Pros of the Ninja Foodi
1. Versatility and Multiple Cooking Functions
The main highlight of the Ninja Foodi is its extremely versatile functionality that combines multiple appliances into one convenient device. It acts as a pressure cooker, air fryer, slow cooker, roaster, dehydrator, yogurt maker and grill all in one. With its multicooker capabilities, the Ninja Foodi allows home cooks to sear, sauté, bake, roast, broil, dehydrate, pressure cook, slow cook, air fry, grill, yogurt, steam and more. This high level of versatility means you can use just one appliance to make a huge variety of everyday meals and sides quickly and conveniently. The different cooking methods match the speed and desired texture you need for any recipe.
2. Time and Energy Efficiency
In addition to its functionality, another major pro of the Ninja Foodi is that it offers fast cooking times while using less energy than other comparable separate appliances. The combination of pressure cooking and air frying allows food to cook up to 70% faster than traditional cooking methods. You can make a complete family meal with chicken, vegetables and rice in under 30 minutes. The Ninja Foodi’s unique TenderCrisp Technology also gives you that quick crispy texture without having to deep fry foods in oil. In terms of energy use, the Ninja Foodi uses less energy than your oven or stove-top to cook foods, meaning it can help you save on electricity costs in the long run.
3. TenderCrisp Technology
One of the most unique and useful features of the Ninja Foodi is the patented TenderCrisp Technology. This innovation gives you the ability to achieve crispy outsides and juicy, tender insides on foods like chicken, steak, and potatoes in one pot. The Ninja Foodi can pressure cook ingredients first to lock in juice, then provide the crispy air fried finish. This makes it easy to cook moist and flavorful whole meals in under 30 minutes with guilt-free crisping instead of deep frying. TenderCrisp opens up so many possibilities for healthy fried foods.
4. Large Cooking Capacity
The Ninja Foodi comes in different sizes with large inner pots and cooking capacities perfect for feeding big families or meal prepping batches of food. Depending on the specific model, capacity ranges from a 6.5 quart cooker to an extra large 8 quart size. The bigger pots allow you cook large batches of soups, stews, chili, oatmeal, rice dishes, roasts, whole chickens, or big batches of sides. You can easily cook a stew or soup for the whole week. The large cooking capacity makes this an ideal multicooker for big households that need to prep lots of food at once.
5. Easy to Clean
Despite its many functions, the Ninja Foodi cookers have an easy to clean design. The inner pots, crisping lid, and removable parts are dishwasher safe. The outer housing simply needs a quick wipe down. Some users do recommend soaking the inner pot before washing it if food is really stuck on after cooking is complete. But in general, many praise how simple clean up is given how many cooking jobs the Ninja Foodi can perform. The nonstick cooking pot also makes food easy to remove after cooking without sticking.
6. Safety Features
Using the many functions of a multicooker safely is a priority, and Ninja Foodi pressure cookers come built with safety features to avoid common multicooker dangers. When pressure cooking, the Ninja Foodi has multiple sensors to ensure the right pressure and temperature are maintained. This keeps excess pressure from building up. There are also lid lock safety mechanisms that prevent you from opening the cooker when dangerous pressure levels are reached inside. For slow cooking, the Ninja Foodi automatically switches to a food safe keep warm setting when your cook time is done.
7. User-Friendly Interface
Maximizing convenience is a signature of the Ninja brand, and the Foodi multicookers are designed with a simplified user-friendly interface. Its control panel is straight-forward with buttons for each cooking function, digital display, and clearly labeled programs and settings. The interface is very intuitive overall with user manuals, cookbooks, app guides and recipes to help you learn. First time users report getting the hang of using all the functions more quickly than expected.
8. High-Quality Build and Design
In terms of construction, the Ninja Foodi features a durable and well-built design. The outer housing is made from a good quality plastic with a modern aesthetic and available in different colors. The inner cooking pots use nonstick, food-grade materials ideal for pressure cooking and easy food release. Components like the crisping lid are heavy-duty. In consumer testing, the Ninja Foodi cookers show good reliability and durability even after regular use. Overall, the thoughtful design offers great functionality.
Cons of the Ninja Foodi
1. Size and Weight
Considering all its capabilities, one downside of the Ninja Foodi is its larger footprint. The 6.5 quart model, for example, measures 20.6 x 17.56 x 13.34 inches. So you need a good amount of countertop space for it. Additionally, these multicookers are on the heavy side weighing around 20 to 25 pounds. The combined size and heft means the Ninja Foodi is not ideal for moving around often or easily storing away in a cupboard after each use. Be sure you have a permanent spot for it.
While it can replace several appliances, the Ninja Foodi does come with a higher price point ranging from $200 to $300+ depending on the size. So this multicooker requires a more significant investment upfront. However, if you currently own and use several individual appliances that the Ninja Foodi can replace like an Instant Pot and air fryer, you may find this consolidated device saves you money in the long run. But the price is prohibitive for some buyers.
