How to Use a Crock-Pot as a Steamer

By Ellen Douglas

When you don't have an extra pot to spare for steaming rice, vegetables and other foods, your crock-pot comes to the rescue. The small appliance's compact shape and tight lid allow for steam to build up and re-circulate inside the pot, gently cooking your food. A simple stainless steel steamer basket is an ideal partner for your crock-pot. The baskets' legs keep foods from resting in the cooking liquid, while its perforated sides allow for better steam circulation. Look for a basket with a removable center post so that you can add a covered bowl, as when you steam rice.

Woman cooking with multicooker
credit: JackF/iStock/Getty Images
Woman using crockpot in kitchen.

Rice

Step 1

Set a kettle filled with about 2 cups of water on the stovetop and turn the burner to high. In addition, preheat the crock-pot to high.

Step 2

Soak and drain the rice two or three times, or until the soaking water is mostly clear.

Step 3

Unscrew the center post on your steamer basket and put it into the crock-pot.

Step 4

Put the drained rice into a glass bowl that will fit inside the steamer basket. Cover the filled bowl with foil. Set the bowl into the steamer basket.

Step 5

Pour the boiling water around the perimeter of the basket, so that the water reaches a depth of 1 to 2 inches at the bottom of the crock-pot.

Step 6

Put the lid on the crock-pot, and leave it to cook for 2 hours.

Vegetables

Step 7

Preheat the crock-pot to high, and heat about 2 cups of water to boiling in the kettle.

Step 8

Wash, dry and chop the vegetables. To ensure even cooking, cut denser pieces such as root vegetables into smaller pieces, and lighter veggies like cauliflower and zucchini into larger pieces.

Step 9

Put the steamer basket in the crock-pot. Set root vegetables at the bottom of the basket, and softer veggies on top of them.

Step 10

Pour the boiling water around the inside perimeter of the crock-pot to a depth of 1 to 2 inches; cover the crock-pot with its lid.

Step 11

Cook for at least 1 hour. Check the texture of the vegetables and cook them longer if they are crisper than you prefer.