Do Steam Ovens Need a Water Supply?

Jen Hammond

July 3, 2021

Last updated on September 24, 2021


The short answer is yes, all steam ovens a need water supply, this includes; combi steam ovens and convection steam ovens.

Keep reading, however, and we’ll break down steam oven cooking in even more detail for you.

Can You Use a Steam Oven Without a Water Supply? 

No – unlike steam irons, which can operate without water, steam ovens absolutely need water, at all times.

A quick science lesson – to create steam, you need water! A steam oven relies upon water to provide the heat into the main oven cavity. Otherwise, you are effectively cooking dry, defeating the object altogether. In fact, trying to use your steam oven without any water could end up permanently damaging the appliance. This would be a reckless mistake as it is so easily avoided!

On the bright side, you can choose the size of water container that you would like for your kitchen, so it will be up to you whether or not you get one that will need refilling regularly or not. Moreover, steam ovens tend to cook meals far faster than regular ovens, meaning that you may not end up using as much water as you might think. It’s all worth weighing up!

To make a steam oven work well for you from meal to meal, you really do need a steady stream of H2O.


Are All Steam Ovens Plumbed?

No, not all steam ovens need plumbing, but should you desire, some models can connect to your home’s water tank.

Most steam ovens can install just as easily as any other type of oven on the market. The only real difference is that the engineer who installs it will also need to install a separate container, one which will hold water to provide moisture to your appliance.

However, for those who would like to save a little space and who do not want to be bothered with refilling a water container when necessary, you do have the option of fitting your steam oven directly into your home’s water line.

The models that can provide this kind of system are usually from higher-end brands, but thankfully, there should be no particularly difficult installation – so it should be a relatively standard job fitting it onto the water reservoir.

Of course, it is always wise to have a professional engineer attend your home and, more specifically, where exactly you are planning on installing your steam oven?

  • It may be that your home’s not equipped with an adequate system to hold your steam oven.
  • Perhaps the area in your kitchen where the steam oven would fit, is not in a reasonable position for you to reach the water reservoir.

Things as seemingly unimportant as these can in fact dictate whether or not you should get a steam oven fittable to your water line. Can you imagine your disappointment if you go ahead and buy an oven without checking out the water tank first?

If, however, your steam oven can fit perfectly well into your home and directly into the water line, then you can rest easy knowing that you do not need to keep an eye on any container levels – as your appliance will never run dry.

Do Miele steam ovens need plumbing? 

Miele steam ovens generally come with water containers, but you can link up their appliances to your water tank if you wish – it’s not a necessity.


It used to be that all of their steam ovens needed a second compartment, with one to hold a water container. This became a bit of a pain for many, and Miele do, indeed, now manufacture steam ovens that can plumb into your home.

As time has gone by, more and more people demanded plumbing friendly steam ovens. They tend to be more convenient, and while most models or appliances in the Miele line stick to the container fittings, it’s great to know that there are some where you’ll have a choice.

Miele is one of the leading names in steam oven manufacture. Therefore, you can expect their appliances to be some of the most flexible on the market. What’s more, a Miele steam oven comes with a mark of quality you really can’t get elsewhere.

If you do want to attach a Miele oven to your home plumbing, check out the manufacturing details, or speak to the brand directly. They may be able to point you towards models where this feature comes as standard.


How Do Steam Ovens Work?

Steam ovens cook through using moist heat from water provided to the appliance, filling the main oven cavity with hot steam.

The idea behind steam ovens is that the conventional method of cooking certain types of fish and vegetables, steaming (this time with multiple pans and pots), is one of the healthiest ways to cook food. All that was left to do was to figure out a way of adapting that cooking method to more recent advancements in technology.

Why Are Steam Ovens Popular?

Steam ovens have gained plenty of popularity thanks to our more health-conscious world, with people looking for better, healthier and more eco-friendly ways to cook everyday meals. That’s why you’re likely to see more combi steam oven brands popping up, and why steam cooking recipes are all the rage!

Why Would I Want A Steam Oven?

If you’re serious about making healthy meals and curious to grasp the steam cooking method a steam oven could be the perfect oven for you.

Do be prepared to save up, of course – as these ovens are pretty niche right now.

Despite their increase in popularity over the years, steam ovens are still relatively rare compared to convection, gas and electric ovens, and they are still on the more expensive end of the market.

If you are wanting to cook more and/or prepare healthier meals, then steam ovens are definitely worth looking into. They could even save you time and money thanks to their incredible speed.

Steam ovens definitely have their qualities and will most likely become even more popular in the years to come. Hopefully, over time, due to a substantial increase in interest, we will soon see more steam oven models on the market and therefore a larger difference between the different brands’ costs.

Different varieties of steam ovens are helping to make them stand out from the conventional oven mainstream. For example, convection steam ovens are brilliant at combining the best of both worlds. Combination convection steam ovens are ideal if you want to move to steam, but aren’t sure whether or not you want to lose the crispiness.

Think about what you cook at home already. Are you deeply into sous vide cooking or steaming vegetables and fish? Then it might just be worth leaping over to steam. The cooking process might be a little different to what you’re used to, but you still get a full sized oven with amazing results.

