The Best Ninja Foodi
With so many food appliances on the market, it can be hard to get a handle on what the perfect product match is for your specific lifestyle. Every single one seems to do something different, but that’s the beauty in the Foodi brand: each combo appliance caters to multiple cooking methods at once while still maintaining a reasonable price point.
Most boast the ability to do things like reduce fat intake and drastically decrease cook times, through user-friendly settings that can accommodate nearly any level of cooking experience. Since many of their models are portable, they’re also convenient enough to take with you anywhere plug-in food appliances are allowed and are great to have as an extra hand when you need to make extra food for guests or a fun family night.
If you’re new to Ninja, you’re probably still impressed with the concept of having such conveniences like being able to grill, air fry, steam, broil or even make yogurt (yep, that’s a thing) in the same combo cooker.
Don’t let the idea of doing it all stop you from making a pros and cons list, however. Some excel at certain aspects of cooking better than others, some can cook for large amounts of people at a time while some can’t, some can fit certain foods and not others, some are easier to clean, and others are so heavy you might as well allow them to take up some permanent real estate on your counter. These are all things to consider not just for bringing them into your own home, but when purchasing them as gifts.
Nevertheless, experimenting with a Ninja Foodi appliance tends to leave any first-timer swearing by the brand. With built-in thermometers and customizable settings, it can start to feel like the Foodi actually knows the way you like things done and the experimentation is really limitless.
For an advanced cook, they’re a great gift that will allow the user to try something new or maybe make something they’ve always wanted to for once. Even if you’re new to the kitchen though, you’ll find quickly from full pot roast dinners to baking birthday cakes, it’s impressive just how much these little machines can do.
Today, we’re going to give you a rundown of three of the top rated Ninja Foodi products on the market: the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Indoor Grill, The Ninja Foodi 8-in-1, and the Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Deluxe Pressure Cooker. Each of these options is under $300, and can ship relatively quickly thanks to our friends at Amazon with plenty of reviews to give you a good idea of the bang you’ll get for your buck. After a few uses, one return to your regular stove will be enough to make you wonder..do you really need one anymore?
The best way to describe the Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 Smart XL is to imagine yourself pulling out frozen burgers half an hour before you actually intend to eat them and saying, “Hey Siri, cook these to medium-rare” and having that actually happen. If it sounds too good to be true, you understand now why the grilling capabilities alone on this one have people forgetting their gas grills even existed.
Leaving perfectly char-grilled marks without the mess of a kitchen thanks to its splatter shield, the Smart XL can take steak from frozen to mouthwatering in just 25 minutes. Foodi knows the perfect temp can differ for everyone, though, and that’s why it proudly boasts 9 customizable doneness settings (and won’t judge you for requesting it well done).
How will you know when the food is ready? A leave-in thermometer that checks the temperature in two places for good measure is just one of the perks that comes with it. What’s more, being approved for both indoor & outdoor use means no last-minute trips to the store if you run out of gas or need to engage panic mode if it rains for the annual family barbecue: just plug in the Foodi, and you can heat up to 24 hot dogs at once and save the day.
We did mention it’s a 6-in-1 though, right? Let’s dive into what that means by moving on to talk about the air fryer component. The appeal to air fryers is huge just in itself for the ability they have to heat food quickly, take day-old mozzarella sticks and make them taste like new and if you go for the Foodi Smart XL, you’ll be able to do all that while taking in up to 75% less fat.
The 4 quart crisper basket it comes with can make up to 2 pounds of your favorite food at once, so as a pro tip if you put fries in first before using the grill component for burgers, you can make a whole meal in 30 minutes while knowing it’s much healthier than fast food.
If a home cooked meal vibe is more what you’re going for, don’t worry: it can do that, too. With settings to roast, bake or broil in the 6 quart cooking pot that comes with it, you can whip up a pork loin or whole chicken dinner like a 5-star chef. The sides are easy, too: mac and cheese, cornbread, roasted potatoes and veggies are all options on the table here so it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll be able to make something for everyone’s taste.
Dehydrate Fruits, Meats and Vegetables
The last and probably most interesting function that comes with the Foodi Smart XL: the dehydrating feature. Remember how everyone was suddenly on that kick to dehydrate and make jerky out of pretty much anything? If you’re getting nostalgia for the trend (or if you’ve still been meaning to jump on board and try your hand at dried mango), you’re in luck.
