Steam Ovens: A Guide to This Popular Kitchen Appliance

Jenny Cazares | Discovery Team | Dean Cabinetry

By: Jenny Cazares

A steam oven is an appliance that cooks food with moisture rather than hot air. They can also be used for warming foods, and are more effective at reheating than a microwave.

How does a steam oven work?

They create moisture by drawing water from a small water tank reservoir within the unit. It heats the water with a built-in boiler. The temperature is heated between 212 and 570 degrees, depending on your chosen setting.

Does a steam oven need a water supply to hook up?

They come with a detachable reservoir for the water that you can easily fill. It does not need to be connected to a water supply.

Does a steam oven cook faster than a convection oven?

Yes. They cook faster than a convection oven. The moisture created provides excellent cooking results and will not dry out your food. Your food will be moist when finished.

Can I bake a cake or bread in a steam oven?

Yes. You can bake cake and bread. When baked in a steam oven, your cake will be moist and your bread will be soft. 

Can I cook more than one item?

Yes. One of the best things about a steam oven is it prevents cross-flavoring of your dishes. For example, you can cook fish and a chocolate cake at the same time. Your cake will not taste like fish and your fish will not taste like chocolate…how cool is that?

Are there any limitations?

The one limitation is that a steam oven cannot brown your food. For example, if you want to cook meat, you should grill it first or brown the meat in a pan, prior to steaming. 

Bread and baked goods might need a few minutes in a standard or convection oven to get the browning on top.

Is it healthier to cook with a steam oven?

Cooking with steam is considered one of the healthiest ways to cook as nutrients are retained during the cooking process. 

How big are they?

They come in different sizes, ranging from the size of a microwave to a full-size oven. You can purchase a stand-alone steam oven or a wall unit that is built into your cabinetry.

Are they expensive?

They are typically more expensive than adding a second wall oven. They can vary from under $1,000 to more than $4,000, depending on the brand and the functions you choose. 
Do your research when thinking about purchasing one. Talk to your kitchen designer or cabinet partner about your options. They will help you create a beautiful layout with the perfect location for your new steam oven!