Build the Best Sandwiches

No matter what sandwich you’re craving this week, we’ll help you make the best version of it right at home.

Sandwiches are my favorite food, second only to pizza, so I will go to great lengths for a good one. I’ve even been known to drive more than 30 minutes for a prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and roasted pepper sandwich. But here’s the great news—you don’t even have to leave your house to have a great sandwich. We have everything you need, including the perfect recipe and our highly rated equipment. Do you want to make your own almond butter for a twist on the classic peanut butter and jelly? Our longtime-favorite food processor can handle that task with ease. Interested in a smoky, tangy pulled pork sandwich but don’t own a grill? Make it in our favorite slow cooker or with our top-rated sous vide machine. Looking to slice tomatoes for a BLT without squishing them? Reach for our winning serrated utility knife. No matter what sandwich you’re craving this week, we’ll help you make the best version of it right at home.

—Carolyn Grillo, Associate Editor, ATK Reviews

Our previous favorite still excelled with power; precision; and a compact, streamlined design that takes up less space than most food processors, despite having one of the largest capacities, all at a moderate price. Its smooth, simple bowl and blade design are easy to handle, monitor during use, and clean. Its unusual feed tube placement allows for increased bowl visibility. It comes with just three blades for chopping, shredding, and slicing that can all be stored inside the bowl, with no accessories box to deal with. However, since we last tested it, the chopping blade was redesigned and leaves slightly bigger gaps between it and the bottom and side of the bowl, so it couldn’t effectively incorporate egg yolks into single-batch mayonnaise. We didn’t discover any other adverse effects from these slightly bigger gaps, which were still narrower than those of lower-ranked models. It did chop mirepoix uniformly and was one of only two models to give us perfectly green-colored yogurt in our dye test. Although it lacks a mini bowl for very small jobs, a double batch of mayonnaise worked well.

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Our former champion won again for its well-designed, straightforward control panel with a countdown timer that was simple and unambiguous to set and allowed us to monitor progress at a glance. The roomy, heavy stoneware crock cooked gently and evenly and never boiled, so food emerged tender and juicy. We loved that its broad, protruding handles with grippy textured undersides usually stayed cool enough that we could pick up the crock without potholders. Thick insulation kept heat directed toward the crock, and a built-in internal temperature sensor gave this slow cooker extra “brains” to keep the temperature below boiling, which helped guarantee better results.

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This simple, small, sleek model aced every test: It was the most powerful of the lineup at 1,100 watts, making it the fastest to heat water, and it held whatever temperature we set with perfect accuracy, whether we were cooking for 12 minutes or 20 hours. Easy and quick to set and monitor via an extremely user-friendly app (that’s compatible with iOS and Android), it’s also simple to clip onto any size vessel for cooking (if desired, a strong magnet in the base lets you stand it in metal pots without clipping it). Because it has no display, it isn’t harmed when it’s dropped in the water, unlike other models. Its small, lightweight, and slim profile makes it a snap to store when you’re done cooking. (Note: The only difference between this model and the stainless-steel version—which costs about $50 more—is the trim on the outside of the device, so we recommend this less-expensive polycarbonate model.)

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Our favorite knife sliced every food with ease, thanks to a stiff, ultrasharp blade featuring 5 inches of scalloped and pointed serrations, which provided just enough bite to slice into food securely and give it a leg up over the second-place finisher. A narrow tip allowed us to do detail work, and a tall heel ensured that our knuckles never dragged against the cutting board when we cut. Just one teensy gripe: The handle could be a touch longer and wider—testers with larger hands said their hands cramped occasionally.  More on this test

The cooking surface was slick, both when new and after extensive use, and food never stuck. It’s one of the lightest models we tested, so it was easy to lift and maneuver, but it was also sturdy and resisted denting. All of our testers liked its wide, comfortable handle. Like every other model, its surface became scratched when we used a knife as if to cut a frittata, but it otherwise held up well.

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Our winner had it all: Straight sides that produced attractive cakes with well-defined edges and a 1⁄2-inch lip that made it easy to hold. It was the only metal model in the lineup that was molded, a construction technique that renders it seamless and therefore easy to clean (even though it is not dishwasher-safe). It lacked a nonstick coating, but baked goods released with ease when we greased and floured the pan. We did notice very faint scratches in the bottom of the pan after repeated passes with a paring knife.

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With an ergonomic Santoprene rubber handle and a balanced, lightweight feel, this whisk was like an extension of a hand. It whipped cream and egg whites quickly, thanks to 10 wires that were thin enough to move through the liquid quickly but thick enough to push through heavy mixtures and blend pan sauces to smoothness.

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The smooth, well-proportioned surface of this cast-iron press seared single steaks, salmon fillets, and burgers to perfection. Because it’s a tad heavier than other models, it flattened our grilled cheese sandwiches more than we would have preferred, but otherwise its performance was excellent. And while slightly slippery, its coated steel handle stayed surprisingly cool, at least for short stints on the stove. Arriving preseasoned, this press needed no maintenance, though you’ll have to wash and dry it by hand to prevent rust.

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Our winning spoons had a simple design that allowed for a continuous, bump-free sweep, with a ball-chain connector (similar to what military dog tags hang on) that was easy to open and close. This set's metal construction felt remarkably sturdy, and ingredients didn't cling to the stainless steel. And while the 1-tablespoon measure did not fit into all spice jars, it was a minor inconvenience for an otherwise easy-to-use set.

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