Reviews You Can Rely On

Instant Vortex Plus XL Review

A duo basket air fryer for simultaneous cooking, with high temperature accuracy and user friendly controls
gearlab tested logo
Instant Vortex Plus XL Review (Being able to remove the baskets one-handed is an often overlooked pro.)
Being able to remove the baskets one-handed is an often overlooked pro.
Credit: Austin Palmer
Price:  $180 List
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Instant Appliances
By Lesley Robinson and Hayley Thomas  ⋅  Apr 22, 2024
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 11
  • Cooking Performance - 35% 7.0
  • User Friendliness - 25% 8.2
  • Ease of Cleaning - 20% 7.5
  • Temperature Accuracy - 20% 8.0

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. If you want to see how it ranks next to the rest of our test lineup, check out our comprehensive air fryer review.
REASONS TO BUY
Viewing window
Interior lights
Two separate baskets
User friendly
Straightforward cleaning
Cooks moist chicken
REASONS TO AVOID
Unevenly cooks potatoes
Does not provide proper potato crisp
Large footprint
Editor's Note: This review was updated on April 22, 2024 to include alternative suggestions on other products you might consider.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $180 List
$169.95 at Amazon
$140 List
$129.95 at Amazon
$120 List
$89.95 at Amazon
$70 List
$69.99 at Amazon
$130 List
$128.00 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
76
84
79
75
74
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Bottom Line An air fryer with intuitive controls, great temperature accuracy, and two baskets for simultaneous cookingA high-performing and multi-functional device with an outstanding designIts versatility allows it to cook a wide variety of foods well and it's quite easy to useGood cooking performance for a reasonable priceThis air fryer produces crispy tots and comes with a window for viewing convenience
Rating Categories Instant Vortex Plus XL Instant Vortex Plus Ninja Air Fryer Ultrean Air Fryer Instant Vortex Plus...
Cooking Performance (35%)
7.0
8.5
7.5
7.3
6.8
User Friendliness (25%)
8.2
8.0
7.6
6.2
8.2
Ease of Cleaning (20%)
7.5
9.0
7.0
7.5
7.5
Temperature Accuracy (20%)
8.0
8.2
9.7
9.4
7.4
Specs Instant Vortex Plus XL Instant Vortex Plus Ninja Air Fryer Ultrean Air Fryer Instant Vortex Plus...
Measured Dimensions (L x H x D) 15.9" x 12.5" x 15.1" 11.5" x 13.3" x 12.8" 13.6" x 11" x 13.3" 13.2" x 11.3" x 12.4" 11.3" x 13" x 14.3"
Capacity 8 qt 6 qt 4 qt 4.2 qt 6 qt
Accessories None None None None None
Power Consumption 1700 watt 1700 watt 1550 watt 1500 watt 1700 watt
Measured - Max OutsideTemperature Front of Air Fryer During Cooking 180 146 160 154 200

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


The Instant Vortex Plus XL comes with two baskets so that you can cook separate dishes at the same time.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

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.

The Instant Vortex Plus cooked chicken perfectly, with a juicy interior and crispy outside.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Sweet potato fries, 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 - 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 - 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 - 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.

We enjoyed using the Plus XL's touchscreen interface.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

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 - 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 - 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 - 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.

We were pleased with the outside surface temperature.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

During the external temperature test, the front of the XL Plus reached a temperature of 146, just barely overshooting our ideal 140 marker.

Our temperature readings of the left and right draws of the Instant Vortex Plus XL.

Should You Buy the Instant Vortex Plus XL?


This air fryer is a reliable machine for specific foods. 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.

What Other Air Fryers Should You Consider?


If you don't need double baskets, the Instant Vortex Plus is an excellent air fryer at a slightly lower price and size. Also, if you're psyched on the size of the Instant Vortex Plus but wish it had a see-through window, fret not, as the Instant Vortex Plus Clear Cook boasts all of the same features and allows you to watch your food as it's cooking.

Lesley Robinson and Hayley Thomas