Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL Review

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The Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL (also known as Ninja FD401) is often called “the pressure cooker that crisps”.

It is a lifesaver when it comes to managing a hectic lifestyle and meeting the needs of preparing wholesome meals.

We understand the importance of cooking and eating a warm nutritious meal. Unfortunately, the demands of everyday life, from work to childcare, leave many of us relying on refrigerated pasta salads or frozen ready meals at the end of the day. 

If this resonates with you, know that you’re not alone – and that there are alternatives!

With the right kitchen appliance, such as the Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL, you can take a significant amount of labor and stress out of the cooking process. 

The Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL is a pressure cooker that also functions as an air fryer, searing pan, broiler, steamer, dehydrator, yogurt maker, slow cooker and more. This versatile appliance massively simplifies and speeds up the process of cooking and cleaning.

I find that it shines best when you combine functions such as pressure cooking with air frying or pressure cooking with searing/sautéing to prepare one pot meals.

The ability to combine different cooking methods in 1 pot gives the food better flavor, texture and color, and eliminate the need to wash multiple pots. The intuitive interface also makes it really easy to switch from one function to the otjer.

It does not come cheap but adds value by eliminating clutter in the kitchen as you will need fewer countertop appliances.

Read on to find out if this is just the solution you need for your kitchen and lifestyle. 

The Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL: Reviewed 

What Does a Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL Do?

Electric pressure cookers and air fryers have been topping the wish lists of home cooks for years. And in 2018, Ninja took the lead to be the first in combining the air frying function with their multi-function electric pressure cooker, Ninja Foodi.

The Ninja Foodi Deluxe 8 qt is used to be known as a 9-in-1 appliances but has recently be re-marketed as the Ninja fd401 Foodi 8-quart 12-in-1 Deluxe XL that allows you to:

  1. Pressure Cook
  2. Air Crisp (Air Fry)
  3. Steam
  4. Dehydrate
  5. Make Yogurt
  6. Sear/Sauté
  7. Roast
  8. Broil
  9. Bake
  10. Sous Vide
  11. Slow Cook
  12. Keep Warm

The most common cooking function that you will be using is probably pressure cooking. Undoubtedly, the Ninja Foodi does an excellent job at this.

The pressure cooker function allows you to cook various food types, from meat to vegetables, in 70% less time than traditional cooking methods. If you don’t have much time on your hands, this function will be a HUGE TIMESAVER as it provides an easy and convenient way to tenderize a nice cut of meat.

Using Ninja’s Foodi Deluxe XL’s air fryer function, you can whip up delicious and satisfying fried food, but without the unnecessary fat and grease that can make you feel less than your best afterward. In fact, the air fryer function on the Foodi Deluxe produces an impressive 75% less fat than regular deep frying.

I shall not go into the details of all the functions.

However, I have to mention that I really like the fact that you can combine other cooking methods such as air fry or sear/saute with pressure cooking all in one pot. Pressure cooking hasten the cooking process while air frying or searing adds color, texture and flavor to the one pot meals. All these with minimal cleanup!

Finally, if you feel like trying your hand at making some yogurt, the Ninja Foodi Deluxe has this setting, too!

However, if you intend to do a lot of slow cooking, you’ll be better off with a dedicated slow cooker. Like many other multi-functional electric pressure cookers, the slow cooking function could be a hit or miss and temperatures are sometimes too low.

What Is the Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL Best For?

I think that the Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL shines best when you combine the pressure cooking function with the air crisp (air frying) function.

And that’s exactly what Ninja termed as their TenderCrisp Technology – pressure cooking to first lock the delicious juices in the food followed by crisping cycle using the air frying lid to add a layer of crispiness to the outside.

All in 1 pot, using 2 different lids.

For meat products such as roast chicken, this creates the perfect balance of moisture and crispy skin. The finished result will be succulent and delicious. 

TIP: Try dumping the liquid the water before starting the air crisp cycle for a crisper outer layer.

