How to Steam Vegetables? In Pan, Basket, Microwave

tips for eating more vegetables
tips for eating more vegetables

The standard way to prepare vegetables is through cooking. However, there are several ways to prepare vegetables such as baking, wok, roasting and of course steaming. In the Netherlands we are not so used to steaming vegetables, while this is a perfect way to prepare the vegetables.

How to Steam Vegetables?

Clean the vegetables and remove the bad spots. Then put the vegetables in the steamer basket, steamer, microwave or steam oven. View the table below for the correct steaming time for your vegetables. After steaming, season the vegetables with herbs.

Steaming vegetables has several advantages over cooking. This way the texture of the vegetable remains intact and the vegetable has a nice ‘bite’. The color of the vegetable is also preserved and perhaps most importantly, the nutrients are preserved very well and are not thrown away with the cooking liquid.

Which Vegetable to Steam?

The answer to this question is very simple; You can also steam what you can cook! So all vegetables can be steamed.

steam vegetables

Preparing is a bit different than cooking. During cooking you can add stock or, for example, salt to flavor the vegetables. With steaming, this always happens afterwards. So first steam and then add salt, pepper and other herbs or seasonings.

Vegetables Steam How long?

The steaming time differs per vegetable, as does the preparation. The steaming times table below shows the preparation and steaming time for each vegetable. All types of cabbage are grouped together under ‘cabbage’ (Chinese cabbage, red cabbage, white cabbage, pointed cabbage, …).

Please note that the steaming times table below is for guidance only – actual steaming times may vary due to personal taste (some people like their vegetables harder or softer). The water content in the vegetables is also decisive. In general, the fresher the vegetable, the faster it will be ready.

In addition, the size of the pieces of vegetables has a major influence on how long it takes to steam a vegetable. For example, it takes longer to steam whole vegetables than diced vegetables.

Steaming Times Table

The steaming times table below shows the steaming time for steaming vegetables in a pan. If you use a steam oven or microwave, scroll down for the times in a steam oven and microwave.

Vegetable Preparation Steaming time
Potato Peel and cut into equal pieces 15-20 minutes
Endive Clean and cut into strips 3-5 minutes
Artichoke Whole Artichoke 25-40 minutes
asparagus Remove peels and bottoms 7-13 minutes
Cauliflower Cut/break into equal florets 5-10 minutes
Cauliflower Whole cauliflower 40 minutes
Broccoli Cut/break into equal florets 5-7 minutes
garden peas Fresh peas 2-4 minutes
Haricots Verts Cleaning and End Removal 6-10 minutes
Celeriac Cleaning and cutting into pieces 5-7 minutes
Cabbage – All kinds Clean and cut into strips 6-10 minutes
Corn cob Remove the leaves 7-10 minutes
bok choy Clean and cut into strips 7-9 minutes
snow peas Remove end 5-8 minutes
Parsnip Cleaning and dicing 15-20 minutes
Pumpkin Peel and cut into cubes 7-10 minutes
leeks Remove green leaves and cut into rings 5-8 minutes
Beetroot Whole beets washed. Remove peel after steaming 35-40 minutes
String Beans Cleaned and cut 8-10 minutes
Green beans Cleaned and remove end 12-15 minutes
Spinach Freshly washed 5-8 minutes
Brussels sprouts Remove outer leaves and piece of stump 12-15 minutes
Fennel Clean and cut into even sized pieces 15-18 minutes
chicory Remove piece from bottom and cut in half if necessary 10-12 minutes
carrots Peel, remove ends and cut into equal pieces 7-10 minutes
Sweet potato Peel and cut into pieces 5-8 minutes
Vegetable steaming times table

It is also possible to steam peppersmushroomstomatoesonions and garlic. However, other cooking methods, such as roasting or baking, are better suited for these varieties.

Steam Vegetables In Pan

We can steam the vegetables in a steamer or with a regular pan and a basket. Place the (steam) pan on the heat source and bring the layer of water to the boil. Prepare the vegetables as described above. When the water is boiling, carefully add the vegetables to the pan. Place the lid three quarters on the pan and steam the vegetables according to the steaming time table.

When the vegetable is ready, pierce the vegetable with a fork to determine if it is cooked. If you think it’s still too hard, steam a little longer. Carefully remove the vegetables from the pan (steam is very hot) and serve with your favorite herbs.

Steam pans with one or more layers are for sale. With several layers you can also steam several vegetables at the same time. This pan from  is highly recommended. It has good steam holes and is easy to clean.

steam vegetables

You can also do it easily and that is by purchasing a steamer basket. The basket below fits in any pan and is easy to clean. You can find a whole selection of steaming baskets on

steam vegetables

There are also baskets made of wicker. The advantage is that these also have multiple layers, such as this one at They are just a little more difficult to clean.

steam vegetables

Steaming Vegetables In Steam Oven

A steam oven is usually built into the kitchen and is a perfect device for steaming vegetables.

The steaming times of vegetables in a steam oven are different from the steaming times as described above. On the site of AEG, which supplies steam ovens, there is a table with steam times for steaming in a steam oven.

Vegetables Steaming Microwave

Steaming in the microwave is very fast. The water evaporates and becomes hot steam. The steaming times in the microwave are different for each microwave. This has to do with the power of the microwave, which bowl you use and the amount of water. So it’s trying and seeing how it works out.

Place the vegetables in a microwaveable bowl and add a quarter glass of water to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the bowl lid and put it in the microwave. Set the power to the highest setting and the timer to 2.5 minutes and press ‘start’. See how it goes after 2.5 minutes. Be careful as the steam is extremely hot. Pierce the vegetables with a fork to determine if they are al dente. If not, steam some more.

This is experimental steaming. Just try it and see how long it takes. Start with 2.5 minutes and increase by 2.5 minutes. Keep track of your times, because then you’ll know for next time.

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