If you are wondering…can a steam oven can replace a regular oven? the simple answer is yes, of course. This guide explains the benefits of steam cooking and steam ovens.
Are you in the market for a new oven? Why not try steam cooking? Steam oven systems offer an interesting alternative to standard cooking, particularly in the sense that a combi steam oven, for example, is always likely to be healthier than your average microwave oven!
The steam oven’s name pretty much covers it, but let’s get technical just in case. A steam oven uses a water supply or water reservoir, which it brings to the boil, and then uses its steam to heat whatever food you may have in the main oven cavity. Simple!
Steam ovens have become increasingly popular, especially with health conscious people, as steaming food is known for being one of the healthiest methods of getting cuisine up to temperature.
Whether you use a convection steam oven or combination steam ovens, there’s no extra grease like oil or fat to stop the food from sticking to pans and pots alike. It also means that the food locks in far more nutrients and vitamins thanks to the steam. It could be the healthiest appliance in your kitchen!
Steam Cooking is Speedy!
Steam ovens are also a popular choice due to the fact that steam cooking produces meals in a fraction of the time that it takes to cook in an electric, convection and/or gas oven. That’s always a plus.
In fact, we dare say steam cooking is right up there with using a microwave oven in terms of sheer speed and efficiency.
Let’s face it, no one likes spending hours on end waiting for certain meals to cook, especially when you’re hungry! When you have extra family and friends at the table, too, it’s definitely helpful to have an appliance that can thoroughly cook food in a short amount of time.
Steam ovens are well-known to cook through entire roasts in a very short amount of time, making special meals that little bit easier to manage.
Here’s where steam cooking beats microwave ovens outright – when’s the last time you cooked a full roast in the micro?
Isn’t Steam Cooking Soggy and Naff?
Not at all! if you really believe this is the case, you’ve never tried steam cooking for yourself. Whether you use convection steam ovens or a combination steam oven with extra features, you’ll be surprised at how great your food turns out.
When people think of steaming, they generally think of damp vegetables and fish that we only really turn to when we’re on a brief health kick. However, thankfully, steaming food is far from a naff option just to cut down calories.
That is, it’s not if you take the time to learn how to steam cook properly, at least. Steam ovens are great for cooking all different kinds of food from vegetables and fish to meat and cakes. Unlike what you might initially assume, the food does not come out wet and soggy!
In fact, even the roughest, toughest piece of meat will come out perfectly moist inside whilst juicy on the outside.
There are plenty of cookbooks and recipes online that are specific to steam ovens and most recipes can be easily adapted to them, too, we like Emily from Steam & Bake, she a fabulous receptor of steam oven recipes.
What About Combination Steam Oven Appliances?
Should you be set in your crispy, crunchy ways when it comes to dinner, then you can always consider buying a combi steam oven, which will offer you moistness on the inside and crispy crunchiness on the outside!
You can choose a program that suits you depending on the food you’d like to cook, and simply set the appliance running for that perfect steam assist. Combi steam ovens provide plenty of great qualities from convection cooking and those from steam cooking techniques, meaning you get perfect food for your picky palate every time.
Of course, despite the fact that steam ovens are becoming more and more popular, they are still relatively rare on the market. You will definitely be able to find one and with a brand name that you know and trust (such as Miele), however, they will be on the more expensive side of things. You will have to be prepared to pay for an oven that is quite a bit more expensive than regular cooking appliances. It’s a premium option for sure!
However, should you be interested in a healthier, faster cooking method, then yes, you could absolutely replace your regular oven with a steam oven. Keep reading and we’ll tell you more!
Can You Use A Steam Oven As A Normal Oven?
Depending on the setting you use most on your oven, a steam oven could be a great replacement for any normal cooking appliance.
Of course, before deciding whether or not you should be replacing your regular oven, you should absolutely know a bit more about how a steam oven actually works. Could it have a permanent space in your kitchen?
