When it comes to buying the best air fryer, there are many features to consider. How often do you expect to use it? Do you want a model with multiple cooking methods? How big do you want it to be to cook your meals?
If capacity and size is an important factor, you’re going to want to check out the new Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer. Released in 2023, the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer 10.4L AF500UK (to give it its full name) might be the biggest air fryer T3 has ever seen… but how does it perform? And is there such a thing as an air fryer that’s too big?! I put the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer to the test to find out.
Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer review: Unboxing and setup
Like most Ninja appliances (I have tried my fair share!), the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer arrived in a big cardboard box with plenty of recyclable packing. In the box was the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer with a 10.4-litre removable drawer, a divider and two crisper plates. All accessories and the main drawer of the air fryer are non-stick and dishwasher safe.
Despite its massive size, the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer was easy to set up. An instruction manual and recipe guide came with the air fryer, and the instructions were straightforward and simple to follow. To get started with the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer, all you have to do is plug it in and give the inside and accessories a good clean before using it. This took hardly anytime at all, so you’re ready to go with the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer within a matter of minutes.
Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer review: Design and features
The main attraction of the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer is its size. It has a 10.4-litre capacity which makes it Ninja’s largest air fryer to date and one of the biggest air fryers on the market. Aside from its big capacity which can fit a 2kg leg of lamb or whole chicken, the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer weighs 9.3kg and measures 32.7cm height x 49.6cm width.
The Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer comes with a divider which transforms its main FlexDrawer compartment from DualZone to MegaZone cooking. With the divider, the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer can cook two different types of foods in two ways with two independent cooking zones. Ninja’s DualZone technology gives you different cooking zones in the same appliance and the cooking process finishes at the same time. By removing the divider, the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer offers its maximum capacity and becomes an extra large drawer which can cook up to 8+ people.
Similar to other air fryers from Ninja, the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer has multiple cooking options to choose from, including air fry, roast, bake, max crisp, prove, reheat and dehydrate. Its display and controls include a digital screen for timings and temperature, on/off and start/stop buttons, and a selector button to choose the cooking method. The front of the machine also shows the different zones and allows you to customise the DualZone technology with ‘sync’ or ‘match’ options.
Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer review: Performance
Looks can be deceiving, so even though the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer is an absolute mammoth, it’s incredibly easy to use. The air fryer takes care of everything for you once you choose your method of cooking, and will cook food for the right length of time and at the right temperature without you having to do anything. Not only is it easy to use, but it’s also quick to clean. While the attachments can go in the dishwasher, they’re surprisingly easy to wipe down, and I found that nothing got stuck to the drawer and plates, even sticky sauces.
The best part of the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer was its two separate compartments. I loved being able to cook two different things at once and taking the divider out just gave me more space to play with. I cooked an entire roast dinner in the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer which came out incredibly well… even though it felt strange to cook a big meal like that in an air fryer! I got the best results from using the Ninja recipe book which came in the box. My favourites were the chicken dishes which were deliciously moist and the lamb kofta recipe which was full of flavour.
A couple of negatives I found was the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer could be a bit inconsistent on occasional recipes. While I’d recommend trying the recipes that Ninja provide you with, I found that making breaded chicken for katsu curry was a failure! Having said that, when I went off-piste and tried cooking without a recipe, the results were pretty hit and miss and I tended to overcook them. Is that me or is that the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer not being able to cook without a Ninja recipe? I don’t know, but I’m happy to keep testing to find out!
Another negative (which happens to be somewhat of a positive) is its size. The Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer is really, really, REALLY big! For roast dinners, traybakes and meal prepping, the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer does an amazing job. But it takes up a lot of countertop space and it’s quite heavy to move around, so if you don’t need that much capacity or you have a small kitchen, I would suggest getting a smaller air fryer.
Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer review: Price
The Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer is £269.99 and available to buy at Ninja and select retailers like Amazon, Currys, John Lewis and Argos. Ninja offers a 2-year guarantee and often runs deals on its products, so keep your eyes peeled for discounts, especially during sales seasons like Black Friday.
Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer review: Verdict
If you like batch cooking, meal prepping and the ease and convenience of making big meals quickly, the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer is a brilliant choice. Even though it’s huge, the size of the air fryer doesn’t feel like a gimmick and it actually performs amazingly well. The food that the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer makes is tasty (albeit inconsistent at times if you don’t follow a Ninja recipe) and its multiple cooking options are versatile and practical. Its removable drawer was a particular favourite feature of mine and I can see it appealing to many home cooks.
Should you buy the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer? If you cater to large groups of people, do a lot of meal prepping and enjoy cooking, this air fryer is a top model to choose. But if you don’t need that much capacity and you have a small kitchen, you might be better off with a smaller appliance.
Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer review: Alternatives to consider
If you want a large capacity air fryer from a different brand, T3 loves the Tower 10-in-1 Air Fryer Xpress Pro Combo. It has an 11-litre capacity and has a rotisserie cooking option built-in! It’s versatile, spacious and is superior at roasting and grilling, plus it’s cheaper than the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer.
If you’re a Ninja fan but don’t want something too big, the Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 SmartLid Multi Cooker OL550UK is a 5-star appliance with a 6-litre capacity. It’s a great size, has good cooking options and it’s insanely easy to use.