breadmakers

The 7 Best Bread Machines for Effortless Loaves, According to Thousands of Home Bakers

Beginners and professionals alike swear by these devices.
By Katie Macdonald
March 03, 2021
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Baking bread from scratch might seem intimidating, but it's a straightforward process anyone can master. You only need four ingredients—flour, yeast, water, and salt—to be rewarded with crusty-edged, fluffy-centered loaves that taste leagues better than what you'd buy at the grocery store. And while it's satisfying to mix, prove, and bake by hand, a bread maker certainly makes the job easier. 

A quality bread machine cuts down on the time, mess, and guesswork of baking loaves at home. The appliances don't require babysitting, like traditional oven baking; you simply add your ingredients, select your recipe, and come back to fresh bread in a few hours. Plus, a bread maker's thorough mixing and reliable temperature control can produce more consistent bakes than a stand mixer and oven.

But while bread makers are a breeze to use, picking the right one can be a challenge. There are tons of options out there—from compact devices for small kitchens to state-of-the-art machines that produce pro-level loaves. To help you find your perfect match, we turned to reviews from actual customers who have purchased and used the makers for themselves. What we found are seven top-rated options that work so well, users can't stop raving about them.

Here are the seven best bread machines, according to customer reviews:

Scroll down to learn what makes these bread machines the best of the best, then pick your favorite for fresh, labor-less loaves every day.

Compact Automatic Bread Maker
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Overall: Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus

Zojirushi might be best known for its chef-loved rice cooker, but the Japanese maker’s bread machine is phenomenal in its own right. Weighing 24 pounds and built with a powerful 700-watt motor and dual kneading blades, the Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus is strong enough to mix heavy doughs without overheating. It has 15 different settings, including gluten-free and two rapid-bake options that can bake white and whole wheat bread in an impressive two and a half hours. (Sourdough lovers, there’s a specific function for making that, too.)

One design feature that sets Zojirushi’s bread maker apart is the heaters on both its bottom and lid, which ensure even baking and browning. It also has a 13-hour delayed start timer and a clock, so you can simply select what time you want your bread to be done with no extra math. Additionally, the machine comes with liquid and nesting measuring cups and a measuring spoon.

More than 2,800 Amazon shoppers have given the Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus a perfect rating, saying it’s reliable and a worthy investment. “I’m a professional pastry chef, so I can certainly make my own breads, and do frequently, but for a basic loaf of white or wheat to have a round for the week for sandwiches and toast, this is convenient and easy,” one reviewer said

Buy it: $340 (originally $375); amazon.com

Compact Automatic Bread Maker
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Rated: Hamilton Beach Bread Maker

Amazon’s best-rated option proves you don’t have to spend a ton of dough for a reliable bread machine. The Hamilton Beach Bread Maker boasts more than 8,000 perfect ratings but costs less than $75. It has a dozen different functions, including baking white, gluten-free, and French bread and proofing yeasted dough (like pizza or rolls) that you finish in the oven. Plus, it features a delay start timer so that you can load it up with ingredients and bake your loaf a few hours before you wake up or get home from work.

With the Hamilton Beach maker, home cooks can choose between 1.5- and 2-pound loaves, as well as three crust shades. And cleanup is a breeze with the machine’s nonstick pan and dishwasher-safe cleaning paddles. “I’ve had it for a few weeks now and I’ve made French bread, dinner rolls, cinnamon raisin bread, soft pretzels, pizza dough, and other goodies,” a reviewer said. “Everything has come out wonderfully! The nonstick coating in this thing is THE BEST. Even my most dried on, sticky messes come right off.”

Another added, “I have always wanted to have fresh bread, but absolutely despise kneading bread the few times I have tried to make it in years past. This machine gives me the freedom to ‘set it and forget it’ and make a delicious loaf of bread using only five minutes of my time.”

Buy it: $70; amazon.com

Compact Automatic Bread Maker
Credit: Courtesy of Wayfair

Best Value: Cuisinart Compact Automatic Bread Maker

This terrific bread machine comes from Cuisinart, the cherished kitchen brand that’s synonymous with reliability. It features three loaf sizes, three crust shades, and a range of 12 automatic recipes, including whole wheat and artisan breads as well as jams and cakes. Measuring 10.25 inches long by 13.25 inches wide by 11.25 inches high, it doesn’t take up much space on your countertop or in kitchen cabinets compared to other bread machines, and its viewing window and interior light help you keep an eye on your bake. 

