15 Alternative Uses for Your Bread Machine

Specialty appliances have no room in my kitchen, and I’ve tossed out quesadilla makers, strawberry hullers, and even a garlic press to whittle down my appliances to only the essentials.

But one appliance you won’t find me parting with anytime soon? My bread maker.

Don’t let the name fool you. This seemingly single-use appliance can do so much more than merely bake bread.

Bread machines come with a built-in mixing paddle and are able to cook at fairly low temperatures, which means you’ve basically got a slow cooker, instant stirrer, and mini-oven all in one machine that won’t heat up your kitchen.

My Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus can make everything from gluten-free bread to pizza dough, but it can also whip up a few less expected recipes as well. From scrambled eggs to slow roasted stews, check out these alternative uses for your bread machine.

1. Easy beef stew

No need to heat up your kitchen for hours simmering your favorite beef stew. Your bread maker will heat and stir your stew for you on the “jam” cycle, and can even bake some dollops of biscuit dough right in the mix… if that’s how you roll with your stew.

Get our easy beef stew recipe.

2. Cheesy artichoke dip

When prepping for a party, leave room in your oven for other important snacks by using your bread maker’s “jam” cycle to heat up and stir your favorite artichoke dip.

Get our cheesy artichoke dip recipe.

3. Fresh herb and cream cheese egg scramble

Just like you can make scrambled eggs in a Crock Pot​, you can make them in a bread machine too!

Although it may take longer to make scrambled eggs in the bread maker than on the stovetop, you’ll have fluffy eggs in roughly 15 minutes without so much as lifting a spatula. This creamy breakfast recipe amplifies the usual scramble with cream cheese and fresh herbs like dill, parsley, and chives.

Pro tip: Drizzle in a bit of oil before pouring your egg mixture into the bread pan and setting the machine on the “jam” cycle.

Get our fresh herb and cream cheese egg scramble recipe.

4. Pea risotto

Stirring risotto can be a tedious task, but with the bread maker’s automatic stirring paddle(s), you’ll get a delightfully creamy risotto just by pressing the “jam” button once.

Get our pea risotto recipe.

5. Easy sweet mochi

This Japanese treat is made with sweet rice flour, and typically involves multiple steps and countless hours to make. But — rejoice! — your bread machine specializes in flour and can whip up a batch of mochi in a few hours.

Get our easy sweet mochi recipe.

6. Spinach meatloaf 

The loaf that comes out of your bread maker doesn’t need to be doughy. You can try your hand at a meaty loaf that would make your grandma proud. Call Nana and use her recipe (or if she was a terrible cook, use our version instead).

Get our spinach meatloaf recipe.

7. Cranberry sauce with orange and thyme

The bread maker’s “jam” cycle was designed to heat and stir for anywhere from 1-2 hours, making it easy to whip up a quick fruit preserve (pectin optional). Toss in some honey, orange zest, and fresh thyme and you’ll have a delicious cranberry sauce for a holiday gathering.

Get our cranberry sauce with orange and thyme recipe.

8. Tomato soup

To get this classic soup going, let the onions and garlic simmer in the olive oil on the “jam” cycle for about 15 minutes, then add all other ingredients (except the cream).

After 30-40 more minutes in the bread machine, stir in the cream for a warm, savory soup perfect for dunking with (what else?) bread.

Get our classic tomato soup recipe.

9. Deep, dark chocolate pudding

Using a bread maker can give you a homemade “instant” pudding that doesn’t come from a box. Even better: It can be the deep, dark, fudgy stuff of dreams.

Get our deep, dark chocolate pudding recipe.

10. Spaghetti and meatballs

The only thing your bread maker can’t do for this recipe is boil the noodles to al dente, but pour in some crushed tomatoes, salt, fresh herbs, and homemade meatballs and you’re on your way to an easy, flavorful dinner.

Let the mixture simmer for a few hours before pouring over cooked spaghetti.

Get our spaghetti and meatballs recipe.

11. Strawberry cheesecake

A beautifully rich, creamy cheesecake with a crisp graham cracker crust is child’s play with your bread maker. You’ll add the graham cracker crust last, after an hour of baking on the “cake” cycle with this strawberry cheesecake recipe from Zojirushi.

Get the strawberry cheesecake recipe.

12. Yogurt

Not all bread makers come with a yogurt function, in which case you’ll need to pre-heat the milk to 113°F (45°C) on the stovetop before adding natural live yogurt (look for “live active cultures” on the label) and transferring the mixture to mason jars.

Remove the bread pan and place the mason jars directly in the bread maker. Set the machine on its lowest setting (around 105°F or 41°C) to allow the yogurt to ferment for anywhere from 3-8 hours. Top your fresh yogurt with some jam or homemade granola.

13. Udon noodles

Purchased udon noodles are perfect for soups, stir-fries, or even just served cold as-is, but homemade udon noodles have a distinctly chewy and thick texture that takes any dish up a notch. This recipe makes a fool-proof dough with your bread maker.

Get the udon noodles recipe.

14. Easy rice pudding

As you may have realized by now, your bread machine’s “jam” setting isn’t just for jam. Try it for a simple, comforting rice pudding using this foolproof recipe. That’s our jam!

Get our easy rice pudding recipe.

15. Peach cobbler

Whether you use fresh or frozen fruit, the bread maker will transform a few ingredients into a simple dessert with little effort on your part. Be sure to have some ice cream handy for topping!

Get the peach cobbler recipe.

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