Ninja is the kitchen appliance brand that just seems to be going from strength to strength. Not only is it known for making some of the best multi-cookers and air fryers around, but it’s continually innovating, producing numerous multipurpose appliances such as its blenders that double as food processors.
The Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer is known as the Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill in the US or the Ninja Foodi Airgrill in Australia. Like many air fryers, it offers other cooking functions in addition to air frying. These include bake, roast and dehydrate, but it’s the grill function that sets it apart from the rest. It allows you to chargrill foods, but a smoke-control system means you can do it indoors without setting off your smoke alarm. It’s like having an outdoor grill or barbecue in your kitchen.
It comes with a cooking pot, crisper basket and grill plate, all of which are non-stick and dishwasher-safe; but not all can be stored inside the appliance at the same time. When measured in quarts or liters, the air fry basket isn’t huge. However, it feels generously sized thanks to its wide and shallow design, which means food can be spread out for better results.
On test we were impressed with the air frying and grilling results, but there’s no denying this is a chunky appliance that demands a lot of countertop space - especially when compared to slightly less bulky competitors likes some of the best air fryers we’ve seen. As such, it isn’t ideal for smaller kitchens. However, it’s worth it if you’ll get a lot of use out of the grill function; otherwise, you may as well plump for one of Ninjas standard air fryers instead.
Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer price and availability
- List price: £199.99/ $229.99 / AU$399.99
As mentioned above, the Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer is known as the Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill in the US or the Ninja Foodi Airgrill in Australia. You can buy it direct from Ninja and the price is similar to Ninja's other large-capacity air fryers. However, with this model you also get the ability to grill indoors as well as bake, dehydrate and roast.
Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer: design
- Intuitive control panel
- Auto preheat
- Dishwasher-safe parts
This Ninja grill and air fryer was chunkier than we were expecting, measuring 11 x 14 x 17 inches/ 26 x 35.6 x 45cm (h x w x d). In addition, the configuration of the hinged lid means it requires a fair bit of clearance around the rear to allow it to open fully. Not being able to push it to the back of the countertop only contributes to the unit feeling bigger than it is. Of course, you can push it back when it isn’t in use, but it still demands a good chunk of counter space.
The main cooking pot has a 6-quart/ 5.7-liter capacity, and if you’re air frying then you’ll need to insert the crisper basket, which knocks down the capacity to 4 quarts/ 3.8 liters. For grilling, there’s a heavy grill plate that sits inside the main cooking pot. Everything is dishwasher-friendly, but those without such an appliance needn’t worry since a stiff brush is also provided to help with cleaning the grill plate by hand. If you want to store the Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer away in a cupboard, you’ll need space not only for the appliance itself, but also either the grill plate or the crisper basket, since both items can’t be stored inside the unit at the same time.
The control panel is easily accessible at the front of the appliance and is simple to use. For grilling, you can choose one of four heat levels. The air fryer can be set at temperatures between 300-450oF / 150-240oC; for roasting, the temperature range is 250-500oF / 120-260oC; or you can bake at 250-400oF / 120-210oC. The dehydrate function uses lower temperatures between 105-195oF / 40-90oC, but requires longer cook times. The screen combined with straightforward arrow buttons to adjust time and temperature mean there’s no complicated setup. The Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer even preheats automatically, informing you when it’s hot enough to add your food. It doesn’t remind you to shake or stir when air frying, however.
A quick-start guide as well as a recipe book with cooking charts offers plenty of guidance on time and temperature selections for common foods. Although note that there are very few suggestions for the roast and bake functions, so these will require some trial and error.
Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer: Performance
- Plenty of space to spread out food when air frying
- Bar marks from grill are curved not straight
- Foods cook and brown evenly
Using this air fryer is slightly different to a standard air fryer with a pull-out basket. Instead, the crisper basket here drops into the appliance; you access food by lifting the top lid. The set-up is no better or worse than other air fryers, but it’s a bit trickier to shake food mid-cooking, since you’ll have to lift out the hot crisper basket in order to do so.
