So, disclaimer: I love my Instant Pot. I''ve had the 6 quart for a really long time, and then got an 8 quart, too, for those larger servings for guests (or when I want a bumper batch for leftovers for the week). So, with the introduction of this 6.5 quart Ninja...
So, disclaimer: I love my Instant Pot. I''ve had the 6 quart for a really long time, and then got an 8 quart, too, for those larger servings for guests (or when I want a bumper batch for leftovers for the week).
So, with the introduction of this 6.5 quart Ninja Foodi, I was really interested to see what Ninja could bring to the table to compete. Turns out, they brought quite a lot to the table, and then some.
1.) The interface on the Ninja is in a different league to the Instant Pot. It''s simplified to the max. I really like this, as the Instant Pot has so many options that are really just the same thing. This really keeps it simple.
2.) Comes to pressure so much faster than my 8 quart Instant Pot, and even feels a little faster than my 6 quart Instant Pot, too.
3.) Easy-to-read timer, with much better contrast than even the newer Instant Pots.
4.) Pressure cooking and then air frying chicken breasts worked a treat. It feels magical, and means no oven mess, no oven heating up the kitchen etc. Great stuff.
5.) Brussel sprouts cooked the same way was amazing. Soft, yet crispy bits abound.
6.) Mac and cheese = win.
7.) The manual is detailed, and the color cookbook it comes with was a really, really welcome surprise.
1.) It''s a really large appliance. It takes up quite a bit of room, especially since the separate pressure cooker lid needs a home, too.
2.) Uses an older-style mechanism for steam release. I quite like the newer Instant Pots with a button away from the steam release that you press to release steam, rather than having to put hands in potentially harm''s way to rotate the little steam mechanism. Not a huge deal, but something to bear in mind.
3.) Non-stick bowl. I debated as to whether this was a con or not. I tend to not like non-stick pans unless I have to use them (perfect for eggs). It makes cleanup easier etc, but... you know... chemicals and all that... It also means you can''t use metal implements, - not that you should be anyway, since they trash even stainless bowls like on the Instant Pot.
4.) Non-removable air-fryer lid. This makes the unit quite bulky when using the pressure cooker part, as the lid of the air fryer just sticks up there like a roof shingle that wasn''t nailed down properly. I''m guessing this was for safety, but still, it does make the thing a little unwieldy-looking on the counter. It also means if you store this in a cabinet, you can''t remove the air fryer lid to cut down on height.
5.) The air fryer doesn''t lock into place when closed. This hasn''t been an issue, except when I was using it for chicken breasts. The breasts weren''t that big, but the lid didn''t quite close fully and the chicken was pressing against the underside of the lid grill cover a little. Not a huge deal, and nothing bad happened. Adding a lock mechanism would probably be awkward, so I can understand its omission.
6.) With the Instant Pot, when you remove the pressure cooker lid, it can sit in a little slot on the side of the Instant Pot itself, which is so, so, so handy. With the Foodi, you have to do a little hand gymnastics to place the lid face up on the counter when you remove it. The addition of the air fryer looks like it means there wasn''t a good way to have a side-mounted holder for the pressure cooker lid. This is a sad omission.
7.) Heavier than the 6 quart Instant Pot. And more bulky (obviously!).
Overall, then, if you have to have just ONE appliance - either the 6 quart Instant Pot or the 6.5 quart Foodi, there''s no question - get the Foodi. It''s basically an Instant Pot taken to the next level, and that''s about the highest praise I can heap upon it. If you NEED 8 quarts, though - then Instant Pot it is. For the most part, though, 6.5 quarts covers me perfectly, so I''ll be using the Foodi 90% of the time. It''s that good. It does more than the Instant Pot, and that is enough to offset all the cons listed above.
4.75 out of 5. Outstanding.
*EDIT October 26, 2018*
Just finished air frying some potatoes. I added a picture of them, and the whole procedure was so easy. Chop some potatoes, throw some oil and salt on them, dump then in the air fryer, stir them every 5-10 minutes for a second, and 25 minutes later I''ve got delicious fries, - all without roasting my kitchen with the oven on, or making an oven mess with trays etc. What a joy. The fries (well, more like mini-wedges) were cooked to perfection, and were absolutely delicious. Brilliant.
*EDIT October 26, 2018*
Ninja has now introduced an 8 quart Foodi. So if you can afford the money and size, no question - the Foodi is the one to get at either size.