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Maybe you miss the aroma of the freshly baked bread from your youth. Or maybe you love all things bread—but not necessarily the unpronounceable ingredients found in many store-bought loaves. Perhaps you're a beginner who'd like to hop on the home bread-baking train, but you just don't have the time or the bandwidth to do it the old-fashioned way.
Enter the modern bread machine. By simply adding all ingredients into it and pushing a few buttons, it does the rest of the work for you—making the bread-making process quicker and easier. Plus, you can control what's going into your bread and can try your hand at several varieties, from white bread to artisan loaves. But which of the many bread makers in the market should you choose? Here, we looked at factors such as extra features, loaf capacity, and gluten-free settings to compile our list of the best bread machines for every kind of bread lover.
Small footprint saves counter space
No gluten-free setting
Display isn’t backlit
If you like the idea of fresh, easy homemade bread but don’t want to break the budget on a machine, this bread machine has a value price tag, but still has plenty of features.
This can make loaves up to 2 pounds and has 12 bread setting and three crust settings so you can make a variety of breads, knead your dough, or make jam. If you’re in a hurry, the Expressbake feature can produce a finished loaf in under an hour. Our tester praised the machine's solid overall performance when she followed the included recipes; she does note, however, that the results were less predictable when she used her own.
This has a large LCD display that shows how the bread making is progressing. A 13-hour delay timer allows you to add ingredients and bake later. A keep-warm setting will keep the loaf warm for you.
This includes a measuring cup and spoon.
"While it’s not super attractive, it’s also not intrusive, so you can tuck it out of sight in a corner. Since it’s lightweight, it’s also easy to move into storage when not in use." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Small countertop footprint
Easy to use and clean
Some say it's a little small for a 2-pound loaf
Perfect for kitchens with limited counter space, the Cuisinart Compact Automatic Bread Maker offers everything you need in a user-friendly design. Standing at 10.25 x 13.25 x 11.25 inches, the Cuisinart Compact features 12 preprogrammed options and three crust shades (light, medium, dark), and it can bake up to 2-pound loaves. There's also a removable kneading pan, which makes cleaning super easy, and a 13-hour delay start function. Many reviewers love that they're able to cook almost daily due to how easy it is to operate and clean the machine. Some did note, however, that the results weren't as consistent when they tried to make 2-pound loaves.
Menu options include gluten-free, artisan creations, jams, sauces, cake, and more, and a recipe book comes included. The Cuisinart's stainless steel design looks sleek, and at just over 10 pounds, it's not too much of a chore to take on and off the counter if you want to store it.
Easy to use
Collapsible kneading paddle
Gluten-free and yeast-free options
Kneading paddle can be tricky to clean
With automatic and custom programs, a pause function so you can reshape the dough or add a glaze, and the ability to store up to nine personal recipes, the Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker will take your home chef skills to the next level. Choose from 1-, 1 1/2-, 2-, or 2 1/2-pound loaves and gluten-free, yeast-free, crusty loaf, dough/pasta, and jam options. Many customers are happy with how consistently and evenly browned their basic bread loaves turn out after following the included instructions.
This bread machine is packed with features to make everything customizable and easy. There's a viewing window to check on the progress of your bread, a 13-hour preset timer, an automatic fruit and nut dispenser, a smart LCD display, and 60 minutes of backup power (should your power go out). It also features a collapsible kneading blade that allows you to mix your ingredients and then folds down prior to baking.
15-hour delay start feature
Max loaf size is 1 1/2 pounds
If you're looking for an affordable bread machine, this one from Cook's Essentials gets the job done while still offering a full set of features. Choose from ten preset functions: white bread/basic, rapid cycle, whole wheat, French, multi-grain, raisin/nut, sweet, gluten-free, knead, and bake. There's also a 15-hour delay start option and a keep-warm option. Reviewers who wanted smaller loaves were happy with the consistently tasty results, using both bread and white flours; they do note that it's important to be very precise with measurements.
At under 8 pounds, this model is fairly easy to move on and off the counter. Plus, you can choose from three color options to suit your kitchen's decor.
