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Instant Vortex Plus XL Review

A duo basket air fryer for simultaneous cooking, with high temperature accuracy and user friendly controls
Instant Vortex Plus XL
Credit: Instant Appliances
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $230 List | $229.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Viewing window, interior lights, two separate baskets, user friendly, straightforward cleaning, preheat function
Cons:  Unevenly cooks potatoes, does not provide proper potato crisp, large footprint
Manufacturer:   Instant Appliances
By Hayley Thomas ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 28, 2022
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 18
  • Cooking Performance - 35% 7.0
  • User Friendliness - 25% 8.6
  • Ease of Cleaning - 20% 7.5
  • Temperature Accuracy - 20% 9.0

Our Verdict

Complete with viewing windows, interior lights, and an angled interface, the Instant Vortex Plus XL is a very user-friendly air fryer. The dial and digital buttons are intuitive, and with two separate baskets for simultaneous cooking, the possibilities are endless. Each one operates independently but can be synched up if need be. The Vortex Plus XL has air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, and dehydrate functions, making this a versatile option. The cooking performance is just okay for all things potato, but this fryer produces some of the most evenly cooked, tender, and juicy chicken we've had the pleasure of taste testing. If you're looking for a large-scale air fryer at a reasonable price, the Vortex Plus XL is a great option.

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Pros Viewing window, interior lights, two separate baskets, user friendly, straightforward cleaning, preheat functionFantastic cooking performance, easy to clean, easy to use, great temperature accuracy, multiple cooking functionsEven cooking, accurate temperature, good crunch, non-stick, sleek, controls are straightforwardGreat cooking performance, user friendly, excellent temperature accuracyRelatively easy to use and clean, good air cooking performance, toaster oven functionality, flips up for easy storage
Cons Unevenly cooks potatoes, does not provide proper potato crisp, large footprintCostTouchscreen occasionally doesn't register touch, one level in basket, limited one-hour timerNot the easiest to clean, costExpensive
Bottom Line A duo basket air fryer for simultaneous cooking, with high temperature accuracy and user friendly controlsExceptional frying performance and an easy to clean design makes this one of the best options on the marketEvenly cooks food, offers straightforward controls, and provides easy cleaning - all at a great priceThis high performing, four quart model offers some of the most consistent qualityAn ideal model for those wanting to add both a toaster oven and air fryer to their kitchen collection
Rating Categories Instant Vortex Plus XL Instant Vortex Plus Beautiful by Drew B... Ninja Air Fryer Ninja Foodi Digital...
Cooking Performance (35%)
7.0
8.7
8.3
7.7
8.2
User Friendliness (25%)
8.6
8.4
8.4
8.8
8.4
Ease of Cleaning (20%)
7.5
9.0
9.5
7.0
6.5
Temperature Accuracy (20%)
9.0
10.0
9.0
10.0
7.0
Specs Instant Vortex Plus XL Instant Vortex Plus Beautiful by Drew B... Ninja Air Fryer Ninja Foodi Digital...
Outside Dimensions 15.9" x 12.5" x 15.1" 11.5" x 13.3" x 12.8" 6.1" x 10.4" x 7.4" 13.6" x 11" x 13.3" 19.7" x 7.6" x 15"
Capacity 8 qt 6 qt 6 qt 4 qt 4 qt
Accessories Two cooking trays None None Multi-layer rack for dehydrating Wire rack, air fry basket, sheet pan
Power Consumption 1700 watt 1700 watt 1700 watt 1550 watt 1800 watt

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Instant Vortex Plus XL is an extra-large air fryer with eight quarts of frying space, which is split between two baskets. The two baskets operate separately from one another. The dial and button interface makes controlling this 1700-watt appliance a breeze.

Performance Comparison


Instant Vortex Plus XL air fryer - the instant vortex plus xl offers two baskets for simultaneous frying.
The Instant Vortex Plus XL offers two baskets for simultaneous frying.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Cooking Performance


Our taste judges pay special attention to the texture, evenness, and cook times of various food items during our cooking test. The Vortex Plus XL performs below average when it comes to potatoes products but produces the perfect chicken breast.


The texture is very important when it comes to fried food. From french fries to chicken breasts, we expect a crispy exterior and a soft interior. The chicken breast texture leaves very little room for improvement. It is tender and moist, with a slight crisp to the outer layer. Sweet potato fries and onion rings, on the other hand, leave much to be desired. They both come out a little crunchier than crispy, and that crunch comes mostly from the brown bits that cooked more efficiently than the rest. During our testing, tater tots tend to be the easiest item to air fry, but the Vortex Plus XL just doesn't crisp up the outside enough. The donut, which is the last of our five food items tested with each air fryer, is crispy to perfection on the outside, but the innards are too doughy, which leads us to the next leg of the cooking test, evenness.

Instant Vortex Plus XL air fryer - the onion rings are somewhat crunchy but not to our liking.
The onion rings are somewhat crunchy but not to our liking.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Chicken breasts come in various sizes and thicknesses, and poultry must be cooked evenly. The Vortex Plus XL does a great job at this. Each breast is cooked thoroughly without sacrificing moisture or overly crisping the thinner edges. Donuts and onion rings have a nice crisp to the outside but remain undercooked on the inside; the donuts also require extra time in the fryer.

