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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. 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.
Nearly flawless results
Heated top for even browning
Both fixed and customizable settings
More expensive than most models
Takes up a lot of counter space
A well-known brand with a good reputation, this bread maker does everything you need, plus a little more. It bakes a rectangular 2-pound loaf and also has settings for baking gluten-free bread as well as a setting for breads using organic ingredients and custom settings so you can bake bread exactly the way you want it. There’s a large window so you can check the progress of the bread as well.
This machine has two kneading paddles that make sure the dough is completely kneaded with no bits of flour left unmixed, a rapid option for times when you need to have the bread done faster, and a 13-hour delay timer.
You can choose a light, medium or dark crust, and the preprogrammed settings are for basic bread, basic wheat bread, basic dough, quick bread, quick wheat bread, quick dough, jam, cake, sourdough starter, and homemade recipes. According to our reviewer, three basic bread recipes she attempted using the included cookbook emerged perfectly. But what really impressed her were the results when she threw out the recipe book. "I started adding different flours, changing the amount of butter, and even mixing the ingredients in the 'wrong' order to see what might happen. Each time, the finished loaf emerged looking good, and with a nice texture as well," she says.
This is a high-end machine, with a price to match, so it might not be the best option for novices who aren’t sure how often they’ll use their bread maker.
"After testing it, we feel that it’s worth the price, as it produced consistently tasty bread—even when we got creative with recipes." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
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.
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 two 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
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.
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.
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.
The Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker wins our top spot because, regardless of whether we followed a standard recipe or experimented, the machine produced an attractive, tasty loaf. If you're looking for something cheaper and with a smaller footprint, go for the Oster 2-Pound Expressbake Bread Machine: it offers enough functionality for those who like straightforward recipes, or those with smaller kitchens.
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.
What to Look for in a Bread Machine
Loaf capacity: Think about how many people you want to feed with your newly made loaf and consider a size 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.
Extra features: 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?
Gluten-free settings: While many bread machines 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. If you will dabble in gluten-free baking, make sure you clean every nook and cranny of the baking chamber to remove leftover gluten residue.