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The Veggie Steam Test: How Will Instant Pot Stack Up?

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Moment of honesty here…I absolutely LOVE my Black & Decker electric steamer/rice cooker. I grew up with an identical steamer that was used very frequently in our home, and I insisted on adding to our wedding gift registry and thankfully, we were gifted the beloved appliance.

It is going on 17 years old though, and starting to show signs that it’s about to kick the proverbial bucket. I’ve been thinking for a while now that it was time to either buy a new one myself, or add it to my Christmas wish list.

Then came the Instant Pot, waltzing into our lives on the UPS delivery truck and making its entrance with some pretty aggressive recipe trials in just the first week of it’s arrival. After a couple weeks, I decided I’d figured out which of the many Instant Pot accessories I needed, and knowing my old, faithful steamer was on its last legs, added a steamer basket to my Amazon Prime order. I knew I’d need one in order to create some unique Instant Pot recipes for our community, and to get the BEST Instant Pot recipes, I need all the tools, right? 🙂

And now, here we are, doing a side by side comparison of the two appliances as well as a microwave steamer. Part of me hopes I can prove that my trusty Black & Decker model has superior steaming qualities (which means I get to buy a new one), but part of me is excited to think about having a little extra space in my cupboard if it turns out my Instant Pot can not only pressure cook like a boss, but also serve as a fully capable steamer (now, the rice test will be later…I know the IP can do rice, but we’ll save that for another post).

For the test, I used fresh picked green beans from our friend’s garden (Thanks, JW!).

Tupperware Microwave Steamer

One way that pressure cookers help increase the flavor of your food and make it healthier is that almost all of it is contained inside. Rather than burning off juices and nutrients through other cooking methods (i.e., cooking in a pan), you get to keep everything together.

That being said, when you use a stovetop model, you run the risk of drying out your dish. The reason for this is that the appliance will release some steam from the top, particularly when you’re cooking for longer periods (i.e., an hour or more).

Thus, you will have to add some water to your food if you want it to stay succulent and juicy. Otherwise, you could wind up with a meal that’s a little too dry for your liking. Depending on what kind of food you’re preparing, you may have to add about ¼ cup of water or so.

Ratings (Scale of 1-5, 5 being best) 

Taste: 3, Texture: 3, Color: 3, Speed: 4, Ease of use: 5

Overall score: 18

Black & Decker Steamer

If you wanted to accuse me of running a biased test, you’d be right. I definitely wanted this steamer to come out on top. I’ve never been so attached to a kitchen appliance, and maybe it’s because I grew up learning to cook with my mom, who loves her B&D steamer.

The beans came out colorful and cooked through without being overcooked, however, they took so much longer (19 minutes) than the Instant Pot and microwave steamer. It too is dishwasher safe so that’s a plus for convenience.

Ratings (Scale of 1-5, 5 being best) 

Taste: 4, Texture: 5, Color: 4, Speed: 2, Ease of use: 4

Overall score: 19

Instant Pot Basket Steamer

I tried green beans three times now in the Instant Pot, the first time I used high pressure for 4 minutes. They were delicious but a bit overcooked. The second time, I used high pressure for 0 minutes. Just a tad undercooked but I like crunchy veggies so they were perfect for me. Beautiful green color and no wrinkled skin. They were perfect for serving at a dinner party with steaks and the stuffed baked potatoes (link to potato recipe) and a fine glass of red wine. The third time, I used high pressure for 1 minute and they were what I think most folks would call perfectly done.

Ratings (Scale of 1-5, 5 being best) 

Taste: 4,  Texture: 4, Color: 5, Speed: 5, Ease of use: 4

Overall score: 22

After tasting a few of each, my husband I agreed that the Instant Pot steamer was no match for the microwave steamer (sorry Tupperware!). The Black and Decker steamer and the Instant Pot’s results, while similar, couldn’t outweigh the long cooking time of the B&D.

And the Instant Pot wins!

Dawn Simmons

Dawn Simmons

As a signature recipe designer for Instant Pot with Kindsay, I look forward to creating new, healthy recipes for the community to enjoy!

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