Ninja Foodi Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
Though the Foodi offers a well-designed control panel, the accouterments required for its various extra functions often get in the way to a somewhat ridiculous degree. This design resulted in an average user-friendliness score compared to other models in our review of the best pressure cookers.
First the good: the Foodi offers one of the clearest and most concise control panels of all the cookers we've tested. Simple arrow buttons adjust temperature and time, and there are dedicated buttons for selecting each of its functions. Most models needlessly complicate the control panel by having multiple settings for chicken, beef, soup, etc., which can be helpful but for many recipes are superfluous. The Foodi cuts out all these settings, resulting in a much more streamlined control panel.
Now the bad: because of the Foodi's extra crisping/air frying/dehydrating functions, it requires two different lids, one for pressure cooking and another for the aforementioned functions. The crisping lid is borderline comically large and is permanently attached to the cooker for some reason. This means lefties are going to have to use their right hands while stirring or sauteing. It also means the unit is far too tall to fit under the cabinets of the vast majority of kitchens.
That extra lid also means that the unit weighs 25 pounds, which is more than 10 pounds heavier than most other models. Basically, this machine feels a bit obtrusive in the kitchen, whereas most other pressure cookers feel like fairly space-efficient appliances. Finally, there is no place to store the pressure cooking lid once you take it off. This design means you'll either have to awkwardly hold in while you serve food or place it on the counter and likely spill a healthy dose of condensation.
Like all of the pressure cookers we tested, the Foodi cooks pretty much all of the foods you would expect with aplomb.
In our testing, all manner of grains, soups, beans, and meats came out of the Foodi tasting quite delectable. The only relative shortcomings we could find in relation to any of the other models we tested was the meat it produces. The corned beef we made with the Foodi tasted very similar to the meat dishes we made in all of the other machines, but the Breville Fast Slow Pro produced just slightly more tenderness in its corned beef. However, this difference was minor and would likely only be noticed in a side-by-side comparison. The Foodi also only has low and high pressure settings. Some models offer a medium setting, but we haven't found that extra setting to result in any extra deliciousness.
Extra Cooking Features
We found the Foodi's dehydrating, air frying, and crisping features to be serviceable. Air frying sweet potato fries yielded similar results to high-end toaster ovens that offer air frying features similar to those found in our favorite air fryers. Dehydrating mangoes was as successful as it was in a dedicated dehydrator (note: the 6.5 quart with dehydrating model does not come with a dehydrating rack, it has to be purchased separately). The crisping function was also successful in getting the skin of chicken crispy.
If you think you'll be air frying or dehydrating a lot, these extra features might be worth the extra cost and hassle inherent in using the Foodi. We don't find the air crisping feature that compelling on its own, as we found you can get similar results by finishing off any pressure cooker meal with a bit of time in the oven.
Ease of Cleaning
The Foodi lost some points again due to its always-attached crisping lid.
Cleaning the pressure cooker itself is quite easy. The pot is non-stick, and Ninja certifies it as dishwasher safe. We didn't have any trouble scrubbing caked-on food off of it. The pressure cooking lid doesn't have too many nooks where food can hide, so it was likewise easy to scrub clean.
The big issue comes with the crisping lid. Since it's connected to the machine and has a grate that is hard to get into, it's a huge hassle to clean. Granted, it doesn't get nearly as messy as the pressure cooking lid, but it does collect some grime.
The Foodi offers pretty much all of the functions you would expect from a pressure cooker and adds air frying, crisping, and dehydrating functions. These functions earned it one of the highest scores in this metric.
A Full List of the Ninja Foodi's Cooking Features
Pressure Cook, Steam, Slow Cook, Saute, Air Crisp, Bake, Broil, Dehydrate
Should You Buy the Ninja Foodi?
The Foodi is double the cost of most pressure cookers. If you think you'll use the air frying or dehydrating features frequently, then it's likely worth the cost. The Ninja Foodi adds some novel features to the traditional pressure cooker suite, but those features make it a less convenient machine to use. Depending on your goals or needs, it could meet them, but better options are likely available in our lineup.
What Other Pressure Cooker Should You Consider?
The Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL costs a bit more but offers more to boot, making it worth the minimal cost bump. This XL machine provides similar features and cooking styles, but it is easier to use and clean and holds almost two more quarts. It still has the same crisping lid problems, but we think it is the better of the two. Alternatively, if you want the best pressure cooker, the Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 is our cooker of choice. This option is significantly less expensive but offers an easier-to-use system with similar cooking performance and features.
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