Nobody likes dry, flavorless food that’s comparable to chewing cardboard. On top of that, throwing out stale bread and leftovers is the pits. Even going one step further, a lot of us don’t like the thought of using a microwave to cook or reheat food. The perfect solution to avoid these messes and unpleasantries is a steam oven. In this article, I share my picks for the best countertop steam oven.
The beauty of modern-day technology is that we like to pack as many functions into one useful gadget as possible. All of the countertop steam ovens in this guide give you multiple cooking modes using steam and convection to make delicious homemade dishes. Plus, bakers will find value here since my top pick has a designated “proof” setting for proofing your favorite bread.
Before we get started with an overview of my top picks, let’s quickly go over some of the limitless possibilities offered by a steam oven.
What foods can you cook in a steam convection oven?
- Grilled Chicken Wings
- Steamed Fish
- Homemade Bread
- Creme Brulee
In reality, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Why? Because most countertop steam ovens are actually combination steam ovens, aka combi steam ovens. Their various cooking modes & presets make it easy to cook almost anything without guesswork.
These combination convection/steam ovens use steam only, convection only, or a combination of the two functions to cook scrumptious recipes right on your countertop. Feel free to bake, broil, steam, and poach using the following countertop steam ovens.
Below, you’ll find an overview of the specs for each model followed by in-depth reviews of each.
Top 5 Countertop Steam Ovens
Countertop Steam Oven Reviews
Compared to full-size steam ovens, countertop models are significantly more affordable. However, a quality countertop steam oven does cost more than a traditional toaster oven. All of the models in this guide feature water reservoirs that you manually fill to produce steam.
You may be wondering, why not just use a steamer pot? A couple of key advantages of using a steam oven are the combination of cooking functions including steam/bake and the long uninterrupted steaming times. For example, a good countertop steam oven can provide hours of uninterrupted steam.
In the following sections, I share reviews of each of my top picks to help you land on the right model for your home.
#1) Cuisinart CSO-300N1 Convection Steam Oven
Of the models in this guide, Cuisinart’s steam oven is the top steam oven for baking bread. There’s a designated bread proofing setting that enhances moisture retention, decreases baking times, and helps novices avoid costly mistakes. Even breadmaking pros will love the convenience of baking bread with this handy countertop kitchen device.
Outside of baking bread, there’s plenty more to like. The 47 oz. removable water reservoir provides up to 2 hours of steady, uninterrupted steam for hands-free cooking at its finest. There are both steam/bake and steam/broil modes for cooking a wide variety of delicious foods, including juicy roasts.
Several final highlights are the built-in steam clean feature to make removing residuals easier, included racks & pans, significantly reduced cooking times, and the ability to revive leftovers you might have otherwise thrown out. All in all, there’s no limit to what this machine can do, and its relatively small footprint won’t eat up too much of your valuable counter space.
- Up to 2 hours of uninterrupted steam per fill
- Special combination cooking functions Steam & Bake and Steam & Broil
- Excellent for reheating leftovers and reviving stale bread
- The self-cleaning function delivers on its promise
- High-quality accessories including trays, racks, and a pan
- More than enough features to cook your favorite foods
- Smaller footprint than larger models
- Toast will burn if left in after the buzzer sounds
- The beeping sound is non-adjustable, and you might find it to be loud
- Every cooking mode is timed, no option to leave it on
#2) Robam CT761 Steam Convection Oven
Who is Robam and why is their steam oven so great? Robam is a well-known Asian brand that’s been around since 1979, and their kitchen appliances are catching on in America for good reason. Overall, the CT761 model is the best combi oven for home use on the market. Considering its size, wide range of cooking modes, and the advanced tech offered by this gadget, it’s basically like having a full-size oven on your countertop.
The only real limitation to consider is whether you have enough room on your counter to house it. Compared to Cuisinart’s model, the CT761 has a larger footprint and requires several more inches of clearance if you plan to house it beneath your kitchen cabinets. Other than that consideration, it does cost the most of the models in this guide at the time of this writing.
More features that make this oven special are the added clearance for baking bread, the built-in convection fan for even heat distribution, multiple combo cooking modes including grill/steam, the wide temperature range for proofing & baking, a self-cleaning function, and the low-level water alert for added safety. All things considered, this model is one of the most premium countertop convection steam ovens on the market, if not the most.