Bakes bread evenly
Adjustable loaf size
Kneading paddle doesn't get baked into loaf
Gluten-free and low-carb settings
Takes up a lot of counter space
Gluten-free loaves can come out flat
Hard to see into viewing window
This bread maker has 14 baking functions: white, white rapid, whole wheat, whole wheat rapid, French, French rapid, sweet bread, quick bread, low-carb, gluten-free, dough, artisan dough, jam, and bake only. Our tester notes that her gluten-free loaves didn't rise as well as the flour loaves; however, "they still tasted delicious fresh out of the machine and toasted with a little butter," she says.
You can set the crust for light, medium, or dark, and it makes loaves in 1-, 1 1/2- and 2-pound sizes. There is a 15-hour delayed start option so you can add ingredients and bake later, and there is a 1-hour keep warm option. A top window lets you check the process without lifting the lid. If those options aren’t enough, you can also adjust the settings to your liking.
The machine has collapsible kneading paddles, so you won’t have big holes in the finished loaf, and it makes it easier to remove the loaf from the pan. A fruit and nut dispenser lets you add ingredients towards the end of the kneading process.
This includes a collapsible measuring cup, an adjustable measuring spoon, and a recipe book.
Measure your ingredients just right for the perfect proportions—take a look at our list of the top-rated kitchen scales.
"I was really impressed with was how easily the loaves came out of the bread pan, [because] the kneading blade is collapsible." — Lindsay Boyers, Product Tester
Makes delicious bread
Easy to use—no mixing required!
Compact design takes up little space
Small loaf capacity
Doesn’t have a gluten-free setting
Kneading blade gets stuck in the bread
Great for singles, couples, or families who don’t want large loaves of bread, this slim bread maker fits in smaller spaces and makes a 1-pound loaf, yet it still has features you look for in a quality machine.
This has a viewing window so you can check the loaf, and an easy-to-read LCD control panel and a programmable timer that can delay baking for up to 13 hours.
Menu settings include basic bread (regular, or firm), soft bread, French bread, bread dough, cookie/pasta dough, cake, jam, and quick baking. The crust can be set for regular or light, and the quick baking setting produces a loaf of bread in less than two hours. Our tester notes that the kneading blade tends to get stuck in the bottom of the bread, making removing it from the machine a little tricky—but she thinks it's a minor inconvenience, considering the consistently tasty bread that comes out and how compact the bread maker is.
"The bread rose beautifully and was perfectly soft and fluffy, although the crust was a little crispier than we would have liked." — Lindsay Boyers, Product Tester
Easy to use
Can schedule bread making up to 12 hours in advance
Some say audible tones could be louder
Convection cooking provides even baking in this breadmaker, whether you choose 1-, 1 1/2- or 2-pound loaves. An audible tone lets you add mix-ins at exactly the right time, and another tone lets you remove the finished dough to shape it by hand for the final bake with the paddles removed.
The pause button stops the cycle so you can take your time hand shaping the dough, and a delay option lets you schedule the bread up to 12 hours in advance. In case of a power outage, the breadmaker can wait up to 15 minutes and continue working when power is restored.
Many reviewers rave about how easy the controls are to operate, with a 16-item menu that automatically adjusts the kneading, rising, and baking times to perfectly bake a variety of breads, doughs and more. One reviewer even claims that the machine is so simple to use that even her seven-year-old grandson can use it (with a little help, of course). You can choose from pizza dough to sweet breads to cakes to jams, and you can choose a light, medium or dark crust for your loaf. A rapid cycle shortens the time, while the “last-minute loaf” option speeds the process even more.
This works well and looks good on the counter, with a sleek brushed stainless steel surface, embossed logo and large, sturdy handles. A window lets you peek at the bread during the process and LED indicators let you follow the process. The lid is removable for cleaning.
With 12-settings that can handle French, quick bread (no yeast), sweet, 1.5-lb express, 2-lb express, dough, jam, cake, whole grain, gluten-free, and bake, plus an audible reminder for adding fruits and nuts you know this gets the job done. Besides turning out your favorite breads, it can also make pizza dough, cakes, jams, flatbreads, and croissants—making it a star in your kitchen.
