Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
You've probably seen the commercials for the magical breakfast sandwich makers that, within five minutes or so, depending on the brand of sandwich maker, makes you a delicious breakfast sandwich that rivals the fast food joint with the golden arches. I hate making breakfast every morning, but I know how important it is and this gadget made it look so simple. So, my 12-year-old and I gave the Hamilton Beach Good Thinking breakfast sandwich maker a try.
How breakfast sandwich makers work
Using a breakfast sandwich maker is just as simple as the commercials make it look. You put a slice of bread in, add cheese and/or pre-cooked meat, slide the egg barrier in, crack an egg onto the egg barrier, top with another slice of bread and close.
Sandwiches in a snap
I tried the machine first and forgot to put the bread on top twice because I got distracted. This caused the egg to dribble out the side of the machine. No problem! The fantastic no-stick coating on the unit allowed me to wipe the egg off with one swipe of a towel. I was impressed.
Once I slowed down and used the machine like it was intended it was smooth sailing. The bread got properly toasted and the eggs cooked beautifully. My 12-year-old got the hang of using the sandwich maker on the first try.
I liked how the yolk stayed perfectly runny for those in our family that like runny yolks. For those that didn't like runny yolk, I simply scrambled the egg up with a fork a little bit after I dropped the egg in.
Timing is everything
What I didn't like is that there wasn't a reliable timer on the unit. It does have a preheat light, but as the manual says, this light doesn't indicate when the sandwich is done. Setting a kitchen timer to the suggested five minutes isn't a good remedy, either. We found that it can take anywhere from three to six minutes for a sandwich to cook, depending on the ingredients.
Eventually I found that it was best to just lift the lid up and take a peek every couple of minutes. This means you need to stick around and stay alert. It isn't an appliance you can set and leave to cook while you get ready for your day.
When using a panini maker, you may be used to squishing your sandwiches, but don't do that with a breakfast sandwich maker. Gently place the lid on top of your bread; it doesn't need to close completely to cook. If you do smoosh the lid down into place the egg with burst out of the appliance and will get all over your countertops.
All of the pictures on the box showed sandwiches made with round breads like bagels and English muffins, but we decided to give sliced loaf bread a try, too. You have to smash the edges of the bread into the unit just a bit, but it still came out perfectly toasted.
Cleaning the Hamilton Beach Good Thinking breakfast sandwich maker is easy, too. Lifting the lid releases the sandwich making rings. They can be put in the dishwasher or can be washed by hand in hot, soapy water.
The plates on the unit can't be removed, but they can be wiped with a soapy sponge and then "rinsed" with a sponge damped with clean, warm water.
After you clean the unit, everything should be dried and coated with a non-stick cooking spray or wiped with vegetable oil to keep everything non-stick and tarnish-free.