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Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL product review


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Ninja in Use


Air fryers and electric pressure cookers have topped home cooks’ wish lists for the past few years, and they’ve inspired a library’s worth of recipe books. It’s not surprising that Ninja decided to combine both appliances into one countertop unit: the Foodi. 

Since its introduction in 2018, Ninja has updated the Foodi with the more spacious Deluxe XL, which has all of the same functions as the original along with the ability to double as a food dehydrator. I had the opportunity to test out the new model and was impressed with most of its functions. 

The Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL comes with a removable cooking pot, a crisping basket with a detachable base, and a rack with an optional second layer. It has nine functions that you can select from by using the dial in the center of the unit: pressure cook, air fry/crisp, sear/sauté, bake, broil, steam, slow cook, dehydrate, and yogurt.

The Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL is a lot like the wildly-successful original Foodi, only it holds more ingredients: five quarts of food when air frying and eight quarts when pressure cooking, as opposed to its predecessor’s four quarts when air frying and five quarts when pressure cooking.

As an air fryer, the unit is 16 inches wide by 15 inches deep by 15 inches high, and with the pressure cooker lid in place, the appliance is 20 inches tall, which is slightly too high to fit under standard cabinets.

The top temperature setting of the Deluxe XL is 400 degrees Fahrenheit for baking, air frying, and similar functions. The lowest temperature is just 80 degrees when dehydrating food, and it holds that temp for up to 12 hours.

To set up the Deluxe XL, all I had to do was unpackage everything and plug in the device. I hand-washed the pot and crisping basket before my first use and took a look at the quick-start directions, but for the most part, the unit was ready to go right out of the box. Within five minutes, I had the Deluxe XL toasting bread. 

As I mentioned earlier, the appliance has two lids. The “air crisping” lid, which you use when air frying, is attached by a hinge. When pressure cooking, you simply leave the air crisping lid open and lock the pressure-cooking lid in place.

For my first Foodi Deluxe XL dish, I tried making the herb-crusted chicken featured in the recipe book that came with the device. I appreciate that the unit is large enough to hold a whole roaster chicken, but while the meal was delicious, it came out slightly overcooked. Also, the skin wasn’t as crispy as I hoped it would be. I’d recommend adding more air fryer time and less pressure cooking.

I also made the recipe book’s panko-crusted cod with quinoa and asparagus. I liked that the meal was healthy and featured a main course and two sides in one pot. Cooking time was about ten minutes longer than the directions suggested, and the cod was unlike any breaded fish I’ve had before — not as crispy — but it was still absolutely delicious.

The Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL does a great job making dishes that require air frying and pressure cooking, but does it do as well when you only want to use one of these functions? To test the air frying capabilities, I turned to French fries. I made sweet potato and Yukon gold hand-cut and spiral fries from scratch. It took between 30 and 35 minutes for the fries to reach the crispiness I wanted, which isn’t bad.

I also cooked two pounds of chicken breasts in the crisper. They took about 23 minutes to get to a safe internal temperature, and the results were juicy and flavorful. 

Out of all the dishes I made with the pressure cooker, a braised chuck roast stood out as particularly great. First, I seared the roast in the pot and poured two cups of red wine into the pot, and added some vegetables. Then I set the pressure cooker for an hour. Once the time was up, I released the pressure and enjoyed a tender roast.

All of the elements are dishwasher safe, except for the main unit and lid where all of the electronic components are located. These can be wiped down with a moist cloth. For the most part, I washed the pot and basket by hand, but on days when I wasn’t feeling motivated enough for a careful cleaning session, these pieces made it through the wash cycle unscathed.

The slow cooker function is essentially useless. The heat is much lower than your typical slow cooker on its low setting. I ruined one meal because I didn’t notice that the slow cooker wasn’t getting hot enough until a few hours had gone by. I gave it another try a few weeks later, and the appliance continued to underheat whether it was on low or high. Don’t count on the Ninja Foodi for slow cooking.

The air fryer doesn’t heat as evenly as I would have liked. I test how evenly air fryers heat by placing bread in the basket and observing the coloration of the toast. With the Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL, the center of the toast was darker than the periphery. This is a good reason to shake up the basket’s contents at least once during cooking.

Overall, I like the Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL. I am kind of bummed that the slow cooker function doesn’t work, but it does a good job with the two functions that are most important to me: air frying and pressure cooking.

Should you buy it?

Spending $200+ on a kitchen appliance is a lot, especially since the combined cost of a decent air fryer and a good pressure cooker will set you back less than that. However, if space in your kitchen is at a premium and you want to try out these new appliances, then the Foodi Deluxe XL may be your best bet. This is especially true if you want a unit that can double as a food dehydrator since most air fryers are not able to maintain a low enough temperature to fill that role.

The Foodi Deluxe XL is also ideal for tiny homes or RVs. Again, this is an instance where kitchen space is limited so and you want gadgets that can perform several tasks.

If you’re only cooking for one or two, then consider saving about $80 and going with the smaller 5-quart Foodi. You sacrifice dehydration capabilities, but all of the other functions are available. If you’re cooking for a family, the Deluxe XL is a must.

What are your alternatives?

Since the release of the Foodi, Instant Pot and Crock-Pot have come out with similar appliances at lower price points, although we haven’t tested either yet. You should also check out our guides to the best air fryers and best electric pressure cookers to learn more about those units.

Pros: 9 different functions including air frying and pressure cooking, easy to clean, large enough to cook a main and sides in one pot, one-year warranty

Cons: Pricey, slow cooking function didn’t work, the air fryer doesn’t heat evenly

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