You can also choose a light, medium, or dark crust setting and all of this can be done with a delayed timer so you can make sure when you walk in the door you have a fresh hot loaf of bread waiting for you.
The Oster 2-Pound Expressbake Bread Machine is affordable and easy to use with simple and reliable recipes. Plus, it has a small footprint so it won't take up too much space. If you're planning to bake bread daily or weekly and want to splurge, go for the Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker. It has settings for gluten-free bread, can bake a variety of loaf weights, and the kneading paddles collapse to minimize holes in the bread.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie, a writer for The Spruce Eats, is a bread-making expert: Not only did she review the top picks in our Final Verdict, but she also wrote Make Ahead Bread, which breaks down the bread-baking process for readers. Donna occasionally likes to ditch the recipe book and experiment, and loves that the Zojirushi bread maker was up to the task.
This roundup was updated by Sharon Lehman, a home cook who happens to be a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She happily makes space for any gadget that makes cooking faster and easier and specializes in small kitchen appliance testing and reviews for The Spruce Eats.
The Ultimate Bread Machine Buying Guide
There’s no doubt that homemade bread is delicious, but not everyone has the time or desire to mix, knead, and babysit a ball of dough while it rises. While the process of making bread isn’t difficult, it requires being available to work with the dough at different stages. The entire process can take multiple hours, which isn't convenient or practical for many people.
A bread machine combines a slow-speed mixer and small oven in one appliance that takes almost all of the work out of the bread-making process. All you need to do is measure ingredients, press a few buttons, and remove the finished bread from the machine when it's fully baked. One or two paddles mix and then knead the dough, while the temperature is controlled for one or two warm rises before the bread is finally baked at a higher temperature.
Even if you want to play with different shaped bread loaves or dinner rolls, a breach machine can still be used to knead and rise the dough, then remove to shape by hand and bake in the oven.
While some machines are very basic, others include features like a delayed start, settings for a variety of bread styles, and even the ability to make jam in the machine. Besides features, bread machines can be categorized by the shape of the finished loaf. Whether you'd like to create a basic rectangular loaf of white bread for sandwiches or experiment with gluten-free and artisanal breads, there's a bread maker that will meet your baking demands.
Think about how many people you want to feed with your newly made loaf and consider the amount of bread that you can finish before it goes stale. Many bread machines have settings for multiple loaf sizes, but the maximum size varies from machine to machine.
Most bread makers produce loaves that weigh 1 to 2 pounds, but some models are capable of baking larger, 2 1/2-pound family-sized loaves. In theory, you can add more or less flour and water to any bread machine to make a larger or smaller loaf, but if you try to bake a 2-pound loaf in a machine designed for 1-pound loaves, it might be pale, underdone, or rise too far out of the pan. And baking a small batch loaf in a machine designed for larger loaves might result in a very short loaf with a dry texture and crust that is too dark and thick.
Keep in mind that larger, heavier loaves of bread will require more power to bake. Most bread machines range have somewhere between 500 to 1000 watts of power. If you plan to bake denser breads or loaves with lots of add-ins, like nuts, seeds, or dried fruit, you'll want to look for a breach machine on the higher end of that wattage range to ensure it can efficiently bake heavier loaves.
Machine Size and Weight
Larger machines are less convenient to move around and store, but they tend to come loaded with more options for bread making. Smaller machines are easier to store out of sight when not in use, but they may have fewer settings and not be able to make large loaves of bread.
Loaf Pan Shape
When you’re baking bread in the oven, you can choose the shape and size of your loaf pan or you can make free-form loaves by hand. When you bake in a bread machine, all of your bread will be the same basic shape since there is only one loaf pan that can be used. Most bread machines turn out either tall/vertical or rectangular shaped loaves.
Budget bread makers will include at least one kneading paddle, but higher-end machines usually come with two paddles. Multiple paddles are preferable for the best kneading results.