You can also use the TenderCrisp Technology on Brussels sprouts, Mac & Cheese and more. Do check out Ninja’s recipe for inspirations.

XL Cooking Capacity

The Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL has a large capacity of 8 qt for pressure cooking and 5 qt for air frying, which is larger than its predecessor. The capacity is large enough for you to prepare wholesome 360 meals for an entire family, or batch cooking/meal prepping.

8-Quart Pot

The main component of the Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL is the 8-Quart cooking pot, which can be used to whip up various meals in a fraction of the normal cooking time. 

The reason this feature is so central to the Ninja Foodi Deluxe is that it allows for large family meals to be prepared in the simplest, easiest way possible.

Using the cooking pot, you can simply place the ingredients that need cooking, choose the best setting for the meal you’re preparing (more on these settings later), and let the Ninja Foodi do its thing!

The cooking pot is coated with ceramic on the inside, so it can easily be wiped clean of any residual food after cooking. 

5-Quart Cook And Crisp Basket

Additionally, the Ninja Foodi Deluxe features a 5-quart Cook and Crisp Basket. 

One of the most exciting ways you can use your new Ninja Foodi Deluxe is by cooking an entire roast! The large capacity of the crisp basket allows for a whole roast chicken to be inserted into the basket. 

Cook More with the Deluxe Reversible Rack 

The Ninja Foodi Deluxe also comes with a stainless steel reversible cooking rack, which can be fitted inside the cooking pot or crisp basket.

The rack can be used in a high position for broiling chicken, meats and seafood. Or it can be reversed and used in the low position for steaming vegetables.

The best part?

You can layer the racks into 2 tiers so that you can do layered cooking. With this increased capacity, you can cook up to 8 chicken breasts, salmon fillets or beef patties.

I like that the racks are made of stainless steel as it will inevitably be exposed to juices, grease, and food remnants. Therefore, the cooking surface should be easily removable, easy to clean, corrosion-resistant, and dishwasher safe, which makes stainless steel a great material.

Is the Ninja FD401 Easy to Use?

Intuitive and Easy-to-Use Interface

One of the highlights about Foodi Deluxe XL’s user experience is the sleek control panel and intuitive interface.

There are 5 dedicated buttons for “Temperature”, “Function”, “Time”, “Keep Warm” and “On/Off”.

Within each mode, simply turn the large control knob at the center to set your desired cooking function, temperature and cook time. I find it easier and faster to scroll using the selector knob. After you are done with the settings, press the knob to start the cooking program.

Easy to Use Out of the Box

You can start using the Ninja FD401 pretty much straight out of the box as there’s nothing to assemble. All you need to do is unpack everything, wash the inner pots and plug the unit in to start using.

The Ninja Foodi Deluxe Pressure Cooker also comes with a Quick Start Guide with lots of illustration so you won’t feel lost.

Inter-changing the Lids

The crisping lid is attached to the main unit by the hinge. When using the modes requiring the air crisping lids, simply close the lid and start cooking.

If you require the pressure cooking lid, simply lift the crisping lid open and lock the pressure lid in place. There are arrows on the pressure lid and base to guide you. You will also hear a click sound when the pressure lid is securely locked.

Neither do you have to worry about not knowing which lid to use.

The Quick Start Guide has made clear illustrations of which lid to use for all the different functions. The lid to be used is also displayed on the LCD control panel as well!

Sear/Saute is the only function that works without a lid.

Easy to Clean

The crisping lid is usually easy to clean, requiring just a wipe down with a damp cloth. However, if there is a splatter, cleaning can get a little awkward as the lid is permanently attached to the hinge.

There are a few more steps to cleaning the pressure lid. You have to first remove the silicone ring and remove any food debris in the silicon ring and anti-clog cap. Wash the silicone ring in warm soapy water to remove any odor. Then, scrub the pressure lid with a soft sponge. But on the whole, clean up is very similar to other pressure cooking appliances.

