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Ninja Foodi FlexBasket Dual Air Fryer review: a behemoth air fryer that can serve 8+ people
6:30 pm | February 20, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Air Fryers Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Ninja Foodi FlexBasket Dual Air Fryer review: one minute review

You might be wondering how many more ways a company can innovate on the best air fryers, but Ninja is at it again with its enormous Foodi FlexBasket dual air fryer, also known as the FlexDrawer in the UK. This vast air fryer can serve eight (or more, by a small margin – although I felt six was the sweet spot) and offers up Ninja’s excellent air fry features, including Dual Zone technology.

But is bigger always better? Broadly speaking, yes – and if you regularly need to cook for more than four people, the Ninja Foodi FlexBasket 11qt / 10.4L dual air fryer is easily the best large-capacity air fryer I’ve tried. For a bit of visual context, 11qt / 10.4L can easily fit a whole leg of lamb and accompanying vegetables. 

It isn’t flawless, of course. Compared even to Ninja’s own dual-drawer competition, the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer AF300, the Foodi FlexBasket has one large basket with a divider rather than two distinct drawers that can be independently opened and cleaned. Granted, this difference is intentional; the FlexBasket allows you to cook either across two zones or remove the divider to create one aptly named MegaZone, which is excellent for cooking larger meals such as roasts. 

When using the independent zones, you can choose any of the seven cooking functions, different times and temperatures, and use the Sync mode to ensure cooking in both compartments completes at the same time. 

It’s a delightfully easy machine to use that delivers consistent, fantastic results; but it absolutely dominated my kitchen countertop. Were it a little lighter then I wouldn’t have been so bothered by it, but the combination of size and weight make it difficult appliance to stow away.

A portion of fries cooked in the Ninja Foodi FlexBasket Dual Air Fryer

(Image credit: Future)

Ninja Foodi FlexBasket Dual Air Fryer review: price and availability

  •  Price: $199 / £270 / AU$599.99 
  •  Available directly from Ninja and most third-party retailers 

With great power comes a pretty hefty price tag for the Ninja Foodi FlexBasket 11qt / 10.4L dual air fryer, coming in at  $199 / £270 / AU$600. It’s available directly from Ninja in the UK and Australia as well as from third-party retailers; but, interestingly, it appears to only be available from the likes of Walmart in the US at the time of writing. 

The slightly smaller 7qt FlexBasket is more widely available in the US both at Ninja and on websites such as Amazon, where it’s also available for other regions wanting a slightly less domineering MegaZone air fryer, and sells for $179.99 / 

There’s little else to consider in terms of maintenance costs and accessories for this air fryer, and it’s pretty well-priced overall. Considering that some rival models, such as the Instant Vortex Plus XL 8QT ClearCook, come in at a far higher price for less capacity – and, in my opinion, inferior build materials – the Ninja Foodi FlexBasket dual air fryer offers impressive value for money. However, I’d have loved to see a cooking window included. 

Value: 4.5/5

Ninja Foodi Flexdrawer air fryer

(Image credit: Ninja)

Ninja Foodi FlexBasket Dual Air Fryer review: design

  •  One 11qt / 10.4L basket that can be configured to have two zones 
  •  Absolutely enormous 
  •  Easy controls 

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room; literally. The Ninja Foodi FlexBasket dual air fryer is huge at 12.9 x 19.5 x 12.4 inches / 32.7 x 49.6 x 31.6cm and weighs in at 9.3kg – which shouldn’t be surprising, really, given its capacity. However, it's when you factor in things like the clearance needed at the front of the machine to open and close the drawer and the space required on either side to ensure good airflow while cooking that its size could become an issue. 

The basket itself measures 12.9 x 19.5 x 12.4 inches / 13.7 x 37 x 21.5cm, and with its 10.4L capacity, there’s plenty of cooking room available. Simply insert the two crisper trays (and the divider, if you want to cook across two zones) and you’re ready to get started. Note, too, that all of the drawer parts are dishwasher friendly, for convenient cleanup.

However, if you don’t have a dishwasher then you might find cleaning the Ninja Foodi FlexBasket dual air fryer a little annoying. Since it uses one large basket instead of the two independent drawers of some other dual air fryers, you’ll have to wash the entire basket regardless of whether or not you used both sides. 

On the front of the machine are the controls: you can select the time and temperature as well as one of the seven cooking modes that include air fry, max crisp, roast, bake, reheat, dehydrate and prove. 

There’s a silver roller dial that allows you to navigate these modes, as well as buttons to switch between Sync and Match cooking times and powering the machine on and off. It’s overall a very inoffensive control system, although every now and then, it would become non-responsive if I pressed too many buttons in close succession while trying to change cooking zones.

Ninja Foodi FlexBasket Dual Air Fryer review: performance

  •  No need to preheat 
  •  Gorgeous, crispy results 
  •  Very configurable for every meal 

Ninja Foodi cooking a chicken

(Image credit: Future)

As a smaller household, I was a little intimidated by the sheer size of the Ninja Foodi FlexBasket dual air fryer, but I put it to the test by making several meals using a variety of ingredients – including a whole roast chicken. 

