Reviews You Can Rely On

Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus Review

From standard white sandwich bread to your favorite holiday cakes, this is the best kitchen helper we've found
zojirushi virtuoso plus bread machine review
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $378 List
Manufacturer:   Zojirushi
By Jessica Riconscente and Maggie Nichols  ⋅  Oct 31, 2022
73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 7
  • White Bread - 30% 7.9
  • Wheat Bread - 30% 7.2
  • Gluten Free - 15% 8.0
  • Yeast Free - 10% 7.3
  • Convenience - 15% 5.9

Our Verdict

While most of the models in our review of the best bread machines excel in just one or two areas, the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus is the only one that consistently made great bread across all the kinds we baked. It made some of our favorite-tasting white and wheat bread loaves that were the perfect shape and size. It's the only machine we tested that makes a gluten-free loaf we'd actually be willing to eat again. Its yeast-free pound cake recipe also came out very well. Its downsides are in its exceptionally massive size and weight. This is a machine you'll want to make a permanent home for on your countertop — both due to its weight and because you'll want to bake nonstop!
REASONS TO BUY
Well rounded
Great crusts
Excellent gluten-free bread
Good sandwich size and shape
REASONS TO AVOID
Large footprint
Heavy
Expensive
Only makes 2 lb recipes
Editor's Note: The Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus was tested again for our new update to reflect our newest testing procedures on October 31, 2022.

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Price $378 List
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Pros Well rounded, great crusts, excellent gluten-free bread, good sandwich size and shapeExcellent white and wheat bread, pleasant-looking breads, good crustsGreat wheat bread, lightweight and easy to store, inexpensiveLightweight, easy cake bakingDecent gluten-free bread density, lightweight and small, inexpensive
Cons Large footprint, heavy, expensive, only makes 2 lb recipesGluten free recipe doesn't work, cake recipe was undercooked, crowded interfacePoor cake recipe, uneven distribution, lacks recipe varietyOff-tasting gluten-free bread, a bit bulky for its footprint, just average performanceInconsistent density, too tall for sandwich bread, buttons difficult to press
Bottom Line From standard white sandwich bread to your favorite holiday cakes, this is the best kitchen helper we've foundIf you want excellent traditional sandwich breads, this is a solid choice — just don't expect good gluten-free or sweet breadA smaller, more affordable option with solid performance making white and wheat breadsThough a convenient cake-maker, this average model left us wanting more in nearly every wayThough a tempting option with a smaller footprint and lower cost, this machine makes subpar bread and isn't the easiest to use
Rating Categories Zojirushi Virtuoso... KBS Pro MBF-010 Elite Gourmet Maxi-... Hamilton Beach Home... Cuisinart Compact A...
White Bread (30%)
7.9
8.5
6.6
5.8
4.6
Wheat Bread (30%)
7.2
8.5
7.7
4.8
4.1
Gluten Free (15%)
8.0
2.0
4.7
6.1
6.3
Yeast Free (10%)
7.3
4.6
2.7
6.9
3.3
Convenience (15%)
5.9
5.3
7.1
5.7
7.2
Specs Zojirushi Virtuoso... KBS Pro MBF-010 Elite Gourmet Maxi-... Hamilton Beach Home... Cuisinart Compact A...
Measured Dimensions (HxWxL) 13" x 18" x 10" 13" x 13.5" x 8.5" 11.5" x 10" x 14" 12" x 11.5" x 15.25" 11.5" x 8.5" x 12"
Measured Weight 22.7 lbs 13.6 lbs 8.0 lbs 11.6 lbs 8.7 lbs
Number of Functions 15 17 19 12 12
Available Loaf Sizes 2 lb 1, 1.5, 2 lb 1, 1.5, 2 lb 1.5, 2 lb 1, 1.5, 2 lb
Automatic Fruit and Nut Dispenser No Yes No No No
Number of Recipes 51 17 18 30 43

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus is the best bread machine we've gotten our hands on and the only one we tested that makes all four types of bread that actually taste good. It comes with 15 functions and 51 recipes but is extremely large and heavy.

Performance Comparison


zojirushi virtuoso plus bread machine review - the virtuoso plus performed well in all its recipes.
The Virtuoso Plus performed well in all its recipes.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

White Bread


The white bread made by the Zojirushi Virtuoso is one of our favorites. It looks great right out of the pan, with a high dome creating a practically perfect sandwich bread shape. Consistently through our testing, the crust came out a lovely golden brown, evenly on all sides. Though the top crust was a tad thinner, the rest of the crust was an excellent texture, with just the right amount of crunch to it.


Cutting into these loaves revealed a soft and pillowy interior. The slightly denser portion near the crust was just one-quarter of an inch thick, giving way to a mostly even mixture of air pockets throughout. There were still a few larger air pockets, but they didn't impede our ability to cut or use this bread. Across the board, our panel of blind taste testers loved this white bread, with its delicious crust, flawless fluff, and just the right glutenous structure to hold all kinds of sandwich ingredients.

zojirushi virtuoso plus bread machine review - the zojirushi virtuoso makes a delicious white bread.
The Zojirushi Virtuoso makes a delicious white bread.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Wheat Bread


Not to be outdone, the Zojirushi also made fantastic wheat bread. Again, its shape is the most like a traditional loaf of sandwich bread, with a consistently domed top and just the right width to easily fit in your hands. The crust consistently came out a medium color, though it was a shade lighter on the top compared to the sides and darker in the centers of each side vs. its edges. Cutting into these loaves uncovered a thicker, crunchier crust than most other wheat breads.


