Glass steaming basket is dishwasher-safe
Reservoir holds 1 liter of water
Presets for different types of food
Steams food evenly
Only comes with one steamer basket
People today are investing more and more of their time and money in preparing healthy meals. Food steamers are just one of the handy appliances that can help with this goal. There are lots of options—from stovetop versions and budget buys to advances models with multiple baskets—so it can be difficult to know exactly what will work best in your kitchen. We decided to test the Cuisinart CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer, a favorite among experienced chefs, to see if its functionality and features warranted its high price. Read on for all the details of our food prep and cleanup.
Setup Process: Easily done at the sink
Cuisinart recommends washing all pieces of the steamer before the first use, which is easy to do in any standard sink. One of our favorite aspects of the design is how easy it is to fill the water reservoir. We simply lifted it off the base, unscrewed the nozzle, and filled it directly from the sink. We didn’t have to worry about pouring water in from a separate container or the potential spills that can come with pouring liquid at an angle. We filled the 1-liter water reservoir once and didn’t need to refill it again during the cooking process.
Once the reservoir is full, you simply place the steaming tray in the basket (it can also be used without the tray insert), add your food, cover with the glass lid, and select a steam setting.
Design: Feels high-end
From the moment we unpacked the CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer, it stood apart from other food steamers we had seen. The stainless steel base and glass steamer basket make it a pretty sturdy appliance, and having the water reservoir in the back keeps the focus on the techy LCD display up front. We also like that the stainless steel details match the rest of our kitchen appliances. (If you have white appliances, the steamer is also available in white.)
Many consumers are becoming more and more wary of cooking with plastic containers as they have the potential to leach harmful chemicals into our food. For this reason, as well as ease of cleaning, we were quite pleased to find that Cuisinart’s CookFresh comes with a glass steamer basket.
We were able to prepare enough to feed a family of five with just one round of steaming.
The entire steamer measures 13.7 x 13.2 x 9 inches and weighs 15.5 pounds. It’s a little heavier and larger than other steamers we’ve used, but we’re happy to have the extra capacity and the glass steamer basket as opposed to plastic. Plus, the glass basket can be used as a serving tray or to store leftover food. The steamer also comes with an optional stainless steel insert tray which can be flipped to accommodate different types of food and has side rails so smaller food doesn’t slide off.
The steamer basket has a large, 5-liter capacity, but without any tiers, you may have to complete multiple rounds of cooking if you’re looking to make a few different sides. When we used it to make steamed vegetable side dishes, we were able to prepare enough to feed a family of five with just one round of steaming. If you need to make a lot of food or don’t want to steam chicken or fish alongside vegetables, however, you may have to separately cook something on your stovetop.
Performance: Perfect steaming
Steam cooking is pretty simple, but there are a few ways that some appliances actually steam better than others. The Cuisinart CookFresh introduces steam from the top, which is supposed to circulate around your food better than steam introduced from the bottom. We found that the top-steaming design cooked our food more evenly, without any pockets where the food got too soft or remained too crisp.
The stainless steel insert tray also contributes to the even cooking as it holds food up and allows the steam to fully disperse inside the glass basket. This means that when using the tray, any seasoning or marinade you use will most likely fall to the bottom, but that wasn’t a big deal for us. When we steamed potatoes and green beans, we added butter, salt, and pepper after they were done steaming. For proteins, such as chicken or fish, we preferred to season our food before it started cooking.
Features: Lots of settings make it simple
If you want to let the Cuisinart CookFresh do the thinking for you, you can use one of the preset cooking modes on the front LCD display. There’s an option for seafood, poultry, grains, and vegetables, as well as a manual setting and a “keep warm” function. We tested out the vegetable setting but ultimately preferred to set the steamer manually to suit our own tastes.
The included recipe booklet is very helpful, especially for those new to steaming.
While the 1-liter water reservoir held enough to steam an entire meal (and more), there’s also an indicator icon and an alert that will tell you when the water runs out. In addition, there’s also a 60-minute timer, a pause button that allows you to check on your food mid-steam, and a reheat setting that will bring your food back up to serving temperature if its been sitting.
The included recipe booklet is very helpful, especially for those new to steaming. It has recipes as well as general pointers for cooking common items like vegetables or poultry. The recommended cooking times proved very accurate; we steamed small potatoes for the suggested 20 minutes and they came out nice and soft.
Cleaning: Quick and easy
Even though the basket is on the larger side, it’s perfectly manageable to wash and clean in the sink. We had no issue with stubborn, stuck-on food, either. The basket, tray, and lid are also dishwasher-safe on the top shelf, should you choose to go that route. The only part that can’t go in the dishwasher or be immersed in water is the base, which should be wiped down with a damp cloth when needed.
Price: Higher cost for higher quality
With a list price of $150, the Cuisinart CookFresh doesn’t come cheap. We’ll admit that it’s pricey for a single-use appliance, but it may be worth it for those who frequently steam their food. Plus, it’s more solidly made than cheaper competitors, it comes with additional presets, and it’s easier to clean than budget buys.
Cuisinart CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer vs. Hamilton Beach 5.5-Quart Digital Steamer
The more expensive Cuisinart steamer is a great option for home chefs who are already fans of steam cooking. It’s a bigger financial investment and takes up more space, but it also comes with additional features. If you’re in the market for a high-end food steamer, this is the one for you. If you just want to give cooking with steam a try, then we suggest you save some money and purchase the Hamilton Beach 5.5-Quart Digital Steamer for around $30. It’s made of plastic and doesn’t come with any presets, but it’s still a reliable steamer that cooks food well.
Yes, buy it if you enjoy steam cooking.
We love almost everything about the Cuisinart CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer. While it would be nice to have multiple steamer baskets (or even just tiers in the existing one), that’s a feature we’re willing to sacrifice given the machine’s intuitive, effective, and easy-to-clean design.
- Product Name CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer
- Product Brand Cuisinart
- MPN STM-1000
- Price $149.95
- Weight 15.75 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 13.7 x 13.2 x 9.4 in.
- Color Stainless steel, white
- Capacity 5 L
- Warranty 3 years