Kitchenware Rater is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Bamboo Steamer Alternative

Bamboo Steamer Substitute

Bamboo steamers originate from China and are still a major part of that country’s cuisine.

However, their influence has spread globally, making it an essential item in almost every kitchen.

What is a Bamboo Steamer?

Bamboo steamers are made of baskets, layered and stacked on each other.

It is then placed in a wok or pot or sauce pan with water. The water is boiled and the resulting steam rises through the steamer, cooking any food in the layered baskets.

Liners can be used to prevent food from sticking to the steamer. These liners can be cabbage, lettuce, parchment paper, or aluminum foil. The liners are placed to not hinder the passage of steam through the steamer.

Steamer Basket Alternative
Bamboo Steamer in Pot

Any bamboo steamer alternative must be able to withstand the water and steam used for steaming foods.

Related: How to clean a bamboo steamer

Best Bamboo Steamer Alternative

The best bamboo steamer substitute depends on what you have on hand and what you are cooking.

Electric Steamer

An electric food steamer can be used as a bamboo steamer substitute.

The best thing is that this steamer comes with advanced features that allow other cooking operations such as being used as a rice cooker, yogurt cooker and slow cooker.

You can also control the temperature and time it will take to steam your food.

All you have to do is fill the electric steamer with all ingredients before connecting to a power outlet, switch it on and follow the directions.

Pie Tin Steamer

This one is a homemade steamer and comes in handy as long as you know how to make and use one.

All you need is two empty aluminum pie tins, a roller pin, and a piece of parchment paper or aluminum.

Poke about 16 holes into the bottom of one pie pan. Place it, upside down, in the bottom of a pot or saucepan.

Use the rolling pin to more or less flatten the next pie pan. Place your parchment paper or aluminum foil over the flattened pie pan, and poke about 16 holes through both the flattened pan and the parchment paper or foil.

Add water to the pot or saucepan to the edge of the bottom of the upside down pie tin.

Place the flattened tin on top of the upside down tin, and place your parchment paper or foil on top of that.

All you have to do now is place your food to be steamed on top of the foil or parchment and boil the water.

Colander or Strainer

A colander or strainer is an affordable way to replace a bamboo steamer. It requires you to use a large pot with water.

Allow the water to boil before putting food in the colander and placing it on top of the pot for steaming.

Steaming Basket

A steaming basket works the same way as the colander or strainer but its design makes it easier to use for steaming.

Bamboo steamer substitute
Bamboo Steamer Alternative – Steamer Basket

Cooling Rack

A cooling rack is placed on top of a large pot full of boiling water to do the trick.

It only works if the food to be steamed fits in the spaces of the cooling rack.

Cover the food with aluminum foil to trap the steam for excellent results.

Splatter Screen and Bowl

A combination of a splatter screen and a bowl will help you steam food without a bamboo steamer.

You have to place the splatter screen over a pot of boiling water. Place your food on the splatter screen, and place an upside down bowl over your food. Leave in place until your food is cooked.


When steaming food, whether with a bamboo steamer or one of the above bamboo steamer alternatives, always make sure you use the right amount of water.

Using too much or too little water will ruin your recipe. If using high heat, add a lot of water to ensure that the pot doesn’t run dry.

Also, note that every bamboo steamer alternative requires different cooking times. Be ready to adjust your recipe accordingly to achieve the desired results.

Leave a Comment