A Guide to Steaming and Air Frying: The Pros and Cons

Are you looking for a healthier way to prepare your favorite meals? Look no further than steaming and air frying! These two cooking methods have become increasingly popular thanks to their numerous health benefits.

But before you make the switch, it’s important to take a look at how the methods compare. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of steaming and air frying, so you can decide which method is right for you. We’ll also provide some tips on selecting the best equipment for each cooking method.

So if you’re ready to start preparing healthier meals easily, keep reading!

What Is A Food Steamer?

A food steamer is a kitchen appliance that uses moist heat to cook food. It works by adding water to the Steamer’s water reservoir and heating it until it boils, producing a vapor that cooks the ingredients on the trays. This method of cooking is different from air fryers which use dry heat. Food steamers are a great way to cook healthy meals without sacrificing flavor or texture.

What Is A Food Steamer?

Steamed food has a unique taste and texture that air fryers can’t achieve with other cooking methods. The steam moisture helps keep the food tender and juicy while locking in flavor and nutrients. Steaming also helps to preserve color and texture, making it an ideal choice for vegetables, fish, and other delicate foods. Additionally, since no oil or fat is used during the cooking process, steamed dishes are often lower in calories than their fried counterparts.

What Is An Air Fryer?

An air fryer is a great kitchen appliance for those who want to enjoy fried food without the guilt of using too much oil. It works by circulating super-hot air around the food chamber, creating a convection effect that cooks meals quickly and evenly. The heating coil from the top of the device and the fan system below rapidly circulates hot air around the food chamber to cook meals. Air fryers can also do other things, such as make rotisserie dishes, bake and roast food, and even dry food.

What Is An Air Fryer?

The main difference between an air fryer and a dehydrator is their effectiveness in drying food. A dehydrator uses low temperatures over a long period to remove moisture from foods, while an air fryer uses high temperatures over a short time to cook meals. This makes it ideal for those who want to quickly prepare fried foods without having to worry about using too much oil or unhealthy fats. Air fryers are also more energy efficient than traditional deep frying.

Steaming Foods In An Air Fryer

Steaming in an air fryer is a great way to enjoy the health benefits of steaming without having to invest in a separate appliance. It’s also great to make the most of your air fryer, as you can use it for more than just frying food.

The PowerXL Steamer Air Fryer is a kitchen device that allows one to enjoy many dishes that they previously could not have. This countertop device is meant to serve as both a steam in air fryer. It can lock in moisture with its steam function and then air frying to create a delicious meal. With this device, you can put all the foods you love back on the menu.

Can You Steam Food In An Air Fryer?

No, you cannot steam food in an Air Fryer. This is due to the distinct operational differences between steamers and air fryers. Air Fryers are an excellent solution to make something crispy, such as potatoes, vegetables, fried chicken, or flaky fish. However, wet battered foods, such as beer-battered fish or tempura, should not be cooked in an Air Fryer as they will likely cause smoke alarms to go off. You can also use Air Fryers to cook frozen hot dogs.

Air Fryer Vs. Steamer – The Similarities And Differences

The Air Fryer and Steamer are two popular kitchen appliances that offer different cooking experiences. Both are relatively inexpensive, with the Air Fryer being slightly more expensive. In terms of cooking capacity, the Air Fryer can cook more food at once due to its larger cooking space, while the Steamer can accommodate a smaller amount of food. The Air Fryer also offers a quick and easy way to prepare meals, while the Steamer is ideal for those looking to make healthier dishes as it preserves nutrients better.

Both use a similar working concept, as they cook food without needing oil. Air fryers have a more compact design than steamers and offer more cooking modes such as roasting, baking, dehydrating, rotisserie and frying.

They also have adjustable temperature control, higher power consumption, and smaller capacity. On the other hand, food steamers provide tastier food output but take longer to cook. They have fixed temperature control, lower power consumption, and larger capacity. Additionally, steamers are easier to maintain than air fryers because they only require cleaning multiple food cases rather than the single chamber of an air fryer.

Overall, both air fryers and food steamers provide healthy meals without needing oil. However, depending on your needs, you may prefer one over the other due to its different features, such as cooking modes or maintenance requirements.

Mode of cooking

Air fryers cook food by circulating hot air around it, creating a crispy outside. This method is often faster than steaming, but the food may need to be healthier.

On the other hand, steaming cooks food by surrounding it with steam in air fryer. This creates a moister texture and is generally considered to be healthier than frying. Steamed food is more nutritionally dense than fried food, making it an ideal choice for those looking for a nutritious meal.