If the kneading paddle(s) remain in place during baking, bread loaves will have one or two holes where the paddle was located. Most users accept this aesthetic flaw in the final product as a trade-off for the ease and convenience of enjoying freshly baked bread.
However, if you'd prefer loaves without these holes, look for a bread machine that has collapsible or removable paddles. Machines with removable paddles will beep after kneading so you can take the dough out, remove the paddles, and then place the dough back into the pan for the final rise and bake.
Today’s bread machines come loaded with features, which can be fun to test, but a machine with too many features could be too complicated for your needs. Are you interested in trying different styles of bread, or will you just be making sandwich loaves every week?
The simplest machines offer few variations, but some machines include settings for sweet loaves, whole-grain bread, sourdough, French bread, pizza dough, and more. Each of these settings adjusts the kneading time, rising time, and baking time to produce the best loaf possible for those types of bread.
Extra settings are handy for people who want to experiment with different types of grains and bread styles, but a simple bread maker will suffice if your goal is to make basic sandwich bread to replace store-bought bread.
You'll also find express bread settings for mixing, kneading, and baking a loaf of dough in under an hour, which may be a convenient feature if you'd like to turn out a quick loaf to serve with dinner.
Most bread machines include the option to knead dough without baking it so you can bake your bread machine dough in a standard oven if you prefer. There's also the option to bake without mixing or kneading if you want to bake cake or muffins in a bread machine. You might come across bread machines with options for making jam or yogurt, but these settings are only useful if you'll actually use them.
Some bread machines have automatic fruit and nut dispensers built into the lid so you don't have to be nearby or remember to add them to the dough before baking. You can fill these dispensers with nuts, seeds, or dried fruit like raisins or chopped apricots at the same time you add the bread ingredients to the loaf pan. Most machines with these automatic dispensers are programmed to release the add-ins into the dough toward the end of the kneading period so the ingredients aren't crushed or chopped by the kneading paddles.
Most bread machines have settings to choose the desired darkness of your crust, from light to medium to dark. While this feature isn't essential for baking a good loaf, it’s nice to be able to control the darkness of the crust when you’re making specialty loaves.
Sweet loaves can brown very quickly, while other doughs might need a little extra bake time to move beyond a pale crust color. How dark you like your crust is also a personal preference, so it can be nice to choose exactly the result you want each time.
If you want to keep an eye on your crust as it browns, consider a bread machine with a viewing window built into the lid that lets you observe the bread-making process from kneading to baking.
If you’ve ever made gluten-free bread, you know that the process is different from making standard bread, and the dough behaves much differently. While many bread machines now offer gluten-free settings, look for one that puts a priority on that function if you’re going to be focusing on gluten-free breads. Some machines have just a single setting for gluten-free bread, and others have multiple options for different styles of gluten-free loaves.
Of course, results will vary depending on the type of flour you're using, so it's best to consult gluten-free recipes adapted for a bread machine. If you’re planning on making gluten-free bread in a machine that has previously been used for regular bread, you’ll need to clean every nook and cranny to remove any leftover gluten residue that could cross-contaminate your gluten-free loaves.
No matter which machine you choose, the best quality breads take about four hours or more to mix, knead, rise, and bake. Some machines have quick-bake cycles that produce finished bread in less time, but even that might not be fast enough if you want your fresh bread for breakfast and you don’t want to wake up extra early to measure flour, water, and yeast.
A delayed start option lets you have your fresh-baked bread ready whenever you want it, whether you want to wake up to the smell of baking bread or want to have the bread ready when you come home from work to serve with dinner.
On average, you can expect to spend somewhere in the range of $100 to $150 for a decent bread machine from a mid-range brand. Some bread makers from budget brands may be priced less than $100, while other high-end brands such as Breville and Zojirushi can cost $300 or more.
The typical warranty for bread machines is one year, usually covering manufacturing defects rather than wear-and-tear or misuse. Specific coverage can vary depending on the manufacturer and model, so it’s always a good idea to check the details before purchase. Additional warranties are available upon purchase from vendors like Amazon.