We test the cook time according to each air fryer's manual instructions. Onion rings and chicken breasts cook within the suggested time. Donuts take a few extra minutes but remain doughy regardless, and our potato products took 15 to 20 minutes but never fully crisp up. Overall, the Vortex Plus XL does not cook potatoes very evenly or efficiently, but it does wonders with a piece of chicken, so if meat is your priority and you don't mind a slightly soft french fry, it's a great option.

Instant Vortex Plus XL air fryer - generally speaking, the vortex plus xl does not cook potatoes very...
Generally speaking, the Vortex Plus XL does not cook potatoes very well.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

User Friendliness


Our user friendliness metric is made up of three factors: the interface, basket, or in this case, baskets, and versatility. The Vortex Plus XL rocks a dial and digital duo interface, two easy-to-use baskets, and a decent temperature range.


The sleek interface is angled slightly down towards the user, which mitigates glare, making it easier to read. Unfortunately, the interface lighting isn't as bright as some of the other options in our test suite, which can make it difficult to reach in certain lighting situations. The combination of the dial and digital button interface makes controlling the temperature and time of each basket straightforward. Each basket operates separately, but you can schedule both baskets to end simultaneously, which is a nice feature. The preheat, add food and shake segments offer easy-to-understand, real-time instructions.

Instant Vortex Plus XL air fryer - the dial/button combination interface is very easy to understand.
The dial/button combination interface is very easy to understand.
Credit: Austin Palmer

The basket accessibility is excellent. Both slide in and out with ease, only requiring one hand to remove them. The baskets have large windows, and the lights inside make it very easy to see how far along in the cooking process you are. The trays are a little bit flimsy, but they don't take away from the overall experience. We found that the left drawer was a bit stickier than the right during our testing, which could be due to manufacturing tolerances.

Instant Vortex Plus XL air fryer - being able to remove the baskets one-handed is an often overlooked...
Being able to remove the baskets one-handed is an often overlooked pro.
Credit: Austin Palmer

The temperature ranges from 180°F to 400°F and can be adjusted in 5° increments. It offers six functions: air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, and dehydrate. The timer length caps out at one hour for all the cooking options but goes up to 72 hours for dehydrating. These options make the Vortex Plus XL a pretty versatile machine.

Instant Vortex Plus XL air fryer - toggling between each function is as simple as the press of a button.
Toggling between each function is as simple as the press of a button.
Credit: Austin Palmer

Ease of Cleaning


Air fryers are a convenient alternative to shallow or deep frying, but big appliances like this can be difficult to clean, counteracting that convenience.


The Vortex Plus XL is very easy to wipe down as there are no large gaps that hold onto stubborn crumbs. There are, however, two baskets, which double your clean-up.

Instant Vortex Plus XL air fryer - the trays come out easily, which makes wiping down a simple task.
The trays come out easily, which makes wiping down a simple task.
Credit: Austin Palmer

The tray has slightly less elevated grooves for oil to collect. These grooves are soft, so they don't shred up your sponge, and they are not too deep or close together, so you don't need to wrestle to get between them. The baskets are also very easy to clean, even though there are two of them. The only bit that is difficult is the groove around the window, which collects crispy bits. A toothpick or bristled brush does the trick, but cleaning these bits out is a little more involved than a simple swipe of a sponge.

Fortunately, the Vortex Plus XL is easy to clean, and the two smaller baskets are much easier to throw on a drying rack than one larger basket.

Instant Vortex Plus XL air fryer - the small baskets fit easily inside most sinks.
The small baskets fit easily inside most sinks.
Credit: Austin Palmer

Temperature Accuracy


The Vortex Plus XL is an accurate air fryer, varying within 5 to 10 degrees of the desired temperature.


Having two baskets set at drastically different temperatures placed side-by-side could pose some accuracy issues. We tested this out by setting one basket to 400°F and the other to 200°F. We are pleased to report that neither one affected the other. We also set both baskets to the same temperature and checked for any discrepancies, and again, the Vortex Plus XL proves accurate.

Instant Vortex Plus XL air fryer - each basket operates separately and does not affect the other's...
Each basket operates separately and does not affect the other's temperature.
Credit: Austin Palmer

Value


This air fryer is a great purchase if your main objective is chicken or other meats. Its price is on the higher end of average, and so is its performance, making its bang for buck pretty decent. That being said, if your goal is to fry up the tastiest tots or french fries, the Vortex Plus XL is not the right option for you.

Conclusion


This air fryer is a reliable machine for specific food items. If you are looking for something capable of cooking two different items simultaneously, with a relatively high volume capacity, it's a great choice. It cooks chicken particularly well, so if you're a poultry lover, look no further than the Instant Vortex Plus XL.

Instant Vortex Plus XL air fryer - with the vortex plus xl, the dual baskets make cooking multiple...
With the Vortex Plus XL, the dual baskets make cooking multiple items a breeze.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Hayley Thomas
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