Loaded with Accessories
As for accessories, on top of the previously mentioned air fryer basket & cooking pot, the Foodi Smart XL also comes with a grill grate, dishwasher-safe grease catcher, cleaning brush & complimentary recipe book. Reviewers will tell you it might take a week or two to get used to being able to do so much in one space & finding the right settings to fit your idea of “perfectly” cooked for different things, but that once you do there’s no going back.
If you’re looking for what is essentially an oven that takes up less space and can cook healthier meals in over half the time, the Ninja Foodi 8-in-1 makes a great case. A lifesaver on holidays and the reason many are able to keep up with making a home-cooked meal after a long day, the average reported cook time for most meals is 25 minutes (and even less if you’re heating up frozen appetizers to pop on a tray for a party).
As for everyday use, its 8 settings include air fry, air roast, air broil, baking, bagel, toast, dehydrate, and keep warm. Having 8 features in one might sound a little intimidating to the novice cook or for anyone who is a bit weary of changing from their traditional cooking methods, but the digital display and customizable settings are pretty easy to use and set to your own specific preference. Reviewers say they’ve been thrilled to whip up a cake, homemade 13” pizza, chicken wings, meatballs, jerky, or fresh baked cookies (that were done in just 7 minutes!). Thanks to a quick 60 second preheat, the SP101 also reduces cook time to 60% faster than a traditional oven – so if you use an electric stove, there’s a good chance you’ll save some money on that electricity bill by investing in one of these. If you ever get nervous that your food will be overheating a little too quickly, all it takes is a look through the glass door where an interior light makes it easy to see how everything is coming along.
Other factors that make this Foodi model a popular choice are that it’s easy to clean and is modifiable to take up less space on the counter. Part of its accessory pack includes a crumb tray & back panel that are both easy to remove and wipe down thanks to a sleek stainless-steel material, and it has the unique ability to be flipped upright for compact storage that includes room for the cord.
For what it can do in fitting up to 9 slices of toast at once, it’s pretty impressive – just be mindful of these convenience factors when you realize a roast chicken will not fit because the 8-in-one was built for depth as opposed to height. It also worthy to note that everything you need is included: a wire rack, 13×13 non-stick dishwasher safe sheet pan, dishwasher safe air fry basket & removable crumb tray come with the price of under $200.
Users say they’d like to see more accessory options such as a muffin tray or more adjustable rack space, but for what it can do already most will agree it’s worth the investment as-is.
With 9 different settings, the Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker has become a big rival for other brands like InstaPot for its ability to do so much in so little time while being incredibly user-friendly. Its 9 different settings include pressure cook, air fry/air crisp, steam, slow cook, sear/sauté, bake/roast, broil, dehydrate, and there’s even one to make your own yogurt. Positioned clearly on the front, a digital display shows your selections that can be modified for settings like temperature, function and time simply by turning the adjustable knob.
Taking food from frozen to crispy in 20 minutes, one of the big draws to this model is being able to chef up a variety of recipes 70% faster than in a traditional oven. Users have made pork loins, steam buns, sweet potato fries, peach cobbler, chicken and dumplings, apple sauce, or dehydrated banana chips..just to name a few. More good news: if your food is finished faster than you can wrangle the family together and set the table, there’s a convenient “keep warm” button that will keep your delicious dish from getting cold.
Pros and Cons
While even the smallest 5 quart option can hold up to a seven pound chicken, it takes up nearly 20 inches of counter space when fully open and weighs a whopping 26 pounds. That might not sound like much for some, but if the user is recovering from surgery, elderly or pregnant, lifting that much weight would be a big no-no.
This means that once it comes out of the box, it’s likely to need a permanent space on the countertop. That’s not completely a bad thing though if you have the space for it, as this model gives you the ability to choose a size ranging from 5 to 8 quarts and has color options so you can pick one that best suits your space. However, not being able to toast or blend, this also means it will have to live amongst several other appliances despite its ability to do so many other things at once.
When it comes to cleaning, the stainless steel finish is easy to wipe down in less than 3 minutes while the ceramic coated non-stick pot itself is hand wash only. All this being said, there are multiple factors to consider when going all-in for the Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 for yourself or as a thoughtful gift for someone you love.