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Itaki Pro Electric Lunch Box Steamer Review

You know how you get those adverts on Instagram for various gadgets that seem too good to be true? Well, I get them all the time. A little while before Christmas I started seeing adverts from Wowzone for something called the Itaki Pro, which is an electric lunch box. You might ask what an electric lunch box is. How is it electric? Why does it need to be electric? Well, read on to find out.

itaki pro lunch box steamer review

Disclaimer: I have NOT been paid or given any incentives to write this review. I’m writing it because there was a real lack of reviews online about this product, but I noticed on social media that there was a lot of interest in it. This is the review I wish someone had written.

I find lunchtime is difficult. I used to sit at my desk with flat sandwiches that had been squashed in my bag during the morning or, if I was feeling brave, I’d risk using the office microwave to heat a can of soup. That was risky business because I doubt that thing ever got cleaned unless I did it. There was one other option; the McDonalds across the street from where I worked. I’ve just never really been into that kind of junk food though. I never eat burgers or fizzy drinks and their salads are extortionately priced. Now that I’m a home worker, I just grab whatever is in the fridge – usually leftovers or some kind of weird concoction of what’s lying around or in the freezer. Lunch is NOT that exciting, so I needed to find some new ideas for the new year.

itaki pro lunch box steamer review

There’s also the fact that I’m going on my travels this year. I have some trips planned and as someone who suffers from food allergies, I am going to struggle with hotel visits. Not everywhere understands the need for total avoidance of one specific food, where even traces can cause a serious problem. The easiest solution for me in the past has been to visit a resort with self-catering accommodation and a good supermarket nearby. If I had an electric lunchbox and a few staple ingredients, could short breaks become easier? Only if it works, is the answer.

Step forward the Itaki Lunch Box. It’s what they call a bento box and if you don’t know what that is, you’re not alone because I didn’t know before a few weeks ago. It’s adequate for cooking a single portion of food. How it works is that it steams the food, so you only need to add a small amount of water. This is good for several reasons:

  • It’s one of the healthiest ways to cook your food as it holds in the nutrients
  • You’re not adding fat so again, that’s good for your health
  • You can add the food to the box, switch it on and leave it to cook while you work
  • It’s easy to clean as there isn’t greasy fats to wash off

itaki pro lunch box steamer review

I ordered the pink one but it comes in a range of colours, namely orange, blue, black and lilac. There are also two types of Itaki lunch box. There’s the Itaki Pro and the Itaki Classic. The difference isn’t obvious but the Pro has an updated design with graphics on the front (cute, but really not necessary), larger capacity and upgraded features. That’s all the information I can find on the differences. They do seem to be a slightly different shape but without seeing both, I can’t give you any more specific details.

itaki pro lunch box steamer review

One of the first things I liked was that when ordering I got to choose the voltage and plug pin type. I chose UK, although really I should have picked EU because that’s where I’ll be travelling most. However, I can use it at home and on my road trips for now and worry about the EU plugs later. Despite choosing UK, it doesn’t arrive with a UK 3-pin plug. It arrives with the Asian style of plug and a travel adaptor. Not a huge issue and not really a problem, but it’s worth noting that they don’t supply you with a different plug, just an adaptor.

So, I ordered this on Boxing Day (26th December) and chose the cheapest shipping option. It arrived on 4th January. That was much quicker than I had expected. It arrives with a navy blue/white bag for easy transportation. The bag is only big enough for the lunch box and not the cable and adaptor though, so clearly that hasn’t been thought through. I’d like to see that updated. Inside the plastic lunch box there’s a large metal bowl, a smaller metal bowl and an egg tray that holds four eggs. Since I’m not going to be cooking eggs in it, I haven’t tested this part but I’m sure there are reviews out there that review egg cooking. I can’t find them but they probably exist on YouTube or somewhere. There’s also a little plastic measuring cup. Do NOT lose this cup. It’s going to be vitally important to using this device.

salmon broccoli itaki steamer

How it works is that you put two cups of water in the bottom of the Itaki lunch box. The large bowl sits on top of that water, but not in it. It’s slightly raised from the bottom. Then the small bowl sits on top of the larger bowl. You close it all up, switch it on and leave it for half an hour or an hour – depending on how much you’re cooking and what you’re cooking. It switches itself off if the water boils dry, which I really like. It’s quite a handy safety feature and I have tested this out to make sure it works. It does.

On opening, I got really excited to see how the Itaki Pro worked and wanted to try it right away. So, I got cooking! The first thing I tried was some plain basmati rice and some broccoli. I made the rookie mistake of putting the rice in the top bowl. You’re going to want to put the rice or whatever grain you’re using in the bottom bowl with a cup of water to soak up. This is because the water from the steaming (remember that cup or two that you’ve put in the bottom?) will drop into the top bowl naturally when it condenses. You don’t need to put any water in that bowl. The food in the larger bottom bowl doesn’t get that water. It gets heat. The best way to cook is to have the rice down there and the meat and vegetables in the smaller top bowl.

itaki pro lunch box steamer review

On my first attempt, I left it cooking for half an hour. I found that it cooked everything well and it was all moist. That wasn’t a meal I was planning to eat though. One isolated try is different from using it in the real world. I decided to cook some lunches in it. It had to be food that I would really eat and most importantly, it had to be food that I wouldn’t have otherwise cooked because of the inconvenience of using multiple pots and ovens. That’s the true test of whether it’s worth buying, right?

