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Ninja Foodi Smart XL Grill 6-in-1 with 4-Quart Air Fryer Review (2021)

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The multi-functional cookers have been incredibly popular, but their bulky designs can require dedicated storage space, as I all know. Like most home cooks, I will only give up precious kitchen space for appliances that are truly worth their salt.

I took full advantage of the opportunity to review the Ninja Foodi Smart XL 6-in-1 Indoor Grill once it became available. I heard incredible things about this indoor grill. It can also be used for air frying, a cooking method that uses heated air to brown and crisp food, just like a deep fryer without all the calories and fat from deep frying. 

Is the Ninja Foodi Grill XL worth it?

Ninja Foodi Grill XL is worth the price, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to operate. I enjoyed the cooking process while using the Indoor foodi grill from Foodi. Usually, grilling requires some practice; however, the grill allows it to be a relatively effortless and seamless process.

Plus, it also dehydrates all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and meat to go with healthy snacks. Additionally, it has roasted and baked settings that mimic oven functionality, a useful feature for extra oven space while hosting parties and holiday dinners.

In addition to being robust enough to rival the power of outdoor grills, Ninja’s Indoor Grill is even capable of cooking from frozen for perfectly chargrilled steaks and burger patties. Having the ability to grill year-round without leaving the house or even worrying whether the propane tank is nearly empty sounds like a dream come true. I grabbed my Ninja Foodi Grill XL and set to work testing its functionality in my kitchen. Here is what I found.

Buy: Ninja FG551 Foodi Smart XL 6-in-1 Indoor Grill at Amazon

Plug it in, and It’s Ready To Go.

Foodi Grill setup is straightforward. I removed the packaging materials, gave the cooking pans and grill grate a quick hand wash, plugged it in, and I was ready to go.

The Design Is Attractive But Big and Bulky.

A stainless steel exterior and black finish allow the Foodi grill to blend in with most kitchens. Its size, however, could make it hard to place in some kitchens. The Foodi Grill measures about 15.7 L x 16.54 W x 11.05 H and you can grill up to 50% more food than the original Ninja Foodi Grill XL for bigger family-sized meals.

At first, I thought there would not be enough space to pull the lid open; it did, but barely. It stands 15 pounds, one of the heaviest devices I’ve used, so I would recommend storing it where you intend to use it if space allows.

Grill grate, cooking pot, and crisper basket are ceramic coated with nonstick properties and free from potentially harmful chemicals. The cookware pieces are heavy-duty, durable, and quality built.

Heat is exceptionally intense and cooks food rapidly, so it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it appliance.

Buy: Ninja FG551 Foodi Smart XL 6-in-1 Indoor Grill at Amazon

The Smart XL Grill Cyclonic Grilling Technology Has Several Features.

A result of the Foodi’s high heat is that it mimics a traditional grill’s cooking results. A top-down heat source produces temperatures up to 500 degrees. An electric fan pushes hot air around the food to cook it quickly and evenly with grill-like results; Ninja calls this combination its Cyclonic Grilling Technology.

Furthermore, the grill also features a smoke control system that results in a considerably lower level of smoke in your kitchen when cooking at high temperatures. Over the heating element, a metal mesh screen snaps in over the mesh to contain grease splatter and reduce smoke.

The control panel has intuitive, one-touch buttons to power the unit on and off, select your cooking function, and set cooking time and temperature anywhere from 105 to 500 degrees. You can choose between four preset temperatures when grilling: low, medium, high, and max. A cooking guide is included to help you select the best settings for whatever you’re grilling, which I used to base all my cooking times and temperatures.

Overall Performance: Impressively Crisped Crust and Browning

The Ninja Foodi Grill XL is the most durable and practical air fryer that I’ve ever used. It cuts through meat and veggies, caramelizes a steak to a perfect crispness, and leaves the meat moist. I was delighted with my purchase.

I used it within minutes of plugging the machine in, and there was no need to read the instructions. It had a straightforward control panel, and once I selected the time and temperature, the machine kicked into push mode and preheated as soon as I added the food. Preheating took 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the setting.

I used the air fryer function to cook the frozen french fries and tater tots while grilling marinated salmon filets, chicken breasts, hot dogs, and salmon burgers. As a result, my salmon had crispy skin and was caramelized even without turning it over, the chicken looked chargrilled, and my potatoes were golden. I didn’t notice any smoke while cooking.

