Second only to the Instant Pot, air fryers are still one of the hottest kitchen gadgets on the market. But these contrivances, which typically serve just one purpose, eat up a considerable amount of valuable counter space. No wonder there’s been a rash of new products that seek to combine air fry technology with the traditional appliances people already have in their kitchens.
The latest entry, the Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven, builds off the success of the existing Ninja Foodi products by combining an air fryer and toaster oven into one convenient package. But is it worth the investment? We tested the Ninja Foodi oven to see if it could actually combine two pieces of equipment in one without sacrificing on the performance of either.
How the Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven looks and feels
As soon as you take it out of the box, you get a sense that the Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven is a high-quality product. Constructed of brushed stainless steel, it’s beautifully finished with rounded corners and has a digital control pad. It’s also wider and shorter than a typical toaster oven.
When cooled and not in use, the Foodi oven can be flipped up on one side to stand up at the back of the counter, an odd but convenient storage solution. Rather than a towel bar handle in the front, it has a small one off to the side that you use to open the door. While it’s unusual and takes a bit of time to get used to, this handle functions perfectly fine and helps make the oven more space efficient.
The Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven comes with an air fry basket, a cooking rack, a nonstick sheet pan, and a crumb tray that also seem sturdy and well made. They’re larger than the ones you typically find in a toaster oven, as the oven is so wide.
What can the Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven do?
As the name implies, the Ninja oven air fries. And just like a typical toaster oven, this Ninja toasts and bakes. It also air roasts, air broils, dehydrates, and keeps food warm. Because it’s so short, however, it can’t hold a whole chicken like many toaster ovens in its price category.
The manufacturer encourages using the large sheet pan to make sheet pan dinners and includes a formula and some recipes for them.
If you’re looking for other multi-functional appliances that can slow cook, pressure cook, grill, and more, Ninja also offers the classic Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker, which we love, and the Ninja Foodi Grill, which we’ll be testing this fall.
What we like
- It’s beautifully designed.
- The digital controls are easy to read and intuitive to navigate.
- It’s quiet.
- It’s an excellent toaster, and does a good job of baking a sheet pan dinner.
- To check on food, there’s an oven light.
- For storage, it easily can stand on its side.
What we don’t like
- It’s expensive.
- It can’t roast a whole chicken.
- There could be more cooking guidelines for specific foods in the cookbook.
How does it perform?
To be blunt, it’s not the best air fryer on the market but it’s also far from the worst. The Ninja Foodi oven air fries unevenly, and food prepared from scratch seemed baked, not fried. On the website the manufacturer claims it can air fry four pounds of food at once. While we could pile up that amount of fries in the air fry basket, the loaded basket couldn’t fit in the oven at the rack position recommended for air frying.
The Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven can accommodate nine slices of packaged bread without squishing them. And it can toast them fairly evenly, too. When used to toast two slices, it gives impressive results, browning exceptionally evenly. It does, however, toast to a golden-brown shade on both the light and medium settings, so it could be a disappointment if you like your toast only lightly browned. It has a special bagel toasting setting and it browns bagel halves very uniformly.
Ninja recommends using their oven to air roast sheet pan dinners with a protein (like steak, chicken, or seafood), vegetables and spices. After following the oven booklet’s recipe for Spicy Chicken, Sweet Potatoes & Broccoli, I was impressed with the result. All of the ingredients (about three pounds in total) came out lightly browned and tender in just 22 minutes and made a tasty sheet pan dinner for four. This technique does seem like a very good use for this appliance.
You’re not going to be able to fit an entire loaf or Bundt pan in this Ninja, but you can use it to bake a cake or muffins in a shallow pan, or small items like cookies right on the sheet pan. Biscuits baked up just as well as from a full-size oven.
Chicken breasts came out juicy and browned on both sides in just 20 minutes. However, even when cooked well-done, steaks looked gray on the outside and in no way resembled broiled or grilled meat. So, while this oven is fast, it can’t consistently deliver the kind of searing you expect from broiling.
Although its wide air fry basket holds more food than the ones in a typical air fryer (or the racks in a toaster oven), the Ninja is still only able to dry a small amount of food. After running the dehydrator for 10 hours, I was rewarded with a small bowl of banana chips. At least the machine kept quiet as it worked.
The Ninja kept a small macaroni and cheese casserole at a safe serving temperature for a full two hours. As you would expect, however, the food was dried out by then. If you’re not going to serve food within a half hour or so, you are probably better off just reheating it in the microwave.
Is the Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven easy to use and clean?
The digital control panel on the Ninja oven is well laid out and easy to read. It interface centers around a knob that you turn to select the time and temperature (or number of slices and doneness) for each function, and it’s fairly intuitive to program.
We love the fact that the oven preheats automatically and the preheat time is just one minute, so it doesn’t add appreciably to the cooking time. During cooking, the product is quieter than most air fryers, and you can turn on an interior light to check on your food’s progress.
The sheet pan and the air fry basket can be cleaned in the dishwasher. In the standing position, the back opens, giving you access to the inside for cleaning.
The Ninja Foodi oven comes with a very thorough and easy-to-understand owner’s guide, as well as a booklet that contains recipes and cooking charts for air frying and dehydrating and a leaflet with instructions on how to build a sheet pan meal. It would be helpful if there were also charts to use as guidelines for baking, air roasting, and air-broiling.
Ninja offers a one-year limited warranty on the Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven and a 60-day money back guarantee.
What owners say
At the time of writing this story, the Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven was only being sold through Ninja’s website, where it had 64 reviews and a star rating of 4.9. It’s now also available at Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers. In their comments, its early adopters rave about its multi-functionality, large capacity, and speed. They also love the ability to flip it up and stand it up and out of the way when it’s not being used.
Is the Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven worth it?
If you’re looking for an air fryer and a toaster oven, this product is definitely worth your consideration. It’s an excellent toaster and a fair air fryer. The only real drawbacks are that it has a large footprint on your countertop and can’t roast a whole chicken. If you have the counter space and are in the habit of buying rotisserie chickens at the supermarket, we say go for it.
We do recognize that it’s not an inexpensive appliance, but it costs equal to or less than the Breville and Cuisinart ovens that are its main competitors. If you decide to spring for it, definitely try out the sheet pan meals.