Home world This dual Ninja air fryer changed the way I cook. Here’s how

This dual Ninja air fryer changed the way I cook. Here’s how

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This Ninja air fryer has two baskets and four cooking settings. 


Screenshot by Dashia Starr/CNET

Air fryers are everywhere, as large or small stand-alone countertop appliances and even now built into ovens. I’ve had my share of air fryers and I’m here to tell you — they all pretty much work the same, except for one that’s truly stood out. 

My fiancé and I started out with a $50 Dash Compact Air Fryer that was perfect for small spaces. But it didn’t hold much when cooking two days’ worth of food. I tested a Bella air fryer next, and it didn’t have the best settings for our cooking preferences. So, we upgraded to a Chefman air fryer that’s no longer available to buy. Despite our cleaning it the right way, the grill plate’s clips came off and the finish started to peel. We knew it was time for an upgrade. 

So, my fiancé did some research and came across the Ninja Foodi 8-quart 6-in-1 Dual Zone Air Fryer. Speaking as a new mom with a full-time job, it has changed our lives, especially on busy nights when we’re too tired to wash pots and pans but want to eat healthy food. 

What I love about the Ninja Foodie is that it’s not just an air fryer — it’s also a food dehydrator, a roaster and the best way to reheat leftovers to get them hot all the way through and keep crisp foods from getting soggy. Keep reading for more of what I love about using the Ninja Foodie Dual Zone Air Fryer, and while you’re here, these are extra tips to keep in mind when using an air fryer. (P.S. here’s how to find the best deals before Black Friday.) 

Ninja Foodie Dual Zone Air Fryer upshot: 2 baskets are better than one

I’ll start by saying that this is more than just an air fryer. If you’re looking to dehydrate fruits for a good trail mix or reheat leftover fries, there are settings just for that. You can also roast chicken without heating up your home with the oven (perfect for summer days). And the temperature goes up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and you can set the timer for up to an hour at a time. Most air fryers only have timers for up to 25 minutes. 

But here’s the thing — depending on what you’re cooking or heating, you may be able to do two of these things at once. That’s because, while most air fryers come with one basket, Ninja’s dual air fryer has two. That means you can cook two separate foods with completely different settings at the same time. You can roast a chicken in one basket while air-frying potatoes in another. Being able to cook almost an entire whole dinner with one gadget is a game-changer for my family.

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Remember this summer’s air-fried pasta chips? You can make them in a snap.


Allyza Umali/CNET

Smart Finish is a game changer, too

I hate it when my food finishes cooking at different times. Smart Finish is the solution to my problems. Let’s say the chicken takes longer to cook in one basket than your vegetables. I just press Smart Finish for the air fryer to finish cooking both baskets at the same time — regardless of the time or temperature. When it’s done, I have hot food I don’t have to reheat before getting it on the table. Here’s how it works: 

  1. To start, press Smart Finish
  2. Press 1 and choose your cooking preference: Air fry, Roast, Reheat or Dehydrate. 
  3. Select the time and temperature for the food in the first basket.
  4. Press 2, then repeat steps 2 and 3.
  5. Press Start/Pause.

Match Cook gives you more space 

You’ve probably heard about the deliciousness of air fryer chicken wings. They’re the perfect wing that’s crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The only problem is that wings can take up a good amount of space in your air fryer. The best solution I found was using my Ninja Foodie’s Match Cook setting as a way to spread out my food in the baskets for even cooking without cramming. Here’s how it works. 

  1. To start, press Match Cook. Both numbers, 1 and 2 will light up. 
  2. Choose your cooking preference, Air fry, Roast, Reheat or Dehydrate. 
  3. Select the time and temperature.
  4. Press Start/Pause

If you’re ever curious about what settings to use when cooking, Ninja includes two stickers on the air fryer to give you recommended times and temperatures for poultry and vegetables when using Smart Finish and Match Cook. These air fryer recipes can help, too. 

You’ll want to keep the space in mind 

The only downside is that this 8-quart Ninja Foodie air fryer takes up more space than other options, but it’s still compact for its quart size. It’s about 13 inches wide. We also considered the 4-quart Ninja Air Fryer, which has the same settings but only has one basket. For us, the two-basket option won out — and I’m glad it did.

It’s easy to clean 

After my Chefman air fryer started peeling, I decided to be very careful when cleaning my Ninja baskets. So far, I’ve had the air fryer for a year and it’s been easy to clean with soap and water. Even though the baskets are dishwasher-safe, I’ve been using the hand-wash method to preserve the finish. If damage to the baskets does occur, you can buy replacement plates on Amazon.

Hands down, this Ninja Foodie is my favorite kitchen gadget, especially for a fast, easy way to eat healthily (it’s a toss-up for the best appliance in my house, alongside our cordless Dyson vacuum). 

Finally, here’s the difference between air-frying versus oven-baking your food and an air fryer that doubles as a microwave that I have my eye on.

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