Ninja Woodfire review: outdoor cooking without charcoal or gas

An electric outdoor BBQ style grill and smoker

ninja woodfire on patio next to a flower pot
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future / Helen McCue)

TechRadar Verdict

The Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill is designed for cooking outdoors – but, surprisingly, it’s electric. So in addition to being a grill and smoker, it can also air fry, roast and bake. Its clever self-igniting woodfire smoke box uses convenient wood pellets to create smoky flavors just like cooking over a wood or charcoal fire. It’s a great bit of kit that’s perfect for balconies and terraces, where you can’t cook over a real fire.


  • +

    Creates tasty, smoky flavors with minimal mess and hassle

  • +

    Very intuitive to use

  • +

    Only requires a small scoop of pellets


  • -

    Not big enough for larger gatherings

  • -

    Accessories can’t go in dishwasher

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One-minute review

Ninja makes some of the most multi-functional kitchen appliances around. Several of its air fryers have made it into our best air fryer roundup, and while it already has a range of indoor grills, the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill - also known as the Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ Grill & Smoker in the UK - is its first outdoor cooking appliance.

This electric outdoor grill offers the convenience and control of cooking on gas, combined with the smoky flavors of charcoal or wood barbecues. It does this by igniting a tiny amount of wood pellets and infusing the smoke into the grill.

Not only is this appliance a game changer if you only have a balcony or tiny patio, but it offers easy, mess-free outdoor cooking no matter where you plan to cook – so long as you have access to power. Furthermore, this isn’t just a BBQ/grill alternative; it offers multiple cooking functions. It can air fry, bake, roast, and it’s a smoker, too.

On test it proved its worth. It’s so easy to use and creates tasty, smoky flavors without a flame and with minimal mess. The bake and air fry functions worked as expected, and I enjoyed baking a brownie in the garden. This is a great outdoor cooking appliance that's sure to plug a gap in the market.

Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill review: price and availability

  •  List price: $370 / £350 / AU$899.99

The Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill is available direct from Ninja US and Ninja UK, priced at $370/ £350. In Australia, the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill will set you back AU$899.99 and is available directly from the Ninja Kitchen online store, as well as JB Hi-Fi.

If you’re looking to store it outdoors, you’ll also need to invest in the waterproof cover that costs an additional $20 / £20 / AU$49. At the time of writing the Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ Grill Cover was out of stock in the UK.

Since it can be set up on any table, there’s no requirement to purchase the collapsible grill stand, but for those who want it, it’s a further $150 / £130 / AU$249. There are often bundle deals available, so it’s worth browsing the Ninja website and checking out what’s the best deal for the grill and range of accessories you’re hoping to add on.

The wood pellets cost $32 / £30 for two 2lbs/900g bags, which should last up to 40 cooking sessions. In Australia, a single 900g bag will set you back AU$25.

  • Value score: 4.5/5

Ninja Woodfire review: specifications

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The specs of our Ninja Woodfire review unit
Price:$370/ £350
Cooking functions: Grill, Smoker, Roast, Bake, Dehydrate, Air Crisp, and Broil (US model)/ Grill, Smoker, Roast, Bake, Dehydrate, Air Fry, Reheat (UK model)
Weight:30lbs/ 12kg
Size:13.4 x 23.6 x 18.1in / 34 x 60 x 46cm (h x w x d)
Air fry capacity:3lbs / 1.5kg
Grill size:11 x 14.6in / 28 x 37cm

Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill review: design and features

  • Can be used in the rain
  • Multiple cooking functions
  • Most functions can be used with or without smoke

In the US, the Woodfire Grill is available in red or gray, but UK and Aussie customers only have the latter option. It comes with a sample bag of each type of pellet, a pellet scoop, as well as the grill plate and crisper basket. There’s even a handy recipe book for inspiration, and it includes several pages of cooking charts at the back with suggested cook times and temperatures to get you started.

The cooking functions are Grill, Smoker, Roast, Bake, Dehydrate, Air Crisp and Broil (the UK model excludes the Broil function, but offers a Reheat mode instead). The large dial on the left of the control panel makes it easy to toggle through the different cooking modes, after which cook time and temperature are adjusted using the buttons below the screen.

There’s a start / stop button on the front, but also a second on/off switch under the left side of the machine. It’s quite poorly located, and virtually impossible to see, but once you know roughly where it is, you can just about find it with your hand.

The Woodfire flavor technology button can be selected when you want to add smoke to one of the functions. Simply select the cooking mode, time and temperature, then press the Woodfire button and add wood pellets to the smoker box. Cleverly, the grill will automatically ignite the wood pellets and direct smoke into the grill. There’s no flame; just a small, enclosed pot of smoking pellets.