3. Learning Curve
Mastering the different cooking functions available with the Ninja Foodi has a learning curve, especially for those used to simpler multi-cookers. There are some techniques needed to get the crisping lid working right for different recipes. And it takes practice to learn the best pressures, temps, cook times for various dishes. Novices should expect an adjustment period before being able to whip up meals with ease. However, the intuitive interface and attached guides and recipes help shorten the learning process.
4. Limited Accessories Included
The Ninja Foodi comes equipped with core accessories like the cooking pot, crisping lid, basket, and rack for most cooking tasks. However some users noted wishing a few more handy accessories came standard with the device. For example, there is no steamer tray included which must be purchased separately. Some also wanted a bakeware insert or specialty cooking pots tailored for functions like yogurt making and baking. So you may end up spending extra on additional accessories.
5. Potential for Uneven Cooking
It can take practice to get evenly cooked results when using the Ninja Foodi’s pressure cooking and crisping functions. Some users found certain ingredients undercooked while others were overdone. For example, chicken breasts may crisp unevenly. Getting the right times, pressure, moisture levels, and batch sizes for different recipes helps avoid uneven cooking. But there is a learning curve to get every part of recipes cooked through just right in this multicooker.
6. No Built-In Smart Connectivity
Some competing multicookers offer wifi or Bluetooth connectivity that allows controlling or monitoring your cooker from your smartphone. However, the Ninja Foodi models currently do not have these “smart” capabilities built into the appliance itself. The interface is straightforward to use manually. But those wanting to remotely adjust or control the Foodi will be disappointed to find this functionality missing.
Conclusion: Is the Ninja Foodi Worth It?
The Ninja Foodi offers outstanding value and convenience for home cooks who want the ability to pressure cook, air fry, slow cook, and more using just one appliance. The combination of time savings, versatility, TenderCrisp technology, large capacity, and user-friendly design make this a worthwhile investment for households that frequently cook meals at home and need an all-in-one cooker. While it requires some counter space and has a learning curve, its ability to replace several appliances makes the Foodi a great solution for saving time and energy in the kitchen if you can afford the $200 to $300 price point.
Who Should Consider Buying the Ninja Foodi?
The Ninja Foodi multicooker is specially suited for and will appeal most to:
- Families or households that cook at home frequently and prepare at least 2-3 meals daily. The versatility and ability to cook quickly in bulk makes it efficient for regular daily home cooking.
- Cooks who want to be able to prep full meals with a main protein, vegetables, and sides in one pot. The Ninja Foodi is ideal for one-pot cooking.
- Home chefs interested in meal prepping big batches of food like oatmeal, soups, rice, roasts, or meal components that store well for easy weeknight reheating.
- People with busy schedules or limited time who want the convenience and speed of pressure cooking or air frying for everyday quick and healthy meals.
- Cooks interested in getting crispy texture without deep frying or the health drawbacks. TenderCrisp lets you air fry chicken, steaks, fries and more.
- Large families or households where cooking in large batches is needed. The 6.5 quart or larger capacities work well for bigger groups.
- Users wanting to replace several appliances like a pressure cooker, slow cooker, and air fryer with one multipurpose device. This can help save space and money.
Alternatives to the Ninja Foodi
For those looking for alternatives to the Ninja Foodi, here are some options that can match similar functionality or benefits:
- Instant Pot Duo: The Instant Pot is the market leader in electric pressure cookers. Its Duo line offers pressure cooking, slow cooking, sautéing, rice cooking, steaming, yogurt making and warming capabilities. It’s simpler to use than the Ninja Foodi and costs just $99 to $149 for the 6 and 8 quart sizes. However, it lacks the air frying ability.
- Breville Fast Slow Pro: This multicooker rivals the Ninja Foodi’s pressure and air frying combo. It costs more at $249-$399 but offers smart connectivity. It comes in 4, 6, and 8 quart pot sizes but doesn’t have quite as much versatility as the Foodi.
- Crockpot Express Crock Multicooker: For a budget friendly option under $150, the Crockpot Express offers pressure cooking, slow cooking, browning, sautéing, and steaming functions. It lacks air frying though. The draw is the trusted Crockpot brand name and 8 quart capacity.
- Philips Premium Airfryer XXL: If air frying is your priority, a model like the Philips Airfryer XXL focuses on doing this one function exceptionally well. It has a huge capacity and powerful air frying technology. The single function design also makes it simpler to use. But it’s not as multifunctional as the Ninja Foodi.
In summary, alternatives like the Instant Pot or Crockpot express offer simplicity and lower cost while the Breville Fast Slow Pro offers more luxury features like smart technology. Dedicated air fryers like the Philips model provide excellence for this specific cooking need. The Ninja Foodi delivers the best overall combination of versatility, performance and value.