The humble cheese toastie is quick, cheap and easy to make, but most importantly it’s delicious. It’s long been a lunchtime favourite and although it’s evolved a lot over the years, the basics stay the same – bread and cheese heated until it’s slightly crispy on the outside, with the melted cheese oozing out of the inside.
A toasted sandwich maker is a great investment for your kitchen, and there are a wide variety of machines now available that can cook everything from toasties and waffles to pressed paninis and some can even grill food.
During testing, we kept it fair by first cooking the classic cheese and tomato sandwich, followed by ham and cheese to assess the ease of use, speed of cooking, and of course, taste. We then swapped in different bread types before trying more exotic toastie ingredient combinations, before finally testing out any additional features the appliance had.
When shopping for a sandwich maker, you’ll want to consider how many toasties the machine can make at one time, if you prefer a sealed or open edge finish to your sandwiches, as well as where you are going to be able to store the appliance.
Whether you’re looking for a bargain buy or a multi-use appliance, we’ve tested out the best toasted sandwich makers available to help you choose the right machine for your home.
The best sandwich toasters for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Sage the perfect press: £99.99, Lakeland.co.uk
- Best microwavable sandwich maker– Morphy Richards MICO toasted sandwich maker: £22.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best for sandwich, waffle and grill plates – Russell Hobbs 3-in-1 deep fill sandwich maker: £47.99, Argos.co.uk
- Best dishwasher-safe model – Lékué microwave grill: £34.99, Lakeland.co.uk
- Best for luxury – Cuisinart griddle and grill: £120, Johnlewis.com
- Best for multi-function maker – Tefal snack time: £69.22, Amazon.co.uk
- Best budget-friendly option – Tower deep fill sandwich maker: £26.99, Very.co.uk
- Best for removable plates – Judge sandwich grill and waffle maker: £39.95, Amazon.co.uk
- Best toastie bag – Lakeland toastabags: £6.99, Lakeland.co.uk
- Best for a deep fill – Salter 3-in-1 sandwich toaster: £33.94, Amazon.co.uk
- Best for cheap and cheerful – Dunelm sandwich maker: £10, Dunelm.com
Sage the perfect press
This maker not only look seriously professional, but it also produces perfectly pressed toasted sandwiches and really ticked all of the boxes for us during testing. From Sage by Heston Blumenthal, it has two flat, non-stick cooking plates, as well as “power on” and “ready” light indicators so you know exactly when to slide in your creation for cooking. Choose between “open melt” if you want to cook a particularly deep-filled sandwich one side at a time, or “crush control” which basically applies the perfect amount of pressure instead of simply squashing the ingredients which most sandwich makers do.
We really liked that you don’t need to add any butter or oil to cook with this machine, and it took just three minutes to toast a cheese, ham and tomato sandwich which was perfectly golden on the outside and hot and fluffy on the inside. It recommends cooking only one sandwich at a time, but we found we could fit in two loaded-up sandwiches made with thick slices of bread and still get great results.
It’s a fairly large piece of equipment but the cord can be wrapped around the base and it’s designed to be stored upright so you can slide it into a space in your kitchen cupboard. All things considered, it is more of an investment compared to other products we tested out, however, we think it’s the perfect choice for gourmet sandwich lovers, with plenty of possibilities for creative cooking.
Morphy Richards MICO toasted sandwich maker
Best: Microwavable sandwich maker
This tiny microwave contraption was one of our favourites during testing. Simple to use, it has two non-stick grill plates which slot into an outer silicone casing. It took around four minutes to cook one sandwich at a time in the microwave, with a generous amount of cheese and tomato on standard size bread slices. You need to wait an extra minute or so once cooked to make sure the plates have cooled down enough before unhooking them. But the result, to our surprise, was a golden and crispy toastie – no soggy bread in sight. This gadget is small and quick to cook, making it a great option if you’re working in an office.
Russell Hobbs 3-in-1 deep fill sandwich maker
Best: For sandwich, waffle and grill plates
You get a lot for your money with this compact three-in-one machine. You can make two toasties in one go, making it a good choice for a larger household. Plus, there’s no guessing with this one as the indicator light lets you know when the machine is hot enough to start cooking.
We found it cooked toasties surprisingly quickly, in around four minutes, and they were evenly browned with crispy, closed edges, making this the best choice if you prefer a sealed toastie. Although it’s a “deep fill” sandwich maker, during testing we found if we put more than three ingredients in, it was prone to spilling out of the maker. As a result, this made it trickier to clean the machine, but we liked that the actual plates can go in the dishwasher.
The waffle plates are a fun option to have too – these took around ten minutes to cook but were slightly harder to ease out. We liked that you can store the machine vertically, and it’s slim compared to other appliances we tested out so you shouldn’t find it difficult to tuck away in the kitchen.
Lékué microwave grill
Best: Dishwasher-safe model
One of several microwave grills we tried out, you can really up your toastie game with this small yet clever gadget. We successfully cooked a hot, grilled halloumi wrap in just five minutes, while a sandwich took only three. The grill comes with a recipe and weight guide to get you started, and you can use it to grill everything from salmon to vegetables to chicken breasts.