The air fryer can heat up to 450°F / 240°C for up to four hours (although not at its highest temperature, which only offers up to 30 minutes of continuous cooking time) and offers seven cooking modes – air fry, max crisp, roast, bake, reheat, dehydrate and prove. These offer rough guidelines for cooking times and temperature, although it’s likely you’ll need to tweak these set times. 

One of the key benefits of standard air fryers is that they’re able to deliver speedy results, using less energy, due to their reduced capacities over regular ovens. As such, I had expected the FlexBasket’s cooking times to be longer. Pleasingly, I didn’t find a significant difference, with cooking times only a few minutes longer. 

The Ninja Foodi FlexBasket dual air fryer doesn’t require preheating, doing so very quickly during the first few minutes of cooking time, but it does have an automatic cooling mode at the end of the cycle. Of course, there’s no imperative to observe this, but it won’t alert you to remove your food until that time has elapsed. 

You also have Sync and Match cooking modes, which allow you to set individual temperatures and times for both sides of the basket, cook on just one side, or use the MegaZone. All of these settings worked as expected but, every now and then, the air fryer would become a little confused or overwhelmed when I was flitting between the different drawer settings – although this is more likely me being too scattergun than it is the machine being faulty.

Ninja Foodi air fryer cooked chicken

(Image credit: Future)

A lot of the air fryers I’ve tested feature automatic shake timers that encourage you to move your food around mid-cook to ensure even cooking results; but this air fryer doesn’t, and that isn’t the end of the world. Especially given that this behemoth of a basket couldn’t be easily shaken. It’s much better to just grab a fork or a pair of tongs to shuffle around your food. 

As with most Ninja air fryers, the Ninja Foodi FlexBasket dual air fryer performs exceptionally on test, delivering deliciously crispy results with ease. In addition to our standard tests of fries, potatoes, and chicken wings, I wanted to try using the MegaZone configuration for its intended use. I opted to test with a whole roast chicken and a few roast potatoes thrown in for good measure. 

Ninja air fryers easily cook the best frozen fries I’ve ever tried, and it was no different with the FlexBasket I tried both its max crisp and bake settings for my thick-cut fries, and the results were excellent, with the air fryer producing wonderfully crispy fries with soft, fluffy centres – although the max crisp came out on top. 

Likewise, my chicken wings were perfectly cooked, too. Full of flavor and moist on the inside, and crisp and golden skinned on the outside, even without the use of lashings of oil. 

However, it was the full roast chicken and potatoes that were the pièce de résistance. I was incredibly nervous that the innermost part of the chicken wouldn’t reach an adequate temperature to cook off any harmful bacteria, but I forged onwards, and I’m so glad I did. I cooked the chicken at 350°F / 180°C for 40 minutes, adding in the roast potatoes after 10 minutes, and turning the chicken halfway through. I cranked up the temperature a little for the last five minutes, for good measure; but I don’t think it was required. My chicken came out gorgeously cooked: succulent inside, and with a wonderful brown skin on the exterior. The roast potatoes were some of my best, despite having cut back on the amount of butter I usually use to encourage a crispy outer layer. 

One issue I have found is that the divider doesn’t prevent heat transfer between the two cooking zones. However, this is only a problem if you’re cooking food at vastly different temperatures, or only using one zone since energy is wasted heating the whole fryer. TIt proved most problematic when cooking my greatest nemesis, crispy kale. At the best of times, I struggle to nail perfect results even in the oven; but when you’re contending with the other side of the air fryer leaking much hotter air into the side holding the kale, it produces less than ideal results. I ended up with a lot of too well cooked kale. 

Should I buy?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

How I tested

  •  I used all of the air fryer presets 
  •  I cooked fries, potatoes, chicken wings, and a roast dinner 
  •  I used both the dual zone and MegaZone configurations 

Ninja Foodi air fryer end result

(Image credit: Future)

Testing the Ninja Foodi FlexBasket dual air fryer involved eating a lot of food. As well as performing all of our standard tests (fries, potatoes, and chicken wings), I used it to cook my usual weekday meals, including salmon, kale, and roast vegetables to see how well the presets represent standard cooking times as well as the overall cooking performance of the machine.

I tried out the various basket configurations, and the Sync and Match cooking modes to see how easy the air fryer was to set up, use, and clean. 

I’ve been testing home appliances for three years now, from cleaning tech to cooking to smart home, and I’ve become familiar with what a variety of different users need from their home devices. I’ve also been cooking with an air fryer almost every week throughout that period, so I’m pretty used to navigating these clever cookers.

Dreo ChefMaker air fryer review: the best air fryer, but also more than an air fryer
11:00 am | December 20, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Air Fryers Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances | Comments: Off

Dreo ChefMaker: One-minute review

Outside of soups, casseroles, stews, and fondues, there’s nothing you can’t cook in the Dreo ChefMaker. And I’m not just talking about air-frying a steak here; I’m talking about a properly and perfectly cooked steak that’s worth serving in a steakhouse.

