I Tried the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer: Review


Sometimes, after a long day, there’s nothing more frustrating than realizing you *still* have to cook dinner. The prep work, the actual cooking, the inevitable mess – it all adds up to serious drudgery (or, if you’re like me, a takeout order, which unless you’re rolling in dough, you can’t do it everyday).

So if I find a gadget that can do most of the work for me, I’m more than curious. Enter: The Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer.

The Ninja Foodi offers three cooking modes, 14 functions and all the accessories you need to prepare almost any meal. It’s an air fryer, oven, stove and more, all in one convenient pan. Plus, its pressure cooking mode supposedly cuts cooking time by 70% (anything to spend less time in the kitchen).

Oh, and the online reviews are stellar. “I have never been so impressed with a household appliance!” a user wrote. Someone else added, “The Ninja Foodi has changed the way we cook.”

I thought it sounded too good to be true, so I put the Ninja Foodi to the test. I was a little nervous at first, as I had no previous experience with pressure cookers (like the famous Instant Pot). High pressure and hot steam? No thanks. But I was determined to give my best to pressure cooking.

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For a week, I made all my dinners at Foodi. And I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the results. Although I’m not a professional chef, I was able to whip up some impressive dinners (all without even thinking about my Chipotle order!).

Curious if this cooker lives up to the hype? Here is my review:

So… what is the Ninja Foodi, anyway?

The Ninja Foodi is a “pressure cooker that steams and crisps,” according to its description. Basically, it’s an all-in-one jar.

Ninja® Foodi® 14-in-1 8 qt. XL Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer with SmartLid™



The Foodi comes with three cooking modes: Pressure mode, SteamCrisp mode and Air Fry/Stovetop mode. It also has 14 functions, which can do everything from loaves of bread to fresh yogurt. Here is the full list:

  • Pressure
  • Steam and crisp (for making whole meals at once)
  • Steam and bake (for baking cakes and quick breads)
  • Air fry
  • Grill
  • Bake/Roast
  • Dehydrate
  • Proof (to help the dough rise)
  • Sear/sauté (to use the pan as a cooker)
  • To smoke
  • Sous vide (for cooking food sealed in a plastic bag in a regulated bain-marie)
  • Slow cooking
  • Yogurt (to pasteurize and ferment milk to make homemade yogurt)
  • Keep warm

    The Foodi also comes with a few accessories, including two racks, a separate basket for air frying, and its own recipe book.

    How is it different from an Instant Pot?

    The Foodi is similar to a Instant Pot in some ways – they look nearly identical, to begin with – but there are a few key differences.

    First off, the Instant Pot has 13 functions, while the Ninja Foodi has 14. The Instant Pot doesn’t have cooking or air frying modes, but it does have a rice cooker mode. , which the Foodi does not have (however, you can still cook rice in the Foodi).

    Personally, I also prefer the Ninja Foodie screen because it has fewer buttons than the Instant Pot. Plus, the screen will only illuminate certain choices, so you’ll never be tempted to cross paths with the wrong mode with the wrong function.

    It’s also worth nothing that the Instant Pot is much cheaper than the Foodi, by a few hundred dollars. But with the added ability to air fry, I think the Foodi is worth it for the right kind of home cook.

    My dinner week:

    My goal was to turn Foodi into a regular dinner week (meaning no special changes to my regular menu). On Monday, I started the week strong by cooking a whole chuck roast. I threw the roast in the Foodi on a rack with water and spices in the bottom of the pot. I was more than skeptical, but I used the pot’s SteamCrisp mode and ended up with a perfect piece of meat:

    Foodi ninja pressure cooker steam fryer review

    Sarah Felibin

    Foodi ninja pressure cooker steam fryer review

    Sarah Felibin

    On Tuesday I tried the sauté function of the stockpot and made French Onion Soup. The jar has way hotter than I expected which helped caramelize the onions quickly. Once I figured out how to adjust the heat, all I had to do was use the broil mode to melt some cheese on top (baguette slices, of course).

    Foodi ninja pressure cooker steam fryer review

    Sarah Felibin

    Foodi ninja pressure cooker steam fryer review

    Sarah Felibin

    Then I overcame my fear of pressure cooking and made some chickpeas to use in a colorful chopped salad on Wednesday. I highly recommend topping your vegetables of choice with this bandage from @bakedbymelissa on TikTok—trust me, it’s worth the extra ingredients!

    Then on Thursday I gave the SteamCrisp method another shot and made Caprese Chicken Breasts over Pesto Orzo. This recipe is taken straight from the Foodi cookbook. I was worried that the chicken and pasta would cook unevenly or overcooked, but the Foodi once again proved me wrong.

    Foodi ninja pressure cooker steam fryer review

    Sarah Felibin

    Foodi ninja pressure cooker steam fryer review

    Sarah Felibin

    Friday is always pizza night, but I was excited to try the air fry in Foodi. So, I chopped up some kale and topped it with my favorite seasonings, like nutritional yeast and garlic salt, and added olive oil. I started with a huge pile of leafy greens and ended with the perfect portion of crispy, crunchy kale chips. And, I discovered that it is Absolutely the best way to eat your vegetables.

    Foodi ninja pressure cooker steam fryer review

    Sarah Felibin

    Foodi ninja pressure cooker steam fryer review

    Sarah Felibin

    The final verdict:

    The Ninja Foodi is truly a powerful home appliance. It does virtually everything from air frying to baking and even making yogurt from scratch. That being said, it’s definitely not for everyone.

    Firstly, it’s expensive, so if you’re really only interested in one or two of the functions, like dehydration mode or air fry mode, it might be better to find something cheaper and more specialized. To get your money’s worth, you’ll need to make a lot of meals in the Foodi.

    Although I found the number of modes, functions, and buttons might seem overwhelming, the Ninja Foodi Cookbook has helpful charts in the back that explain exactly how to cook virtually any ingredient.

    The Foodi probably isn’t ideal for people who live in small spaces either. It’s big and heavy, so you’ll need plenty of counter space and plenty of storage space when you’re not using it. Some modes, like SteamCrisp mode, can also get quite noisy, which can be annoying in a studio setting.

    If you regularly prepare your meals, then the Foodi is perfect for you. It can prepare a large amount of food quickly (we’re talking in minutes) and you can cook meat, vegetables, starches and more at the same time. It’s a batch cooker’s dream! And, if you’re a serious home chef, the Foodi will let you experiment with all kinds of cooking that would otherwise be difficult to do on your own.

    I’ve enjoyed using it, and while I won’t be taking it out with every meal, I’m already planning my next Foodi experience: vegan mac and cheese, anyone?

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