Speed of cooking

Air fryers are great for quickly cooking frozen dinners and smaller items such as french fries or chicken nuggets. The air fryer works by circulating hot air around the food, which cooks it faster than traditional methods. This makes it ideal for quickly preparing meals that would otherwise take longer to cook. It also uses less oil than deep-frying, making it a healthier option.

Steamers are better suited for larger items such as whole chickens, fish fillets, and vegetables. Steamers use hot steam in air fryer for cooking food much faster than boiling or baking in an oven. This makes them perfect for quickly preparing meals that would otherwise take longer to cook.

Pros and Cons of Steaming and Air Frying



  • Preserves flavor and nutrients
  • Keeps food tender and juicy
  • Low-calorie cooking option


  • It takes longer to cook than air frying
  • Requires a separate steamer appliance or basket for your pot/pan

Air Frying:


  • Cooks food quickly and evenly
  • It uses less oil than traditional deep frying
  • It can also be used for baking, roasting, and drying food


  • It cannot be used to steam food.
  • Not suitable for wet battered foods

Is It Possible to Steam Frozen Dumplings in An Air Fryer?

You can cook frozen dumplings, pot stickers, and gyoza in the Air Fryer in just 10 minutes. All you need to do is preheat the air fryer to 400F / 204C, add your frozen dumplings into the air fryer basket, and you are ready to go! No need to thaw or prepare anything beforehand – place your frozen dumplings in the Air Fryer and enjoy perfectly cooked and slightly crispy dumplings in no time!

Is It Possible to Steam Vegetables in An Air Fryer?

It is possible to steam vegetables in an air fryer, although it will not provide the same caramelization as fresh vegetables. Air frying requires less oil, and vegetables can be cooked quickly and taste delicious. It’s easy to make frozen vegetables in an air fryer by spraying the air fryer basket with a non-stick cooking spray and adding the vegetables. Air-fried vegetables are said to be “phenomenal” compared to the usually steam vegetables in an air fryer.

Is It Possible to Steam Fish in An Air Fryer?

It is possible to steam fish in an air fryer. To do this:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 360°F for 5 minutes.
  2. Rinse and pat dry the fish and spray with coconut oil spray, and season with your desired ingredients.
  3. Once it is prepared, cook the fish for 20 minutes until soft. This technique will give you a tender, flaky white fish without deep frying it.

You can also make delicious fish and chips in an air fryer by cooking any breaded fish.

Is It Possible to Steam Rice in An Air Fryer?

It is impossible to steam rice in an air fryer, as air fryers are not intended for steaming food. Rice must be cooked on the stovetop before it can be crisped in an air fryer. The best way to use an air fryer for rice is to use cooked rice for recipes such as fried rice. Zucchini is also a great food for air-frying as it releases moisture when cooked, creating a crispy texture. For the best multi-cooker with air frying capabilities, try the Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker with Air Fryer Lid, 8 Quart.

Is It Possible to Steam Eggs in An Air Fryer?

Yes, it is possible to steam eggs in an air fryer! It is easy and safe to make either hard-boiled or soft-boiled eggs in the air fryer. All you need to do is set the air fryer to 375°F (190°C) and cook the eggs for 3-5 minutes. If you have an air fryer oven, use the top rack position to ensure that the egg whites are firm. You can also make Chinese steamed eggs in an air fryer – and you’ll be amazed at what else it can do!

Is It Sensible to Steam Food in An Air Fryer?

Using an air fryer to steam food is a great way to save energy and money. It is a safe and healthy cooking method as it has internal and external components that get hot during cooking, so it is important to be careful when handling them. The temperature is limited to 100°, ensuring the food won’t dry out. Additionally, steaming food helps to preserve its nutrients. Air fryers can also be used to air-fry food to finish with the perfect crisp. The Air Fryer Steamer is ideal for shellfish, bagels, pretzels, bread, and more.

Overall, air fryers and food steamers are great options for preparing healthy meals without needing oil. Air fryers offer more cooking modes and adjustable temperature control, while steamers provide tastier food output but take longer to cook. Depending on your needs, you may prefer one over the other due to their different features, such as cooking modes or maintenance requirements. Additionally, it is possible to steam food in an air fryer, making it a great option for those looking to save energy and money.

What Is the Best Way to Steam Food in An Air Fryer?

The best way to steam food in an air fryer is to use a dedicated steamer appliance or a pot with a steamer basket and a pot designed with holes in the bottom. Air fryers are not designed for steaming and should not be used with lots of water in an air fryer to steam or any other excessive liquid, as this will damage the appliance.

