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What Are the Pros and Cons of Cooking with a Commercial Steamer?

Let’s set the scene. It’s lunchtime on a Monday and a wave of hungry children are rushing toward the cafeteria. Or maybe it’s a Friday night and the dinner rush is starting to hit. Hungry parties are filling up your restaurant.

These are the times you want a quality, reliable steamer in your corner.

Cooking with steam brings several benefits – including quick cooking times and healthier food. But there are admittedly a few traditional downsides to using steamers. Here are some advantages (and disadvantages) of using a steamer to keep up with long lines and full tables.

Advantage #1: Fast Cooking Time

Whether retherming or cooking from scratch, commercial steamers provide some of the fastest preparation times among traditional cooking methods. Steam vapor is a highly efficient method of transferring energy despite only reaching 212°F.

With speed in mind, the Groen SmartSteam® Pro Boilerless Steamer preps fast. Really fast. That means you’ll be able to get your food in, ready and out in record time. For example, after start up, the SmartSteam Pro Boilerless heats up in less than a minute and cooks 45 pounds of rice in 25 minutes, 45 pounds of broccoli in 10 minutes and 25 pounds of shrimp in 8 minutes.

Advantage #2: It’s a Healthier Way to Cook

Cooking with steam is healthier because it retains more nutrients and flavor than other cooking methods without the need for butter or oil.

Additionally, steam cooking keeps your food looking and tasting fresh. Both are hugely important to keep your food bright, tasty and nutritious, which helps please eaters of all ages and minimize food waste.

Advantage #3: It’s an Efficient Way to Cook

Cooking speed is irrelevant if it doesn’t cook evenly – nobody wants food that’s hot on the outside and cold on the inside.

The convection fan in the SmartSteam Pro Boilerless ensures that food is cooked evenly, removing the need for you to reposition and reheat. The unit’s revolutionary, durable touchscreen allows you to monitor cooking status in real time, quickly add +1 minute to the cook time and keep things on track with pan timers and a dedicated hold feature.

Disadvantage #1: Steamers Can Break Down Easily

Breakdowns can occur when minerals build up and clog parts of the system. With frequent use of water vapor, these buildups and breakdowns are all too common in the kitchen – especially when the equipment isn’t properly and diligently maintained.

The SmartStream Pro Boilerless Steamer’s enhanced intelligence, real-time performance monitoring and error diagnostics make it much easier to service when there is an issue. Less guesswork results in more efficient service, so your kitchen doesn’t miss a beat. Even better, critical backups keep you operational through the shift while service is being arranged.

Disadvantage #2: Steamers Can Use a lot of Water

As you might expect from an appliance that cooks with water vapor, steamers can do some damage to your water bill.  We’ve seen some steamers use hundreds of gallons of water per hour!

The SmartSteam Pro Boilerless increases water savings by up to 50% when compared to other conventional steamers. It vents steam to the hood instead of the drain, which eliminates the high water usage and keeps your water costs down.

Disadvantage #3: Installation Can Be a Little Tricky

Getting a steamer into your kitchen and ready to roll can be time consuming: the unit needs to be leveled, connected properly to a water line and floor drains, provided with electricity, and then tested to ensure nothing is wrong. During that setup, there are a number of areas where problems can arise.

To help with a hassle-free install, Groen offers a free Start-Up program within 30 days of shipment. An Authorized Service Agent will inspect your steamer free of charge and you’ll get an additional year of extended warranty to go with it.

For more information about the SmartSteam Pro or the free Start-Up program, visit our SmartSteam Pro page or contact Groen Product Manager Walter Trapp at To request a quote for a SmartSteam Pro Boilerless steamer, visit our Request a Quote page.

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