Important: Do not soak the lids in water. Also avoid using scouring pads to prevent scratching and damaging the non-stick surfaces.

The pressure cooking pot is made of nonstick, ceramic-coating. Even if you have any food residues from slightly burning veggies while sauteing, it can be easily scrubbed off using a sponge.

The pressure lid, cooking pot, silicone ring, deluxe reversible rack, Cook & Crisp Basket and detachable diffuser are all dishwasher-safe. However, I do find them easy to hand wash.

Safety Features 

The Ninja FD401 has no less than 14 built-in safety features, which means that you don’t have to compromise your safety for the sake of faster, more efficient cooking. 

These safety features will prevent you from using any of the cooking settings without the machine being set up properly and will alert you if you need to make any changes or additions during the cooking process. 

With that being said, the alarm tone is on the quiet side, so you should make sure that you stay in a close enough range while the cooker is in operation. 

Stainless Steel Exterior 

Most of the Ninja Foodi Deluxe’s body is finished with stainless steel, which is exactly what you want in a high-quality kitchen appliance. 

Stainless steel is robust, resistant to general wear such as scratching, and isn’t corrosive, so you can count on this unit to last you for many years to come. 

Plus, the stainless steel finish has the advantage of making the Ninja Foodi Deluxe look very sleek and shiny on your countertop. All your friends and relatives will want to know what it is and what it does – and by the time you finish reading this article, you’ll be in the perfect position to tell them!

Cons to Consider

Cannot Fit Under Cabinets

The unit measures 16 inches wide by 14.6 inches deep by 14.3 inches high. This make the unit pretty tall so it may not fit on countertop spaces underneath the kitchen cabinets. Moreover, you need to provide additional overhead clearance for the attached lids.

If your height is on the shorter side, you will probably find it more challenging to peer into the insides of the cooking pot compared to the 6.5 qt unit.

Steam Release Valve Next to Vent

The steam release valve is right next to the vent, so you do have to be careful when releasing the steam. If you are new to pressure cooking, it could be a little scary at first but you will get used to it pretty quickly.

No Progress Bar

Unlike some other brands, the Ninja Foodi does not display a progress bar on it’s LCD control panel. However, “Pre” will be displayed on the display panel to indicate that the unit is building pressure while in the pressure cooking mode and actual cooking has yet to start.

What is Included in the Package?

The Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL includes the pressure cooker with the attached crisping lid, a pressure lid, 8 qt ceramic-coated non-stock cooking pot, 8 qt ceramic coated Cook & Crisp basket, stainless steel Deluxe Reversible Rack and a cookbook.

I liked that Ninja has included all the basic accessories that you need to get started and make the best out of the Foodi Deluxe.

Recipe Inspiration Guide

If you’re considering purchasing the Ninja Foodi Deluxe to make your life easier when it comes to cooking, then you’ll love the recipe guide that comes with the appliance.

The Ninja Foodi Deluxe inspiration guide contains 45 recipes that you can try out using the Ninja Foodi Deluxe.

This will be especially useful if your reason for buying this pressure cooker is that you don’t have much experience with ‘traditional’ cooking. If you’re at a loss for new meal ideas, the recipe guide will be a big help. 

What Other Accessories Can I Get?

Of course, there are more accessories that you can purchase separately depending on your needs.

Other useful accessories include:

  • Dehydrator Rack consisting of 5 stackable layers
  • Multi-Purpose Pan for making casseroles, pies or baking moist cakes
  • Loaf Pan for baking
  • Skewer Stand for kebabs
  • Roasting Rack Inserts for roasting a rack of ribs or toasting garlic breads

 PROS

  • Stainless Steel Finish – Wear and corrosion resistant 
  • Interior Non-Stick Ceramic Coating – Easy to clean
  • 12 Functions – Highly versatile 
  • 8-Quart Pot – Large capacity 
  • 2-Tier Reversible Rack – Increased flexibility and capacity
  • TenderCrisp Technology – Improves food taste and quality 
  • 14 Safety Features – Safe to use at all times 
  • Includes Recipe Guide – Good for inspiration

CONS

  • Relatively Expensive – Not a budget-friendly product 
  • Quiet Alarm Tone – Unsupervised use not advised 

What Are Your Alternatives?

