It seems like everyone is talking about the power of cooking with steam. And with good reason — there are so many benefits when compared to cooking with a regular oven. Steam ovens like the Sharp Superheated Steam Countertop Oven turn on instantly and require no preheating or defrosting. It’s easy-to-clean, large enough for a 12″ pizza or casserole dish, and is considered one of the most versatile appliances in the kitchen. It has become my go-to kitchen appliance for every meal, even Sunday dinner!
You may have heard that steam ovens are becoming a more mainstream option in modern kitchens. But it can be challenging to understand the benefits of cooking with a steam oven if you have never tried this cooking method before. So many people are curious about this new method of cooking but are unsure of how to cook a meal using steam. A steam oven is a small appliance that can make a significant impact on your kitchen. It can steam, roast, bake, and reheat food.
But how is the cooking process or end product different than using a traditional oven or microwave? Let’s take a look.
How is Cooking with Steam Different?
The first difference is how you prepare to cook. With a Sharp steam oven, you prepare to cook by filling the water tank, and then you’re done. Like I’ve said before, there’s no preheating, no defrosting. If your water tank is full and your oven is powered up, then you’re ready to go. Whereas in a traditional oven, you will need to defrost your frozen ingredients and preheat the cavity for at least 10 minutes.
The second difference is how your food is actually cooked. Unlike a traditional oven, your steam oven uses a combination of superheated steam and conventional, radiant heat to cook your food. In my opinion, this combination creates a better cooking and baking process and a more enjoyable end product. My meals always taste moister after there cooked in my steam oven than in my traditional oven.
In my experience, steam also reduces necessary cook time for a recipe, which is why your typical steam oven will only run for about an hour or less.
For a better understanding of how to cook in a steam oven and for compatible recipes, check out our recipe gallery here.
The Sharp Superheated Steam Countertop Oven has five cooking modes:
You can cook anything from vegetables to proteins to baked goods in a steam oven. These settings are designed to help you determine the best way to cook your food and alleviate any uncertainty you may feel about cooking with steam.
Settings on Your Steam Oven
- Toast – This setting is similar to a toaster or toaster oven. It doesn’t operate according to a specific temperature; it works according to a setting. Chefs can select any setting from 1 – 7, with 1 being the lightest and 7 being the darkest. This setting is best used for toast, bagels, grilled cheese, or English muffins. My personal favorite is setting 5. If you have little ones at home, I recommend using the included crisper tray can be used to make “ladybug” toast.
- Warm – This setting operates between the degrees of 160 – 485 F, with the default set at 160 F. This setting can be run up to 60 minutes and is best for keeping food warm. This is my goto setting during the holidays to keep my catering half trays warm before my guests arrive.
- Bake / Reheat – This setting operates between 300 – 485 F, with the default set at 375 F. It allows for up to 60 minutes of steam cooking and is best for chicken, impulse baking your favorite desserts, and reheating leftover foods (making them more like second helpings).
- Broil / Grill – This setting operates at 485 F. This setting can be run up to 60 minutes and is best for chicken wings or breasts, beef patties, salmon, or seafood.
- Pizza – This setting operates at 325 – 485 F, with the default set at 400 F. It allows for up to 60 minutes of cooking and is best for baking and reheating a 12″ pizza to achieve a fresh-from-the-pizzeria texture and taste.
Curious about the various temperature options for each cooking setting? The appliance has seven color settings for Toast, and one temperature setting for Broil/Grill. Warm, Pizza and Bake/Reheat modes each have appropriate temperature ranges from 14 preset temperatures (160, 200, 225, 250, 275, 300, 325, 350, 375, 400, 425, 450, 475 and 485°F). Because it’s such a great feature, it’s worth re-iterating: Preheating is never necessary.
Still Curious About Cooking with Steam?
If you still feel hesitant about cooking with steam, fret not. You can prepare all your favorite recipes using a steam oven, it just takes a little practice. Meats should be cooked to the safe internal temperatures indicated by the FDA. Vegetables should be prepared to your desired level of doneness, using 1 tablespoon of olive oil for best results. All the steps in your cooking process will remain the same, you may just need to reduce your average cook time, which means eating crisper, moister food sooner!
Here’s an example of recommended cook time, setting/mode, and temperature from Sharp:
Steam Oven Cooking with Confidence
A steam oven can truly revolutionize the way you prepare a meal and make your weeknight cooking a breeze. So jump on board. Make food with the knowledge that you are creating nutritious, flavorful meals. After trying steam oven cooking, I felt confident that I made the right choice for my lifestyle. No preheating or defrosting, quicker cook time, quality food, and easy cleanup – it’s a chef’s dream.