Made from non-stick coated aluminium and silicone, it can also go in the dishwasher, and the chunky handles were easy to pop on and off. Just be careful when you take the grill out of the microwave as it gets very hot, so you need to use oven gloves. It’s also worth noting that the highest power microwave you can use this grill in is a 900W model. But, if you’re looking for something larger (this only cooks one toastie at a time), there is a bigger version available.
Cuisinart griddle and grill
Best: For luxury
If you’ve got cash to splash, and you’re looking to invest in a versatile, multi-functional appliance, it has to be this griddle and grill. This was the most expensive product we tried out, but it comes with two sets of dishwasher safe plates (ribbed and flat griddle), which are easy to swap in and out, and the indicator lights let you know when the plates are at your desired temperature – it reaches 240 degrees.
Thanks to its larger size, you can make seriously deep filled sandwiches in this grill, although you can’t make sealed edges like with a traditional toastie maker. It took around four minutes to cook a classic cheese and tomato toastie, and around six minutes for an extra-large one. We also found it produced great results for everything from filled croissants, fried eggs and even tuna steak. We also liked the drip tray feature and found it prevented the build-up of grease which you so often get with kitchen appliances.
Yes, it is large, but you can use this sturdy machine to cook for the entire family – we cooked two toasties and a couple of sausages at the same time – plus you’re saving on kitchen cupboard space by having one appliance that does it all.
Tefal snack time
Best: Multi-function maker
This was one of several multi-functional appliances we tried out. It comes with waffle and toastie plates which were easy to swap in and out, and most importantly can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Tefal advertises that there are 14 other plate options available to buy which also fit into this versatile maker, from panini to french toast. Although we found it hard to track these down you may have better luck.
You can make up to two toasties at a time, and the locking latch presses the sandwiches down, resulting in golden crispy edges (make sure you resist adding too much filling). We liked that unlike many other machines we tested out, this one has an on/off switch if you prefer to keep it plugged in at the wall.
Tower deep fill sandwich maker
Best: Budget-friendly option
At 900W, this sandwich maker was one of the more powerful appliances we tested out, and one of the most budget-friendly. You can make two sealed toasties at a time in around five minutes, and we found it consistently provided an even cook. If you’re looking to make some more adventurous sandwich combinations, bear in mind that you can’t fit a huge amount of filling inside the maker without forcing down the locking latch (despite the “deep fill” product name). However, the non-stick worked well each time we used it, and we liked the rose gold exterior, making it a good option if you’re planning on having it on display on your kitchen counter.
Judge sandwich grill and waffle maker
Best: For removable plates
This isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing sandwich maker, but it’s practical and budget-friendly, with three sets of interchangeable plates and even a two-year guarantee. We found it didn’t fit large slices of bread on the toastie plates, but if you swapped and used the grill plates instead, these gave a better result with larger bread sizes and more filling. As with several of the products we tested, we found you need to be careful about the number of ingredients you add in, otherwise, they ooze out of the maker and get stuck under the hinges, which are slightly tricky to clean.
Best: Toastie bag
If you don’t fancy investing in an appliance or don’t have the space, this is the best and cheapest option. These clever (and long-lasting) bags are easy to use – just pop your cheese and ham sandwich inside and place the bag into the toaster. We found it’s best to use a standard size, shop-bought slices of bread so you don’t have to squeeze your sandwich in, and it took around four minutes to cook a tasty toastie. The clean up is much easier than using an appliance – we just rinsed them with detergent in the sink – and each non-stick bag (you get two in a pack) can be used up to 500 times.
Salter 3 in 1 sandwich toaster
Best: For a deep fill
With three sets of interchangeable plates, this one was a strong all-rounder for making toasted sandwiches, thick waffles and grilled food. As with most appliances, the plates needed to be cleaned before using the machine, and it took around eight minutes for our toastie to become golden on the outside and melty in the middle.
We really liked that this machine was slightly larger than others we tried out, so you could fit a lot more of that all-important filling inside your sandwich. The non-stick coating seemed to work well during testing – the toasties eased out – and the plates were easy to remove and clean in the dishwasher.
Dunelm sandwich maker
Best: For cheap and cheerful
This was the cheapest sandwich maker we tested out and it even comes with a two-year guarantee. At 750W it had lower power than other machines we used, but we found it did cook evenly – it just needed slightly longer to heat up. This maker has a power on and ready to go light indicator, so you know when it’s time to put your creation in to cook. However, the plates are on the smaller side so don't over-fill your sandwich when using this machine. You’ll also need to make sure to put lots of butter on your bread to make sure your toastie doesn’t get stuck, then clean the machine after use with a damp cloth.
The verdict: Sandwich toasters
If you’re ready to make a serious investment in a sandwich maker, it has to be Sage the perfect press. While the Russell Hobbs 3 in 1 deep fill sandwich maker comes in as a close second thanks to its traditional yet versatile capabilities.For a budget buy you can use on the go, the Morphy Richards MICO toasted sandwich maker is a great choice.
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