Instant Pot Duo Crisp vs Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp is comparable to the Ninja FD401 while costing less usually. (ps. be sure to grab it when there’s a good deal on the Ninja Foodi!)

However, Ninja does a better job at air frying (especially large batches). Instant Pot was the pioneer of multi-functional electric pressure cookers. But they are later in the game when it comes to incorporating air frying.

Ninja Foodi Deluxe has spent more time perfecting the TenderCrisp technology. If a crispy golden finish to your meats is important, then we would recomend the Ninja Foodi Deluxe over the Instant Pot Duo Crisp.

On the other hand, if you are looking to explore and customize recipes with all sorts of ingredients, you’ll find that Instant Pot has a super strong community support.

Here are some of their differences to help you make up your mind.

Lids

One of the key difference is that both the pressure cooking and air frying lids for the Instant Pot Duo Crisp are totally removable. Though I do have to mention that Instant Pot’s air frying lid is also pretty heavy and tall. While you may be able to store the unit under a cabinet, you will probably not be able to use it under a cabinet due to the overhead clearance needed.

On the other hand, Ninja’s crisping lid stays attached, which could get in the way when you are stirring, sautéing or serving. It also makes the unit taller so it can’t fit under cabinets. The benefit is that you don’t have worry about where to place the air crisp lid while you are switching between the different cooking functions.

Control Panel

Personally, I find Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL’s control panel and dial knob more intuitive to use.

Instant Pot Duo Crisp’s control panel consists of a digital display, and buttons for selecting the program and customizing the settings.

Control Panel

Personally, I find Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL’s control panel and dial knob more intuitive to use.

Racks for Layered Cooking

Ninja comes with the deluxe reversible racks that provides allows you to cook more food by providing the flexibility to stack layers of food.

Material of Inner Pot

While I do appreciate that the non-stick ceramic coating on Ninja Foodi’s pots make it easier to wash, it may not be as long lasting as Instant Pot’s stainless steel inner pot.

Ninja Foodi Grill vs Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL

There are so many different appliances under Ninja Foodi that i wouldn’t blame you if you are confused.

If you are looking for an indoor grill, then the Ninja Foodi Grill is the one for you. It can air fry, grill, roast, bake and dehydrate. BUT it is not a pressure cooker.

Is the Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL Worth It?

The Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL is definitely one of the best pressure cooker/air fryer combo on the market.

If you think that you will eventually need both appliances, then the Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL is the one for you. It is an expensive but we think it’s worth it. The price is comparable, but it takes up far less counter space than buying 2 separate air fryer and pressure cooker. And there’s less to clean up!

With Ninja’s TenderCrisp technology, you’ll be able to prep a meal in a shorter time with the pressure lid, followed by the crisping cycle to give it a crispy crunch. The sauté function also adds more to the wonders of 1 pot meals, in terms of flavor, texture and color as well as the range of recipes.

Of course, it offers to do more just that – with a total of 12 functions.

The large capacity would be perfect if you are cooking wholesome 360 meals for the entire family, or you are doing batch cooking.

If you’re looking at ways to simplify your cooking life, we highly recommend it. 

More About Ninja 

Ninja is one of the most popular kitchenware and home appliance brands worldwide. In fact, of all the kitchen appliance companies in the world, Ninja is the 3rd largest!

As a brand, Ninja’s priority is helping customers to prioritize and enjoy healthy eating with the help of innovative, high-quality, and user-friendly culinary appliances.

Ninja’s appliances have won awards such as the Trusted Reviews Awards Best Kitchen Gadget category. 

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