We were so ready to be underwhelmed by the Ninja Foodi. As a pressure cooker, air crisper, steamer, dehydrator and everything else under the sun, we figured it’d do LOTS of things poorly. Sometimes, less is more. But we were wrong. It’s actually a remarkably well-designed and well-built kitchen appliance. For between $200-250 (some sale prices have dropped the cost lower), you can buy a kitchen appliance that replaces your pressure cooker, air fryer, numerous pots, egg cooker, steamer and crock-pot. Damn! And this is even higher praise given that we rarely, if ever, rave over any kind of household device. [Editor’s note: we purchased the 8-qt device through Amazon]
Is the Foodi perfect? Hardly. It has some area of needed improvements, as we’ll discuss below. But after spending about 30 days experimenting with different recipes, we were favorably impressed with how it performed with meats, vegetables, soups and stews.
A lot has been written in the last year about the Foodi. Most commentators focus on the fact that it combines pressure cooking with air frying. The Gadgeteer blog does a nice job describing how to use the Foodi. The purpose of this article is to discuss what foods/recipes work well in the Foodi….and which one’s don’t.
Foods that Cook Well In The Foodi
- Crab cakes
- Artichokes (pressure and air crisp)
- Whole cauliflower (pressure and air crisp)
- Sweet potato fries (small batches)
- Spaghetti squash
- Cheesecake – (pressure cooked)
- Veggie and meat stews (saute followed by pressure)
- Bone Broth
- Stewed fruit
- Pot Roast (pressure and roast)
- Pulled pork (from pork roast) or pork belly (pressure and air crisp)
- Frozen meats
- Boiled eggs (using pressure cooker)
Foods that Don’t Cook Well In The Foodi
- Whole chicken – takes a few times to get it right
- Brown rice – also need to experiment to hone get the rice just right
- Baked potato – not as easy as it would seem, to pressure cook and then roast/crisp the potatoes
- Baked goods – takes time to get it right and the pot size doesn’t lend itself to many recipes
- Only multi-cooker that combines pressure cooker and air fryer
- Speed of preparation
- Pressure cooking enhances the flavors better because they are infused into the foods.
- Can cook many foods at once, or produce multiple courses using just one pan
- Construction seems high quality. Not many complaints on Internet about defective or poor design/construction
- Size and weight of the device
- Removal and storage of the pressure cooking top
- Potential damage to cabintry caused by pressure cooker steam (Note: you can buy a steam diverter to redirect the steam away from cabinets)
- Shortage of good Foodi recipes and YouTube how-to videos on the Internet
- Surprising poor how-to-use and recipes in the booklet that comes with the Foodi
- Steaming requires the use of the pressure cook top with the vent open. Makes it difficult to check food while cooking.
Our Bottom Line:
If you already own an electric pressure cooker (a significant improvement over the conventional ones) and an air fryer, you might want to hold off from buying the Foodi. Otherwise, this is probably a must-buy for most kitchens that don’t have serious space constraints.