10 best sandwich toasters
Perfect the grilled cheese toastie – and much more – with a handy kitchen addition
Grilled cheese, cheese toastie, toasted sarnie – whatever you call them, we’ve reviewed the best models on the market so you can create the perfect golden glow.
But there are some things you need to consider when choosing a machine: how many sandwiches do you want to be able to make in one go? How much space have you got to store the gadget? And, if space is an issue, perhaps you should consider a machine that does more than one thing – more on that below.
So aside from the machine, what makes the perfect toastie? Well, who better to ask than Patrick Dwyer from Deeney's, a London-based food stall famed for its Haggis toasties.
“The perfect sandwich needs to contain a balanced combination of flavours,” he explains to IndyBest. “At Deeney's our toasties nearly always contain a sweet element like a chutney or caramelised onions, which work really well with melted cheese. At the same time we add a spicy, sharp ingredient like mustard to cut through the sweetness and complement the meat.
“You want the ingredients to be evenly distributed, so you get each of the flavours coming through in each bite,” he adds. “The bread needs to be fresh, but strong and able to absorb all those flavours.”
Good advice, indeed. We’d like to add that although it’s tempting, try not to overfill the sandwich, otherwise you run the risk of your fillings falling out, and no one wants that. If you’re using it as a single ingredient, you shouldn’t need more then 60g of cheese, and less if combining with others. Perhaps most important of all (although we never manage to heed this advice ourselves), do try and give it a couple of minutes out of the machine if you want to prevent third degree burns to your tongue.
The team at Crummbs put these machines under rigorous testing, trying out all manner of combinations – our all-time favourite being cheese and beans. While we leave you mulling over which is your favourite filling, read on to find out which came out on top.
1. Cuisinart 2-in-1 Grill and Sandwich Maker: £89.95, John Lewis
This stylish machine comes with two interchangeable plates, enabling you to use it as a sandwich toaster as well as a grill. Easy to clean, both plates can either be hand-washed or put through the dishwasher, and there’s a plastic cleaning device which helps protect the non-stick coating. There’s a choice of three heat settings for greater cooking control. There’s space to make two sandwiches at once with all the fillings staying put, and the only downside is the large handle, which makes it quite bulky and slightly harder to store. The recipe booklet has interesting suggestions that go beyond the standard cheese and ham combo, to really help you get the most out of the machine. We created broad bean and prosciutto frittatas, along with chocolate and mixed berry turnovers.
2. Breville Deep Fill VST041 Sandwich Toaster: £26, John Lewis
Breville may have invented the original sandwich toaster over 40 years ago, but is it still the big cheese? (Sorry!) Well, the removable non-stick plates felt good quality, with a pleasing weight to them compared to some of the cheaper machines. There’s space to make two sandwiches, and the removable deep plates were easy to clean and allowed for maximum filling. The clever “cut and seal” system shapes the bread to fit the deep fill plates and cuts the sandwiches in to two separate triangles, ensuring ingredients stay put. Sandwiches came out with a perfect, all-over golden hue. It comes with a few recipe suggestions to try, including pizza pockets and cake bites, and we appreciated the black and chrome design.
3. Russell Hobbs Deep Fill 3in1 Sandwich, Panini & Waffle Maker 706/5684: £44.99, Argos
Get more bang for your buck with this multi-purpose machine from Russell Hobbs. As well as the timeless triangles, this machine comes with an interchangeable waffle plate and a grill (perfect for paninis). Very easy to remove, plates can be popped in the dishwasher, making cleaning up super quick. It takes a few minutes to warm up – just wait for the green light to appear and you’re ready to roll. The machine struggled to close with our thick white sliced bread inside, so it’s best to use medium-thickness bread if you want to make use of the handle locking clip which will keep the two slices of bread firmly together. Although it’s big enough to make two sandwiches at once, the machine has cord storage making it compact and easy to store away.
