The Basics of Steaming: A Step-by-Step Guide

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

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

Step 1: Using a Collapsible Steamer Basket
Collapsible steamer baskets are inexpensive and popular. Fill the bottom of a pot with half an 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 to try 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 a 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 it's done when 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 hand-held 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. Watch our how-to video for more.