Discover the Surprising Truth: Can You Really Steam in an Air Fryer?

If you’re a fan of kitchen gadgets, you’ve probably heard of air fryers – an innovative appliance that has taken the culinary world by storm. Air fryers offer a healthier alternative to deep-frying, producing crispy and golden food with little to no oil. But with all the things you can do with an air fryer, have you ever wondered if you can steam in it too? The answer is both yes and no.

While air fryers are not designed to be steamers, there are ways to use them for steaming certain foods or dishes. However, it’s not recommended to use your air fryer exclusively for steaming, as it may compromise the appliance’s performance. In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of air fryers and explore their capabilities in steaming food.

We’ll highlight the types of food you can steam in an air fryer, the benefits of steaming, and the caution you need to exercise when using your air fryer for steaming. So whether you’re a seasoned air fryer user or a newbie looking to explore its possibilities, stick around and let’s find out if you can steam in an air fryer.

Understanding Steaming and Air Frying

Many people often wonder if they can steam in an air fryer, but the answer is not a simple yes or no. Air fryers are ideal for cooking food that needs to be crispy on the outside while remaining succulent on the inside. In contrast, steam cooking involves cooking food with steam, which ensures that all the nutrients and flavors remain intact while keeping the food moist and tender.

Although an air fryer is not specifically designed for steaming, you can steam food in it with the help of some accessories. For instance, you can use a non-stick silicone steaming basket or a perforated steaming tray to steam vegetables and seafood in the air fryer. You can also use the air fryer’s baking pan and cover it with tin foil to create a steam bath that will cook the food slowly and gently.

However, bear in mind that air fryers are not as efficient at steaming as traditional steamers, and you may need to experiment with the cooking times and temperatures to get the perfect result.

What is Steaming?

Steaming Have you ever wondered what steaming is and how it differs from air frying? Steaming is a cooking method where you cook your food using steam, either through a steamer or by placing your food in a steaming basket over boiling water. Steaming is a healthy cooking alternative as it retains the nutrients, vitamins and minerals in food and requires no added fats, making it ideal for those who are conscious of their health and wellbeing. Air frying, on the other hand, is a cooking method that uses hot air to cook your food.

It is often compared to deep-frying but with less oil or no oil at all, making it a healthier option than deep-frying. While steaming is ideal for fresh vegetables, fish and rice, air frying is perfect for cooking frozen food like chicken nuggets and French fries, making it a popular choice for those with a busy lifestyle. Both methods are great cooking alternatives, providing healthier ways to enjoy your favorite foods.

can you steam in an air fryer

What is Air Frying?

Air frying has become an increasingly popular cooking technique in recent years, as it allows people to enjoy crispy and delicious meals without the added oil and fat associated with traditional frying methods. Essentially, air frying is the process of cooking food with hot air, using a small amount of oil to achieve that crispy texture that everyone loves. Think of it as a combination of baking and frying, where the high heat circulates around the food, cooking it evenly and helping to remove excess moisture.

On the other hand, steaming involves cooking food by applying heat to water, which then produces steam that surrounds and cooks the food. While steaming can be a healthier alternative to traditional frying, it doesn’t provide that crispy texture that many people love. In essence, air frying and steaming both offer healthier alternatives to traditional cooking methods, but air frying is a better option for those looking for a crispy texture.

Can You Combine Steaming and Air Frying?

If you’re wondering whether you can steam in an air fryer, the answer is yes! In fact, some air fryers come with a steam basket or function that makes it possible to cook with both steam and air frying combined. This is especially helpful for dishes that require a bit of moisture to prevent them from drying out, such as vegetables or fish. However, it’s important to note that not all air fryers have this feature, so be sure to check the instructions or manual of your particular model before attempting to steam with it.

Additionally, you’ll need to be careful not to overfill the basket or pot with water, as it could spill onto the heating element and cause damage. But overall, combining steaming and air frying can be a great way to get perfectly cooked, juicy dishes with a crispy exterior.

The Short Answer

Yes, you can combine steaming and air frying! In fact, this method is becoming increasingly popular among health-conscious individuals who want to enjoy the best of both worlds. Steaming is an excellent way to keep food moist and retain its nutrients while air frying adds a crispy texture to the final dish. To start, you can steam the ingredients for a few minutes before air frying them for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Alternatively, you can air fry first and then steam briefly towards the end to prevent the food from becoming too dry. Keep in mind that not all ingredients are suitable for both methods, so it’s important to experiment and find the right combinations that work for you. With a little creativity and experimentation, you can whip up delicious and healthy meals in no time!

