What is a Steam Microwave?

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Updated August 17, 2022

If you are shopping for a new kitchen appliance, you may wonder what is a steam microwave. The best microwave ovens, after all, tend to include functionalities that go above and beyond simple microwaving, which can sometimes heat food unevenly.


  • A steam microwave is a combination or hybrid model that combines the functionality of a standard microwave oven with a dedicated steamer.
  • Use a steam microwave to steam frozen vegetables, raw vegetables, raw meat, and more, with reduced cooking times for healthy meals.
  • You can also use a steam microwave to boil water for coffee, tea, and related beverages.

Types of Microwaves

There are a wide variety of microwave ovens on the market that extend beyond conventional microwaves and even a conventional oven. If you are wondering, for instance, what is a countertop microwave, it is a model designed to rest on a kitchen counter. Other types of microwaves include convection microwaves, over-the-range microwaves, combination microwaves, and, of course, steam microwaves. Some microwaves even include a grill, which means you’ll need to know how to use a grill in the microwave for further cooking options.

Insider Tip

If you can’t afford a dedicated steam microwave, opt for a simple steamer accessory.

What is a Steam Microwave?

As the name suggests, a steam microwave is a combination unit that combines the traditional functionalities of a standard microwave with a purpose-built steamer. These units tend to include dedicated cavities for boiling water, which is turned into steam and sent into the microwave cavity for cooking. Steam microwaves differ from microwave steaming accessories in that the latter need water to be microwaved to a boiling point, whereas steam microwaves get water up to a boil the old-fashioned way.

Benefits of Steam Microwave

There are some obvious, and not-so-obvious, advantages to choosing a steam microwave over one of the other types of combination models out there.

Steaming Vegetables and Proteins

The obvious benefit of using steam ovens is creating healthy and delicious steamed recipes. Use a steam microwave to steam fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables, raw meat, raw fish, and just about anything else you can think of. If it’ll steam, you can cook it. You can even make steamed nuts and the like. Steam cooking is great for chefs who are avoiding cooking oils and other fats, as they operate without the need for such fats while still keeping the food moist. As an added bonus, steamers don’t require preheating.


Steamers are great for performing quick defrosts before cooking ingredients via another method. You can cut your defrost time down by half or more, depending on the size of the cut of meat.

Boiling Water

If you simply want to boil water for coffee, tea, and related beverages, a steam microwave can be a convenient way to get your caffeine on.


Microwaves vs steam ovens: How do they differ and when should you use each?

When defining steam ovens, it is a conventional oven mixed with a dedicated steamer for brown foods and frozen ingredients. A steam microwave is a microwave mixed with. dedicated steamer. Choosing steam ovens or microwave steamers is a matter of personal preference, as they both allow for increased health benefits while cooking.

Why do people love microwaves?

People love microwaves because they cook food quicker than a regular oven, and they also make microwave popcorn and allow for other microwave cooking tasks. Traditional ovens can heat up a whole house and microwaves do not.

How long to steam vegetables?

All vegetables have different cooking times, so do some research before attempting a new recipe. You may also want to cover the vegetables with a paper towel.

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)

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