Steam Ovens: Cooking Healthy and Eco-Friendly this Thanksgiving

By  / Image courtesy of Miele


steam cooked meal

 Mom Always Said Eat Your Veggies

Healthy steam cooking creates delicious entire meals.

People have used steam for cooking for centuries- it is a method dating all the way back to ancient China, where food was steamed in reed or bamboo baskets. Even though the Chinese are still using the bamboo basket method, in the modern kitchen a steam oven is much more versatile and functional for everyday life.

Steam cooking offers many benefits including faster cooking times, but most people are looking for the health benefits including optimum retention of vitamins, nutrients, flavor, color and texture. With steam cooking, your food can never be overcooked because food absorbs only the moisture it requires. Food cooked in a steam oven is typically a lot healthier because you don’t need to add any oils or fats in the cooking process.

Maintenance and cleaning for a steam oven in a modern kitchen is also a lot easier. You simply wipe moisture out, since food will not burn or bake on. Many ovens even have a dedicated ‘steam clean’ function to make cleaning a snap. The ovens are super simple to use.  Most steam ovens offer a range of in-built cooking guides such as recommended cooking temperatures and automatic defrost settings.

Variety, the Spice of Life

Vegetables are an important and healthy food group, but not the only kind of food that can be cooked in the steam oven.  When people think of steam cooking, most think of bland veggies and fish. The reality is that your steam oven can cook anything from pasta, rice, potatoes, meats and fish to puddings, cakes and breads or even soup with amazing speed and delicious results.

miele steamer

Free standing steam oven from Miele cooks multiple dishes at once. 

Francis Lynch at Gaggenau says: “We are finding that steam cooking is becoming an increasingly popular method of cooking due its ease of use, great results, health advantages and flexibility. Steam ovens can be used to cook everything from roasts to bread to desserts.”

French celebrity chef, Alain Ducasse, loves the results. “Steam cooking enhances fresh produce’s own natural flavor. This applies to vegetables in particular, but also to other side dishes and fish,” he says.

Your steam oven enables you to create a complete, delicious meal using the power of injection steam. Seafood like salmon, shrimp and steamers stay juicy and tasty.  Chicken and rice.  Complete stews, soups and even meatballs. And of course, fabulous desserts like pastry, bread pudding or cinnamon pears and apples.

Miele has a variety of recipes available at  Visit regularly to experiment with some of Miele’s tastiest recipes and share your favorites as well.

steam cooking

Veggies, potatoes and fish turn out great in a steam oven. 

The one thing a steam oven can’t do is brown or crisp as it cooks with moisture rather than with heat. However, there are a few steam oven models available that actually combine steam cooking and conventional cooking methods in one oven. This means you can steam cook a chicken in 20 minutes and then change the mode to conventional fan-forced cooking to brown the skin, so it looks as good as it tastes. These are called combination ovens, as opposed to steam only.

Versatile and Easy-to-Use

On most steam ovens, you control the system by selecting the type of food and inputting additional information such as the weight, quantity and desired finish when prompted… the oven does the rest. The result is perfect, delicious dishes without guesswork or hassle.

With the numerous automatic programs on the Miele models, you do not have to worry about the oven function, time or temperature settings.  Reminders will appear in the display when it is time to do something like turn the food or add sauces during the cooking process.

miele steam ovenLarger capacity allows all at once meal preparation.
 Image courtesy of Miele Built-in Advantages

While traditional steamers and pressure cookers generate steam slowly and raise the temperature gradually, most built in steam ovens have an external steam generator. This design has several distinct advantages:

  • Larger interior capacity so you can cook more than one dish at the same time.
  • The temperature is more accurate and can be kept at a constant level.
  • The steam surrounds the food from all sides, immediately and intensely which ensures that food is heated rapidly and is sealed instantly to retain all the vitamins, color and flavor.
  • Cooking times are reduced so you and your family can eat sooner – and use less electricity for cooking.

 Bigger, Bolder, All-in-One Option

Want to have all the functions, but don’t have room for multiple appliances in your kitchen?  This summer, Thermador is introducing a new ultimate option in steam cooking for the modern kitchen,  the Thermador Pro Grand® Steam Range.

The new 48-inch Thermador Pro Grand Steam is the world’s first kitchen appliance to offer seven distinct cooking options — steaming, convection baking, burner cooking, simmering, grilling, griddle cooking and warming — with a combination Steam & Convection Oven, a large-capacity convection oven, a six-burner gas cooktop featuring the exclusive Star® Burners, and a fully integrated warming drawer to complete the all-in-one package.

thermador pro gallery rangeCook anything with the Thermador Pro Gallery Range all-in-one.
Image courtesy of Thermador

“Our latest flagship 48-inch range is the ‘Ultimate Culinary Center,’ representing the pinnacle of Thermador’s kitchen innovation, performance and craftsmanship for the home cook,” said Zach Elkin, director of the Thermador brand. “Judging from the recent success of the built-in Steam & Convection Oven, we believe the market is ready for another game-changing concept with the new Pro Grand Steam Range. Our new professional range empowers home cooks to achieve their best and experience the absolute finest in cooking, whether it’s healthy steam cooking, baking in the large-capacity convection oven, precise simmering on the Star Burners, or just keeping the family meal warm.”

The range will be available in August 2011. 

Among the Hottest Trends in Modern Kitchens

Steam cooking may not be anything new, but it is one of the biggest trends in modern kitchens where a healthy lifestyle is a priority.  However, the speed, convenience and ease of use are making steam ovens popular even among those who aren’t using it for the healthy benefits.

bosch steam ovenSleek and modern, this steam oven is built-in for ultimate convenience.
Image courtesy of Bosch

With options available from most major appliance lines you can easily add one to fit your décor and match the other appliances in your kitchen.  Not sure how to make it all work?  Contact us for a consultation or complete kitchen design.


Article by Tanya Shively, ASID, LEED AP
Owner, Principal Designer – Sesshu Design Associates, Ltd.

Passionate about interior design, art and architecture since she was a child, Ms. Shively surrently lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona as the owner and principal designer of Sesshu Design Associates, Ltd. Concerned about the changes to our climate and our environment, as well as the rise in environmental causes of health issues, she has focused her design practice on creating authentic, eco-friendly interiors that truly reflect your personality and lifestyle.

For more information, contact Tanya at 480-443-4800 or visit


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