Steaming Food Without a Steamer -- Easy Kitchen Hack

I have a few different Asian recipes that I wanted to make, all which required a steamer. But though I have a collapsible vegetable steamer that can go in any of my pots, that wasn't going to work for these recipes. Examples of these are many dim sum, including steamed dumplings, steamed pork buns, pot stickers, as well as Korean rice cakes.

I will admit that I did finally buy myself a bamboo steamer for this purpose, after many years of wanting one. But for this latest recipe that I made, I decided that I would make myself my own steamer, using equipment most people would have in the house, so that all of you can do it too, without needing any special equipment. This works for anything that needs to be steamed, including vegetables, not just Asian recipes that use

What you'll need for this is a large pot, some aluminum foil or some small ramekins, and a smaller pan or baking dish that can fit inside the large pot.

You can use a loaf pan for this, or if you don't have a loaf pan, you can use a pie pan or a casserole dish. The only important thing is that it is heat proof and water proof. Beyond that, the sky is the limit.

First step, make sure your smaller baking dish/pan actually fits in your bigger pot. In this case, I decided to use my cast iron dutch oven as my steamer.

Then, you want to put something in the larger pot to lift the smaller pan to keep it out of the water. You can use a few small ramekins, but I just crumpled up some aluminum foil. I probably could have used less, I just wanted to make sure that it was strong enough to hold up the weight.

Place your pan inside, fill it with whatever it is you want to steam, and pour boiling water onto the bottom of the pot, making sure it doesn't get above the bottom of your pan.

Cover, and cook on high for as long as you want to steam it, checking periodically that there is still water at the bottom of the pot.

And voila, here it is, the perfectly cooked steamed dish.

As for what exactly it is, that'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Do you have a steamer? What types of things do you make in it? Have you ever not made something because you didn't have a steamer? Does this look like a hack that you'd try?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

  1. I have several steamers as it's used quite a lot in Tunisian cuisine. Of course for couscous and roz djerbi (a one pot rice dish), and also for meat. When i crave veggies like cabbage or cauliflower i also prefer to steam it, as it's more flavorfull and healthier than cooking. And when making a quick version of slata mechouia i steam it.
    My children regularly ask for medfouna, which is steamed vermicelli pasta (Moroccan style) with a stew of chicken, onions, tomatoes and raisins. Seems my list goes on and on LOL. I really should try some of that Asian stuff. Looks delicious!

    My Turkish friend who doesn't steam food as often uses a iron collander or sieve, which i think is a great invention!

Previous Post Next Post