!

Use Tea Bag/ Lemon to Remove Odors 

In case your bamboo basket has a residual smell, you can rub its side with lemon. Alternatively, you can soak a tea bag in warm water and rub it on the sides of the steamer.

These two methods will help resolve the odor menace in a few minutes!

Oil Your Bamboo Steamer

This is an optional step, but we highly recommend it. It prevents your steamer from cracking once it dries up. 

After you’re through cleaning and drying, you should dip a paper towel into the oil and spread it all over the bamboo steamer. Dry it and store it for the next assignment. 

How to use a bamboo steamer

How to Use a Bamboo Steamer -The Bottom Line

A bamboo steamer is a crucial kitchen appliance, especially if you love steamed meals. It has stackable baskets that allow you to cook many meals simultaneously.

Additionally, this steamer is made from bamboo, which guarantees safety. It allows you to slow cook any meal ranging from vegetables to fish. You will accomplish the entire cooking process without adding a single drop of oil!

As such, you can be sure that using a bamboo steamer is a healthy means of cooking your meals. If you’re wondering how to use a bamboo steamer, how to clean it, and maintain it for optimal performance, then read through this article for unmatched tips. 

How to Use a Bamboo Steamer – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What do I use to line a bamboo steamer?

    You can use parchment paper or banana leaves. The lining ensures that your steamer does not retain unwanted odors from the steaming food.  

  2. What is the difference between a bamboo steamer and a metallic one?

    A bamboo steamer is made out of 100% natural material, thus has a better safety profile. Also, a bamboo steamer absorbs most of the moisture, unlike the metallic one that recondenses the moisture and drops it into the food. Additionally, a metal steamer is hotter and may yield crispier meals. 

  3. Can I use aluminum foil in a bamboo steamer?

    Yes, you can use aluminum foil to line the steamer, thus preventing the food from sticking. This will further make cleaning a breeze.

  4. Is it safe to use bamboo steamers?

    Yes, using a bamboo steamer is healthy. It is made of natural materials and retains all flavors. You will also not be required to add any oil when cooking. 

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