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Aroma 5-Quart AFS-186 Review

The Aroma 5-Quart Food Steamer has a small capacity but good performance. This 650-watt electric food steamer gave us solid results with little effort. Our testers rated steamed chicken, vegetables and rice over 90 percent in steaming tests and 88 percent for fish.

Our Verdict

The Aroma 5-Quart Food Steamer is best suited for small kitchens and small families. We found it stood out among the small-capacity food steamers on our lineup.

For

  • This steamer's water reservoir has a 40-oz. capacity, which is plenty for a steamer with this capacity.

Against

  • It doesn’t include a rice bowl, which is unfortunate, since it cooked great rice in a borrowed bowl.
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Aroma 5-Quart image: This food steamer includes two tiers, which lets you cook separate foods at once.

Aroma 5-Quart image: This food steamer includes two tiers, which lets you cook separate foods at once.
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Aroma 5-Quart image: You can fit 5 quarts of food at once in this steamer.

Aroma 5-Quart image: You can fit 5 quarts of food at once in this steamer.
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Aroma 5-Quart image: If you remove the bottom of the top tier, you can fit large items like whole artichokes or ears of corn in this steamer.

Aroma 5-Quart image: If you remove the bottom of the top tier, you can fit large items like whole artichokes or ears of corn in this steamer.
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Aroma 5-Quart image: The manufacturer includes a digital copy of the user manual, contact information and recipes for your food steamer.

Aroma 5-Quart image: The manufacturer includes a digital copy of the user manual, contact information and recipes for your food steamer.

The Aroma 5-Quart Food Steamer has a small capacity but good performance. This 650-watt electric food steamer gave us solid results with little effort. Our testers rated steamed chicken, vegetables and rice over 90 percent in steaming tests and 88 percent for fish. While it doesn't have all the cooking features of other steamers, like a rice bowl and a warming setting, the resulting food was flavorful, moist and tender.

Even if you’ve never steamed food before, the Aroma is really easy to use. After one use you could easily ditch the instructions. The cooking times are listed next to the timer in a handy table located next to the timer dial. Once you've arranged the food on the two tiers and filled the water reservoir, you can set the time and walk away. The two tier baskets hold 5 quarts of food, but the top tier will only accommodate smaller portions or shorter foods, such as chopped vegetables. Like most steamers, the exterior is hot to the touch – our tests measured a reading of 190 degrees Fahrenheit – but I'’s slightly cooler than most high-capacity steamers we tested.

Like other small-capacity steamers, the Aroma 5-Quart doesn't have a method to refill the water reservoir without interrupting the cooking process. It does hold 40 ounces of water, however, which is well above average. There's also a window so you can monitor the water level. The Aroma didn’t include a rice bowl, a delayed start or a warming setting, but it did include a recipe book.

The steaming trays weren't very easy to clean by hand, and it was one of the more difficult steamers to clean among the other units we tested. Everything except for the steamer base is dishwasher safe, and the base wipes down easily with a damp rag. The trays don’t collapse any smaller so you can easily tuck it away in a cabinet or pantry, but this food steamer isn’t very large to begin with.

We found that Aroma was quick to respond to our questions by email, and we were able to easily find someone to talk to by phone. Aroma's website also has a live-chat feature. Aroma also hosts a community forum for troubleshooting, frequently asked questions and exchanging recipes. You can also register your steamer, find the product manual and order replacement parts online.

If you're new to steaming and want good results, the Aroma 5-Quart Food Steamer is among the best food steamers with a small capacity. There are other steamers that cook food just as well with much larger steaming trays, but if you have a small kitchen and don’t often cook for guests or a large family, this steamer is more than adequate. The food we tested in the Aroma was good, and it's small enough to fit in kitchen cabinets.