When it comes to bread, there’s nothing quite like a freshly baked loaf. If you like to think of yourself as a bit of a baker but find the process of baking the perfect loaf a little lengthy, it’s about time you treated yourself to a bread maker. If baking and dining are somewhat of an event in your household, everyone will appreciate a freshly baked loaf with its golden crust, warm dough and the scrumptious smell. It’s just one of life’s simple pleasures. If you’ve already started shopping around, you might be a little overwhelmed by the vast range of options, that’s why we’re on hand to review the best bread machines on the market right now to make your life easier.
Over the years, bread makers have come on leaps and bounds, allowing you to create freshly made bread in the comfort of your own home within just a couple of hours, opposed to a lengthy 8-hour baking session that was once required. Gone are the days of kneading dough for hours on end, now it’s a case of leaving it all in the hands of your trusted bread mixer. Of course, creating a tasty loaf still requires some effort, it’s not simply a case of chucking in a few ingredients and waiting for your bread to appear, so it’s important that you pick the right appliance for you. If you’re not familiar with bread makers, you might be surprised to learn that their cooking abilities go a lot further than bread. A lot of machines on the market today will allow you to create cakes, pasta dough, jam and more, so if you love to experiment in the kitchen, the options are endless!
The Best Bread Machine
Dual heaters, double kneading blades and a large viewing window are just some of the features you get with the Virtuoso plus bread maker. With the large, easy-to-read LCD display you can take your pick from 15 different courses, covering gluten free, sugar-free and vegan options. In a rush? No problem! Select the rapid course to get a deliciously baked fresh loaf in just 2 hours and 25 minutes. But that’s not all, you can make use of the crust control to choose from light, medium or dark crust to suit all preferences. As if that’s not enough, this maker allows you to go beyond bread, simply think outside the box and use your fancy new appliance to create the versatile dough, cakes and even jam thanks to the flexibility of the courses. This bread maker doesn’t just come with a whole load of features, but it looks good too! The attractive stainless-steel design will make a great addition to any kitchen décor. Be sure to combine this with a bread knife from our list.
Makes a fresh loaf in just 2 hours 25 minutes
12 different course settings
Dual heaters for even baking and browning
- Weight24 pounds
Large LCD display
Double kneading blades
Modern stainless-steel design
Kneading blades could be improved
Coming in at less than half the price of our top choice, this purse-friendly bread machine will most definitely do the job if you’re on a tighter budget. This compact yet versatile option allows you to create customised recipes as you try out the 12 pre-programmed options when creating the perfect loaf. What’s more, you can take your pick from three different sizes and three different crust colours, helping to reduce waste and nail the household preference with ease. Similarly, to the Zojirushi model, Cuisinart 2 LB Bread Machine is also easy on the eye so it can sit in pride of place on your kitchen counter or be stored away in a cupboard, the choice is yours! Be sure to also check out our list of the best waffle makers for more great items like this.
Option for 3 loaf sizes
12 pre-programmed courses
Handy viewing window
- Weight18.2 pounds
Great value for money
Measuring cup, spoon and recipes included
Removable components for easy cleanup
The machine is loud (not ideal for early morning baking)
When it comes to simplicity and ease of use, the SKG Automatic machine gives similar models a serious run for its money. Combine 19 automatic programs, easy to follow recipes and a 5-hour delay timer and baking bread couldn’t really get much easier. The programs include whole-wheat and gluten-free options so that creating tasty and healthier loaves is a breeze! If convivence is one of the most important considerations for you, this kitchen gadget ticks a lot of boxes. However, in terms of appearance, there is much to be desired. Unlike similar models at this price point, the design and appeal of this model are somewhat lacking. Other than that, it’s a thumbs up from us.
Choose from 3 loaf sizes
Automatic & intelligent settings
- Weight9.85 pounds
Great option for bread baking newbies
Less aesthetically pleasing than other models
Only a 5-hour delay timer
Introducing the second in command to our best choice product, the Zojirushi slightly more budget-friendly model. Of course, this one doesn’t have as many features or look as good as the plus edition, but it’s still a pretty good choice. Virtuoso Bread Machine promises perfectly browned loaves every time, even for novice bakers. Through improved technology, you can create foolproof bread, jam, cakes and more with ease. Take your pick from a range of menu settings and let the appliance do all the hard work as it creates a traditional, tasty loaf. That being said, although this model has a lot to offer, there are lower priced options that are just as good. Our handy guide to the best donut makers features more great products like this.
Quick baking cycles prepare bread in less than 3-hours
10 pre-programmed settings
3 memory settings
- Weight22.1 pounds
Simple to use
LCD control panel
Choose from 3 crust settings
Quality of paddles could be better
Although it may not look like much, this purse-friendly bread machine offer all the features you’ll need to bake the perfect loaf. Granted, it doesn’t look as good as the stainless-steel models on the market, but it holds up when it comes to performance. The 650W bread maker has a 2-pound load capacity making it an ideal option for larger families. Pair that with 3 crust colour selection and 12 settings for a variety of bread and even the fussiest of eaters will be satisfied with the outcome. At one of the cheapest options on the market, Oster Expressbake Bread Maker is a solid choice for budding bakers that are short on time! This makes a perfedct gift for foodies in your life.
