Hands-On with the Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker

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Editor choice Hands-On with the Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker
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Hands-On with the Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker
Hands-On with the Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker
  • A massive 9-in-1 cooking features make this perfect for almost any occasion
  • Large 6-litre capacity so you can cook for the whole family
  • Fantastically quick cooking times - e.g 6 chicken breasts in only 8 minutes!
  • Using TenderCrisp to produce the perfectly cooked meal never gets old

First impressions

Firstly, the Ninja Foodi is a beast, certainly much bigger than I thought it would be. I already own a 3 tier steamer and when placed side by side with the lid closed it reaches the second tier. With the lid open it easily surpassed the height of the third tier of my three tier steamer. It’s also wide, however, with two sturdy handles on the side it didn’t feel too unwiedly situating in my kitchen – but make no mistake. It’s designed to be put in a place and stay there.

The presentation in the box was adequate enough – everything was well wrapped and the box has enough to draw the eye, even on the inside flaps which are normally underutilised space for many manufacturers. One thing to note though, there is a lot to take in… like, seriously a lot. The model I have is the OP350UK which is a 6L capacity, 9 function behemoth and reading through the instructions booklet left me a little wide-eyed. For an appliance that is supposed to make your life easier there sure is a lot of things to remember. That being said, I’m confident it will become second nature – besides, if you’re anything like me you already have an idea what you’ll be cooking.

For me, it’s AirCrisped Chicken breast and steamed vegetables I’m looking forward to, with the odd slow-cooked beef one pot and pressure cooked prawn curry! Yummy!

Cooking with the Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Multi-Cooker

With so many different functions and features to choose from – it’s likely that you’ll be sticking to 4 on a day to day basis. These are:

  • Pressure Cooking
  • Steaming
  • Air Crisp
  • TenderCrisp

It’s important to note that the 9-in-1 model of the Ninja Foodi does come with a mind boggling further 5 cooking modes including the ability to sear and saute your food and even make your own yoghurt!

Ninja Foodi – Pressure Cooking Feature

To use the pressure cooking feature of the Ninja Foodi you’ll need to switch out the lid to the pressure cooking lid. It’s lockable with a vent near the back that serves as a natural release of steam or as a quick-release valve to immediately depressurise the container.

Switching the lid is easy enough and the Ninja Foodi pressure cooker feature is great for cooking chicken, pork, rice and potatoes which you’re going to mash later. This mode is fast… very fast – and generally speaking, will half your standard cooking times for most meals.

Pressure Cooking Times

  • A 1kg of fresh chicken will cook in 8 to 10 minutes
  • 2kg of fresh pork shoulder will cook in 50 to 60 minutes
  • 200g of long-grain white rice will cook in a speedy 2 minutes
  • 200g of brown rice will cook in 15 minutes
  • 1kg of peeled and cut potatoes will cook in only 6 minutes

Ninja Foodi – Steam Cooking Feature

As the proud owner of a three-tier steamer, I had high hopes for the Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 replacing and ultimately making redundant the need for my original steamer. However, caution is advised – if your desire is to prepare steamed food for one to two people or you’re not cooking an entire family meal all in the steamer then you’re on the right track… But if you are planning on creating meals for the whole family using steam as the primary cooking method for most of your food then I would think twice about getting the Ninja Foodi to be a replacement for a dedicated steamer.

Sure, it performs well enough and cooks the food correctly – however it loses out in terms of sheer capacity. In order to use the steam feature of the Ninja Foodi, you are required to use the included reversible rack which raises your food out of the water and allows for the steam to do its work. Due to this, you lose a little bit of capacity and dedicated steamers do not have that problem.

