Specialty appliances have no room in my kitchen, where I've tossed out quesadilla makers, strawberry hullers and even a garlic press in order 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 chicken and dumplings, check out these alternative uses for your bread machine.
No need to heat up your kitchen for hours simmering your favorite beef stew recipe. 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.
Leave room in your oven for important party snacks by using the bread maker's Jam cycle to heat up and stir your favorite artichoke dip recipe.
As you can make scrambled eggs in a Crock Pot, so too can you make them in a bread machine! 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. Drizzle in a bit of oil before pouring your egg mixture into the bread pan and setting the machine on the Jam cycle, but you'll want to wait to add cheese until the eggs are on the plate to lessen the mess.
Stirring risotto can be a tedious task, but with the bread maker's automatic stirring paddles, you'll have a delightfully creamy risotto by only having to press the Jam button once.
This Japanese treat is made with sweet rice flour, and typically involves multiple steps and countless hours to make, but your bread machine specializes in flour and can whip up a batch of mochi (like this butter coconut mochi recipe from Zojirushi) in a few hours.
The loaf that comes out of your bread maker doesn't need to be doughy. Your machine can actually make a meatloaf that would make your grandma proud. Check out Zojirushi's meatloaf recipe, or, better yet, call your grandma and use her recipe. (If she was a terrible cook, see Chowhound's meatloaf recipes.)
The bread maker's Jam cycle was designed to heat and stir for anywhere from one to two hours, making it easy to whip up a quick fruit preserve (pectin optional), but toss in some walnuts, sugar, cranberries and cinnamon and you'll have a delicious cranberry sauce for a holiday gathering.
Chicken and dumplings
Just place all your wet ingredients in first before adding in the veggies and meat for your favorite chicken and dumplings recipe, then let the machine simmer and stir your soup for an hour (longer if you're using raw chicken) before adding in cut up homemade or premade chunks of buttermilk biscuit dough. The dough will bake right into the soup, and you'll have a creamy and satisfying comfort dish without heating up your kitchen.
Using a bread maker can give you a homemade "instant" pudding that doesn't come from a box. Add (in this order) 2 cups heavy cream, 1 ½ cups whole milk, 4 large egg yolks, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¾ cup of sugar, 8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate, 3 tablespoons cornstarch and ¼ cup dark cocoa powder to the bread pan, set it on Jam, and get ready for some warm, fudgy pudding.
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 let the mixture simmer for a few hours before pouring over some fresh pasta (which you can also make in some bread machines).
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.
Not all bread makers come with a yogurt function, in which case you'll need to preheat the milk to 113 degrees Fahrenheit 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 degrees Fahrenheit) to allow the yogurt to ferment for anywhere from 3-8 hours. Top your fresh yogurt with some jam or homemade granola.
Udon noodles are perfect for soups and stir-frys, or even just served cold as is, but homemade udon noodles have a distinctly chewy and thick texture that takes any recipe up a level. Use this udon recipe from Zojirushi to make a fool-proof dough with your bread maker. (If you have a Panasonic, try this recipe.)
Rice and rice pudding
Feel free to toss your rice cooker out, since your bread maker can double as a rice cooker by using the Bake setting and letting a mixture of rice and water cook for an hour. It can also make a super fragrant rice pudding on the Jam setting.
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. Remove the paddles before pouring in the ingredients, especially if you're using this bread machine peach cobbler recipe from King Arthur Flour.
This story was written by Kristy Alpert for Chowhound.