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This 5.2 litre air fryer has six cooking functions to choose from, but it's baking mode stole the show.
Ninja is well known for its powerful, faff-free products, and the AF160UK is no exception. Its design differs to others on the market, having a round drawer.
We appreciated its simple and textured button interface. Touchscreens have become popular with this category of small appliance, but if like us your fingers are not always clean in the kitchen, it can be tricky to control and clean mid-cook. This model is easy to program and the controls themselves are simple to navigate. Time and temperatures are manually adaptable but the instruction manual comes with a useful cooking guide.
Two handles below its base made it an easy model to unbox, lift onto the countertop and position. The tall design means it just about slots underneath wall-hung cupboards but it needs to be brought forward when in use as the ventilation system is at the top.
Ninja is a good brand at providing comprehensive and user-friendly instructions. The set-up guide had lots of images but we only needed to reference them for ‘before first use’ instructions because the simple design is intuitive.
Its six cooking functions are selectable by button and indicated by words rather than icons. They include air fry, max crisp, bake, roast, reheat and dehydrate.
This is a drawer-style air fryer and the drawer pulls out from the front and is easy to lock back in place. It’s simple to load ingredients into it having both a practical width and depth for cooking a standard cake or medium roast chicken.
We gave its drawer and removable crisper tray (equipped with silicone corners to protect the ceramic-coated pan) a wash in soapy water and were ready to cook. Once used, you can also pop them in the dishwasher for easy cleaning but this didn’t feel necessary. Hand-washing will also prolong the life of its non-stick coating.
Although we tossed the chipped Maris Piper potatoes in a tablespoon of oil before cooking, we also tried a batch without any oil. Both required a shuffle mid-way which we were prompted to do thanks to a beep indicator. The cooking paused and restarted automatically once the tray was replaced. All the chips were sealed and fluffy on the inside. Those tossed in the oil had a slightly crisper outer but the flavour was similar overall.
The baking function stood out for a few reasons. The cake was evenly baked with a nice rise in the middle and cooked edges. Its round tray accommodated the same quantity of cake mixture as a standard tin and the non-stick coating meant its edges were easy to gently release. We reduced the temperature for our apple & almond cake by 10 degrees and found that the skewer came out clean indicating the cake was baked after the minimum 30 minutes for that recipe.
We roasted a small chicken according to the recommended cooking time and temperature. The meat was flavourful and moist without being dry, although the skin wasn't as crisp as an oven-roasted chicken.
Thanks to its 5.2-litre capacity, this is a practical size if you're cooking for four and a simple gadget to negotiate thanks to clear controls and audible notifications. It would suit anyone with countertop space or large cupboards. Plus, on the convenience front, you're onto a winner thanks to its easy-to-clean drawer.
Food capacity: 5.2L
Dimensions: 36 x 25 x 32cm
Safety features: Auto-pause on removing draw, non-slip feet
Guarantee: One year
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