Wood pellets in the ninja woodfire

(Image credit: Future / Helen MCue)

I was surprised to read that the appliance can be used in the rain; but, obviously, if you’re running an extension power cord outside, you’ll want to be careful that it’s protected from the rain. The grill can be stored outdoors, too, if you buy the Ninja grill cover to keep it protected.

The large side handles make it pretty easy to move around. The sturdy lid handle stays cool in use and makes the Ninja grill easy to open. The accessories aren't dishwasher safe – which, in my opinion, is an oversight. Having said that, they're all non-stick and small enough to soak in the sink for removing any burnt-on residues.

Hand on ninja woodfire handle

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

There’s far less setup than I was expecting. The side handles screw on using the hex tool provided, after which it’s just a case of placing the accessories inside.

Ninja woodfire out the box to show all accessories

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)
  • Design score: 4.5/5

Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill review: performance

  • Tasty, smoky-flavored food
  • Wood pellets ignite automatically and quickly
  • Heats up fast 

The most exciting function to try out was the grill with added woodsmoke. Setting it up was simple: I added a scoop of wood pellets into the smoke box at the side, set the grill time and temperature, and pressed the Woodfire button before hitting Start. First, the Ninja ignites the pellets – this took four minutes and during this time I started to see some smoke coming out.

Once the wood pellets are burning, the grill begins to preheat. It was set to the high temperature, with the preheat taking six minutes. I managed to find enough space on the grill plate for four chicken thighs, two burgers, a bell pepper that I’d cut into slices and five chunky slices of halloumi.

I put the chicken in first, adding the pepper and burger after four minutes. Then, following a further four minutes, I turned everything and added the halloumi. At this point I could see that the burgers were already quite charred, so I only cooked them for 2 minutes on the second side. The chicken thighs took 12 minutes, while the peppers cooked for 8 minutes and the halloumi took just 4 minutes.

All of the resulting food had a good smoky flavor, even the halloumi that only cooked for 4 minutes. The chicken skin was deliciously crisp and smoky, but the smoke flavor hadn’t made it into the meat beneath – probably because I kept opening the lid of the grill. 

Grilling food on the ninja woodfire

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

Despite cooking much quicker than expected, the burgers were still juicy and smoky. The peppers were super tasty, too. Given how frequently I opened the lid, I was surprised that all the food still developed a recognizable smoky hit.

With cooking complete, it took 2 ½ hours for the wood pellets to completely burn away, which meant I couldn’t bring the grill back into the house until quite late. As such, I’d probably use fewer than a whole scoop of pellets next time. The tiny smoke box barely had any ash in it at the end; it lifts out easily and I just sprinkled the ash onto my flower bed, or you could tip it straight into the trash.

I also tried out the Ninja grill's Smoker function, for which setup was similar. I filled up the smoke box with a scoop of pellets. This time, after the initial 4-minute ignition, it didn’t require any further preheat time and started counting down the 30 minutes I’d set on the timer. 

I added four salmon fillets, cooking the fish at the default temperature of 250ºF/ 120ºC. I let them smoke for 25 minutes before lifting the lid, at which point they were perfectly cooked. The fish was moist and flaky, with a deep, rich smoky flavor. It was a great result and so easy to achieve.

Cooked salmon on the ninja woodfire

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

To test out the bake function, I made brownies using this recipe. It only took 3 minutes to preheat the grill to 340ºF/ 170ºC. And 22 minutes for brownies with a deliciously gooey center. The edges were a little cakey, so in hindsight the brownie could have been removed a few minutes sooner. The aroma of chocolate brownie wafting around my garden in the breeze was certainly a novelty. And I’d absolutely class this as a successful, tasty outdoor baking session.

made a brownie in the ninja woodfire

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

In my experience, Ninja air fryers are usually very good for making fries, so I gave them a go in the Woodfire using the Air Fryer function. I didn’t add wood smoke because I wanted to assess the Air Fryer function on its own. I pre-soaked my fries for 30 minutes before drying and coating lightly in oil. Following the 3 minutes to preheat, I added my 1lb/ 500g of cut potatoes, which looked like a minuscule portion in the large basket that has a 3lbs/1.5kg capacity.

I flipped the fries every 5 minutes or so. I was expecting them to take around 20 minutes, but I removed them after 16 minutes because they were nicely golden brown, crisped and with fluffy centers.

cooked fries in the ninja woodfire

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

Having to hand-wash the basket and grill plate was a bit annoying, but it’s a small sacrifice to make given how easy the Woodfire grill is to use. I should also mention that there’s a drip tray included; simply place it under the back of the grill and it collects all the excess fat for easy disposal.

  • Performance score: 5/5

Should I buy the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill?

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Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill report card
ValueSlightly pricey, but given everything it’s capable of, this grill is worth it.4.5/ 5
DesignVery simple control panel and good-quality accessories; but the main on/off button is awkwardly positioned and the accessories aren’t dishwasher safe.4.5 / 5
PerformanceEffortlessly simple to use and creates delicious foods in minutes with no hassle and minimal mess.5 / 5

Buy it if...

