The 7 Best Bread Machines of 2021

Save some "dough" and control your ingredients

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The Rundown
"With a great price and look, this bread maker will become a staple in your kitchen."
"This no-frills machine can make bread in under an hour."
"Quiet and compact, this machine transforms small spaces into bakeries."
"If your family goes through a lot of bread, this is the machine for you."
"This bread maker packs a punch with 12 settings, from jam to cake."
Best for Gluten-Free Bread and More:
Zojirushi Home Bakery Maestro Breadmaker at Walmart
"Whether you have dietary restrictions or want to experiment with new recipes, this machine gives you lots of options."
"Just like a traditional oven, this convection machine circulates air for a crispier crust."

There’s something homey and soothing about the smell of homemade bread— and if ever we needed comfort, this is the year. In fact, bread baking has enjoyed a resurgence during these unsettled times. Making your own bread also saves the kind of "dough" that goes in your bank account and allows you to control the ingredients, eliminating unpronounceable artificial preservatives and reducing sodium levels.

But if you don’t have the time to work the dough by hand or wait to punch it down in between risings, a bread machine may be the appliance your kitchen needs. Bread makers today come equipped with built-in settings and even cycles that go beyond bread (think pasta dough, cake, and jam) for those who usually steer clear of single-use appliances.

Ahead are our top picks for the best machines on the market.

Best Overall: Cuisinart Compact Automatic Bread Maker

Cuisinart Compact Bread Maker

Nicely priced and attractive enough to sit on your counter all the time, this machine has 12 pre-programmed menu options, three crust settings (light, medium, dark), a viewing window, and interior light (a rare option!), so you can see what’s going on during the baking process. It can make three sizes of loaves and has a delayed start so you can wake up to fresh bread. The power failure backup holds settings for up to 15 minutes, then resumes the cycle.

We love the texture, color, and taste of the loaves it turns out, as well as its good looks and compact footprint. It weighs about 10 pounds, so it’s not too unwieldy to lift and store elsewhere. It has a limited three-year warranty. The company supports many charitable organizations such as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Cycle for Survival, which benefits research for rare cancers.

Best Budget: Oster ExpressBake 2-Pound Bread Maker

Oster 2-Pound Expressbake Bread Machine with 13-Hour Delay Timer, CKSTBRTW20

This no-frills machine has 12 pre-programmed settings, three crust colors, delay start, and can make up to a 2-pound loaf. The Expressbake setting makes bread in less than an hour. It weighs only 8 pounds, so you can whisk it off the counter for storage. While it’s not fancy, it gets the job done just fine. It’s a good budget-priced option if you’re not sure how often you’ll use a bread machine, and it will last for years, even with heavy use. This bread maker has a limited one-year warranty.

Save Some 'Dough'

With the typical artisanal loaf costing $2 to $5 or more at the grocery store, it’s definitely cheaper to bake bread yourself: For example, a 5-pound bag of flour contains about 18 cups, which will make far more than one loaf of bread! Other primary ingredients (salt, water, yeast) are similarly inexpensive.

Best Compact: Zojirushi Home Bakery Mini Breadmaker

Zojirushi Bread Maker

At 8.5 x 11.25 x 12.25 inches, its slim design takes up minimal space on the counter or in your kitchen, so it’s a good option for small homes or apartment living. This machine makes only a 1-pound loaf, but pre-programmed menu settings include options such as French, dough, cookie dough, pasta dough, cake, and jam, so you still can do plenty more with this machine, despite its diminutive size.

There’s an easy-to-read LCD control panel and a carrying handle, and it comes with a limited one-year warranty.

Best Large-Capacity: Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker

Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker

If your family goes through a lot of bread, this is the machine for you. It makes 1-, 1.5-, 2-, and 2.5-pound loaves. An auto fruit and nut dispenser, 13 pre-programmed and three customizable settings to store your own recipes, and a one-hour power outage backup are some of its most desirable features.

It also has a unique collapsible paddle, which minimizes the hole in the bottom of the finished bread. It’s about 17 inches long, so it will require a lot of countertop or storage space. It makes consistently good bread, although you may need to replace the paddle after a few years. The company has been in business since 1932. The machine has a limited one-year warranty.

Most Versatile: Hamilton Beach 29882 HomeBaker 2-Pound Breadmaker

hamilton beach bread maker

With its contemporary styling, this machine has a small profile at 11 x 12 x 11 inches. With 12 pre-programmed cycles, including ones for jam and cake, its digital display is easy to read. Two kneading paddles are included (convenient in case you lose one or one is dirty), and both the pan and paddles are dishwasher-safe, which is a plus if you don’t like handwashing. The machine has a limited one-year warranty.

Best for Gluten-Free Bread and More: Zojirushi Home Bakery Maestro Breadmaker

Zojirushi Home Bakery Maestro Breadmaker

This machine has 15 settings, including unique options such as gluten-free, salt-free, sugar-free, and vegan cycles, which makes it ideal for anyone with specific dietary requirements. A convenient dispenser automatically adds ingredients such as nuts and dried fruit at the proper time. Two heaters rapidly heat and evenly bake the bread, while the carry handle makes it easy to lift and store the unit.

It also has three programmable memory settings. Quick course bakes a loaf in about two and a half hours, and an included recipe book gives instructions for making tortillas, meatloaf, and cookie dough. The company has been in business since 2018 when it created the first glass-lined vacuum bottle. The machine has a limited one-year warranty.

Best Convection: Cuisinart 2-Pound Convection Bread Maker

Cuisinart bread maker

Just like in a traditional oven, convection baking circulates air to create a crispier crust and improved color. This machine is one of the few on the market that offers this type of baking, and it also has 16 pre-programmed settings, three crust color choices, and three loaf sizes including 1-, 2-, and 2.5-pound loaves. It has an automatic fruit and nut dispenser, an easy-to-read LCD display, and backup power protection for 60 minutes.

A larger unit than many at 19 inches long and 16 pounds, this machine requires plenty of countertop or storage space. The shape does create a more horizontal loaf (rather than the vertical orientation of most other machines), if you prefer a more traditional shape, say, for making sandwiches. The machine has a limited three-year warranty.

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Cuisinart Bread Makers Compact Automatic Bread Maker (view at Walmart). But if you’re looking for a smaller machine, check out the Zojirushi BB-HAC10WZ 1 lb Home Bakery Mini Breadmaker (view at Walmart). 

What to Look for When Buying a Bread Machine

Size and Capacity: Before buying, consider your needs: A small household doesn’t require a machine that turns out huge loaves, plus it’s going to hog a lot of counter space and will be difficult to stash under the counter when not in use.

Features: Many machines offer built-in settings, so even a newbie can create a delicious loaf. Add the ingredients, press a few buttons, and you’ve got homemade bread with a minimum of effort. Most bread makers take about four hours to make a loaf from start to finish; some machines have express programs, which take about an hour, though these loaves generally don’t rise as high and will have a denser texture.

Other features to consider include gluten-free settings, different loaf sizes (typically from 1 to 2 pounds), and crust colors from light to dark. Most machines have other options, too, such as a jam, cake, pasta dough, and dough-only cycles. Warranties range from one to three years.   

Price: There’s a huge range of price points on bread machines. The deluxe models that run several hundred dollars aren’t necessarily better; they have more bells and whistles, but will you really use them? Generally, even the most inexpensive models do what you need.