How to Steam Vegetables 4 Different Ways—Including in the Microwave, Instant Pot

Bring back steamed vegetables!

<p>Claudia Totir/Getty Images</p>

Claudia Totir/Getty Images

Steamed vegetables get a bad rap, but when done right, they can be delicious. Properly steamed vegetables taste pure and more like themselves, and can be incorporated into any meal. From an appetizer of a whole steamed artichoke with aioli, to a side of steamed green beans squeezed with lemon, there are endless ways to serve steamed vegetables. And while harsher cooking methods like boiling can cause a loss of nutrients, steaming preserves vegetables’ nutritional value

Are you convinced it’s time to learn how to steam vegetables? Keep reading to learn four easy, reliable methods for steaming veggies to perfection in any kitchen.

Related:How to Cook Asparagus 8 Different Ways—Including Grilled, Roasted, and More

How to Steam Vegetables in the Microwave

An easy way to steam vegetables is in the microwave—no special equipment required. The timing depends on many variables, including the veggies’ size and the microwave’s strength, so check regularly for doneness.

  1. Lay vegetables in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate.

  2. Cover the vegetables with a couple damp paper towels.

  3. Microwave on high heat, or until the vegetables are tender.

How to Steam Vegetables in an Instant Pot

The Instant Pot can do it all, and steaming vegetables is no exception. To speed up the process of steaming hardier vegetables like cabbage or carrots, give this method a try.

  1. Add an inch or two of water to the Instant Pot, then insert an Instant Pot steamer basket.

  2. Place vegetables in a single layer in the steamer basket, secure the lid on the Instant Pot, and pressure cook on high for 0 minutes. Yes, 0 minutes! The Instant Pot takes about 5-10 minutes to come to pressure, and most vegetables will steam fully during that window.

  3. When the Instant Pot beeps, informing you that it has come to pressure, do a quick release of the pressure. If the vegetables aren’t done to your liking by that point, keep steaming, following the same instructions as before.

Related:The Differences Between an Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, and Crockpot

How to Steam Vegetables in a Rice Cooker

You may think a rice cooker is a single-use appliance, but it can actually be used for many things, including steaming vegetables. In fact, by using a steam basket for the veggies, you can steam vegetables and rice at the same time for a complete meal with minimal mess.

  1. Add an inch or two of water to the rice cooker, then insert a steamer basket.

  2. Place vegetables in a single layer in the steamer basket.

  3. Close the lid, and start the rice cooker. If you have a one-button rice cooker, just press it and check the vegetables periodically for doneness. If you have a more advanced rice cooker, there might be a steaming function that can be set for certain increments of time, to help you steam to perfection. Depending on the veggies, this should take about 5-15 minutes.

How to Steam Vegetables on the Stove

If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can use any heat-proof colander in its place. Just make sure that you have a lid that covers (or at least mostly covers) the saucepan to encourage steam. 

Related:The Best Oven Temperature For Every Cooking Scenario

  1. Add an inch or two of water to a saucepan.

  2. Insert a steamer basket, and bring the water to a boil.

  3. Once the water is boiling, place vegetables in a single layer in the steamer basket.

  4. Cover the saucepan with a lid, lower the temperature, and steam until the vegetables are tender.

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