Is a Steam Oven Really Worth It?

A steam oven can help you make healthy meals fast. You can buy two types: a countertop version which will cook one to two portions at a time, or a wall version that will be as large as a regular oven.

They’ve become all the rage in home cooking in recent years, and for good reason. For many people, they offer the prospect of healthy homemade food that is faster than takeout.

Here’s a great kitchen we did with a steam oven.

What is the difference between an oven and a steam oven?

A steam oven uses steam to cook your food, not just heat. This helps the food retain more moisture, which means tender meat, flaky breads, and vegetables bursting with flavor. It also helps the food maintain more of its natural nutrients.

What is a steam combination oven?

This is an oven that combines steam heat with convection heat. Convection ovens use fans to circulate hot oven all around your food, which offers a more precise cook.

A steam combination oven is a powerful option, and is the option that will offer you the most versatility in your cooking.

What is a steam oven used for?

A steam oven can be used for any kind of food that can be steamed.

You can make a variety of dishes: baked chicken and rice, steamed fish and vegetables, breads, meats…almost anything you can think of, though you may need recipes to get started.

The recipes you’re used to using won’t work the same in a steam oven. Fortunately, there are plenty of steam oven recipes available online.

What are the pros and cons of a steam oven?

The pros of a steam oven are:

  • Steam ovens cook your food faster than conventional ovens do.
  • Steam ovens allow your food to retain more moisture, which means tastier food.
  • You won’t need oil to cook your food.
  • Steam ovens help you retain more of a food’s natural nutrients.

The cons of a steam oven are:

  • Unless you have a combination oven you’ll need to take extra steps to brown or sear your meat.
  • You can’t roast anything in a steam oven.
  • Steam ovens are typically small, which can make working with them a challenge when you have a larger crowd to entertain. There are higher end wall versions that can get around that option.
  • Steam ovens do come with a learning curve.
  • Steam ovens cease to function if you don’t keep them very clean, which makes them a little high maintenance.

What can you cook in a steam oven?

Can you cook a frozen pizza in a steam oven? Can you cook pasta in a steam oven? Can you reheat coffee in a steam oven, or roast vegetables?

Obviously before buying a steam oven you’ll want to know if it will cook some of your favorite convenience foods. And the answer is yes: a steam oven can cook most foods.

For example, a steam oven can handle a frozen pizza in about 15 minutes. It does a good job with pasta as well. It can save you the trouble of having to boil water.

A steam oven can’t roast. Yet if you have a combination convection and steam oven this won’t be a problem: convection ovens roast vegetables just fine.

What containers can you use in a steam oven?

Can you put plastic in a steam oven? Can you use foil in a steam oven?

You can use anything in a steam oven that you can use in a normal oven. That means glass and metal are fine, but Tupperware is definitely out. Aluminum foil is certainly fine as well.

Can you use a steam oven as a slow cooker?

A pure steam oven isn’t as good as a slow cooker. It’s designed to cook fast. The good news is you can have dinner ready so quickly that you might not miss the slow-cooker action.

You’ll get a solid slow cook out of a combination steam and convection oven if you want one.

Watch this chef slow cook a cut of lean meat in his steam convection oven.

Can a steam oven be used as a warming drawer?

You can’t do this with a pure steam oven, but you can use the “Keep Warm Mode” on a convection steam oven if you want to use it as a warming drawer.

Warming drawers are a nice trend in kitchen remodeling design in their own right, and if you’re remodeling your kitchen you might want to consider adding one. We can install one with multiple lidded compartments which are perfect for entertaining.

Is a steam oven better than a microwave?

Yes. Steam ovens do a better job of heating your food without drying it out. Microwaves take up space in your kitchen. Installing a built-in microwave is one of the major kitchen remodeling mistakes.

Do I need a microwave and a steam oven? Can a combi steam oven replace a microwave?

For many people, a steam oven or combination steam oven might well replace a microwave.

Does a steam oven need a water supply?

Small steam ovens come with a detachable reservoir of water. You’ll need to check this before you cook. A larger wall unit does conveniently connect to your home water supply, but you’ll need a professional to install it. This option won’t be suitable for all homes, or all kitchens.

Do steam ovens need a drain?

Smaller models will have a condensation tank that must be removed and emptied between uses. Larger models will come with a drain tube of their own. This will drain into the sink or floor drain.

Is a steam oven really worth it?

Are steam ovens a fad? We don’t think so. They’ve been a fixture in professional kitchens for many years now. Major brands continue to make them for home cooks. The interest in healthy, fast cooking is only growing stronger.

As for whether they’re worth it? We tend to think that every home can benefit from at least a small unit. The benefits of fast, healthy eating are difficult to overstate. Few people who experience the convenience of a steam oven want to go back to a home without one.

If you’re dreaming of a big, beautiful combination steam oven that will let you entertain family members and friends with gorgeous steam-cooked, chef-quality meals, reach out to our designers. We’ll have a look at your kitchen and we’ll determine the best way to add a steam oven to your emerging design, as part of your overall kitchen remodel. We’ll be able to tell you if you have what it takes to get a plumbed steam oven or whether you’ll need to make use of a smaller unit.

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