Bakes a loaf in as little as an hour
13 baking settings
3crust colour selection
- Weight8 pounds
Good for larger families
Easy to use LCD screen
Not as ascetically pleasing as other options
If you’re looking for a little more than your standard loaf of bread, you’ll probably go nuts over this particular machine. Choose from 13 automatic settings, 3 crust colours and 4 loaf sizes as you make the most of the automatic fruit and nut dispenser that releases your additional ingredients at the right moment during the kneading phase for a perfect loaf. But that’s not all, the unique collapsible paddle, easy to navigate LCD settings and range of recipes that are included make Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker a good choice for seasoned bakers and beginners alike! Love this product? Check out our review of the best beef jerkies for our top picks.
Automatic fruit and nut dispenser
3 crust colours & 4 loaf sizes
- Weight16.85 pounds
Make 2.5-pound loafs
Higher capacity than similar models
46 step by step recipes
Better rated machines at this price point
Some reviewers had issues with automatic dispenser
For a machine within this price bracket, this Cuisinart bread maker is both ascetically pleasing and easy to use, making it a solid choice. Take your pick from 16 pre-set menu options to bake up a whole load of recipes while setting your preference for crust colour and loaf sizes from 3 different options. Thanks to audible timers and fool-proof settings, this machine allows you to go about your day as the perfect loaf is forming with virtually no hassle at all. If you’re looking for a versatile and straightforward machine that won’t break the bank, this one is certainly up there with the best. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best pizza stones.
16 pre-set menu options
3 crust colours & loaf sizes
Over 100 dough recipes
- Weight16 pounds
Power failure backup
Mixer blade could be improved
We might have just saved one of the very best until last in this review. The KBS bread machine gives you a whole lot of features for your buck so that you can consistently bake deliciously golden loaves with ease. Select one of the 19 smart menu options offering doughs that are both conscious of your health and taste buds that are sure to make family baking a breeze. The sleek stainless-steel design means that this particular model would make a great addition to any kitchen countertop whilst being easily storable, so the choice is yours!
Automatic nut and fruit dispenser
3 crust colours and loaf settings
19 homemade bread menus
- Weight13.35 pounds
Dishwasher friendly components
Smart baking technology
Sleek and modern design
Settings are a little difficult to navigate
Bread Machine Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection Of The Best Bread Machine
First and foremost, the ultimate goal from any bread maker is to produce delicious bread with every bake, it goes without saying. But for us, there’s a little more to it than that. This is partly because all of the machines featured in our review turn out decent loaves so that consideration alone simply won’t cut it.
As we compiled our list of the best bread machines on offer right now, we also took the features into account. Features we were particularly interested in comparing were loaf size, appearance, price point and special functions that will ultimately make the process easier. Once we’d started to whittle the long list of options down, we also considered the ease of setting control and the quality of instructions to allow us to rule out the machines that will do the opposite to making your life easier. Following our careful consideration, we ended up with eight handpicked choices to suit a range of budgets and preferences to help you in the search to find the perfect addition to your kitchen.
Features To Look For In Best Bread Machines
So maybe our top picks aren’t quite right for you, and that’s fine. If you’d prefer to do a little more shopping around, (we’re pretty confident that you’ll be back) there are a number of different features you should look for in your search for the best bread machine for you.
Bread baking time - you might be surprised at the difference in baking time in some machines, that’s why it’s important to make this one of your primary considerations. If you’re often on the go and living in a busy household, you should look for a machine that offers rapid baking settings and short baking times. If time and patience is something you have on your side, you might find a few extra choices to fit your budget. At a minimum, we recommend buying a machine with a lengthy delay start timer so you can wake up or return home to a fresh, golden loaf.
Bread maker size - Whether you plan on displaying your machine on your countertop or not, the size and weight of your machine is an important consideration. Of course, if you’re short on space, you’ll want to go for a more sleek and compact design. Weight is also important if you plan on moving it around a lot, some weigh more than 6kg which could be a little difficult for some bakers to transport.
Kneading paddle - bread makers come with a non-stick pan as standard with a kneading paddle to bake your loaf in, this means it will stay in the bread as it cooks, therefore the smaller the paddle, the less unsightly the hole in your loaf. Although it’s definitely not a deal breaker, this is a feature that you might want to consider. Some models come with a collapsible paddle, so if you’re really against the thought of holes, opt for this feature.
Viewing window - if you’re one of those that likes to keep an eye on your creations rather than just leaving your trusty machine to it, it’s worth getting a machine with a viewing window. While most machines come with a viewing window, some don’t, so if you’re inquisitive, you’ll need one that does.