To test out the air fry function, we cooked up a batch of frozen thick-cut fries. We set the temperature to 360oF / 180oC, allowing the cooker to preheat with the crisper basket inside. This took just three minutes. Once hot, the Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer prompted us to add the food and automatically started the countdown timer on closing the lid. There’s no reminder to shake or turn food during air frying, but we checked it half way through, lifting out the basket with oven gloves to give the fries a shake. After 20 minutes, the resulting fries were crisp, golden and perfectly cooked. Not only did they taste great, but they cooked faster than the 28 minutes they would have taken in an oven.
Next, we air-fried chicken wings, and we were impressed that there was enough space in the basket to hold seven wings side-by-side – you could easily fit more in, if you piled them on top of each other. Before air frying, we coated the wings in ½ tbsp oil and preheated the air fryer to 400oF / 200oC. We turned the wings after 10 minutes, and 15 minutes later they were cooked through with beautifully golden crisp skin and moist tender meat.
For our third test, we assessed the Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer’s ability to cook raw hand-cut fries. As per the advice in the air fry chart, we soaked the raw fries in cold water for 30 minutes then dried them thoroughly. We coated them in 1tbsp oil and preheated the air fryer to 400oF / 200oC. The cooking chart advises 23-26 minutes, and we gave them a shake following 10 and 15 minutes of cooking. We removed them after 18 minutes because they were cooked and golden brown. The insides were fluffy and the crisping and browning on the outsides of the fried was pretty even.
The ability to grill is a core function of this air fryer, so we tried it out by grilling two beef burgers. We followed the suggestion in the grill chart and set it on high for 6 minutes. The grill is slower to preheat – it takes around 8 minutes – and you have to make sure the grill plate is inside, so it’s hot when the food is added. Once preheated, we added the burgers and then turned them after 3 minutes of cooking. We were impressed with the minimal amount of smoke and cooking smells emitted by the Ninja. The burgers were nicely cooked with charred lines on the outside, but the shape of the bars on the grill plate means the markings on the burgers were curved as opposed to the traditional straight marks you’d expect.
Cleaning the cooking pot and basket is easy thanks to the non-stick coating, or you can pop it in the dishwasher. The grill plate is a little more fiddly to wash by hand, but it’s made easier by using the brush that’s supplied by Ninja.
The air fryer didn’t go louder than 55dB on our noise meter; the grill was slightly noisier, but still only reached 58dB – which isn’t too loud at all.
Should I buy the Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer?
Buy it if...
You want smoke-free indoor grilling
There’s something very aesthetically pleasing, not to mention super-tasty about chargrilled lines on your meats, fish and veggies. But getting a pan hot enough to do this indoors can lead to clouds of smoke. If you want to grill food with minimal smoke, this is the appliance for you.
You want an air fryer that allows you to spread out food
Despite the relatively compact 4-quart/ 3.7-liter crisper basket, the Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer feels like a more spacious air fryer. The basket is shallower and wider than others of a similar volume, meaning foods can be spread out instead of piled up, for much better results.
You don’t want to do any scrubbing
The perfect end to the perfect meal is not having to wash anything by hand. With the Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer, all the removable parts can go straight into the dishwasher for super-easy cleaning.
Don't buy it if...
You’re short on counter space
This is a bulky appliance that you can’t tuck discreetly into the corner of your kitchen. And when in use, it needs to sit towards the front of your counter to allow enough clearance at the back for the lid to open properly.
You want a dual-zone air fryer
With just one cooking zone, this air fryer doesn’t offer the same flexibility as a dual-zone model. If you’re looking for an air fryer that allows you to cook fries in one basket while you cook chicken wings in the other, this isn’t the model for you.
You don’t think you’ll use the grill
The grill function is a big part of the design of this air fryer, so if you don’t think you’ll use it, you’re better off considering one of Ninja's other air fryers. A similar-capacity model without the grill function will be far less expensive, too.
First reviewed: May 2022