Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer | £219.00 | Tester: Molly Pickering
Double drawer grey Ninja 7.6L multi-functional air fryer
A Ninja air fryer may be on many people's wish lists, but is the hefty price tag justified for this kitchen appliance? Find out what we thought...
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Ninja has become one of the most popular kitchen appliance brands over the last few years. Its powerful and durable products have made their way into kitchens across the world – especially its air fryers!
With over eight different air fryers to choose from, Ninja has all bases covered with its multi-functional appliances.
In our quest to find the best air fryer, we put the brand’s most popular machine, the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer, to the test to see if its £219 price tag is worth the investment.
- Dimensions: 35 x 37.5 x 31.5 cm
- Capacity: 7.6L
- Functions: Air fry, max crisp, dehydrate, reheat, bake, and roast
- Temperature range: 40°C – 240°C
- Where to buy: Amazon
- 2 cooking zones can cook different foods at the same time
- Sync and match cooking functions
- Stylish design
- Responsive buttons
- High-temperature range helps for maximum crisp
- Plastic-free packaging
- Thorough instructions and cookbook included
- Automatically switches off once timer is complete
- Loud cooking fan
- Takes up lots of kitchen counter space
Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer. Credit: Vegan Food & Living
Ease of setting up
While I don’t usually report on the packaging of products, I loved the effort Ninja has made to remove unnecessary single-use plastic and opt for recyclable packaging instead. Bonus points there.
But back to the machine… It’s hard to ignore the size of the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer, it’s pretty ginormous! Although it does take up a lot of kitchen counter space, the sleek design does at least make this appliance one to be marveled at.
The instructions are lengthy and thorough, covering all bases to make setting up easy and simple. There is also a recipe booklet which features a few vegan air fryer recipes to get you started.
The air fryer has 6 cooking presets; air fryer, dehydrate, roast, reheat, bake, and max crisp. The different presets mean you can cook a variety of foods including roast potatoes, vegan brownies, dried banana chips, and more.
Max crisp is a unique feature that we’ve not seen in previous air fryers. This function does what it says on the tin – it cooks food fast and at a high temperature to create an ultra-crispy coating. Ninja recommends using this function to cook frozen foods in particular.
In addition, this appliance is fitted with Dualzone™ Technology which utilises the two cooking zones to increase versatility.
Choose to either sync or match the two cooking zones. Sync allows you to finish cooking different foods at the same time whilst using different times, temperatures, and functions.
The match function lets you cook a larger amount of the same foods across the cooking zones using the same time, temperature, and cooking function.
The buttons on the Ninja Dual are not touchscreen but rather actually buttons which in my opinion is a better, less temperamental, alternative. We often find that touchscreen buttons aren’t responsive and take a few attempts to select the right setting, especially if your hands are greasy from cooking.
After reading through the instructions, I was ready to go. It’s advised that the cooking drawers and crisper plates are washed in hot soapy water before use. Both the drawer and crisper plates are dishwasher safer, however Ninja recommends washing them by hand to extend the life of the non-stick.
During our air fryer testing, it’s become a standard practice for us to first turn the air fryer on for 10 minutes at a standard temperature with nothing in the drawers for the initial use, this gets rid of any subtle odours that may be released when first used.
One thing that I did notice is that the air fryer is rather loud when cooking, but I know that this is common for most air fryers.
The Ninja air fryer's Max Crisp function is perfect for cooking chips. Credit: Vegan Food & Living
As with all of our air frying testing, the first food we cook is homemade chips. I sliced up 2 potatoes – skin on, no wastage here – and let them soak in a bowl of water for 5 minutes to remove the excess starch. After 5 minutes, I drained and towel-dried the chips before lightly coating them in olive oil spray and adding them to the drawer.
Although these aren’t frozen chips, I was keen to try out the Max Crisp cooking function. This function sets the air fryer to 240°C for 15 minutes.
7 minutes in, I checked the chips to find that they had already turned golden on the outside. I was slightly worried that they would overcook and start to burn before the 15 minutes was up, so I switched the function to standard air frying and let them cook for a further 5 minutes at 200°C.
After 5 minutes, the chips were evenly cooked and had a crispy coating. I know that some people may consider them overcooked, but I prefer my chips to be well done for guaranteed crunch.
I was seriously impressed by how quickly the Ninja cooked these chips – in under 15 minutes I had perfectly cooked crispy chips that required little oil. Additionally, I didn’t preheat the air fryer but it still cooked the chips faster than a preheated electric oven would in the same amount of time, proving that air fryers really can save energy and time.
The Ninja air fryer cooked This Isn't Bacon Rashers faster than pan frying. Credit: Vegan Food & Living
Next up, I cooked some vegan bacon – I used This Isn’t Bacon rashers. I lightly sprayed the crisp tray to prevent the rashers from sticking before cooking them for 10 minutes at 200°C using the air fry function.
After only a couple of minutes, I could hear the bacon sizzling. I checked it after 5 minutes and the rashers were more or less ready to go. I put them back in for a couple more minutes as I like my vegan bacon crunchy.
Again, the speed of the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer blew me away. The bacon was evenly cooked with a crispy exterior but still retained some chew. These were great in a bacon sandwich for breakfast.
Fluffy flatbreads were easy to make in the Ninja air fryer. Credit: Vegan Food & Living
Finally, I wanted to test the baking function on the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone. After thinking about what baked goods I could fit into the drawer, I decided to make a batch of flatbreads.
I made a super simple dough of flour and yoghurt and rolled and shaped the flatbreads. I sprayed the drawer before adding the flatbread and baked it at 190°C for 10 minutes.
As flatbreads are a thinner dough, I wasn’t expecting them to take the full 10 minutes. Usually, when cooking them in a pan, they are ready within 4-5 minutes.
The flatbreads did, however, take the full 10 minutes. I think this is because I didn’t preheat the air fryer as I would if cooking them in a pan. Despite the slightly longer cooking time, the flatbreads we perfectly cooked with a fluffy inside.
Overall verdict of the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer
I was sceptical if the £219 asking price for this machine was justified, but after giving it a test drive I admit that I am now a believer. What’s not to love about the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer? This multi-functional machine has quickly become my favourite air fryer.
It’s clear that every detail has been considered, from the cooking methods right down to the sustainable packaging.
Even though it’s rather large, its polished design makes it a desirable focal point on your kitchen worktop.
I’m still blown away by how quickly it cooks food, particularly chips. It takes some time to understand the capabilities of each of the functions and how to use them effectively, but once you’ve got to grips with the preset functions you’re good to go.
Obviously, this machine is at the higher end of many people’s budgets, but if you want an air fryer that is all-singing and all-dancing, then I can’t recommend this one enough.
How we test air fryers
We thoroughly test each air fryer in order to write an informed, useful review that you can trust.
To do this, we follow the same process for every air fryer that we review.
First we unpack the box, look at what you get with the air fryer, and then follow the instructions that come with each specific air fryer to set it up.
The important thing for any air fryer is how it cooks food though, so we test each one at least three times. Firstly to cook homemade chips, then to cook a mock meat, and thirdly to either cook a baked item or to test the frying ability, depending on the capabilities.
We judge the air fryers on how well they cook the food, how crisp the finish is, how long food takes to cook, how easy the machine is to use, how easy is it to clean, and how many extra capabilities/functions it has.
Each air fryer is then given a score out of 5, and rated on what purpose it is best suited to.
Still on the hunt for your new air fryer? Read our buyers guide on the best air fryers for 2023