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This latest Ninja gadget surpasses usual multi-cooker fare with its super-efficient performance, innovative technology, and compact design.
Now, the brand has unveiled its latest product, the Ninja Speedi: a multi-cooker of sorts, but with a unique rapid-cook setting that combines steam with convection heat to turn meals around in just 15 minutes.
Much like some of the best multi-cookers, the genius behind the Speedi is that you don't have to use multiple appliances – or even different lids – for different cooking methods. The switch on the lid allows you to flick between the Speedi Meals mode, which comes with a range of steaming options, and the air fry/hob setting, designed for air frying, grilling, roasting and sautéing.
Where this gadget differs from some multi-cookers is its size. While still relatively bulky, it's noticeably compact versus similar models, so more convenient if countertop space is limited.
The functionality of the cook and crisp tray is another stand-out feature as you can cook two layers of ingredients at the same time, essentially doubling the capacity of the 5.7-litre pot.
The Speedi comes in a vibrant yellow box, wrapped in cardboard and a modest amount of plastic packaging. It's a good-looking piece of kit, if a little boxy, with a light grey body and smooth push-button interface.
Even though it's probably too large for most people to store, it's relatively short so a good choice for people with lower kitchen cupboards (though you'd still have to move it out into the open during use). It's also fairly weighty, but we had no trouble lifting it with two hands.
Included in the box is the cook and crisp tray, which has silicone feet on each corner that extend out, as well as a condensation collector, recipe book and instruction manual. The cord is attached so can't be stored separately, though the tray attachment fits neatly inside.
We got stuck into using the Ninja Speedi quickly and easily, and while the instructions are well-written we didn't find ourselves relying on them much during set-up.
The control panel is very intuitive, with the two menus for Speedi Meals and air fry/hob listed separately, and up-and-down arrows on each side to move between each function.
Navigating each menu is simply done using the switch on the lid, and there's temperature and time settings on the display that can be customised for each preset. When you switch it on, the fan fires up almost immediately.
The recipe book offers a decent selection of dishes and while somewhat limited on variety, there is a Speedi meals guide that demonstrates how to create alternative meals like burrito bowls.
We also found the cooking charts inside the manual useful. There's advice on amounts, time and temperatures, plus how to prep ingredients, how much water to add, which accessories are needed, and whether you need oil.
Strangely there was nothing on how to cook rice, which is a key ingredient in most of the Speedi recipes, though thankfully there was enough detail in the meal guide for us to piece together some instructions.
How you use the cook and crisp tray depends on which mode you're cooking with. When the appliance is on rapid cooker setting, the tray sits in the top position, elevated from the base of the pot with its legs extended out. When using air fry/hob mode, the legs have to be folded inwards so the tray can sit at the base of the pot.
In use, we were pleased to find no steam escaped from around the lid, other than the steam vent as expected. The body feels very solid on the counter and is safe to touch while cooking. The timer also plays a little tune and is noticeable but doesn't outstay its welcome.
We had to adopt some trial and error when cooking with the Ninja Speedi. Our attempt at Ninja's own chicken with creamy pasta recipe wasn't very successful – the pasta was rubbery and undercooked, while the broccoli had the opposite problem and turned to mush. The sauce also needed more moisture to loosen it up. The saving grace was the chicken, which was evenly browned and had the succulent texture we were looking for.
Our sticky teriyaki salmon rice recipe worked better: the salmon crisped up well and had a pleasant flavour, even if the edges had caught. Sautéing was also a straightforward affair. The non-stick was effective and the temperature was easy to control, with heat levels ranging from one to five.
We tried the slow cooker preset next and the meat in our slow-cooker beef goulash was flavoursome but not tender enough. The sauce had a good thickness and the veg was excellent, with a soft but slight bite.
We achieved good results with the steam bake setting, and our flourless chocolate and almond cake had a fudgy, brownie-like centre with a firm top. To adapt this recipe, we turned to the chocolate fudge cake recipe in the Ninja Speedi manual, which advises adding 500ml of water to the cooking pot, before placing a 20cm tin (filled with the batter) inside and baking for 20-25 minutes. Adding the water is an important step if you want the steam bake function to work, as the steam is what bakes the contents inside.
Finally, we tried this sticky chicken with rice and beans recipe. The chicken was evenly browned and flavoursome, and the rice was pleasantly fluffy.
Like most other Ninja appliances, the cooking pot and attachments are both dishwasher-safe. The manual advises wiping the cooker base and control panel down with a cloth. There are also instructions on how to steam-clean the Speedi if you find oil or food residue is building up on the heating element or fan.
We were impressed that most of the packaging inside the box was recyclable. The body of the appliance is wrapped in paper, and cardboard inserts are used to keep it secure in transit. There was a small amount of plastic wrap around the top of the Speedi, but we could see that Ninja has made a conscious effort to limit the amount of non-recyclable waste.
Spare parts are available to buy on the Ninja website (so you shouldn't have to buy a whole new gadget if anything breaks or is lost), plus there's advice on how to recycle your appliance at the end of its life.
Those who buy a new Ninja gadget may also qualify for its Take Back scheme, which means Ninja will recycle your old appliance free-of-charge if you buy a new one. Claims for this have to be made within 28 days of your new purchase.
As for the cost, the Ninja Speedi is more expensive to run versus other multi-cookers, but given its efficiency this isn't surprising. The gadget cost 5.66p to run on the rapid-cook setting for 15 minutes, based on a variable tariff of 31.8p/kWh.
If you're looking for a multi-cooker with a smaller footprint, the Ninja Speedi is certainly a solid contender – particularly for busy families of four or five who want the convenience of the rapid cooker. The multi-layered element allows for lots of variety at mealtimes, and we loved how its smooth, cubic shape looks on the counter.
Versus other similar models on the market it does have a higher price tag, but what you gain in efficiency and ease of use does feel worth it.
We were disappointed the Ninja recipe we tested didn't work so well, which made us more reluctant to try the others on offer. That said, we got a lot of satisfaction from using this gadget, and the innovation that went into producing it really deserves to be applauded. Discover our own recipes for inspiration.
Size: 31cm x 33cm x 35cm
Capacity: 5.7 litres
Guarantee: 1 year
Made in: China
All costs-to-run calculations were done against the variable tariff at the time of testing (31.8p/kWh), which may have since changed – read more on the current energy price guarantee rates.
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