How to Use a Steamer Insert

By LeafTV Editor

Steaming is a healthy, fat free cooking method that takes less time than boiling. By steaming your dinner, you can lock in flavor and nutrients that would have been lost in discarded boiling water. You also do not need to use any fat in the preparation to steam your food. If you have a steamer insert, it is easy to use, and you can use it for any type of food that fits inside. Vegetables cut into uniform sizes are best, but you can also steam chicken and fish.

Steamed vegetables close up
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How To Use A Steamer Insert

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Place the saucepan on the stove over medium high heat and bring the 1" of water to a boil.

Put the food in the steamer basket. Place the thickest foods which will take the longest to steam in first, such as large cuts of potato, carrots, or meat, and let those steam for five minutes before adding softer vegetables such as squash or peas.

Cover the pot with the tight-fitting lid, and leave covered during the steaming process.

Let the food cook until crisp tender. For most fresh vegetables, this will be about five to seven minutes, and about ten to twelve minutes for chicken or fish. Separate meat from vegetables in the steamer or steam them separately.

Test for desired texture by piercing the food with a fork. If cooking meat, insert the meat thermometer. The temperature should register done for the type of meat you are cooking. Fish will flake easily with a fork and be opaque.

Remove the lid from the pot with the pot holder. Pull the steamer insert out with the pot holder.

Transfer the food to a serving dish and serve immediately.


  • Adjust the level of water so that the water does not boil away, but the water in the saucepan should never touch the food in the steamer insert.