Steam Cooking Times

  • 400g of fresh broccoli steams in 3 to 5 minutes
  • 4 ears of fresh corn on the cob steam in 4 to 9 minutes
  • 250g of fresh asparagus steams in 2 to 4 minutes
  • 375g of fresh green beans steam in 3 to 6 minutes
  • 500g of fresh carrots steam in 7 to 12 minutes

Ninja Foodi – Air Crisp Cooking Feature

I’m guessing that most people eyeing up the Ninja Foodi multi-cooker are in fact going to use it in this mode more often than not, and honestly, it doesn’t disappoint. Frozen nuggets, fries and fish sticks are cooked to perfection in an amazingly quick time. To be fair, there is genuinely no need to continue using your standard cooker once you get the Ninja Foodi in your life, and smarter people than me will do the maths on this but due to the reduced cooking time, it’s surely got to be saving money on the utility bill, not to mention that instead of heating a full oven it’s just a 6litre bowl.

That being said, you do lose a little bit due to the inclusion of the Cook & Crisp Basket which you get with a detachable diffuser. This slight loss of cooking capacity is a small price to pay though as from a standing start with no pre-heating required your children’s chicken nuggets can be served from freezer to plate in 12 minutes! That’s quicker than the time it will take you to round them all up and ensure their hands are washed.

Not to mention the golden brown colour it manages to achieve – and where the Ninja Foodi is let down slightly by it’s steaming capabilities it more than makes up for it with this one feature alone.

Air Crisp Cooking Times

  • 4 frozen breaded fish fillets can be Air Crisped in 14 minutes
  • 1 pack of frozen chicken nuggets can be Air Crisped in 12 minutes
  • 500g of frozen fries can be Air Crisped in 19 minutes
  • 4 burger patties can be Air Crisped in 10 to 12 minutes
  • 500g of hand-cut fries can be Air Crisped in 24 to 27 minutes

Ninja Foodi – TenderCrisp Cooking Feature

The Ninja camp makes a big fuss over their registered trademark TenderCrisp and it’s easy to see why – the promise of the perfectly cooked roast bird that’s golden brown on the outside and juicy in the middle. Or, succulent steaks cooked to perfection in under 6 minutes from frozen, all with very minminal actual cooking skills required is an alluring one.

Thankfully it delivers, albeit with a bit of faff.

In truth, this cooking mode is not a stand-alone cooking mode which you can set and forget but rather the combination of two other modes previously discussed, namely, pressure cooking and air crisp.

To achieve the perfect roast you’re going to have to swap lids part way through the cooking process – usiong the super speedy pressure cooking feature to do the first part of the cooking before swapping to the Air Crisper to finish the job. This would ordinarily put me off using the feaure and I’m sure it may do others like me who don’t nessecarily enjoy the cooking as much as the eating. But, having tried it I’d say it’s worth the extra messing around. The self satisfaction you get of pulling out a perfectly browned chicken from the Ninja Foodi is hard to measure and in truth the swap to the different lid can be done in under 2 minutes when practised at using the all-in one multi-cooker.

TenderCrisp Cooking Times

  • 1 whole chicken (2.3kg) can be cooked using TenderCrisp in 30 to 40 minutes
  • 1 rack of fresh ribs can be cooked using TenderCrisp in 29 to 34 minutes
  • 500g of cauliflower can be cooked using TenderCrisp in 13 minutes
  • 500g of frozen chicken wings can be cooked using TenderCrisp in 20 to 25 minutes
  • 2 frozen steaks can be cooked using TenderCrisp in 6 to 9 minutes

9 Total Score
Lives up to expectations!

The Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Multi-Cooker's tagline is "Let's get cooking and crisping". It should really read "Perfect for people who like good food made using easy-mode" The features are easy to use once you get your head around them, however, it's results which really matter. And it delivers in abundance in this area. Expect it to immediately replace your oven.

Cooking Performance
9.5
Easy of Use
7.5
Cooking Times
10
PROS
  • A massive 9-in-1 cooking features make this perfect for almost any occasion
  • Large 6-litre capacity so you can cook for the whole family
  • Fantastically quick cooking times - e.g 6 chicken breasts in only 8 minutes!
  • Using TenderCrisp to produce the perfectly cooked meal never gets old
CONS
  • Calling TenderCrisp an additional feature is pushing the boat - it's really just using two cooking modes one after another
  • The steam capacity is smaller than most three-tier steamers
  • The smaller 6 mode model will be enough for most, the extra cooking modes are likely to go unused
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