My beloved Instant Pot was recently the victim of a coup d’é·tat. Rallying a resistance won’t help against my kitchen’s new behemoth king. The Ninja Foodi’s size, versatility, and prowess ensure that its reign shall be long and fruitful (and meatful, and vegetableful).
Upon opening the box flaps, the first thing I noticed was that the Ninja Foodi is freakin’ huge… big enough that it was clearly not going to fit in any of our cabinets, even if I removed the Instant Pot and slow cooker. My wife wasn’t going to let it live permanently on our counters either. So the Ninja Foodi started its life with my family at an early disadvantage to our other smaller appliances. The Foodi, however, is far more versatile than our Instant Pot, adding broiling, crisping (air frying), dehydration, and “tender-crisping” (pressure cooking followed by air frying) to the Instant Pot’s steaming, pressure cooking, slow-cooking, searing, sautéing, and souping multi-cooker standards.
My previous experience with an Instant Pot served as a solid multi-cooker operations primer, yet the front panel of the Foodi is full of options and controls that are more intuitively labeled in comparison to other cookers. I’d have had no problems figuring it out without prior experience. All of the Foodi’s operations are quick to set into motion for however long you or your recipe dictates. Crisper operations even pause immediately when you open the lid, allowing you to easily stir or add ingredients on the fly. I have added three different fried foods, all with different cooking times, to the Foodi at specific intervals to produce a melange of golden brown deliciousness that would make a fry cook weep.
Having always been enamored with the ability to cook an entire chicken quickly in my Instant Pot, yet constantly disappointed in the lack of browning and flavor on the resulting cook, one of the first things I did (after air frying a bunch of stuff) was to toss a seasoned chicken into the Ninja Foodi to test its tendercrisp feature. It did not disappoint. Cooking took a little longer than in the Instant Pot because of the finishing step to crisp it, but the result was worth the wait. It was like a bird fresh off the grocery store rotisserie, but juicier, more tender, and seasoned exactly the way I prefer.
We then moved on to cooking bacon in it. We’ve used the fabled “oven bacon method” for years, and were convinced there was no better way. The Foodi has simply proven us wrong. If you get nothing else from this review, I want to you understand that the Foodi may have been secretly engineered to cook bacon quickly, easily, and to your liking.
We’ve had the Foodie for over 12 weeks, and we’ve used it on more days than we haven’t. Between my wife and I, we’ve made more than half the recipes that were included with the Foodi’s modest cookbook, tender-crisped half a dozen whole chickens, roasted tons of vegetables, and air fried countless packs of bacon, several bags of frozen fries, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, and mozzerella sticks. Having been developed with the guidance of food-nerd Justin Warner and other celebrity chefs, the Ninja Foodi seems to have a role to play in just about every dinner we prepare these days.
Chefs like Justin regularly use and even write cook books for the Foodi, but you rarely see these celebrity cooks clean a spoon, let alone an appliance. I also hate cleaning cooking apparatus, and churning out all the meals and bacon I have with the Foodi wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t dirt simple to clean.
The removable cooking parts consist of a large non-stick enameled pot, a roasting / broiling rack, and a non-stick steaming / frying basket. As much as I love the stainless steel inner-pot of my Instant Pot, it’s regularly a pain to clean whenever anything settles and cooks hard to the bottom of the pan. Cooking the same hearty chili that left long-term marks on my stainless steel pot in the enameled pot of the Foodi cleaned up without hard effort.
I really could go on and on about this beast of a cooking machine and the gamut of healthy to not-so-healthy cuisine we’ve made in it. The Ninja Foodi isn’t just easier to use than alternatives like my Instant Pot, slow cooker, or convection oven, it really does produce better food with more control and consistency. For $199, I can’t think of a better appliance to own and make room for in your kitchen, pantry, or camper. Our Ninja Foodi (we named him Justin) has earned a permanent place of accessibility in our kitchen. When not in use, Ninja King Justin rests on top of our refrigerator, which is probably the best kitchen throne we could give it.