Types of Bread Makers
Vertical Bread Machines
When bread machines were first sold, they produced bread loaves that were tall and rectangular in shape. The bread pans were square or slightly rectangular, but the finished loaves tended to be overly tall and vertical-shaped compared to standard bread, resulting in a loaf that was an unusual shape. These vertical bread machines are still popular today. They tend to have a smaller footprint so they take less space on the counter and are easier to store. They are also less expensive and make smaller loaves of bread, so they're a good option for small households or for anyone who doesn't eat that much bread.
The downside to the vertical loaves is that the shape can be odd for making sandwiches and you might need to cut the slices to make them fit neatly into your toaster. Also, because the heating element is located on the bottom of these machines, very tall loaves can bake unevenly with darker browning on the bottom and a very pale top crust.
Horizontal Bread Machines
If tall loaves are too awkwardly shaped for you, look for a bread machine that produces horizontal, rectangular-shaped loaves that look more like bread that was baked in a standard loaf pan. These machines have a longer bread pan and larger baking chamber and tend to be able to bake larger loaves of bread than vertical bread machines. Although, the increased baking capacity means this style of break maker tends to be larger overall and will take up more space in your kitchen.
Because there's more room for the dough to move around in a horizontal, rectangular bread pan, machines equipped with just a single paddle may be less efficient at kneading the dough. Sometimes the dough can get stuck on one end of the pan while the paddle spins on its own, which can result in the loaves turning out unevenly shaped with more dough on one end or a tall middle with shorter ends. Higher-end machines might have two paddles for kneading, so the dough is kneaded more efficiently and the shape of the finished loaf is more even.
Machines that bake horizontal loaves tend to be more expensive than those that bake vertical loaves. You'll find affordable horizontal bread machines, along with some of the most expensive bread machines on the market.
One of the most well-known brands of bread makers, Zojirushi (fondly referred to as “Zo” by many fans of the brand) makes quality bread machines in a wide range of styles, including both tall-loaf and rectangular-loaf styles that include plenty of options and extras that make bread-making more fun. Some of its models feature innovative designs that have heat sources built into both the top and bottom of the bread machine for more even baking. Zojirushi bread machines tend to be on the high end of the price range.
Breville has just one offering in the bread machine category, but it's worth a mention since it's a high-quality and high-end machine that is consistently rated well by users.
One of the early names in bread makers and still going strong, Breadman makes bread machines in several styles including both tall-loaf and rectangular-loaf machines. While these models don’t include extra features like higher-end options, the company is experienced and manufactures simple, solid quality machines with mid-range prices.
Cuisinart has two bread makers in its product catalog, including a compact model that helps save on storage space and a convection heating model that can make loaves up to 2 pounds in weight. Both come with plenty of pre-programmed settings to play with and a longer warranty than other brands, and they are priced in the mid-range.
Oster sells several models in the bread machine category, and most are on the affordable end of the price range. The Oster bread machines lack the extra features and settings found on high-end machines, but they’re worth considering if budget is a deciding factor since they're very affordable. They're also user friendly, making them good beginner machines for people who will only bake bread occasionally.
Like Oster, this brand offers a selection of affordable bread machines that won’t break your budget. Most are compact so they're easy to store and won't take up a ton of counter space. Unlike other budget-priced bread machines, you can find Hamilton Beach models that have dual paddles for more efficient kneading.
Most bread makers come with nonstick coated baking pans that easily clean up with a quick hand rinse in the kitchen sink. Mixing paddles can also be hand-washed and some may be top-rack dishwasher safe.
The inside of the bread maker can not be rinsed or submerged. If you notice any flour, dough, or crumbs in the bread machine chamber, you'll need to unplug the unit and wipe the residue away with a cloth, similarly to how you'd clean a toaster. Any bits of leftover dough should be left to dry out so they can be easily brushed away.
Bread machines typically don’t include accessories, and none are required. For making bread, you’ll need common measuring equipment like measuring spoons, measuring cups, or a scale if you prefer to weigh your ingredients. A wire rack is useful for cooling the bread when it’s done baking. A quality bread knife will make slicing easier, but any sharp or serrated knife will do for slicing.