Instant Vortex Mini 2-quart air fryer review: quick and colorful frying

The smallest Instant Vortex model still offers some great cooking performance for those cooking for one

Instant Vortex Mini 2-quart air fryer
(Image credit: Instant)
T3 Verdict

The Instant Vortex Mini preheats and cooks food faster than other models and is the perfect size for small households and travel.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Easy to store

  • +

    Touchscreen display

  • +

    Dishwasher safe basket and tray

  • +

    Four color options

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Smaller cooking capacity than other options

  • -

    No dehydrating option

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The Instant Vortex Mini 2-quart air fryer is the smallest model in the line of air fryers from the Instant Brand. This small but mighty appliance has a compact footprint and a two-quart cooking capacity to prepare single-serving batches of extra-crispy dishes with minimal oil and effort. 

In addition to air frying, this little appliance bakes, reheats and roasts, making it a great multi-use appliance for small kitchens, RVs and campers. If you’re looking for a first-time or small-batch air fryer that performs its job reliably every time, the Instant Vortex Mini is a great option. 

Instant Vortex Mini 2-quart air fryer review: Price and Availability

Released in 2021, the Instant Vortex Mini 4-in-1 (opens in new tab) is priced $49 in the US. In the UK, it costs £60 (opens in new tab) and in Australia, AU$99 (opens in new tab).

Instant Vortex Mini air fryer review

(Image credit: Lizzy Briskin)

Instant Vortex Mini 2-quart air fryer review: Design 

This two-quart air fryer is arguably the most attractive model in the Instant Vortex line. The appliance comes in four colors, including bright red and vibrant turquoise to add a pop of brightness to your kitchen design. Of course, if you’re looking for a more neutral option, the appliance also comes in white and black. 

The air fryer is controlled with a sleek digital touch screen that’s easy to learn and straightforward to use. A center dial controls time and temperature and the digital interface clearly lets you know when to add the food, flip it, and remove it. 

One of the nice things about air frying compared to stovetop cooking is that you can set it up and walk away. So in case you’re not in the kitchen the whole time, the unit beeps audibly at each stage of cooking. You can easily keep track of your recipe’s progress, and open the basket during cooking to check on your food or flip it without pressing any buttons. 

Instant Vortex Mini 2-quart air fryer

(Image credit: Instant)

Instant Vortex Mini 2-quart air fryer review: Functionality

The Vortex Mini has four core cooking functions. It also has pre-set buttons that users can customize to prepare their favorite dishes at the touch of a button. 

The four Vortex functions are:

Air frying, which constantly circulates hot air around the food in the air fryer basket for even crisping with minimal cooking oil.  

Baking, which gently radiates heat around the food from all sides to bake fluffy treats like cupcakes and muffins.

Roasting, which combines the air circulating of air frying with radiant heat of baking to cook juicy meat and fish. 

Reheat, which slowly warms leftovers to retain moisture and flavor. 

Instant Vortex Mini 2-quart air fryer

(Image credit: Instant)

Instant Vortex Mini 2-quart air fryer review: Performance

To test the miniature air fryer’s performance, I turned to TikTok, where the trend of crisping up pasta into chips has been taking over. I started by making a pot of bowtie pasta on the stove. After draining the pasta and tossing it in a thin coating of olive oil, I preheated the air fryer to 400°F. 

The 2-quart basket took just a few minutes to reach the target temperature, at which point the air fryer let me know it was time to add my food with a beep and instructions. I spread a layer of pasta out on the air fryer tray and closed the drawer. 

I set the timer for eight minutes, according to the recipe I selected. After four minutes, the air fryer beeped and asked me to flip the food. I opened the basket and found that the pasta chips were already quite dark in some places. They were also fairly crispy already, so I shook the basket and returned it to the fryer for another minute or so. I then decided to cut the cooking time short and removed the basket from the air fryer to avoid burning my bowties. 

While the pasta wasn’t uniformly cooked, the chips were overall crispy and golden in spots, especially on the edges. One basket was enough for me, but if I was serving multiple people, I would have to cook the pasta chips in several batches to avoid overfilling the basket.

Instant Vortex Mini 2-quart air fryer

(Image credit: Instant)

Instant Vortex Mini 2-quart air fryer review: Verdict

The Instant Vortex Mini is a great option for small households. It cooks food quickly and preheats faster than other air fryers from the Instant brand. While the appliance doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of other larger models, it’s straightforward to use and reliably air fries your favorite dishes. 

Instant Vortex Mini air fryer review

(Image credit: Lizzy Briskin)

Instant Vortex Mini 2-quart air fryer review: also consider

If the two-quart capacity is a bit too small for your needs, the Instant Vortex 4-in-1 air fryer has a larger six-quart cooking capacity for £100/$100/AU$270. 

Or, if you’re looking for more cooking options and functions, the newer Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 (opens in new tab) has the same core functions as the 4-in-1, plus dehydrating and broiling.

Lizzy Briskin is a food and health writer and editor, chef, runner, recipe developer, and photographer. She regularly contributes to Runner’s World, Popular Mechanics, Insider, and the Chicago Tribune, among other outlets. A Boston native, she now lives in New York, where she can be found exploring, tasting and enjoying all that the city has to offer, that is when she’s not chasing the sun in Los Angeles.