On Monday I made myself some rice, chicken breast and carrots. It was switched on for around an hour and then it went dry. The chicken wasn’t 100% cooked. I don’t know if I had cut it into chunks that were too big or if I had piled it high and it needed to be separated. Not a problem though. I just put in another cup of water and left it for another 20 minutes. I’m really pleased with how the meal turned out. I enjoyed it and steaming is so much better than boiling. There’s a different flavour when you steam.

On Tuesday, I made myself some salmon, broccoli and more rice. This cooked quicker this time. Forty minutes was sufficient. That includes the time it takes for the water to heat up and start steaming, because obviously the water is cold when you pour it in. The salmon was perfect. The rice was a little sticky both days. I’ve been using a cup of rice and two cups of water, but I might try three tomorrow.

So, after using it for two days, I can say that I really like this steamer. Here are the pros and cons:

PROS

  • It cooks the food really well
  • It’s easy to clean
  • It looks cute
  • It’s lightweight and will be easy to transport
  • I think it’s reasonably priced at $49.95

CONS

  • It’s difficult to know, without opening it up, whether the food is cooked
  • There’s no insulation so it’s hot to touch
  • The portion sizes might be a little small for some (they’re fine for me though, I’m a light eater)
  • The recipe book that comes with the lunch box has very few recipes in it

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this electric lunch box. I give it a solid 9/10. This could be improved by the addition of a clear top so you can see if the food is cooked and some kind of insulation to ensure that if you touch it from the outside when it’s in use, it won’t burn. I’d also like a car adaptor so I can use it on the move.

itaki recipes

There’s also the fact that I might get a little sick of eating rice. I’m planning to try some soft straight-to-wok noodles or potatoes in it, as well as couscous. I don’t think pasta would work though. That might require a little more power. Time will tell and a lot of the cooking I do in it will be trial and error.

If you’re interested in trying the Itaki Pro, you can head to Wowzone to check it out. There are also lots of other brands available on Amazon if you search for electric lunch box.

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10 Comments

  1. Arisun Murray
    February 21, 2020 / 10:57 pm

    Lovely post!! I love my Itaki but I haven’t tried steaming salmon yet. Its definitely on the list now though. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive an everyday recipe booklet with mine, but I love to experiment.

    For the rice i normally just was the rice and use a 1 to 1 ratio (rice:water) and it comes out fine! I hope you find what works for you <3.

  2. Jenny Moe
    March 7, 2020 / 3:30 pm

    Does it have to be plugged in to work?

    • April 6, 2020 / 2:33 pm

      Yes, it’s not possible to charge it up. It has to be connected to the mains.

  3. Yasmine
    October 15, 2020 / 2:26 pm

    Love the pink color here <33 I have the Shabuki pot as well which I use more often but finding myself using the pro more recently with leftovers. You should also warn people about knockoffs popping up. My sister got a knockoff on prime day and she had to return it due to a strong burning smell. I never trust Amazon or eBay for things that have to do with safety for that reason. I've purchased cheap off brand electronics before and none of them lasted more than a month. Just look for legitimate brands wherever you buy them off of. This article also hits close to home, I've come across these groups while trying to research ways to do freelancer gigs, this was right after I got laid off from COVID, but these groups are everywhere and I'm disgusted by their tactics. https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2020/09/06/amazon-reviews-thousands-are-fake-heres-how-to-spot-them.html&ved=2ahUKEwiakfeJ17bsAhWrGTQIHWu9C9oQFjABegQIBBAB&usg=AOvVaw0T6KJA0Po4LreHwAjpaOGi&ampcf=1

  4. November 26, 2020 / 5:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing an actual review; there are very few of them, which is surprising given how popular the Itaki seems to be. Maybe they’re mostly in non-English languages.

    Anyway, think it’s about time I stop dragging my feet and actually buy one.

  5. Kate
    January 30, 2021 / 5:24 pm

    I really like the Itaki pro. We always use the top for rice and meat goes in the bottom because it’s hotter and cooks quicker. My 8 year old just made beef stew and sticky rice. He was so proud of himself.

  6. Liz H
    February 12, 2021 / 1:10 am

    I love my Itaki pro. My fave is rice and salmon with a veg (whatever I have). I have food allergies too and have to be super careful of dairy and eggs. But this is such an easy dump and cook solution. I’m a huge jnstapot fan too so not surprising but this tool helps with portion control too. The size of the meal is perfect for me at dinner time. I’ve also done chicken, shrimp and homemade dim sum. Love it.

    • February 12, 2021 / 10:27 am

      Ooh i have never tried shrimp in mine but I think I will!

  7. ZZ
    March 17, 2021 / 2:24 am

    I bought mine used and it looks identical as well as all the parts, but I don’t have the lid or the original box or recipe book. Mine came with a small paper leaflet, but the measurements for the water seem off (e.g. they say 2 “cups” = 250ml, which is not right and also doesn’t correspond to the small measuring cup they include)

    Do you have a picture of the bottom of the base unit? I want to see if there is any indication of an authentic device to compare to mine in case it is a knockoff. The itaki support were not helpful at all in terms of supporting a second hand product.

    thanks for the review!

    • March 17, 2021 / 8:21 am

      Hi ZZ, when they say cups, they mean the cup it came with. They don’t mean the standard 250ml cup measurement. I don’t think they use that unit of measurement in China, although I could be wrong.

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