What is a Steam Oven, and are they worth it?

Steam ovens are becoming a staple in households nationwide, thanks to their ability to cook food, particularly meats and vegetables, without drying them out. As a versatile alternative to conventional ovens, their popularity is on the rise.


What is a steam oven?

A steam oven cooks food using steam instead of traditional heating elements, hydrating the food during the cooking process. This method not only prevents drying and keeps flavours locked in but also cooks large dishes like whole chickens and joints of meat in nearly half the time of conventional ovens. 


How does a steam oven work?

Where a conventional oven uses top and bottom heating elements to heat the surrounding air to cook food, steam ovens work differently using steam.

Steam ovens pump water from an internal reservoir into a boiling tank where it’s heated to 100°C and pumped around the inside of the oven. With the help of traditional heating elements, steam ovens cook food quickly and keep food hydrated.

Many up-market steam ovens are connected to the mains water supply meaning you don’t have to fill up the reservoir in between uses. However, even by manually filling the reservoir, cooking times are almost half that of conventional ovens.


What can you cook in a steam oven?

Steam ovens are versatile, capable of cooking a wide array of dishes from meats and fish to bread, pasta, rice, and even desserts. They are particularly beneficial for preserving the vitamins and minerals in food, ensuring meals are nutritious and flavourful.


Pros and cons of steam ovens

Steam ovens provide a range of benefits to homeowners but there are some limitations to be aware of before you buy.

Here are the pros and cons of steam ovens.


Pros of steam ovens

  • Healthier cooking — Steam cooking helps to keep significantly more vitamins and minerals locked inside food when compared to cooking in a conventional oven — helping owners get more out of the food they eat.
  • Moisture retention — Because steam cookers use steam and keep your food hydrated, it doesn’t become dry or tasteless during the cooking process, helping to keep your meals juicy and tasting their best.
  • Faster cooking — Steam cookers cook food up to 50% faster than conventional gas or electric ovens, saving time even when cooking large meals.
  • Versatility — While they’re more commonly used for cooking meat, steam ovens can be used to cook almost anything. They’re a perfect alternative to conventional gas or electric cookers.
  • More energy efficient — Steam ovens are extremely energy efficient — with most steam ovens available on the market earning an A+ energy rating at a minimum — helping you save money every time you cook.
  • Easy to clean — Steam ovens come equipped with a stainless-steel coating on the inside of the oven. This makes it easy to wipe off any dirt and grime because of the non-stick surface.


Cons of steam ovens

  • Cost — On average, the cost of a steam oven is higher than a traditional oven because of the additional features and complexity of the cooking system. Due to the higher price point, it can be out of range for some customers looking for a new type of cooker.
  • Certain types of cooking are difficult — Because steam ovens are designed to keep food hydrated, certain types of cooking can be difficult using a steam oven. For example, trying to get food brown and crispy or even grilling food can be more challenging in a steam oven.
  • Smaller capacity — Because of the space needed to accommodate the water reservoir and heating elements, the internal capacity is often smaller than conventional ovens.
  • Increased maintenance — With some steam ovens using internal water reservoirs — and more up-market models equipped with a plumbed water supply — build-ups of limescale and grime often mean that these types of ovens need additional maintenance, which can be costly if something goes wrong.



While steam ovens come with a higher price tag, they offer significant advantages in terms of food quality, energy savings, and maintenance ease. It's crucial to research to find a model that fits your specific needs in terms of capacity, size, and features.


Find our range of amazing steam ovens here!



Is a steam oven better than a fan oven?

Steam ovens are more efficient, cook faster, and retain moisture better than fan ovens, though fan ovens may perform better for browning, grilling, and crisping.

Does a steam oven need a water supply?

Yes, steam ovens need a water supply, either through a refillable reservoir or a direct mains connection.

Can a steam oven replace a normal oven?

Yes, a steam oven can replace a normal oven.

Steam ovens can be used to cook everything including all meats, bread, pasta, large deep-dishes, and even sweet dishes — making them a suitable all-round replacement for any conventional oven.

Be mindful that steam ovens are usually more expensive than their conventional counterparts, so it’s important to shop around for the best deal.

Can you use foil in a steam oven?

Because aluminium foil can be heated to over 600°C before it melts, it is safe for use in any type of household cooking oven – including gas and electric convection ovens and steam ovens.

How do you clean a steam oven?

Many steam ovens need cleaning, and the water systems need descaling every so often to make sure they don’t break and operate efficiently. Please check the manufacturer instructions for more information.