The Veggie Steam Test: How Will Instant Pot Stack Up?

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Moment of honesty here…I absolutely LOVE my Black & Decker electric steamer/rice cooker. I grew up with an identical steamer that was used very frequently in our home, and I insisted on adding to our wedding gift registry and thankfully, we were gifted the beloved appliance. 

It is going on 17 years old though, and starting to show signs that it’s about to kick the proverbial bucket. I’ve been thinking for a while now that it was time to either buy a new one myself, or add it to my Christmas wish list. 

Then came the Instant Pot, waltzing into our lives on the UPS delivery truck and making its entrance with some pretty aggressive recipe trials in just the first week of it’s arrival. After a couple weeks, I decided I’d figured out which of the many Instant Pot accessories I needed, and knowing my old, faithful steamer was on its last legs, added a steamer basket to my Amazon Prime order. I knew I’d need one in order to create some unique Instant Pot recipes for our community, and to get the BEST Instant Pot recipes, I need all the tools, right? 🙂 

And now, here we are, doing a side by side comparison of the two appliances as well as a microwave steamer. Part of me hopes I can prove that my trusty Black & Decker model has superior steaming qualities (which means I get to buy a new one), but part of me is excited to think about having a little extra space in my cupboard if it turns out my Instant Pot can not only pressure cook like a boss, but also serve as a fully capable steamer (now, the rice test will be later…I know the IP can do rice, but we’ll save that for another post).  

For the test, I used fresh picked green beans from our friend’s garden (Thanks, JW!). 

The results:

Tupperware Microwave Steamer 

Our Tupperware steamer is decidedly ‘antique’…we’ve had it for at least 15 years and had been a ‘hand me down’ from friends. We use it a lot though because it’s so fast, even though the resulting veggies typically look a bit shriveled. This steamer takes up little room in the cupboard and since it’s dishwasher safe, works well with our busy lives.  

As the pictures show though, the green beans lost some color and definitely became less appetizing-looking.  

This steamer didn’t do a great job of highlighting the fresh flavor either. But for speed and convenience (dishwasher safe and only 4 minutes in the microwave), it was a win.  

Ratings (Scale of 1-5, 5 being best)

  • Taste: 3
  • Texture: 3
  • Color: 3
  • Speed: 4
  • Ease of use: 5
  • Overall score: 18

Black & Decker Steamer

If you wanted to accuse me of running a biased test, you’d be right. I definitely wanted this steamer to come out on top. I’ve never been so attached to a kitchen appliance, and maybe it’s because I grew up learning to cook with my mom, who loves her B&D steamer. 

The beans came out colorful and cooked through without being overcooked, however, they took so much longer (19 minutes) than the Instant Pot and microwave steamer. It too is dishwasher safe so that’s a plus for convenience. 

Ratings (Scale of 1-5, 5 being best)

  • Taste: 4
  • Texture: 5
  • Color: 4
  • Speed: 2
  • Ease of use: 4
  • Overall score: 19 

Instant Pot Basket Steamer

I tried green beans three times now in the Instant Pot, the first time I used high pressure for 4 minutes. They were delicious but a bit overcooked. The second time, I used high pressure for 0 minutes. Just a tad undercooked but I like crunchy veggies so they were perfect for me. Beautiful green color and no wrinkled skin. They were perfect for serving at a dinner party with steaks and the stuffed baked potatoes (link to potato recipe) and a fine glass of red wine. The third time, I used high pressure for 1 minute and they were what I think most folks would call perfectly done. 

Ratings (Scale of 1-5, 5 being best)

  • Taste: 4
  • Texture: 4
  • Color: 5
  • Speed: 5
  • Ease of use: 4
  • Overall score: 22 

After tasting a few of each, my husband I agreed that the Instant Pot steamer was no match for the microwave steamer (sorry Tupperware!). The Black and Decker steamer and the Instant Pot’s results, while similar, couldn’t outweigh the long cooking time of the B&D.