My meals seem to have come out pretty well, though I must admit that the very first few things I made that I cooked were slightly overcooked and dry, which was more of a user error on my part rather than a cooker problem.

Cooking with the Foodi is a learning experience even though the included cooking guide helps you determine each food’s time and temperature. I suggest starting with a cooking time of the shortest recommended measure and checking for doneness with a food thermometer to make sure you aren’t burning your food. The oven’s powerful heat can cook food rapidly, so you can’t set it and forget it.

Using tongs or a spatula for flipping My meats and give my potatoes a toss without touching the hot basket is straightforward because the lid opens up. I used the air fryer to create even grill marks and crisping on my foods. The grill grate can hold enough meat or fish to feed a family of four, and the crisper basket is deep enough to fit an entire bag of frozen fries or tots. You can’t grill and crisp at the same time, so you need to plan accordingly.

If you are looking to bake or roast foods, you may find that the overall shape and size limit the amount you can cook with the Foodi. I’ll probably limit myself to the roasting and baking functions of the Foodi if my oven is already overcrowded. Some reviews suggest that Foodi Grill does an excellent job drying fruit slices. However, its capacity is limited, limiting your options because you can only do small batches before having to do several hours of drying.

My salmon had crisp skin and was caramelized on top even without flipping, the chicken looked chargrilled, and my potatoes were golden.

Buy: Ninja FG551 Foodi Smart XL 6-in-1 Indoor Grill at Amazon

Cleaning Ninja Foodi Smart XL: Burned-on Food No Match for Nonstick Coating

A nonstick ceramic-coated grill grate, crisper basket, and cooking pot can be easily used at home or put in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. I used the included cleaning brush and removed the burned-on barbecue sauce and fish skin with it. I still thought the cooking pans felt a little sticky.  After hand washing, it became so greasy that a long soak in soapy water or a first run in the dishwasher took care of it.

Be prepared to wipe fingerprints and smudges off the stainless steel exterior with a soft cloth if they appear. After each use, the mesh smoke screen went from a silver-tone hue to a smoky shade; although it was cleaned after each use, it never adjusted to its original hue.

Should You Buy the Ninja Foodi Smart XL?

With a price of $279, Ninja Foodi Indoor Grill XL is quite an investment. However, I believe the grill performs exceptionally well indoors. Hence, it is well worth the cost for anyone who enjoys grilling, and particularly those who want to grill inside all year long. I would say that it can crisp foods as an air fryer is also one of its top-selling features, so you’re getting your money’s worth.

Ninja Foodi Grill XL vs. Power AirFryer 360

One of the most popular multi-cookers is Emeril Lagasse Power AirFryer 360. A $200 machine, it is bigger and more expensive than the Foodi and is made of all stainless steel with looks and functions like a typical toaster oven. Cooking functions include air fry, toast, bagel, pizza, bake, roast, broil, rotisserie, slow cook, reheat, dehydrate, and warm.

Heating elements are found above and below the food, which is arranged on racks that slide into the cooker. This model cannot grill but is equipped with the added functions of toasting and rotisserie cooking. 

They differ in their cooking capabilities, which means that which appliance you choose depends on what type of cooking you intend to do. The Foodi has an indoor grill, while the Power AirFryer 360 is an air fryer. If you prefer to grill in addition to air fry, the Foodi is naturally a better choice.

However, if you search for a machine to toast and reheat, I recommend Emeril’s cooker.

Yes, Buy it if You Love Grilling.

I don’t recommend the Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill XL exclusively for air-frying, baking, or dehydrating.

Still, it is an excellent option for an indoor grill for people without access to outdoor grilling. It does a great job of grilling and caramelizing foods in no time without smoking, and the fact that you can crisp them to golden perfection is a bonus!

Buy: Ninja FG551 Foodi Smart XL 6-in-1 Indoor Grill at Amazon

Sources:

https://www.fatherly.com/gear/indoor-grill/

https://www.reviewed.com/cooking/features/ninja-foodi-grill-review-heres-how-it-actually-works

https://www.thespruceeats.com/ninja-foodi-5-in-1-indoor-grill-review-5077291

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Ninja_Foodi_Grill_Cookbook_for_Beginners/WBoKzgEACAAJ?hl=en