What Can I Use Instead of a Double Boiler? – (Alternatives)

What Can I Use Instead of a Double Boiler? How to make delicious steamed chicken or meatballs? And what about desserts? We have collected life hacks that help you do some fabulous recipes with double boiler alternatives.

What Can I Use Instead of a Double Boiler

Double Boiler

It is believed that the Chinese were the first to discover a way to steam. We don’t know if this is the reason for Chinese longevity, but we can say that a healthy diet is the steam processing of foods since the moisture necessary for the body is retained in the foods. 

Another argument in favor is the ability to have more beneficial B vitamins in some cereals, which lose most of their beneficial properties when cooked. And, of course, no extra fat and taste of the oil, only the taste, and aroma of the food itself.

So if you are thinking about switching to proper nutrition, planning fasting days, and want to feed your child healthy food, but you don’t have a special device at home. Our article will tell you how to double boil without a double boiler.

What Can I Use Instead of a Double Boiler?

Let’s open a secret: You can steam almost everything. Cutlets, chicken, meat, fish, vegetables, cereals, cheesecakes, pancakes, and desserts. However, you should not cook for a couple of:

  • Noodles and pasta can boil and turn into one shapeless piece.
  • Mushrooms -some of their species contain harmful substances that are destroyed only by boiling or soaking.
  • Vegetables or fruits that visually seem rotten from the barrel – steam will only enhance the unpleasant taste.

How to Replace a Steamer at Home?

But how to cook a steamed dish without a double boiler? The process itself is very simple. The water boils, and under the influence of steam, the food located in a special container warms up and comes to readiness.

The obvious advantage of this method is that you are not attached to the dish, and you can be sure that nothing will boil, burn, or run away, and the food does not need to be turned over. 

In addition, the cooking time in this way is often less than with the same boiling or frying, as the food is heated from all sides. And most importantly – you do not need as much fat as for frying, and the nutrients do not go into the broth as when cooking, which means you get truly nutritious and tasty dishes.

And even if your kitchen does not have special appliances, do not despair. You can steam without a double boiler at home. You can build a simple design from improvised means.

1. Colander

 The easiest way is a regular saucepan half-filled with water and a colander, which is covered with a lid. You can replace the colander with gauze, the edges of which are tied to the handles. Or a metal sieve.

2. Foil

In the absence of gauze, a colander, and at least something remotely similar, you can use pieces of foil folded into balls.

Such lumps are laid out on the bottom of the pan, and a plate or bowl is placed on top of them, which you plan to cook. And all this homemade construction is then closed with a lid.

3. Special pot insert

Such liners are designed of metal petals with a handle and legs. Petals are adjustable to the size of the container you need. The insert is installed over a pot filled with water, and the desired products are laid on top.

The container where you lay out the foods mustn’t come into contact with the bottom of the boiling water.

Steam Cooking: Basic tips

As you can see, steam cooking without a steamer is possible. Such homemade options are easy to assemble and use, but we advise you not to forget the basic safety rules:

  • Be careful with steam – you can burn yourself.
  • Opening and lifting the lid and looking into the pan is not worth it until the end of cooking because of the risk of burns.
  • If you use gauze during cooking, you should not touch it with your bare hands – it gets very wet and heats up. You also need to fix it very well.
  • Do not use colander, bowls, or plastic containers, as there is a risk of melting them.
  • If the colander has a metal handle, be careful: it will get very hot during cooking, so use special pot holders.

8 Steam Recipes You Can Cook

If there are more questions than answers, then catch a few recipes, using the example of which we will describe in detail how to cook steamed food without a double boiler.

1. Fish Steaks

For one serving, take one fish steak. The approximate weight of store-bought steaks is 200-300 g. You can take redfish (trout or salmon). The main thing is to remove the skin from it when steaming. For convenience, you can use a special fish scaler. You should also remove bones.

Salt the fish piece, pepper (to taste), and brush generously with olive oil. Next, lay the steak on baking parchment. And put the prepared fish on parchment in a sieve.

Place the sieve on a saucepan half-filled with already boiling water and cover it with a lid on top. Within 10 minutes, delicious fish will be ready.

2. Chicken fillet with lemon mustard dressing

For one serving, you will need one chicken fillet, one lemon, dry mustard – 2 teaspoons, a sprig of dill, salt, and ground black pepper to taste.

Cut the fillet into three pieces. For the dressing, grate the zest of one lemon on a fine grater, chop the dill, add mustard, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly. Put the chicken fillet in the finished dressing, so the mixture covers it completely.

At this time, fill the pot halfway with water and bring it to a boil. After boiling, reduce the heat (slightly less than medium, so the water gurgles a little). Put the prepared fillet in a sieve or gauze. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

3. Beef cutlets

For four servings, you will need 400 g of ground beef (or mixed) ground meat, one onion, one chicken egg, one head of garlic, 200 g of Milk 3.2%, 5-slices of white bread, salt and pepper to taste.

Peel the onion and garlic, rinse thoroughly and pass through a blender (or chop very finely). For garlic, you can use a special press. Without cutting off the crust from the bread, soak it in Milk, periodically turning it over so that the pieces are soaked on all sides.

