How to Steam Leeks

Always rinse leeks in warm water before preparing them.
Always rinse leeks in warm water before preparing them. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

A leek is a green, leafy vegetable closely related to onions and garlic. While the plant grows long leaves, only the lower portion of the stalk is edible. Leeks have a mild flavor, similar to that of an onion. Leeks can be served on their own or in soups or salads. You can serve leeks raw, fried, boiled or steamed, depending on personal preference. Steamed leeks have a slightly tough exterior with a softer interior, ideal for showcasing the vegetable’s flavor. Set aside approximately 20 minutes to steam leaks properly.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Large pot with lid
  • Steamer basket
  • Fork

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Use a sharp knife to cut off the leeks' roots and peel off two layers of the tough outer leaves. Slice off the top of the leeks’ leaves just where they begin turning dark. Discard the roots, the outer leaves and the upper leaves of the leeks. You should be left with only the white and light green parts of the leeks.

Pour 1 inch of water into the bottom of a large pot and place over high heat on a stove top. Bring to a low boil.

Set the prepared leeks into a steamer basket in an even layer. Do not stack the leeks atop each other. If you have too many, you will need to steam them in batches.

Place the steamer basket into the pot and cover it with the lid. Allow the leeks to steam for at least eight minutes. Check on the leeks and pull one out of the steamer with a fork. Bite into an outer leaf; it should be slightly chewy but not tough. If the leaves are tough, continue to steam them and check for doneness every five minutes.

Remove the steamer basket from the pot and allow the leeks to cool for five minutes before serving.

Tips & Warnings

  • A vinegar-based dipping sauce complements the flavor of leeks.


  • "More Vegetables, Please!: Over 100 Easy & Delicious Recipes for Eating Healthy Foods Each & Every Day"; Elson M. Haas and Patty James; 2009
  • "Cooking Basics For Dummies"; Bryan Miller, Marie Rama and Eve Adamson; 2011
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