Cuisinart Bread Maker Review

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This Cuisinart bread maker review is a summary of our experience with the new Cuisinart Compact Automatic Bread Machine after baking dozens of bread maker recipes over several months. You can double-check the specific model referenced here.

A Cuisinart compact bread maker sits on a kitchen counter next to a jar of flour.

Looking for a new bread machine? If you want a compact, budget-friendly appliance that is easy to use you should definitely consider the Cuisinart Compact Automatic Bread Machine.

Of the 5 different bread machine models we tested during production of The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook, this machine was one of my very favorites. I loved working with it so much, I gave one to my sister for Christmas.

If you'd like to read the reviews of the other models we tested, be sure to check out the Best Bread Machine for Beginners article here.

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Will It Fit In My Kitchen?

To best illustrate the size of the bread maker, I took these photos on my kitchen counter underneath a standard height kitchen cabinet.

The compact Cuisinart bread machine is on a kitchen counter underneath a kitchen cabinet.

The Cuisinart bread machine is the smallest of the bread makers we tested. It is a petite, square-shaped, metal bodied appliance.

When the machine is closed, it will fit neatly underneath a standard-height kitchen cabinet on your counter.

To open the machine, you will likely have to pull it forward so the lid has enough clearance to swing fully open. The good news is that due to it's tiny footprint, you'll have plenty of space to work with the machine.

The Cuisinart bread machine has the lid open.

The size of the machine is perfect for smaller kitchens. It takes up very little room on your counter and could be easily stored inside a kitchen cabinet.

What Can You Make With It?

You can make almost any bread machine recipe in this machine.

The Cuisinart produces some of the most consistent versions of my favorite recipes.

  • The dough is always mixed well.
  • The rises nicely fill the pan.
  • The machine bakes the bread evenly from end to end.

While the machine has the capacity for both 1.5-pound and 2-pound loaves, I almost never trust it with 2-pound recipes. Often, the 1.5-pound recipes completely fill the pan once they have risen and baked.

You can make traditional loaves of bread as well as breads with mix-ins (raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.)

The bread maker also produces excellent dough for pizza, dinner rolls, pretzels, and cinnamon buns.

A close-up of the Cuisinart programming options and buttons.

The Bread Pan & Paddles

The Cuisinart bread pan is the only one of its kind and features a vertical orientation which helps the machine save space.

When you turn the bread out of the pan after baking, you lay it on its side before slicing. The top and bottoms of the pan are actually the end sides of the loaf.

This gives your breads a very consistent shape from one end to the other which is perfect for making sandwiches and having your slices match up.

The actual bread slices will have a unique shape to them and resemble a square-shaped clover.

The actual pan itself has a nonstick coating that has withstood heavy use over many months.

I always hand wash all our bread machine bread pans and paddles. None of them are scratch-proof and must be handled with care.

The Cuisinart bread pan and paddle.

How Sturdy Is It?

The construction of the machine is very solid. The stainless steel body makes it easy to wipe clean and looks very sleek in the kitchen.

Ours had very heavy and active almost-daily use for 4 months and still looks practically new.

  • The hinges are smooth and solid.
  • The bread pan turns to lock into position and connects firmly.
  • The buttons are easy to push and use and will hold up well to frequent use.
  • The entire machine is very light-weight and portable but still feels solid.

How Easy Is It To Use?

The program settings on the machine are very clear to navigate. It is extremely easy to choose the proper loaf size and crust darkness.

However, the Cuisinart sometimes requires a watchful eye during the early stages of many recipes to ensure the dough is the proper consistency.

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The same recipe that works perfectly in another machine can sometimes be on the wet side in the Cuisinart. An extra sprinkle of flour may be needed if the dough is sticking to the bottom of the pan.

If your recipe has mix-ins like raisins, chocolate chips, or chopped nuts, you'll have to wait for the alarm beep to sound to let you know the right time to add them to the pan. You may also have to help the machine properly mix them evenly into the dough.

The inside of the Cuisinart bread pan with the paddle attachment in place.

The Quality of the Bread It Makes

The Cuisinart does a fantastic job with many of my favorite breads. I love the consistency of texture, shape, and quality of every loaf.

It is the best at simple breads without mix-ins. It also does a fine job with making homemade dough.

Storage Considerations

This is one of the strongest selling points for the Cuisinart. The machine is the smallest of the brands we tested and is excellent for small kitchens or tight spaces.

The machine is very light and easy to move, so if you don't want it sitting on your counter you'll be able to easily stash it away someplace else and bring it out when you want to bake.

The tall, skinnier shape of the body of the machine means it will take up the least amount of space on any shelf or inside any cabinet.

Noise Factors

The Cuisinart is one of the quieter machines we tested. The motor is solid and makes a whirring sound as it initially mixes the ingredients, but it isn't too loud.

The kneading phase is also a little loud as the dough is beaten against the side of the machine.

Once the kneading phase is over, the machine is silent. So there will only be some noise to tolerate for the first 30 minutes or so.

Awesome Features

There are several things to love about this bread machine model:

  1. Budget Friendly: This is the second least expensive model we tested and the price will fit more families' budgets than the higher end models available.
  2. Size: I love the shape and size of this machine above all others.
  3. Consistent Mixing: Rarely does this machine require scraping of dry flour pockets in the corners of the pan.
  4. No Wiggles: The machine is very sturdy and doesn't shift positions on your counter during mixing.
  5. Consistent Shape: Each loaf has a very consistent shape for slicing.
  6. Easy Program Selections: The menu options are simple and clear.
  7. The Viewing Light: This is both an awesome feature and a con. The light illuminates the inside of the machine so you can peek without opening the lid. However, the button can easily be confused with the power button. My husband has, more than once, accidentally turned the bread maker off thinking he was turning on the light.

Cons to Consider

No bread machine is perfect, each of the models we tested had features I would love to see improved. There is really only one con to consider for the Cuisinart but it can be a big one:

Extra Babysitting:

If you want to add mix-ins, you'll have to listen for the beep and add them manually.

The machine also requires a little more watching at the start of the program to ensure quality results.

You'll need to watch to be sure your dough isn't too wet (or dry.) The picture below illustrates how the dough is too wet and is sticking to both the sides and the bottom of the machine.

A too-wet ball of dough inside the Cuisinart bread pan.

The simple fix is to sprinkle in a tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough forms a smooth ball and no longer sticks to the pan.

It should look more like the picture below, after I added 2 tbsp flour:

The proper dough ball inside the Cuisinart bread pan.

The Cuisinart will require a little more knowledge about bread baking to get perfect results but once you balance the right ratio of flour to liquid, your breads will be perfect every time.

Summary

I loved working with the Cuisinart during the production of my bread machine cookbook.

You'll see many photos that feature its signature clover leaf slice shape all throughout the book. In fact, the bread right on the front cover of the book was made in the Cuisinart.

When my kids choose one of our five models to bake with on their own, they often choose the Cuisinart for its simplicity. They love that it rarely needs scraping of the corners.

My husband says the pan shape is a deal breaker and rarely uses the machine.

Is the Cuisinart right for you?

Yes, you should absolutely get a Cuisinart bread maker if this describes you:

  • You're new to bread baking and want an easy to use machine.
  • You love the idea of a smaller sized machine.
  • You're not ready to commit to the price of a premium machine.
  • You want consistent-shaped bread slices.
  • You don't need very large loaves of bread and are happy with 1.5-pound recipes.
  • You're willing to check the machine periodically for the first 10 - 15 minutes.

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