Tying back in – just keep the water factor in mind. Preparing for water supplies is likely to be the most complex issue in setting up a steam oven, and for that reason, it’s worth planning ahead by calling in an engineer!

Does a conventional oven need more maintenance than a steam oven?

Even the best steam ovens on the market need a good wipe down occasionally! That means maintenance on a convection steam oven, for example, is likely to be pretty similar to that of your conventional cooker.

That said, steam ovens come with the added container conundrum unless you hook them up to water tanks. Therefore, you’re always going to need to keep an eye on those water levels. A plumbed water line, as mentioned, is going to cut this stress down considerably.

Why might a steam assist or combi steam oven be better than a traditional oven?

Most of us use our ovens every day, or at least on most days. We, therefore, need a pretty reliable, powerful appliance to cook all our meals in!

More and more people are doing their utmost to provide the healthiest food possible for their families and there’s no doubt that conventional cooking methods do have their downfalls.

For example, when using any other kind of regular oven, such as a gas oven, an electric oven or even a convection oven, as the heat is mainly dry, we find ourselves having to add all kinds of grease, oil and butter in order to prevent the food from sticking to their respective pots and containers.

Even the smallest amount of grease and oil will add calories and are not, in large amounts, particularly healthy. In fact, over time, they can become the cause of quite serious issues.

Steam ovens, therefore, help to make our meals that little bit healthier! Due to the heat from the steam oven being very moist, you run a very low risk of your food sticking to any container and can therefore say goodbye to greasy food. This alone makes steam ovens that more desirable.

Of course, in order to reap all of the benefits from a steam oven, you do need specific fittings and fixtures, and that includes a water tank.

Most steam ovens come with water containers that can be kept near the oven, often in a cabinet next to the appliance. The bigger the container, the less often you need to refill it, which is definitely a bonus!

That being said, not everyone has the extra space in their kitchens for a giant water container, in which case you will be able to choose amongst some smaller models – all as good a quality, but with the need for more frequent refilling.

However, there’s also a further option where you can connect your steam oven to your home water supply – great news if you really want to avoid the containers altogether.

Is it easy to move over to convection steam ovens?

Yes! Providing you’re used to the crispy cooking goodness that a traditional convection oven serves, you likely won’t find hopping over to a steaming variant to be that much of a stretch.

A combination steam oven is going to help you get that crispy touch on healthier food, all the while retaining the best nutrients and serving you dishes quicker than ever before. Models will vary when it comes to ease of use, maximum temperature, etc.

Just keep in mind the water container – as this tends to be the biggest adjustment for most people leaping into steam cooking via oven.

Is it worth buying a combination steam oven?

If you are truly worried about having to constantly keep an eye on the water level of your steam oven water container, then why not consider buying a combination convection steam oven? A convection steam oven can provide you with the best of steam cooking and the best of convection cooking in equal balance.

They are usually the go-to choice for people who thoroughly enjoy spending time in the kitchen, and/or who often cook. You can steam your food for most of the cooking time and then end on some convection cooking to crisp up.

This means that your meal will be cooked through and properly steamed, but still giving it the opportunity to brown off and go a little crispier, thanks to the dry heat of the convection process. For those who enjoy baking, and making crispy chips and meat, this is the best solution.

It also means that should you ever run out of water in your container, all you need do is switch to the convection setting and you can worry about refilling it later. This way, you will not waste any time (which can be especially useful during dinner parties, family meals or at Christmas), and do not run the risk of damaging the appliance by using another cooking mode. Just remember to switch it to the convection setting!


Steam ovens need a water supply to work properly, but it’s a minor inconvenience when you think about the long term benefits!

From cooking fish and steamed vegetables to making those family favourite roasts and even using them to just reheat leftovers, steam ovens work just as well as regular or traditional ovens.

In fact, steam cooking oven can be quicker, healthier, and maybe even tastier to boot. What’s more, cleanup is always a doddle. What’s not to like?

Providing you’re willing to consider paying a little extra for a steam oven, there are no reasons why the standard won’t be worth your while.

Now, the only question you have to ask yourself is whether you are getting a steam oven with a detachable reservoir, a massive water canister, or one of the new models, i.e. a plumbed version of such machines.

Why not also consider combi steam ovens? Get the best out of a traditional oven whilst also having an added moisture function for your recipes. It will be like having a second oven in your home – with the added bonus of extra speed that you might not be used to!

Whether you are going for the plumbed option or a non plumbed oven, prices start relatively high, even if you are looking at steam only ovens. That’s largely because this is not yet a standard that many would refer to as a ‘regular oven’ – steam cooking in this way is a bit of a luxury.

However, at the same time, steam only cooking has been around since the days of Ancient China – meaning that culinary enthusiasts creating meat dishes and more have long since looked into steaming their favourite dishes.

You’re looking at more than just a standard oven line. This style of speed oven might need a few extra accessories and fittings, but you could change your whole kitchen with a single appliance! No matter the foods you cook and no matter your chosen temperature – there’s little argument that steaming in the oven is extremely convenient.

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