Users love their Cuisinart bread machines for their quality and performance, saying they produce delicious results. It’s no wonder they’ve earned a 4.5-star rating on Wayfair. “This is a very small, yet powerful machine that offers so many different varieties of bread,” one shopper said. “I use it several times a week. It has been a total lifesaver during this pandemic.”

Buy it: $110 (originally $200); wayfair.com

Compact Automatic Bread Maker
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Large Capacity: West Bend Hi-Rise Bread Maker

Big families and avid bread eaters will love this kitchen workhorse. The West Bend Hi-Rise Bread Maker’s 3-pound loaf capability is the biggest we’ve seen, and the machine features two kneading blades to ensure big batches are thoroughly mixed. Choose from several preset options customized for a range of bread recipes, or opt for the machine’s custom setting for even more control. The West Bend machine has a delayed start timer for up to 13 hours and crust color control.

Amazon reviewers say the machine is a great size for big baking projects and compliment its thoughtful design features. “The dual paddles and elongated 3-pound pan mean I can make a much greater quantity of bread dough—enough for four loaves,” a shopper said. “I did try making a loaf in the pan using a recipe for a 2-pound loaf and it browned and rose beautifully.”

A second added, “I don’t understand why anyone gets a bread maker with only one kneader. With two kneaders, one at each end of the pan, you get bread that has the right ‘loaf shape’ instead of the tall square loaf.”

Buy it: $100; amazon.com

Compact Automatic Bread Maker
Credit: Courtesy of Sur La Table

Best Small Capacity: Zojirushi Home Bakery Mini Bread Maker

Like larger counterparts, Zojirushi’s mini machine makes flawless bread at the touch of a button. It kneads and bakes 1-pound loaves, which is ideal for feeding couples or small families, and it has a delay start timer and a quick-baking setting that delivers fresh bread in less than two hours. In addition to preparing regular, firm, and soft breads, the machine makes cakes, fruit jam, and cookie and pasta doughs. And for anyone concerned about saving kitchen space, the compact machine has a carrying handle to easily stow it away when you’re not using it.

You’ll find tons of happy customers who’ve left reviews on Sur La Table, including one who said, “I have owned this bread maker for eight plus years and use this several times a week. Breads are delicious, doughs for pizza and baking out of maker are kneaded to perfection. I would highly recommend this for those who are empty nesters or just prefer smaller sized loaves.”

Buy it: $230; surlatable.com

Compact Automatic Bread Maker
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Most User-Friendly: Oster Expressbake Bread Maker

No matter if you are a new baker or simply don’t want to experiment with complicated machinery, Oster’s Expressbake is an excellent choice. Powered by a 650-watt motor, its clear LCD screen displays your selection and baking time and controls 12 programs for no-fuss baking, jam-making, and dough-proofing. Notably, the device can bake bread in less than an hour, although users say the loaves can be a little dense. 

The Oster Expressbake is so popular that it’s earned nearly 5,000 five-star ratings from reviewers who say it’s easy to use and a great price. “I was a complete novice to bread and almost baking in general when my mother ordered this for me as a gift,” a reviewer said. “I have now made about 20 loaves of bread, and when I follow the recipe the bread is perfect every time. I am shocked at how easy it is to use.” 

Buy it: $90; amazon.com

Compact Automatic Bread Maker
Credit: Courtesy of William Sonoma

Most Versatile: Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker

If you want bells and whistles, check out Breville’s Custom Loaf Bread Maker. It has five automatic programs, including one for gluten-free bread and another for an extra-crusty loaf, plus nine custom settings for more personalized bakes. You can adjust kneading time, rise time, and baking temperature to suit your recipe, humidity, or altitude. It’s also loaded with tons of thoughtful design features, from an automatic nut and fruit dispenser that takes the guesswork out of add-ins to a collapsible kneading blade that won’t leave a hole in your loaf. And you can hand-shape crusts or add a special glaze by using the Custom Loaf’s pause function. 

The stainless steel machine is mighty—it weighs more than 16 pounds—but users say that heavy-duty design means the Custom Loaf is incredibly durable. “We have had one of these for about seven years now,” a Williams Sonoma shopper wrote. “We use it two to five times a week. We have needed to replace the paddles a few times, but given the work they do, that is very reasonable. It makes consistent great bread, and has been amazingly reliable. We will definitely buy another when the time comes.” 

Buy it: $300 (originally $400); williams-sonoma.com

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