Instant Vortex Plus with ClearCook air fryer review: see the magic happen

The Instant Vortex Plus is a powerful countertop air fryer that heats quickly, evenly, and offers a glimpse at the crispy magic happening inside through a clear front window

T3 Platinum Award
Instant Vortex Plus with ClearCook air fryer
(Image credit: Instant Brands)
T3 Verdict

This latest iteration of the Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer is a feature-loaded appliance that operates as a small but mighty convection oven for all of your crispy cooking needs. The new Clearcook window allows you to better monitor your cooking without losing heat in the process.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Clearcook window to monitor your food

  • +

    OdorErase filter to prevent food smells

  • +

    Six built-in cooking functions

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not WiFi compatible

  • -

    The basket is not dishwasher safe

There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to finding the best air fryer. But wherever you look, the Instant brand is likely among the top options. This year, the multicooker maker has a new and impressive addition to their line of Vortex air fryers. The Instant Vortex Plus with ClearCook offers the same fast and reliable crisping technology you expect from Instant air fryers with a handy see-through window, interior light, and odor-filtering technology. 

I put this newly released air fryer to the test to see how it performed, looking at the appliance’s design, functionality and performance. Most importantly, it’s ability to make a tasty yet healthy meal. Here’s how it went. 

Instant Vortex Plus with ClearCook review: price and availability

The Instant Vortex Air Fryer with ClearCook air fryer is new for 2022 and costs $150/£150. It’s also available without the OdorEase feature for $130/£120. This model is not yet available in Australia. 

Instant Vortex Plus with ClearCook air fryer

(Image credit: Instant Brands)

Instant Vortex Plus with ClearCook review: design

Like other Instant air fryers, this appliance has a frying basket. It’s controlled by a digital touch screen and a rotating dial to adjust the cooking time and temperature. 

What’s new here is that this air fryer also has a clear window on the drawer-style basket. When the interior light is on, you get a clear and helpful view into exactly what’s going on inside the air fryer. This window means you don’t have to pull out the drawer and let out all of that hot convection air to check on your food. During cooking, depending on how full the frying basket is, you can get a pretty good view of the food inside to know when it’s time to shake, flip or stop the cooking altogether. The downside of this is that the baskets are no longer listed as dishwasher safe, suggesting that they are best cleaned by hand to avoid water and steam getting inside the glass. 

The Instant Vortex Plus isn’t exactly the most compact, but it won’t dominate your kitchen counter either. It has six quarts (5.7 liters) of interior room for frying, which is plenty of space to feed four to six people. You can fit an entire four-pound chicken inside this air fryer or two pounds of frozen french fries.  

Another smart and useful design feature on this model is the OrdorEase filter. The appliance comes with two filters installed. These trap odor particles from food so you can avoid your oven smelling like fish or garlic for weeks. This is especially helpful if you plan to cook both sweet and savory recipes in your air fryer, as strong savory flavors can overpower more delicate sweet dishes. 

Instant Vortex Plus with ClearCook review: functionality

While some air fryer models claim to perform a long list of functions, the Instant Vortex Plus sticks to the essentials. The appliance operates as a convection oven and a broiler. Depending on the time and temperature you’re working with, this means it can air fry, roast, bake, reheat, broil and dehydrate. 

Each of these buttons on the touch screen comes pre-programed with a specific time and temperature. However, it’s easy to override these defaults to customize the appliance to match your go-to recipes. These make it easy to use the Vortex Plus to crisp up everything from frozen chicken wings to slices of French toast to leftover mac and cheese with the push of one button. 

Instant Vortex Plus with ClearCook air fryer

(Image credit: Instant Brands)

Instant Vortex Plus with ClearCook review: performance

Given the quality of the previous Instant Vortex Plus, it’s no surprise that the newest Vortex also performs well. I tested the air fryer with a variety of common recipes, including one of my favorites: good old-fashioned toast. 

This air fryer can easily take the place of your toaster, and it has the added benefit of allowing you to monitor your bread as it cooks. To use the Vortex, start by plugging it in and selecting a cooking program from the digital interface. While broiling, roasting and air frying will all work for making a perfectly golden slice of toast, I prefer the air fry feature. 

On this appliance, the Air Fry button defaults to 385°F for 15 minutes (you can customize this if you like). I increased the temperature to the maximum, 400°F, and reduced the time to five minutes (it has a maximum time of one hour). After pressing the start button, the air fryer begins preheating. The basket needs to be firmly in place for preheating to start. 

Once the fryer reaches temperature, it will beep and tell you to “add food” (you can turn the audio alerts off if you prefer a quieter kitchen). I placed two slices of bread into the basket, giving them enough space to allow air flow on all sides, which is no problem in this spacious basket. 

After two and a half minutes, the machine beeped again to tell me it was time to “turn food”. I did as instructed, flipping the bread, which was already getting a nice amount of browning on the edges. As soon as I closed the basket, the machine picked up where it left off – no need to press a button. Finally, after a total of five minutes of air frying, the display showed “end” and the fan turned off. I pulled out the basket to find hot and nicely browned toast ready to be buttered. 

The air fryer also performed well crisping up frozen vegetables and homemade potato chips. As long as the food has some breathing room in the basket, you can expect golden, crisp and hot food very quickly from this air fryer. 

Instant Vortex Plus with ClearCook air fryer

(Image credit: Instant Brands)

Instant Vortex Plus with ClearCook review: verdict

In my many tests of air fryers from various brands, this is one of the best-performing and most user-friendly models. The oven light and window help take much of the guesswork out of air frying in a basket-style appliance. 

In addition, the six cooking functions are straightforward and easy to customize. I like that this model doesn’t dominate my kitchen but isn’t so compact that I have to make multiple batches of every dish. For households of four to six, you really can’t go wrong with the Instant Vortex Plus. 

Instant Vortex Plus with ClearCook review: also consider

If you want a air fryer will all of the power and smart design as the Vortex Plus that’s better suited for a smaller kitchen, the Instant Vortex Mini is a compact two-quart air fryer with four cooking functions that’s easier to store. 

Or, for something with enough space to feed a crowd, the two-basket Ninja Foodi 10-quart DualZone Air Fryer is a spacious model that can prepare two meal components at once. 

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.