You will be happy to know that steam ovens are more than capable of cooking a lot more than just fish and vegetables! In fact, you can cook just about anything that you would cook in your regular oven, including cakes, pies, casseroles, and whole meals!
A ‘regular’ oven in the above sense means a generic gas, electric or convection oven. Each has its own qualities and faults and they are all very different from one other. That being said, they all use relatively dry heat to cook the food which is inside of them.
A steam oven is pretty self explanatory in the sense that it uses steam to cook food, as opposed to a general hot air option. Essentially, they heat up a water reservoir, which naturally creates steam, which is then introduced into the cavity. Ta-da – your food is being cooked! If you would like to visually see how to use a steam oven, Rob Sinclair has a fab short video demonstrating how to steam veg and fish.
Steaming food is definitely known as being one of the healthiest ways to cook. The fact that you are using steam as a heating method means that you do not have to rely on oil, grease or butter as an anti-stick technique. This can also be a real pain to wipe off use after use!
The steam method is also known to help the food retain most of its nutrients and vitamins that can be otherwise lost in other intense heating systems.
It does of course have its limits, and there are certain things that you would be better off cooking in a regular oven, but all of this really does depend on what you cook and whether or not you would be willing to make certain changes.
As helpful as steam ovens are for modern kitchens – and even if you are more than willing to start cooking with steam assist – you will need to adapt your different meals and meats to the steaming function. Depending on the type of food, it could cook faster and will definitely be moist inside – perhaps more so than you might have initially intended!
Make sure to plan ahead – the cooking process can make everything seem a bit confusing at first, but there’s actually not that much of a learning curve.
Is it worth buying a steam oven?
Depending on what you need, it could absolutely be worth buying a steam oven. Of course, you’re going to need to consider cost, kitchen space, and whether or not it’s something you will use regularly.
As mentioned, there is no doubt that steam ovens are indeed very useful! They offer great ways to cook everyday meals and all kinds of things that little bit healthier and faster.
Many meals cook in a fraction of the time in a steam oven than they would take in a standard cavity. The food also comes out moister inside, which is great when cooking meats, cakes, cookies and other foods that you really don’t want to be too dry! Some people, however, might not see this as a plus point.
That said, there are some downsides to setting up with steam oven brands. Here are a few things you should absolutely consider before you bring any type of steam oven into your kitchen. Of course, things like space are going to be relative – just make sure you measure up some way before you go ahead and buy that combination steam oven!
Are Steam Ovens Expensive?
Let’s not beat around the bush. Steam ovens do tend to be quite a bit more expensive than standard ovens. A quick look at any home appliance site will confirm this.
The costs of these products are likely higher than the norm due to their convenience as well as their rarity. Once the idea of setting up a steam cooking environment goes fully mainstream, they may well fall in price.
It’s just one of those things – everything that’s super convenient and packed full of features is likely to cost a fair amount of money.
However, keep in mind that steam cooking, as it’s quicker and uses less energy, is likely to be one of the cheapest cooking methods in the long run. A steam convection oven, even – providing you use the steam function regularly – could really drive down energy bills, no matter the size of your oven cavity.
Steam Oven Maintenance
Most steam ovens work with a water reservoir and water line. Naturally, this must contain water at all times in order to work properly.
As opposed to an electric or convection oven where you can just turn them on and leave to cook, you will need to take the time to keep an eye on the water level of your steam oven and fill it up when necessary.
Can Steam Ovens Produce An Extra Crispy Topping?
Steam cooking – from vegetables to bread, meat and puddings, etc – provides great results, providing you’re not too fussy about a bit of moisture.
However, if you are looking for that extra crispy topping, or are simply looking to brown off some of your meals, then a steam oven will unlikely be what you need. A steam oven system will not be able to render any food crispy. For that, you will definitely need a much drier heat.
You do, of course, have the option of buying combination steam and convection ovens, which could be your solution to this, but again, do pay attention to the price before committing to anything! Having all the kitchen appliances you need under one combination system is great – but it will certainly cost you, as most larger products for kitchens do.
