We’ve tried many of the best air fryers already, as our healthy physiques will testify, but the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer offers a bit of a variation on the ever-popular air-frying theme. It sits on your worktop and comes with programmable functionality, but the twist is there are not one but two cooking compartments. You probably worked that out already from the fact it's called Dual Zone Air Fryer, but not everyone is as quick on the uptake as you. Those dual chambers turn out to be mighty handy if you want to do a little more than produce crisp chips or French fries, which air fryers are particularly good at.
The secret ingredient here is the twin zone cooking compartments, which enable you to cook two different things simultaneously. Cleverly, the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer does all of the thinking, via its programmable interface, and you therefore get a complete meal ready for serving up all at the same time.
Timing is everything with cooking, especially if it’s for a few people, so the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer removes much of the hassle factor. As with any air fryer or similar appliance, you’ll want to spend some time familiarising yourself with the controls, but once mastered this is a fab bit of kit that’s quick, efficient and produces delicious food. It’ll even help you eat more healthily if you’re so inclined.
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Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer: what is it?
Pulling it out of the box for the first time the initial surprise with the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer is its overall size. While we’re used to bulky air fryers, such as the rotund but fantastic Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 this one does at least have a rectangular design that sits on a worktop more sensibly. It’s bigger for a reason though because as its name suggests, this air fryer has two separate cooking compartments, with a pair of baskets that slide out from the front.
The Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer is a good deal more than just an air fryer though, as it is effectively a six-in-one device that lets you max crisp, roast, reheat, dehydrate and bake too, on top of its air frying capability. The other bonus with this machine is that it lets you produce more complex dishes by making use of the dual cooking controls. It can be programmed to cook a meal in both compartments bringing the two together for simultaneous serving when you need it. If you need to delay dinner then simply keep everything warm in the appliance until you need it.
Considering the bulky overall design of the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer the twin cooking compartments are fairly small. Nevertheless, there’s enough space for pretty much anything, just as long as you chop or slice up any larger meat or veg. Handles on the front of each compartment mean you can get a firm and safe grip of each one as you take it out prior to cooking, or mid-way through to keep tabs on progress. The latter option is essential as the food is hidden from view, plus it’s good practice to move your ingredients around for more even cooking.
Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer: is it any good?
The Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer comes with six function buttons, which allow you to do a little bit of everything, especially thanks to its dualzone technology. There’s Max Crisp, which can be used for frozen foods including French fries and perennial child favourite chicken nuggets. Air Fry is for producing crispy, crunchy food using little or no oil. The Roast function does just that while the Reheat mode offers the ability to warm up leftovers. It’s also possible to call on the Dehydrate option for removing the moisture in meats, fruits and vegetables for healthy snacks. You can even call on the Bake function for producing desserts and baked items.
With its 7.6 litre combined capacity the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer should be adequate for most average families, and more than enough for couples or solos. If you’re aiming to feed people on an industrial scale however the Ninja will be less suitable due to the division caused by the twin compartments. It’s a win then for versatility, but there’s less appeal in the overall volume of meals you can turn out. That said, if it’s a simple meal such as salmon salmon fillets and French fries, which was our first test dish then you can produce repeat portions of the same dish in pretty quick succession. This method works well as the unit is already hot.
Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer: performance
If you’re new to the air fryer concept then the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer might look a little daunting, but spend five minutes picking through the manual and it doesn’t take long to get up to speed. Performance soon turns out to be especially impressive too, with all of the programmable modes proving to be excellent in each of their respective categories. A slight downside is you can’t fit in larger items, such as a whole chicken for roasting. A quail maybe, but not much more. Individual chicken pieces, however, such as legs and thighs work just fine.
While you can cook using either of the individual non-stick compartments on its own the real practical edge of the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer is its dualzone technology and Sync mode. We took full advantage of Ninja’s supplied quick start guide, that delivers full colour instructions and several mouth-watering meal examples both meat-based and vegetarian that you can try in order to familiarise yourself with the controls.
The Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer works by either using the preset controls, or you can tweak these manually. The latter is the way to go if you’re keen to get things just right, though the presets seemed to work well enough for us. The key here is to keep an eye on the food being cooked. We’ve been caught out before by air fryers that have tended to cook food a little more efficiently than anticipated. You’ll also want to manually give food a prod, turning it around or over if you’re aiming for that professional chef result. Practice does indeed make perfect with the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer.
When you’re done with the cooking, each of the two compartments comes with a non-stick crisper plate, both of which are dishwasher safe. The rest of the unit can be wiped over with a damp cloth. It’s all pretty low-maintenance stuff really.
Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer: verdict
We’re big fans of the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer thanks to its smart functionality that lets you prepare two different foodstuffs and have them cooked at ready at the same time. Mealtimes can often be something of a juggling act, so this device is perfect for taking the stress out of the situation. The Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer is fast, and efficient, plus it’s got six different modes so makes an excellent all-rounder.
The size might be an issue if you’re lacking in kitchen real estate, and at 8.2 kilos it’s quite hefty to move around. Nevertheless, the Ninja brand is well respected, so you certainly won’t get any nods of disapproval from anyone who claps eyes on it. The build quality is solid, pricing is keen and the food it produces speaks for itself. Add everything together and the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer is a brilliant addition to any kitchen.