Lightly wring out the bread, removing excess moisture, and grind in a blender until smooth. Add onion, garlic, egg, minced meat, salt, and pepper. Mix the minced meat with your hands until smooth. 

The resulting mixture should be airy and soft. Add a few tablespoons of Milk if you think the stuffing is too tough. Also, if desired, add finely chopped greens or boiled carrots for taste.

Then pour some water into the pan and bring it to a boil. You can use a special insert or colander, which must be lubricated with vegetable oil.

Form patties by tossing them from one palm to the other and place in a colander. It is important that the cutlets, if possible, do not touch the sides.

Cover everything with a lid and leave to steam for 45-50 minutes on fire slightly above medium. You can serve ready cutlets with vegetables or a delicious side dish.

4. Stuffed Squid

All seafood is not only tasty and healthy but also low in calories. As a separate dish, they are steamed for 5-7 minutes. And for our recipe, you need a list of simple ingredients.

You need 2-medium sized squids, 125g boiled rice, 150g feta cheese, 3 garlic cloves, salt, and pepper to taste.

Rinse and clean the squid well, cut off and chop the tentacles. Boiled rice mixed with chopped tentacles and finely chopped garlic. Add mashed cheese with a fork. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Mix the filling thoroughly and stuff the squid with it. To be sure, you can use toothpicks to secure the filling without falling out.

How to steam in a saucepan is no longer a question, so put the squid on parchment, then in a colander or sieve and cook over boiling water for 20 minutes. You can eat this dish both hot and cold.

5. Vegetable stew

You will need 400 g of zucchini, courgette or baby marrow, 3 medium carrots, 2 potatoes, 2-sweet peppers, 3 tomatoes, salt, and spices to taste.

Wash and remove the skin from all vegetables. Cut the zucchini into circles, tomatoes, and peppers into strips, and carrots and potatoes into cubes.

In a suitable container, mix all the vegetables and salt. You can add herbs, parsley, oregano, or bay leaf.

Put the ingredients in a colander over boiling water, cover, and cook for 30-40 minutes. Then turn off the heat and leave covered for another 5 minutes.

6. Omelette

For two servings, you will need eggs – 4 pcs., Milk – 6 tbsp. l., butter – 10 g, salt.

Beat eggs, add Milk and salt. Mix well. Grease a silicone mold (or small omelet tins) with oil. Pour in the Milk and egg mixture.

Boil water in a saucepan, place a suitable container on top, and place the mold on it. Close the lid and cook for approximately 10 minutes. Thanks to the oil, you can easily turn the mold over and put the omelette on a plate.

7. Apple soufflé

You can use any variety of apples for this recipe. Add more or less sugar – it’s up to you. If your apples are sweet, then you can eliminate sugar.

For one serving, you need two eggs, one apple, and sugar – 1 tbsp without a slide, Milk – 30 ml, ground cinnamon – 0.5 tsp, and a pinch of salt.

Crack the eggs into the prepared, suitable deep dish. Add sugar. Whisk gently with a fork or whisk until smooth. Add cinnamon and stir again.

Wash the apples and dry them on a napkin or towel. Cut off the skin first. On a fine or medium grater, grate the fruit and add to the eggs. Pour Milk into the mixture. Mix again until smooth. Choose a container where you will prepare the soufflé, pour the mixture into it, and place it in a colander or sieve.

Place on a pot of boiling water. Close the soufflé with a lid and cook for 7-10 minutes. Such a dessert can be eaten both warm and cool, garnished with coconut flakes, grated chocolate, or nuts.

8. Wareniki with strawberries

You need wheat flour – 6 tbsp. l. with a slide, sour Milk (you can replace it with kefir) – 150 ml, baking soda – 0.5 tsp, and a pinch of salt. For the filling, you will need strawberries; the amount depends on the size of the berries. With this amount of ingredients, you will get about 10 pieces of dumplings.

Steam Recipes

Add salt and baking soda to the flour and mix well. Add Milk (or kefir). Use a whisk or fork for kneading the dough. When it thickens a little, knead with your hands. But try not to make the dough too tight.

Roll out the finished dough with a rolling pin into a sausage, and divide it into equal, not very small parts.

Make cakes at least 0.5 cm thick, and put strawberries in the center. Large berries are best chopped, and tiny ones can be added whole. You can sprinkle the center of the tortilla with sugar, but if you are lucky and the strawberries are adorable, you can do without it.

Connect the edges of the cake, forming a dumpling. Try to glue the ends as tightly as possible so that nothing opens during cooking.

Pour half the water into the saucepan. Tie the top of the pan with double-folded gauze, and fasten tightly. Bring the water to a boil. Lay the dumplings on the cheesecloth and cover them with a lid or an upside-down bowl. Cook for 5-6 minutes.

Put the finished dumplings on a plate. You can sprinkle sugar on top or pour sweet jam or honey.


However, when we need to cook something steamed, the question constantly arises as to how to do this, especially if we don’t have a double boiler at home. In order to eat delicious and healthy steamed food, you do not need to buy a double boiler.

In fact, everything is simple; we have everything we need at home, and it remains only to apply it correctly. You can show ingenuity and make a double boiler from improvised means.

Enjoy your meal!