Why Every Kitchen Needs a Steam Oven

Sharon L Sherman, Thyme & Place Design, Kitchen Designer NJ, Steam cooking will be a trend for Embracing Wellness in 2024. Here a chef cooks a 25 pound turkey in a steam oven.

Cooking With Steam: A Healthy Alternative 

How can we bring a healthier lifestyle into our homes? That is the question many clients ask during our initial design meetings. Creating a nurturing environment to add wellness and mindfulness into our daily routines is a standard component for the bathrooms we design but what about the kitchen? How can I help my clients bring those same elements into the heart of their home? Yes, there are the colors and finishes but what about how we prepare our food? The design feeds our souls but food feeds our bodies. Cooking with steam is a great way to prepare just about anything. Steaming food is the perfect healthy alternative to a microwave. Let me show you why every kitchen needs a steam oven. 

With today’s busy lifestyle, healthy choices for both eating and preparing meals have taken center stage in the kitchen.  The introduction of steam into our appliances has added a new dimension to preparing healthy food for families. I have had hands-on experience with both Wolf and Signature Kitchen Suite appliances equipped with a steam cook option.  Why cook with steam? Besides making baking and roasting a breeze, the food tastes amazing.

Here is an example of a build in steam/convection oven placed above a traditional wall oven.,. Designed by Sharon L Sherman Thyme & Place Design Kitchen Designer NJ

Built-in steam oven installed over a traditional oven. www.thymeandplacedesign.com

What are the advantages of cooking with steam?

Steam cooking has been around for thousands of years. Professional chefs have been cooking with steam for quite some time. You can reheat, bake, roast, grill, and defrost all in one oven. Modern steam ovens have a water reservoir that injects water into the oven cavity creating steam, making the cooking process faster, more efficient, and healthier. It keeps food moist so adding butter, oil, or other fats is not necessary. Cooking with steam can turn ordinary cooking into extraordinary food preparation. More important you can still use your favorite recipes. 

Meats are tender and juicy while baked goods are fluffy and delicious. Best of all, you can use your steam oven to reheat your food. Refrigeration tends to dry out your leftovers. The steam oven reintroduces lost moisture while reheating. You can save money using a steam oven. Don’t let the size fool you. With the combination of steam and convection, large items like that holiday turkey fit just fine. The smaller interior uses less energy in cooking. Steam cooks quicker meaning less electricity is needed to prepare that meal. Not only do you save the nutritional value of your food, you save on energy costs cooking it. 

Our Hearthstone kitchen features a steam oven built right into the island perfect for multiple cooks. Sharon L Sherman kitchen designer NJ Thyme & Place Design

A steam oven was placed in the island. Perfect for multiple cooks. thymeandplacedesign.com

Want to know what makes steam cooking healthier?

  • No added fats and oils are needed to keep food moist.
  • You can cook several items at the same time with no flavor transfer.
  • Steam cooking retains natural vitamins and minerals making your food more nutritious.
  • Steamed food maintains its cancer-fighting properties.
  • You can reheat food with steam instead of using your microwave. Your food looks and tastes better.
  • Steam cooking doesn’t alter the appearance of food.
  • You can cook meats, vegetables, and even desserts.

Where to get recipes for the steam oven?

With the advent of smart technology, the recipes and cooking controls are now built right into the oven. You simply tell the oven what you are preparing and the weight of it. Many manufacturers have their own versions of steam ovens. Some are combined with convection ovens so you can use convection only, steam only, or a combination of both.  This gives you the ability to have a crispy outside and tender inside. WiFi-enabled control panels let you control the oven from your phone.

Beautiful inside and out. Here is the interior of the Signature Kitchen Suite 48" Range featuring their steam assist cooking in the 18" oven

48″ SKS range features built-in steam in the 18″ oven.

Who makes steam ovens?

Wolf offers a built-in steam oven with temperature controls that allow you to use precision techniques like sous-vide.  Miele also offers built-in steam ovens as does Signature Kitchen Suite. I am sure you remember my post about my trip to Napa and my cooking adventures with Chef Nick. 

Is cooking with steam really for me?

One of the first things I discuss with clients when starting a conversation about their kitchen is how they cook.  How you cook combined with design style and trends play an important role in which appliances are right for you.  My advice is to try one out. Many local appliance showrooms offer live demos where you can see these steam ovens in action. There are a number of household names in the countertop appliance space that make steam ovens. I think these make perfect sense for a rental apartment with limited cooking options. You can even try one as an additional portable appliance in place of your microwave. One caveat, you cannot reheat your coffee. You might have to invest in a personal coffee maker. Fresh coffee is the best. 

As more manufacturers add steam cooking to their appliance lineups, the prices will come down.  Counter models are available from as low as $300 while built-in units range from $2999 to $8000. If you think you might be interested in steam cooking, give us a call. I would love to help you design your dream kitchen complete with steam cooking. 

Thank you! 


Sharon L. Sherman, ASID, NCIDQ, CID, CKD


Sharon is the founder of Thyme and Place Design, headquartered in Wyckoff, New Jersey. She’s been practicing kitchen and bath design for the past 40 years and is a Past President of the American Society of Interior Designers – New Jersey chapter. She is a current member of the editorial board of KB&B Magazine, the official magazine of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. 

Her award-winning designs and editorial comments have been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Design Milk, Bergen NJ magazineKitchen & Bath Design News, Woman’s Day, Country Decorating, Design NJ, New Jersey Home Magazine, 201 Magazine, The Best of Bergen, Savvy Living, The Vue, The Record, The Star-Ledger,  and Aspire as well as several books.

Her blog “Tips from the Trade” appears in digital form on DesignNJ.com and KBBonline.com. She has also appeared on HGTV’s My Big Amazing Renovation and episodes of House Smarts with Lou Manfredini.  In 2022, she was a featured *Voices From The Industry* speaker at the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s international convention and is available for further speaking engagements nationwide on all topics related to running a successful kitchen and bath design business. 



  1. Leslie Carothers

    I love how this post explains all the benefits of cooking with steam, Sharon, and gives us a range of mfgs. to choose from, too.

    Thanks for all the helpful insights!

  2. Janet R Lorusso

    Thanks for this really comprehensive post on WHY steam cooking is a benefit! Very compelling reasons!


    Thanks Sharon for a wonderful walk-thru of the benefits of steam cooking. Also, I had no idea you could get a countertop unit for the cost of a decent microwave!


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Sharon sherman

My award-winning designs haven been featured in multiple magazines, industry publications and on television. That’s nice affirmation, to be sure.

But perhaps the greatest accolade I’ve received is the repeat engagements with so many clients, project after project, year after year.

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