Using Active Steam is the safest way to get a crisp exterior and moist interior while using only a small amount of oil. To ensure the best results, patting food dry before cooking is important, as this helps prevent steaming.

What Are the Advantages of Using Boiling Water In An Air Fryer to Steam?

Using boiling water in an air fryer to steam can be beneficial in many ways. It helps to keep food crisp and adds a layer of moisture during cooking. Additionally, it eliminates the need to wait for a pot of water to boil when preparing certain foods. Boiling water can also make food healthier by reducing the fat and oil needed. Lastly, it helps to make air fryer hard-boiled eggs last longer.

Get the Most out Of Your Air Fryer with These Tips and Tricks

Getting the most out of your air fryer requires a few tips and tricks. Here are some of the best ways to make sure you get the most out of your air fryer:

  1. Preheat your air fryer before cooking to get the best results.
  2. Clean the air fryer basket with some warm soapy water and a non-abrasive cloth to maintain its life.
  3. Always have the grate in the basket when cooking to avoid food from sticking.
  4. Soak the fry basket in water for a few minutes before adding food for optimal cooking.
  5. Add an extra shake when cooking to get more even results.
  6. Lay down foil for crumbed foods to make cleaning up easier.
  7. Skip the preheat when cooking vegetables, fruits, and other non-meat items.
  8. Add water to the drawer when cooking fatty foods to decrease smoke and splatter.
  9. Avoid the dishwasher and hand wash instead to extend the life of your air fryer.
  10. Use it to reheat leftovers, make healthy veggie chips, and roast nuts or chickpeas for a healthier alternative to fried foods.

That’s it! With these tips and tricks, you can make the most out of your air fryer.


Is It Possible to Use Water in An Air Fryer for Steaming?

No, an air fryer is not designed for steaming food. It is designed for convection frying, and while it is possible to add a small amount of water to the air fryer, it is not recommended. The air fryer tray is dishwasher safe, but washing it by hand is the best way to keep it in good condition. When using an air fryer, it is important to remember that the water in the food will evaporate as it heats up, causing the steaming to stop.

Is It Possible to Turn Cold Water Into Steam Using an Air Fryer?

No, turning cold water into steam is impossible using an air fryer. An air fryer uses convection air to remove moisture content from food, making it crispy. On the other hand, steamers utilize warm heat from the water to steam and moisturize food. As such, air fryers cannot be used as steamers as they cannot produce steam. Furthermore, using water with the air frying cooking method is not recommended.

Is It Possible to Cook Multiple Items Simultaneously in My Air Fryer?

Yes, cooking multiple items simultaneously in an air fryer is possible. Many air fryers come equipped with a separator that allows you to divide the ingredients and cook multiple ingredients simultaneously. This feature makes air fryers very convenient and time-saving for those looking to prepare various dishes in one go.

Is It Possible to Use a Steamer Basket with An Air Fryer?

Using an Air Fryer is a great way to fry food without using oil. However, it is not meant for steaming food, and one should avoid adding too much liquid to it. Stepping frozen dumplings in an Air Fryer is possible without thawing them first. It is important to note that overcrowding the fryer basket can lead to uneven cooking, and one should use perforated parchment paper sheets and liners to prevent this. Additionally, You can use the PowerXL Air Fryer Steamer to air fry and steam vegetables, dumplings, and tamales.

Do You Need Oil for Steaming when Using an Air Fryer?

When using an air fryer, you don’t need to add oil for steaming as it does not require any fat for cooking. However, it is important to note that some appliances may generate heat and steam during use. For best results, it is always recommended to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using an air fryer, such as the Instant Pot® Duo Crisp™ + Air Fryer. It should also be noted that You should not use this appliance for deep frying or pressure frying.

Is It Common for Steam to Be Produced by An Air Fryer?

It is quite common to see steam produced when using an air fryer. The steam results from the water surrounding the food and heating it up, resulting in a crisp texture. This is different than deep-frying, which uses oil to cook the food. A 3-in-1 air fryer, like the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer, can also be used to grill and steam, offering various tasty and healthy cooking options.


So, can you steam in an air fryer? The short answer is yes – as long as it is equipped with a steaming basket and water tray. This allows you to add liquid to help create the steam needed for steaming food. With the addition of moisture, air fryers can produce tender, flavorful meals that are cooked quickly and evenly.

It’s important to remember that not all air fryers will have this capability, so be sure to check the product description before purchasing one.

Do you have any questions about steaming food in an air fryer? Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

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