Toche guided home Lazaros Christodoulopoulos' precise left-wing cross from close range after 24 minutes to clinch three vital points for Jesualdo Ferreira's stuttering side, who have endured a slow start to the season.
Panathinaikos had goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis to thank after the Greece international pulled off a string of saves in the second half to deny the visitors an equaliser.
The result saw Panathinaikos move into sixth spot with 12 points from nine games, while struggling AEK remain bottom of the 16-team table with just five points.
Leaders Olympiakos Piraeus have maintained a five-point advantage over second-placed PAOK Salonika after a 2-0 home win over OFI Crete on Saturday with goals from Kostas Mitroglou and Paulo Machado.
Leonardo Jardim's men remain unbeaten, having won eight of their nine matches to collect 25 points.
PAOK stayed in touch with a 2-1 win at Panionios on Sunday, Stefanos Athanasiadis taking his tally for the season to seven with a first-half double at the Nea Smyrni Stadium.
- Sports & Recreation
- Jesualdo Ferreira