- Added clearance for baking bread
- Two shelves allow you to cook two 10″ pizzas or up to 40 chicken wings at once
- User-friendly controls
- The attractive design suits any kitchen
- Top-notch quality materials used throughout
- The self-cleaning function quickly dissolves residual food and grease for painless cleaning
- Precise cooking temps with a built-in convection fan to prevent hot/cold spots
- The beeping sounds might annoy you
- Costlier than the other models in this guide
- Requires more space than Cuisinart and BALMUDA ovens
#3) BALMUDA The Toaster
If you want to upgrade your current toaster oven or minimize the amount of counter space your steamer oven uses, BALMUDA’s The Toaster is an excellent choice. Its small footprint and overall size make it perfect for singles, renters, and couples. However, families of three or more will most likely find that other options in this guide are superior since space is limited inside this toaster. Additionally, it’s not the best choice for baking bread since there’s 2.5″ of clearance above the lowest tray position.
Outside of those considerations, this compact steam oven is perfect for making toast, pizza, small pastries, and foods such as lasagna. All it takes is 5 ml of water poured into the top of the toaster to get the job done. This feature is nice if you don’t like the idea of using a removable water reservoir and prefer to save space.
In total, there are four designated cooking modes for artisan bread, sandwich bread, pizza, and pastries, plus the option to choose between steady 350ºF to 450ºF temps. For people who want a compact countertop steam oven that’s built for convenience, it doesn’t get much better than BALMUDA’s The Toaster.
- The most compact model in this guide with the smallest footprint
- No reservoir to worry about, just add 5 ml of water before you start
- Three colors to choose from to match your kitchen
- Rejuvenates stale bread
- Reheats food quickly and evenly (good for replacing a microwave)
- Crispy and juicy results
- Just 2.5″ of vertical clearance makes it unattractive for baking bread
- Less temperature control than other models
- The overall quality of the materials could be better for the price
#4) Sharp SSC0586DS Superheated Steam Countertop Oven
Sharp is a brand we all know, and the company’s countertop steam oven delivers. At first glance, it’s easy to tell that this oven is built with high-quality components. I especially like the large top handle that makes checking & removing your food easier and safer. Another design feature that makes this oven special is the hidden baking element that makes cleanup a breeze. There’s no need to worry about cleaning between any annoying grooves, simply wipe down the flat surface.
As for cooking, this oven uses a superheated steam technique to reach temperatures up to 485ºF. Plus, there’s no preheating required to further reduce cooking times. The base package includes a broiling pan and crisper tray to make loading up the pan and cooking a full meal quite easy.
One drawback to consider is the limited height, similar to the BALMUDA oven above. If you plan to bake bread or roast meats, it’s best to stick with Cuisinart, Robam, and F.Blümlein models to ensure you have enough clearance. Other than that, this is a powerful countertop steam oven that’s perfect for conveniently cooking family meals.
- No preheating required makes it great for replacing a microwave or for cooking meals from scratch on the fly
- High-quality materials
- Hidden heating element for easier cleaning
- It makes cooking so easy that even novice chefs feel confident using it
- The best countertop steam oven for pizza in this guide
- Limited vertical clearance
- The oven light could be brighter
- The smaller water reservoir equals shorter max cooking times than other models
#5) F.Blümlein JU-3200 Steam Convection Oven
The JU-3200 is one of the best countertop combi-steam ovens on the market that gives you a ton of options at the touch of a button. The range of cooking modes allows for just about every combination you can think of. On top of that, the two dozen presets make cooking intimidating recipes easier.
Of the models in this guide, the JU-3200 is the largest, and it can fit up to an 18-lb turkey or 12″ pizza. While this is great, it also means that it’ll take up the most space on your counter and require the most vertical clearance. Be sure to measure where you plan to house it to avoid any issues.
A couple of unique safety features I like for families with children are the three-layer glass door – that’s safe to touch – and the child safety lock. Additionally, convenience features such as the dishwasher-safe accessories and 304 stainless steel interior make operating & cleaning this oven a cinch. Lastly, the 37.2 oz reservoir provides up to three hours of uninterrupted steam for true set-it-and-forget-it cooking.
- The largest capacity of the models in this guide for cooking large birds, pizza, and baking
- Up to three hours of steam per fill is the longest time offered by a model in this guide
- Child safety features
- The special front-cooling system helps to trap heat inside the oven to avoid warping kitchen cabinets or heating up your kitchen
- Loads of cooking modes and presets
- Requires more space than standard countertop steam ovens
- The user interface could be more intuitive
- The heaviest model in this guide
Before choosing the best countertop steam oven for your kitchen, be sure to consider the following points:
- How much space do you have? If you plan to house it below kitchen cabinets, is there enough vertical clearance?
- What foods do you plan to cook the most?
- If you have children, does the unit offer child safety features?
- Does it come with all the accessories you desire?
- How long can it produce uninterrupted steam?
- Are the interior dimensions large enough to accommodate you and your family?
If you’re still on the fence, answering the questions above will make your final decision easier. Overall, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the models in this guide. It all comes down to matching your needs to the right model for your home.