Includes two steaming trays
Can steam taller items
Steam delay setting
Trays are made of plastic
Warm mode continues to cook food
Eating a healthy, home-cooked meal feels great, but using multiple pots and complicated ingredients can consume a lot of time and energy. Thankfully, food steamers help make it easier for individuals and families to stay on track. To see if this popular 5.5-quart option from Hamilton Beach was up to the task, we took it home and tested it ourselves by steaming meats, veggies, and more, and then evaluating features like design and performance. Keep reading for our insights.
Setup Process: Just rinse and use
This food steamer requires almost no set-up. Hamilton Beach just recommends hand-washing all parts in warm water and soap before use, which took less than five minutes. From there, once you’ve prepared your food by cutting it to the desired size, all you have to do is load up the steamer and set the time via the digital touchpad on the front of the machine.
If you need to load your steamer before you’re actually ready to cook your food, you can do that, too—the machine has a delay start time feature. Simply fill the water reservoir, set the delay on the touchpad, and go about your day. You can easily check how much water you have in the steamer at any point by looking at the indicator on the front or checking to see if the “low water” light is illuminated.
Design: Compact enough for the counter
Even though this product has a capacity of 5.5 quarts, its 13.7 x 7.28 x 12.2-inch form doesn’t take up a lot of counter space. We love that the steamer includes two separate baskets, so we can cook meats and veggies at the same time—plus, it’s possible to remove the base of the top basket to cook taller food items such as corn on the cob. We also think it’s neat that you can steam eggs using the indented divots in the baskets. A drip tray and rice bowl are also included.
We love that the steamer includes two separate baskets, so we can cook meats and veggies at the same time.
When not in use, we felt that this steamer was easy to store because of its smaller footprint. Plus, the rice bowl can be stored within the top steamer basket for added efficiency. It is important to note, however, that if you don’t like to cook your food in plastic, this may not be the steamer for you, since the steaming baskets are all made with this material (though the plastic itself is food-safe).
Performance: Cooked delicious food
To help users figure out how long to steam certain foods, Hamilton Beach includes recommended steaming times in the provided instruction booklet. Following the company’s recommendations, we steamed broccoli, a favorite in our house, and green beans in the top basket; at the same time, in the lower basket, we steamed salmon.
We thought that this steamer worked perfectly. The broccoli was soft, the green beans had just the right balance of softness and crunch, and the roasted salmon was perfectly flaky and cooked. Other dishes that we enjoyed included steamed rice (using the included insert), steamed carrots and potatoes, and even steamed pears.
Before we tested this steamer, we used a basket on the stove to steam food, but this product won us over. We found that it provided the same quality cooking with far less energy use and easier cleanup (more on that below).
Features: Warming feature wasn’t helpful
Since some users might want their food to stay heated after it’s done steaming, this product switches to a “warm” mode automatically after your allotted cooking time is over. When we experimented with this feature, we were disappointed, though: We left our extra vegetables in the steamer on the warm setting, and after just five minutes, they were too soft and mushy to enjoy.
While this product doesn’t technically continue to steam food on the ‘warm’ setting, it does continue to cook it.
We believe that while this product doesn’t technically continue to steam food on this setting, it does continue to cook it. Although this didn’t impact proteins as much as it did vegetables, it was enough of an unwanted effect for us to feel that we needed to attend to our food immediately. For this reason, we recommend taking food out of this steamer right after it’s done—even if it means using an extra serving dish.
Cleaning: Easy enough
The Hamilton Beach 5.5-Quart Digital Steamer is pretty easy to clean. The drip tray and rice basket are dishwasher-safe, and although the steamer baskets aren’t, their bottoms are removable so they’re particularly easy to wash. After cooking food, we recommend cleaning the steamer basket right away, especially when steaming protein, as those items can get stuck on and are harder to clean with time.
Price: A great value
The added expense of cooking nutritious meals can be a barrier for many families. But at $39.99, this Hamilton Beach steamer proves that preparing healthy food can be done on even a modest budget. Other steamers may have extra features, such as preset cooking settings or glass baskets, but if you are looking for an entry-level appliance, this one is a great value.
Hamilton Beach 5.5-Quart Digital Steamer vs. Cuisinart CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer
If you want to save money on a food steamer, this Hamilton Beach model provides everything you need for a reasonable price. If you’re looking to invest in a more feature-rich appliance, however, the Cuisinart CookFresh Digital Glass Steamer, which we also tested, should be at the top of your list. At $150, it’s considerably more expensive, but it has programmed settings to steam vegetables, chicken, fish, and a variety of other items. The steamer basket itself is made of glass and is dishwasher-safe—two key features that we thought justified the higher cost. As we noted though, if a more basic model is what you’re after, the Hamilton Beach model is still a great pick.
Yes, buy it.
If you’re interested in cooking healthier meals without spending a lot of money on appliances or a lot of time on dishes, the Hamilton Beach 5.5-Quart Digital Steamer is the perfect solution. For basic steaming, this is exactly what you need—plus, the budget-friendly price can’t be beat.
- Product Name 5.5 Quart Digital Steamer
- Product Brand Hamilton Beach
- MPN 37530Z
- Price $39.99
- Weight 3.97 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 12.6 x 13.7 x 7.28 in.
- Capacity 5.5 qt.
- Warranty 1 year for manufacturing and workmanship defects