Are Steamable Frozen Dinners As Great As Marketers Claim? (Hint: No)

Lots of frozen meal brands have debuted new and exciting meals that they claim will “steam” right in the packaging. Is that even a thing? Is that really any different from how other microwaveable meals cook? Our fresh and nutritious colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports noticed all of these ads, and decided to test a variety of steamy meals.

Their verdict: the meals are edible and some have great flavors and textures, but the “steam” technology doesn’t add anything special to the cooking in real terms. Meals didn’t always heat or cook perfectly, which the plastic bag steaming technology was supposed to fix. Cooking times aren’t significantly shorter than most other packaged meals. Neither are macronutrients like calories, fat, protein, and sodium content is pretty much the same.

The steamer baskets and bags might feature meals that appeal to you, but from the solo diner’s point of view, there’s no vast technological improvement. Get the cooking time down to a minute or so and cut back on the sodium–then you’d have some impressive advancements.

Frozen dinners get the steam treatment [Consumer Reports]

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  1. AndyTehNerd says:

    The one thing I’ve found that helps microwave dinners cook evenly, “steam”-powered or no, is stirring it up halfway through. Obviously this won’t help with your cube of lasagna, but a bag of steamed veggies can withstand a good shake in the middle of the cycle to avoid that sorry state of half-frozen, half-molten-hot broccoli.

  2. Xenotaku says:

    I tried some of those pasta steamers, a couple years ago, and it was pretty nasty.

    That being said, things that you don’t steam in their packaging, like shumai, that you put on a microwavable plate and cover with plastic wrap, ARE very good.

  3. FusioptimaSX says:

    High sodium and elevated cancer risk (from stuff leeching into food from the heated plastic). No thanks. I used to live by these frozen meals…not anymore. It’s still hard to ignore those 4 or 5 for $10 deals. It’s better for me and cheaper to make my own sandwiches or bring in leftovers and heat them up in a GLASS container.