How to Use a Microwave Steamer

Lawrence Bonk Profile image

Written by:

Updated August 17, 2022

If you are experimenting with the various functionalities of microwave cooking, you may wonder how to use a microwave steamer. These accessories tend to integrate with the best microwaves, after all. Keep reading to learn about microwave steamer accessories and their various uses.


  • Microwave steamers are purpose-built accessories that allow you to steam frozen vegetables, fresh vegetables, and proteins right inside the microwave, cutting down on cooking time.
  • They are easy to operate. Just fill the steamer basket with ingredients and the water reservoir with a few tablespoons of water (or more depending on the model.)
  • Take caution not to overfill either the ingredient basket or the water reservoir for proper use.

What is a Microwave Steamer?

What is a microwave? It is a kitchen appliance that efficiently and quickly cooks ingredients with electromagnetic waves. A microwave steamer is a purpose-built accessory for steaming vegetables and proteins inside of a microwave. Essentially, these include a microwave-safe bowl for ingredients with a bottom partition that holds water. As the microwave operates via the magnetron component, the water boils and steams the raw food or frozen food.

Depending on the power level of the microwave, you can grill in the unit with a grill kit. However, convection microwaves are better for baking goods like cakes and pizza. Moreover, you’ll want to avoid muting the microwave if you don’t want to burn your food.

Insider Tip

Microwave steamers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, so be sure to comparison shop before making a purchase.

How to Use a Microwave Steamer

Microwave steaming accessories could not be easier to operate. All you have to do is place ingredients in the top partition and fill the bottom partition with water. Operate the microwave as you would normally, allowing the water time to reach the boiling point. Then, steam your ingredients according to the instructions.

There are some tips to consider when using a microwave steamer, which is listed below.

Don’t Overfill the Water Reservoir

Most microwave steamers will include a fill line in the water reservoir. Do not exceed this fill line as the water could boil over as you cook, leading to a frustrating mess. If your steamer device does not have a noticeable fill line, use common sense. In other words, only use a cup or two of water to begin the steaming process.

Don’t Overfill the Ingredient Basket

Another cautionary measure is to refrain from overfilling the ingredient basket. Steamers don’t do so well when dealing with layer upon layer of ingredients, so try to keep it to one or two layers. This will ensure that your recipes cook evenly and, more importantly, thoroughly. This is of extreme importance when dealing with proteins such as poultry, as you never want to consume undercooked chicken or turkey.

Follow Washing Instructions

Some steamers can be thrown in the dishwasher, while others must be washed by hand. Be sure to follow the instructions to ensure your steamer will last a good while before needing a replacement.


Are microwaves safe for cooking your food?

The power of microwave ovens may lead some to think they are unsafe for a food cook, but these appliances are indeed safe to use, as any radiation they create comes in at trace amounts.

What kinds of foods can be made in a microwave steamer?

You can steam food of your choice in a microwave steamer with a few tbsp of water and some ingredients. Feel free to steam raw vegetables, frozen veggies, meats, and a variety of other ingredients, no matter what watt microwave you have.

Are plastics safe to put in the microwave?

Some are, some aren’t. Be sure to check that the plastic is microwave-safe and that is BPA-free.

STAT: Some of the world’s earliest examples of steam cooking were found in China’s Yellow River Valley, early steam cookers made of stoneware have been found dating back as far as 5,000 BCE. (source)

Lawrence Bonk Profile image