Difference Between Boiling and Steaming

There are several ways of preparing food, and dishes made with each one end up smelling, feeling, and tasting different. While some methods are simple and some are complicated, there isn’t any short method to prepare any dish. But, the two most chosen ways of preparing food are steaming and boiling.

Boiling vs Steaming

The main difference between boiling and steaming is that, in boiling, the ingredients are totally submerged in boiling water. On the other hand, during steaming, the raw ingredients are lifted over the boiling water. They are then covered with a lid to be cooked via steam.

Boiling vs Steaming

Boiling is a moist way of preparing food where ingredients are immersed in some liquid, either brought or maintained to the boiling point. Heat is conducted via vessel surfaces to the liquid in it. The fluid then transfers the heat to the ingredients, and the food cooks.

Steaming is a procedure for making food that needs moist heat. This heat gets produced via boiling water which converts into steam. This steam provides warmth to the ingredients and cooks them. Then the cooked food is separated from the liquid and only is in direct contact with the eater.

Comparison Table Between Boiling and Steaming

 Parameters of Comparison   BoilingSteaming
Manner of cookingUses direct exposure to liquid to cookVaporized boiling liquid used to cook
Oxalate removal87%       53%
FlavorsFlavors can be infusedFlavors can’t be infused
Vessel requirementCould be done in any potNeed additional vessel like a tray or insert
Breakage of ingredientsFood ingredients might break or become sturdy because of direct exposure to water             Raw ingredients don’t break 

What is Boiling?

Boiling is a vital cooking procedure used to make dishes from eggs, vegetables, and other meals. It is utilized in kitchens all over the globe and requires just a saucepan or heavy-bottomed pot to make the dish. Even though boiling occurs at a temperature a little more than poaching or simmering, those few degrees create a big difference in the food preparation.

Boiling in the kitchen is done at a high temperature of around 100°C, in some base liquid or water. When the liquid involved boils, bubbles produced by water vapor moves towards the liquid’s surface and pops. It is an appropriate method that is best for sturdier foods or anything that is delicate.

The ingredients are sink into the water for proper distribution of heat in the food. Boiling could be fast or slow in nature. Depending on the food you want to make, you can either use pre-boiled water or cool water heated up to boiling temperature.

When the ingredients are heated, the water used might contain some salt, butter, or oil for texture or flavor. Usually, the raw ingredients are put into the liquid at a boiling stage but sometimes are lead to the simmering phase until the entire cooking finishes.

What is Steaming?

Steaming is a procedure of cooking that involves moist heating. The warmth gets produced via boiling water which converts into steam. This steam gets heat to the meal and prepares it. Here the cooking ingredients come into straight contact with the steam and are dissociated from water. As the water reaches around 37°C, the process of steaming starts.

To steam food, you only need to have two simple equipment pieces on your stovetop: a steamer basket and a pot. The pot is filled with liquid which leads to a simmer. The ingredient to be cooked is placed in a basket dangled above the liquid. After doing this, the pot with the food gets ready to be cooked.

The hot steam flows in the pot and prepares the ingredients in it very quickly. The process is also known by the name compartment steaming. Banana leaves or bamboo steamers are picked for preparing steamed cuisines, and the same is an example of the compartment steamer.

Steaming could be done via high pressure as well. This sort of cooking will need specialized utensils. But, the basket-pot method works almost for all the steamed cooked dishes. So, with accurate pressure and temperature, a tasty meal is made.

Main Differences Between Boiling and Steaming

  1. Boiling leads to the breakage of ingredients from unprotected exposure to water. While steaming is a gentle procedure of preparing food without breaking the raw material used.
  2. Boiling causes a loss of nutritional value of the meal. On the other hand, steaming preserves more nutrients, and thus, there is less loss of nutritional value of the food.
  3. In boiling, if the meal is heated for too long, there could be a loss of texture and color. But, while steaming, you can enjoy an alluring texture and color of the food, despite durational steaming.
  4. Boiling helps in killing more microorganisms due to higher temperatures. But while steaming, fewer microorganisms are removed if compared to boiling.
  5. Boiling might take away food flavors. On the other hand, steaming is likely to maintain food flavors to the utmost level.
Difference Between Boiling and Steaming


As someone who is interested in cooking or wishes to enhance the skills he has, preparing food via boiling or steaming must be clear.

All these food preparing procedures come under the heating methods of cooking. They involve the heating of raw ingredients in liquid on a stove in a specified vessel. They almost follow the same way of utilizing heat to prepare the food but still differ, especially when maintaining or setting a temperature.

Steaming happens when you boil the liquid to evaporate it into some fine mist. What actually cooks the food is actual steam. If you’re looking up to keep a check on fats and calories, steaming is a great way to prepare food with maintaining the nutritional value. You even skip the chances of overcooking the food but possess more chances of consuming more energy while preparing the meal.

Boiling, on the other hand, is similar to steaming. But in case of boiling, you need to immerse the food ingredients in the liquid for some time. Also, the taste and nutritional value of the meal while doing so gets altered to a high level.

Both the methods are great for cooking. You need to choose one according to the meal you want to make.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0023643820307362
  2. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/42989519.pdf
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