Control panels - although they are largely similar, control panels can vary from model to model. It's worth looking for one that is easy to use and read so that programming doesn’t become a chore. With most machines offering a minimum of 12 automatic settings, you’ll want to be able to navigate and understand them easily for the best possible outcome.
Accessories - it’s worth checking if your machine comes with any accessories such as measuring cup or spoon, if it doesn’t you should consider buying them. It’s a worthwhile investment as nailing your ingredient quantities in order to avoid a baking disaster.
Gluten and wheat-free baking capabilities - nowadays, a lot of bread makers come with gluten-free and other special settings. Even if this isn’t an immediate requirement for you, it might come in handy in the future, so look out for this feature, particularly if you will be baking for guests with particular dietary requirements.
Making dough, cakes, pasta or jam - As we mentioned earlier, there’s more to some machines than just bread. Most appliances come with extra settings that will allow you to knead pasta and regular down, bake cakes and transform raw ingredients into jam preservatives, perfect if you fancy experimenting!
Types Of Bread Machines
When it comes to types of bread machines, they are all pretty similar, it’s the features the set them apart. The most common differences you’ll come across are the types of pans, sizes and appearance. As a general rule of thumb, a standard bread machine would come with a non-stick pan and a stainless-steel finish although cheaper models are often plastic.
How To Use Your Bread Machine
Now that we’ve told you everything you need to know when it comes to choosing your bread machine, it’s about time we give you some of our top tips for actually using it. Although you might be hoping that you can just throw in a load of ingredients and wait for a loaf to magically appear, we’re afraid to say that there’s a little more to it than that.
Follow instructions carefully - Baking light, airy bread that is soft on the inside, golden on the outside is actually somewhat of a science. In order for success, you’ll need to weigh, mix and prepare your ingredients in a certain order so that fermentation time isn’t thrown off. Though it might be tempting to use a little guesswork, it’s worth taking a little extra care to get it right.
Use ingredients at room temperature - your loaf is more likely to turn out perfectly prep ingredients ahead of baking, so they are at room temperature, simply weigh them out and set them aside in advance to make the baking process a dream.
Remove the kneading blade - If your machine has a removable blade, you might want to remove it before you make your loaf, this will avoid any holes or ruining your loaf if it gets stuck.
Cool your bread immediately - although some machines have a ‘keep warm’ feature, we recommend removing your bread and cooling right away. Once the baking process is complete, your load will be at the optimal texture and color, so if you pop it on a cooling rack, you’ll ensure your loaf stays spongy.
Clean the pan with care - Most removable pans are dishwasher friendly, but if you want to preserve the non-stick surface, you should clean your pan by hand avoid any damage.
Bread Machine FAQ
Q: How long does it take to make bread in a bread maker?
A: It varies, a lot! Most of the machines on today's market offer a quick bake setting that will allow you to cook a loaf in two hours or less, with some machines even claiming to do so in less than 60 minutes. However, a lot of bakers say that the longer you take to cook your loaf, the better it tastes. Depending on the settings and loaf size, you might find your machine takes between 1 to 6 hours. Of course, this is something you’ll want to take note of before you buy your machine, particularly if you’re short on time!
Q: What accessories will I need with my bread maker?
A: A measuring cup and spoon should come alongside your machine, if they don’t, you’ll definitely want to purchase them. You should also invest in a cooling rack, digital scales and a decent bread knife too if you don’t already have them. If you really want to push the boat out, go a little further and treat yourself to a fancy recipe book so you can get your bake on and make the most of your new toy.
Q: What ingredients will I need for my bread maker?
A: Most recipes will contain flour, water, salt and yeast as well as sugar, butter or oil and possibly some type of milk powder. As there are so many different recipes and variations to suit diet requirements nowadays, there is no simple answer to this question. However, go ahead and stock your pantry with flour, salt and yeast because you are sure to need these three vital ingredients.
Q: What is the different between the bread making settings?
A: Each cycle varies in time and temperature to maximize dough performance, this is why it’s important that you select the correct settings for your bake. The handy manuals, recipe booklets and easy to navigate LCD screens will have you mastering this feature in no time!
Q: How do I know which crust color to select?
A: If your bread machine has a crust color feature, it will allow you to choose from light, medium and dark crust. The recipe should guide you for this, however as a rule of thumb, the higher the sugar content, the quicker your crust will brown, so opt for a light setting for these. For loaves low in sugar content, it mostly comes down to personal preference so play around until you determine the perfect crust to satisfy the whole household.
You might think that a bread maker is far from a kitchen necessity, however, with their surprising affordability, you might just find that you’d like to invest in one. If you want to create personalized bread recipes to suit your dietary requirements in the comfort of your home at a fraction of the cost, we think it’s a solid investment. As we said before, there’s nothing quite like the smell of a freshly baked loaf to start your day or welcome you home. If you’re a lover of savory baking, a bread maker is most definitely a great starting point to try out some family classics and experimental baking.
Now that you know everything and anything about the world of bread makers, it’s about time we sent you on your way so you can go out and get your hands on your latest kitchen gadget, happy baking!