4. Cookworks 4 Slice Sandwich Toaster: £24.99, Argos
Ideal for families, this toaster was the largest we tested, with enough room to prepare four sandwiches at a time. Having said that, the plates felt smaller and shallower than other models, so it’s best to buy smaller loafs for a perfect fit or be prepared to cut the bread to size. The machine heated up quickly but we found the handle a little fiddly. Plates are not removable so cleaning the machine is slightly more difficult, but the non-stick coating did the job and sandwiches came out without sticking, if a little on the small side. The cord storage helps make the machine more compact.
5. Tefal Snack Collection: £74.99 (machine), £14.99 (individual set of plates), Lakeland
Each of these machines from Tefal comes with both a toasted triangle sandwich plate and a waffle grill plate as standard, which can be easily swapped over depending on what’s on the menu. But if you get bored with those two, there are a whopping 16 grill plates to collect, including ones for bagels, biscuits and even doughnuts. The extra plates can be bought separately, and come in a box-set case, which makes storing them easy as you grow your collection. The plates had an effective non-stick coating and our sandwiches came out well but were quite shallow so be careful not to overfill. Unlike some of the other models, this had an on/off switch which is handy if you want to leave the machine plugged in to the mains.
6. Dualit Sandwich Cage: £15, John Lewis
This is a good value, useful addition if you already own a Dualit toaster and you’d rather not add another bulky piece of kit to your kitchen. The Dualit sandwich cage allows you to create lightly toasted sandwiches – but don’t expect the same oozy, melty toastie you’ll get from the classic machines. Working best with medium to thinly sliced bread, be careful not to overfill if you don’t want to spend the rest of your afternoon fishing the remnants out from the crumb tray. Well made, the handles remained cool enough to handle throughout the cooking time. The cages don’t go in the dishwasher though so be prepared to wash by hand.
7. Judge Mini Sandwich Toaster: £18.99, Amazon
If you’re heading off to uni this year, you might want to pop one of these solo sandwich makers in your case. Small but effective, this ultra-compact machine from Judge heats up quickly and has space for just one toastie at a time. Despite its diminutive frame, it created an even golden colour and sealed the ingredients in place. Even better, once it’s cooled down, it can be stored upright – taking up even less space in your kitchen.
8. Waring Pro WOSM2U Deep Fill Sandwich Toaster: £39.50, Currys
This robust machine comes with extra deep plates, allowing for maximum sandwich filling. Once you’ve finished cramming them full with your latest flavour combo, they can be easily removed and put in the dishwasher. There’s a choice of three temperatures to give you full cooking control. It delivered great results with our thick sliced bread, and can also make omelettes and pastries too.
9. Salter Deep Fill Sandwich Toaster EK2017: £19.99, Robert Dyas
Another good option for those that like their sandwiches supersized, the Salter machine can handle thick, large slices of bread with plenty of filling, which is particularly useful if you make your own bread and don’t want to use standard supermarket-sized loafs. The large non-stick plates worked efficiently at sealing the bread and the “power” and “ready” lights make it easy to end up with a beautifully toasted sandwich, with plenty of filling, toasted crusts ‘n’ all.
10. Tablecraft Steak Weight: £9.84, Amazon
Originally designed to keep steak and bacon flat for a faster cooking time, we found this device equally as useful when it comes to grilling sandwiches. If you already have a griddle pan, simply heat it up while you prepare your sandwich, taking care to butter the outside of the bread, just as you would with the machines, and then press down with this sturdy weight. It should only need two to three minutes on each side, but don’t forget to flip it (try using a spatula) for an even melt.
The Verdict: Sandwich toasters
If you’re looking for a straight up sandwich toaster, the Breville can’t be beaten for its even, golden toast, its iconic look and great price. However, we can’t resist some of the newer models that produce more than just a sarnie. We found the 2-in-1 Grill and Sandwich Maker from Cuisinart the most seamless machine to use and the recipe booklet left us feeling inspired.
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