The Virtuoso wheat bread density contained a nice mixture of differently sized air pockets that turned out to be much softer than their appearance. Near the edges — but not the bottom — the density of the bread increased, creating about half an inch of denser bread along the side crusts. Despite this unique appearance, our taste testers enjoyed eating the crust and the bread. For some on our flavor panel, this wheat bread was one of the favorites of the bunch.

zojirushi virtuoso plus bread machine review - the virtuoso wheat bread scored highly in our testing, for its...
The Virtuoso wheat bread scored highly in our testing, for its looks, even texture, and good flavor.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Gluten Free Bread


The Zojirushi is the only contender in our testing to produce a gluten-free bread we enjoyed. The gluten-free loaves came out looking just like their glutenous cousins, with a semi-domed top and a large enough size to use for making sandwiches. The crusts of these loaves exhibited excellent coloring, with even the top achieving a pleasant medium brown color. Though the crust wasn't crunchy, we didn't find a single model that could make a crunchy crust on a gluten-free loaf of bread.


The interior of the Virtuoso gluten-free loaves offered a mixture of differently sized air pockets evenly distributed throughout, though none so large that they impeded its ability to be easily cut. It felt more firm than we'd liked, but we didn't find this to translate into chewiness when we ate it. Many of our taste testers noted a vinegar smell to this bread, which contained a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Still, our panel members found the taste to grow on them.

zojirushi virtuoso plus bread machine review - while these gluten free loaves weren't the prettiest around, the...
While these gluten free loaves weren't the prettiest around, the Zojirushi gluten free bread (far right) is one of the very few we'd be willing to make again and eat repeatedly.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Convenience


We really enjoy the user interface of the Virtuoso Plus. It has a decently sized screen nearly twice the size of most of the rest we tested. At first, we found its controls to be less user-friendly, but after busting out the manual a few times, we easily got the hang of it. It comes with many little details not found in its competitors. Such features included are arrow buttons (so you don't have to scroll through the entire menu again when missing a function), a resting off option that warms the bread, and a timer that shows you how much time is left. It comes with 15 functions, including one called "homemade" that you can customize.


On the other hand, the Zijorushi only makes 2-pound loaves of bread and is the only model we tested not to allow you to change the size of the loaf. The appliance itself is massive, eating up a huge amount of counter space and weighing a hefty 22.7 pounds, making it the largest model we tested.

We adore this machine's separate operating manual and recipe book. It's easy to select recipes, troubleshoot challenges, and find sugar and salt-free recipe options. With a whopping 51 recipes inside, the Virtuoso offers more variety and options than any other bread machine we tested.

zojirushi virtuoso plus bread machine review - the zojirushi comes with more recipes than any other bread machine...
The Zojirushi comes with more recipes than any other bread machine we tested and is easy and pleasant to use - even if it is enormous and only makes 2 pound loaves.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Yeast Free Bread


Once again, the Virtuoso Plus makes a great loaf of bread, this time in a metric that only some scored well in. The Zojirushi pound cake recipe proved to be the best-looking and one of the best tasting yeast-free breads in our testing. The crust turned out with even coloring along the sides and bottom, with a modestly domed top just a shade lighter than the rest. The thick crust cut away to reveal a soft interior with a good balance of air pockets throughout.


Our taste tester panel enjoyed the moisture found in this pound cake. Though it's less fluffy than a pound cake perhaps should be, we still enjoyed the flavor and texture of this yeast-free option. When adding mini chocolate chips, this thick recipe had no problem holding them in, uniformly mixed, even without any automatic fruit and nut dispenser. We're not so sure it would do as well with a more dense recipe, but the pound cake was a dream.

zojirushi virtuoso plus bread machine review - the zojirushi pound cake turned out delicious - and had a pretty...
The Zojirushi pound cake turned out delicious - and had a pretty even distribution of mini chocolate chips.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Should You Buy the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus?


The Virtuoso is an excellent option if you want to make a variety of breads and make them well. It's one of the most expensive options we tested and is probably overkill for most bakers. But if you like trying new recipes and love making all kinds of different baked goods, the Zojirushi's versatility and excellent performance across the board will not disappoint.

What Other Bread Machines Should You Consider?


The Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus is the best bread machine we tested. It excels at making every major kind of bread — something no other model came close to matching. Though, it is very expensive and takes up a ton of space. If you're looking for something a little more affordable to make traditional white and wheat breads for delicious sandwiches, we recommend the KBS Pro MBF-010. But if you want nothing but the best and most versatile bread machine on the market, the Virtuoso is the one for you.

zojirushi virtuoso plus bread machine review - if you like recipes that just work, the zojirushi virtuoso is our...
If you like recipes that just work, the Zojirushi Virtuoso is our favorite bread machine we tested.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Jessica Riconscente and Maggie Nichols
 

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