The Long Answer

Yes, you can combine steaming and air frying! In fact, it’s a great way to cook healthy and delicious meals with minimal effort. Steaming vegetables is a great way to retain their nutrients, while air frying is an excellent option for crispiness and texture. By combining the two, you can have the best of both worlds – perfectly cooked veggies with a crispy exterior.

One great way to do this is to steam your veggies first and then finish them off in the air fryer for a few minutes to get that golden brown crust. Another option is to use the air fryer’s basket as a steamer by adding water and allowing the steam to cook your food. So if you’re looking for a way to cook healthier meals without sacrificing flavor and texture, give steaming and air frying a try!

Alternative Methods for Steaming in an Air Fryer

Can you steam in an air fryer? The answer is not a simple yes or no. While air fryers are designed to cook food with hot air circulation, some models come with accessories that allow for steaming. If your air fryer has a steaming basket, it’s possible to steam vegetables, dumplings, and other foods using water.

However, not all air fryers are created equal and some models may not have the option to steam. In this case, you can still achieve similar results by using alternative methods such as placing a heat-proof bowl of water in the bottom of the air fryer or wrapping the food in foil to create a closed environment and trap in steam. Another option is to invest in a separate steaming appliance that can work alongside your air fryer.

This will give you the best of both worlds and open up a whole new world of cooking possibilities. So whether you’re looking to steam veggies or create flavorful dumplings, there are various methods you can use to bring the steaming process to your air fryer.

Using a Steamer Basket

Air Fryer Steaming Method When it comes to healthy cooking, steaming is a popular method that retains the food’s nutrients and flavors. But what if you don’t have a steamer basket? You can still steam your food using your air fryer! One method is to place a heat-resistant dish or bowl inside the air fryer basket and fill it with a small amount of water. Then, place your food on top of the dish and close the air fryer.

The heat from the air fryer will create steam inside the basket, which will cook your food. Another method is to wrap your food in parchment paper and place it in the air fryer. The paper will trap the steam and cook your food to perfection.

Don’t forget to adjust the cooking time and temperature according to your recipe. With these alternative methods, you can enjoy healthy, delicious steamed food using your air fryer.

Creating a DIY Steaming Rack

If you’re an air fryer lover, you know that it can do so much more than just fry food. Steaming in an air fryer is a quick and healthy alternative to boiling or sautéing. Unfortunately, not all air fryers come with a steaming rack.

But fear not! You can easily create your DIY steaming rack with just a few household items. All you need is a heat-safe plate or bowl that fits inside your air fryer, two to three small balls of aluminum foil, and a toothpick. Place the aluminum foil balls in the bottom of the air fryer basket to create a makeshift stand.

Then, balance your heat-safe plate or bowl on top of the balls. Use the toothpick to poke holes in the plate or bowl to allow steam to circulate. And voila! You now have a DIY steaming rack for your air fryer.

It’s that simple. With this alternative method, you can cook a wide variety of steamed dishes in your air fryer without having to buy additional accessories. Give it a try and see how easy it is to create your steaming rack.


As much as we may wish it to be true, unfortunately, you cannot steam in an air fryer. While these innovative kitchen appliances can work wonders in cooking your favorite foods, they simply do not have the capability to generate steam. So, whether it’s steaming vegetables or dim sum that you crave, you’ll have to turn to more traditional methods for achieving that perfect steam.

But hey, with the help of your trusty air fryer, there are plenty of delicious and healthy meals you can whip up in no time – just leave the steaming to another day!”


Is it possible to use an air fryer for steaming purposes?
Yes, some air fryers come with a steaming accessory that allows you to steam food. Additionally, you can also use a steaming basket to steam food in an air fryer.

Can I use an air fryer as a substitute for a traditional steamer?
Yes, you can use an air fryer to steam food as it provides the same culinary results as a traditional steamer. However, you must ensure that the air fryer has a steaming accessory or a compatible steaming basket.

What foods can I steam in an air fryer?
You can steam a variety of foods in an air fryer, including vegetables, seafood, and dumplings. However, you should avoid steaming foods that may release excess moisture or liquids, such as certain fruits or meats.

Can I steam frozen food in an air fryer?
Yes, you can steam frozen food in an air fryer. However, you must ensure that the food is fully defrosted before placing it in the steaming basket or accessory. Additionally, you may need to adjust the cooking time for frozen foods to ensure that they are properly cooked.

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