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From roasting large joints of meat with a digital meat probe, to fuss-free traybakes, the Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill and Air Fryer makes cooking fun. Here's how.
When it comes to multifunctional kitchen gadgets, Ninja is a front-runner in both performance and quality. Case in point, the Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 multi-cooker which boasts the obscure but surprisingly useful yogurt function. This health grill and air fryer does much more than the two functions in the title, also offering baking, roasting, dehydrating and reheating.
Design-wise, it has the feel of a pizza oven, but the lid lifts upwards. The exterior is sleek, wipes clean easily and it wouldn't look out of place if left on the countertop. Still, like most appliances of this type, it really needs to be sat on a heatproof surface.
Alongside the grill unit in the box is a built-in digital cooking probe for checking the internal temperature of meat joints, a non-stick ceramic-coated cooking pot, crisper basket and grill plate with handles (not heat-proof).
A cleaning brush is provided, although all removable components rinse off cleanly in hot soapy water. There’s also an instruction booklet and inspiration guide offering recipes for the grill and air fryer functions.
The control panel is touchscreen and intuitive to use, displaying the pre-set temperatures and timings of the selected function. Both elements are adjustable if you want to customise.
Once set, the machine preheats quickly then alerts you when it's time to add the food. The crisper basket has a 3.8L capacity, which, in testing, comfortably cooked 800g of fries – enough for two.
One common facet of Ninja products is high performance on speed, which here is thanks to the efficient flow of hot air. As a result, food can be cooked more quickly. (We tested the functions according to preset timings.)
Requiring zero oil, chips cooked in this machine have a smoother, softer finish compared with classically fried chips, but when seasoned, they have a good flavour and are not soggy – great news if you like to dip yours in ketchup.
Roast chicken needs 40 minutes to cook through, roasted on the pre-set with the cooking probe left in. A beep indicates when it’s ready to remove – a unique feature for helping ensure meat is safe to eat but not overcooked. When cooked, the skin of our chicken looked a bit pale, rather than richly golden brown and crisp, but the inside was juicy and flavourful. With a rub of oil and some salt, you could achieve that oven-browned look.
We tested the grill with un-oiled lengths of cut courgette to assess the griddle-cooking, non-stick capabilities and ability to char with defined grid lines. All our slices reliably cooked through and had good charring that carried flavour. Strips of halloumi also cooked incredibly quickly.
We also tried the baking function with our recipe for lemon & orange cake in its cooking tray (so, essentially, a traybake). We saw great rise, cooking in 25 minutes. Thanks to the ceramic coating, it didn’t stick.
This is an expensive gadget to invest in with a high wattage consumption. However, its grilling capabilities rival those of the best griddle pans. Particularly where meat is concerned, the built-in digital cooking probe is a great selling point which makes cooking large meat joints safely without over-doing them, achievable for anyone.
Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill & Air Fryer AG551UK specifications
Food capacity: 3.8L, six portions
Dimensions: H27 x W39 x D41cm
Safety features: Auto-pause on lifting lid
Guarantee: 1 year
This review was last updated in April 2021. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.