Your only outside space is a balcony

If you love outdoor cooking, but you only have a balcony and your building doesn’t allow charcoal or gas barbecues, the Ninja Woodfire is the product you’ve been waiting for.

You love the flavor of food cooked over charcoal or wood

That deep, rich smokiness that's infused into foods cooked over wood or charcoal is very enjoyable, but not very practical to achieve. The Ninja Woodfire is quick at delivering these flavors – you can even do it on a weeknight.

You want convenient outdoor cooking

There’s no gas bottle, no bag of charcoal; just a small bag of wood pellets and a power cord. The Woodfire is quick to set up and quick to heat up – it offers the ultimate in convenience.

Don’t buy it if...

You’re cooking for large gatherings

The grill plate is big enough to cook for 2-4 people. If you’re cooking for a crowd, you’ll have to grill in batches. However, it cooks so quickly that this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

You want dishwasher-safe accessories

One of its biggest downfalls is that the accessories are hand-wash only. Thankfully, they’re small enough to soak in the sink, if they get really grimy.

You want a cover and stand included in the price

While an accompanying stand and cover for the grill area available, they’re optional extras. Look out for bundle deals that might offer a partial saving.

Also consider...

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Ninja Foodi Max Dual Zone Air Fryer AF400UKNinja Foodi Smart XL 6-in-1 Indoor Grill & Air Fryer with Built in Thermometer, 2nd Generation, DG551Ninja Foodi Max 15-in-1 SmartLid Multi-Cooker/ Ninja Foodi 14-in-1 8-qt. Smart XL Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer with SmartLid
Price:£229.99 / $219.99$279$349.99/ £299.99
Cooking functions:Air Fry, Roast, Bake, Dehydrate, Reheat and Max CrispGrill, Air fry, Roast, Bake, Dehydrate, BroilPressure cook, Air fry, Grill, Bake, Dehydrate, Prove, Sear/ sauté, Steam, Slow cook, Yogurt, Steam meals, Steam air fry, Steam roast, Steam bake, Steam bread, Keep-warm. The US model doesn’t offer the steam meals, steam roast or steam bread functions, but does have a sous vide function instead.
Weight: 19.8lbs/ 8.8kg16lbs/ 7.3kg25.8 lbs/ 11.7kg
Size: 13.9 x 12.8 x 17.1 inches/ 32.5 x 41.5 x 27cm (h x w x d)16 x 11.1 x 15.7 inches/ 40.6 x 28.2 x 40cm14.25 x 14.21 x 15.39 inches/ 36 x 35 x 36cm
Capacity:10 quarts/ 9.5 liters (split evenly across two baskets)4 quarts/ 3.8 liters8 quarts/ 7.5 liter

If you’re not sure about the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill , here are a couple of other options to consider...


Proscenic T31 air fryer oven

If you want a multi-functional air fryer with a twist for cooking indoors, this model from Proscenic might hit the spot. It includes a bunch of rotisserie accessories that will delight meat lovers. And the 13 presets offer easy cooking at the touch of a button. 

Read our Proscenic T31 air fryer oven review to learn more


Cuisinart TOA-60 Air Fryer Toaster Oven

With seven cooking functions this air fryer toaster oven from Cuisinart is sure to earn its place on your counter. The four dials make it intuitive to use, but for some people the small 3lbs / 1.3kg air-fry capacity won't be enough. The drop-down door and window in the front make the design very user friendly.

Read our Cuisinart TOA-60 Air Fryer Toaster Oven review to learn more

How I tested the Ninja Woodfire

  • I used four of the cooking functions
  • I assessed how easy the woodsmoke function is to use
  • I noted how easy it was to clean away charred and greasy residues

Having been reviewing household appliances for several years, I’ve reviewed multiple air fryers and BBQs, but never anything quite like the Ninja Woodfire Grill – so I was excited to try this one out. 

To test the Air Fry function, I made home-cut fries – something we make to evaluate all the air fryers we review. I baked a brownie using the Bake function – it offered a great way to see whether the base of the brownie would be crisped by the bottom heating element (it wasn’t). Then I used the Woodfire Grill purely as a smoker, and also as a grill with added smoke. Both functions enabled me to get to grips with smoke function.

Throughout all the tests I assessed the appliance for ease of use, ease of clean-up, and the overall quality of the grill alongside the quality of the food it delivered. I was also taking note of how fast it was to heat up, cook and cool down.

Read more about how we test.

[First reviewed May 2023]

Helen McCue
Freelance Contributor

Helen is a freelance writer who specializes in kitchen appliances and has written for some of the biggest home-related titles around. She has been reviewing small appliances, including blenders, juicers, and multi-cookers, for more than 8 years,  and also upholsters furniture when she's not testing the latest food tech gadgets.