Can you cook meat in a steam oven?
Yes, you can cook meat in a steam oven. In fact, you may find that cooking meat with water and steam helps to lock in tons of moisture – making it extra juicy!
Many of us have felt the anguish that comes with cooking roasted meats, taking the time to set the multiple timers for temperature changes, turning and letting juices run, etc.
It can be such a shame to spend hours cooking a meal, putting all that effort in – only for someone at the table to end up complaining about how dry the meat is! However, in a steam oven, you can practically guarantee that your meat will be plenty moist and good enough to please even the harshest critic at your dining table. At the very least, it’ll keep fussy eaters quiet.
If you are however looking to cook crispier meat, like bacon, then it may be best to brown them off in the frying pan, and let the steam oven work its magic.
A Quick Word of Warning
Steam ovens have been known to cook all kinds of different foods in a fraction of the time that they would take to cook in a standard cavity. That being said, when it comes to meat, especially pork and chicken, you definitely do not want to run the risk of undercooking them. Just because you have a high speed oven doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check the temperature of your meat after cooking.
If you’re worried, you can rest assured that your steam oven will absolutely cook your meat all the way through. Why sell them at all if they don’t?
If you are personally unsure as to the amount of time at which you should leave different kinds of meat in your oven, then there are plenty of steam oven recipes and cookbooks out there.
Can you bake a cake in a steam oven?
Yes, you can absolutely bake a cake in a steam oven. As mentioned, while steam convection systems and otherwise can make food moist, they won’t do your cakes and bakes any harm whatsoever.
It is, however, important to keep in mind that your baked goods will turn out a little differently in a steam oven as opposed to how they would turn out in regular ovens. If you’ve been following this guide so far, the reasons for this should be pretty obvious. It’s a very specialist type of cooking!
As steam ovens produce a damp heat, a cake in this system will naturally be different to one that has reacted to a dry heat. Some praise the way their cakes turn out through steam cooking, as they tend to be moister in the middle, which is generally the desired texture.
However, others do find it a little more challenging to balance bakes in any kind of steam cooking space. If you need to brown off a cake, or you are indeed going for a drier taste, you might have a bit of a trial on your hands.
Convection steam oven systems, for example, have been known to produce cakes that retain even more flavour than usual – and some say that certain recipes, including classic cakes, can bake in half the time thanks to the sheer power of steam!
You will be glad to know that almost any recipe can be very easily adapted to your steam oven and many won’t even require any adaptation at all.
However, should you be working from a family recipe or one that you have written yourself, you might have to start from square one. Don’t be disappointed if that perfect recipe has not turned out the way that you hoped in your new steam oven – it may just require a few more test runs to get it the way you want it!
If you’re used to a standard convection oven, gas oven or otherwise, changing over to a convection steam oven can seem like a big leap. And why not? It’s not every day you see a steam cooking appliance in the kitchen, and as such, it’s going to take a little bit of time for you to get the best out of each use.
A great place to start would be to take a look at combination steam ovens, maybe, which give you a wide choice of standards and functions you’ve probably managed with other ovens elsewhere. In some cases, steam cooking may only appear as an option, rather than a full feature. If you’re really not sure about converting your kitchen to steam power, check out combination steam ovens in the first instance.
We love steam cooking, and we think it’s more than just a fad for modern home kitchens. Brands such as Miele really go all out when it comes to developing steam ovens. In fact, we dare say it’s worth looking closely at the Miele website to see more of their ovens and technology.
Keep it with this website, however, if you want to read more content on different types of appliances, and things you can do with the latest cooking technology. Consider this article something of an introductory guide to cooking with steam!
From roast chicken to pies and puddings, you really can do more things than just wet veg and soggy cakes. In fact, steam cooking has come a long, long way over the years – you can cook a combination of different foods through a variety of different features.
So – be sure to take a look at water and steam cookers and ovens and see what takes your fancy. Of course, stick with Which Kitchen Appliance in the meantime, as we’ll publish further kitchen features regularly!