That’s because while the ChefMaker is one of the best air fryers on the market, it’s so much more than that. Much more. It has two other cooking modes, namely the Chef mode and the Probe mode, both of which deliver restaurant-worthy results. And Chef mode is supported by an app that comes with a plethora of clever Chef-curated recipes that are so delicious you'll feel like you’ve got Thomas Keller whipping up dinners in your own kitchen.

This is perhaps my favorite kitchen appliance by far. Since using the ChefMaker I've enjoyed one of the best and cooked-to-perfection medium-rare steaks I’ve ever had, home-cooked or otherwise. That’s saying something because (1) I’ve only cooked steak three times in my life, and (2) I didn’t have to do anything here but prep the steak, insert the included probe and put it in the basket, and press a couple of buttons. The ChefMaker's air fryer function delivers super crispy yet super-moist results – the best results I’ve gotten from any air fryer.

Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

It’s also a near-perfect product. It’s sleek and beautiful; it’s well-built and doesn’t take up too much space; and its touch controls are so responsive that they feel luxe. It’s also effortless to use, thanks in large part to its very useful app.

I say near-perfect because there is the smaller matter of the price, which isn't small. All those features do come at a premium – not so high that the ChefMaker would be a luxury purchase, but definitely more than what a lot of people would expect to pay for an air fryer. However, I would say that it’s worth every penny and then some. If you’re thinking of buying an air fryer, you won’t regret getting this one. 

Dreo Chefmaker: price and availability

  • How much does it cost? $359 / £279 (about AU$540)
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US and the UK

The Dreo ChefMaker is much more expensive than regular air fryers of the same size and capacity, and it’s also pricier than most double-basket models. In fact, at $359 / £279 (about AU$540), it’ll cost you as much as some large-capacity air fryer ovens. Now you may think that’s too much for a combination cooker with a 6-quart / 5.7-liter basket capacity, but honestly, given its versatility and what it can do, I’m mildly surprised that it doesn’t cost more. 

Unfortunately for Australian customers, however, it doesn’t look like it’s available there at the time of writing. It is, however, readily available in the US and the UK.

  •  Value: 4 / 5 

Dreo ChefMaker: Specifications

Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Dreo ChefMaker: Design

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Beautiful and fairly compact design
  • Touch controls are a pleasure to use

Setting up the Dreo ChefMaker is just as easy as setting up a regular air fryer. You simply place the cooking tray at the bottom of the basket or the grilling rack at the top, slot in the basket, plug it in, and turn it out. The one thing to consider here is that the cord isn’t very long, so you will have to find a spot in your kitchen that’s close enough to the outlet, or have an extension cord handy.

Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

I’ve always found the design of most air fryers unappealing, even the ones from Ninja, but I adore the design of the ChefMaker. Trapezoidal in shape with a gentle tapering in the front, it’s got elegant rounded edges, a beautiful black-on-dark silver finish, and a long oval handle with a hollow middle.

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Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

At the top is a shallow square water tank for water, which the ChefMaker uses for cooking – it utilizes its water spray system for better results, and to ensure that the food doesn’t dry up – with a square lid that’s easy to pop off and replace. And at the front, just above the basket, is where you’ll find the control panel, which has touch buttons and a big 4.3-inch display with a fairly extensive menu, so you can easily navigate through and choose your cooking mode or function, adjust temperature, change cooking time, and more.

Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The touch buttons are incredibly responsive and work perfectly with just a light tap, and the display is bright enough so that everything is visible, even when it’s in a brightly-lit area. Thank goodness for its backlighting.

The ChefMaker is taller than many air fryers of the same capacity, and slightly heavier as well. But it really doesn’t take up too much space, and is light enough to take with you if you want to use it offsite. 

Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Just like regular air fryers, it has its hot air vent in the back. One thing I’ve noticed about this vent is that it blows a hot more hot air than other air fryers I’ve tested – so much so that it’s triggered my smoke and carbon monoxide detector that’s above the hallway next to my kitchen a few times. So be sure you’re leaving enough space for it to 'breathe.'

As far as cleaning, the trays and the basket are all dish-washer safe – though they are fairly-easy to hand wash, especially the basket since it is non-stick. The inside of the appliance can be cleaned the usual way.

  • Design: 5 / 5

Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Dreo ChefMaker: Performance

  • Air fryer produces crisp and moist results
  • Chef mode makes the best dishes
  • Vent produces a lot of hot air

If I could only keep one tabletop cooking appliance in my kitchen, I would probably go with the Dreo ChefMaker. It’s not ideal for making stews, soups and other dishes drenched in sauce or gravy – if you make a lot of those, you should probably go with one of the best multicookers – but while I do enjoy a good stew, those are easy to make using my good old stove, whereas the ChefMaker actually allows me to not just quickly whip up meals when I’m pressed for time, but also make dishes that I don’t usually make, like a good steak or a tender brisket.

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Foods made in the Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
Image 2 of 2

Foods made in the Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

It’s not just versatility and effortless cooking that the ChefMaker offers. All the dishes I’ve made in it, from the air fryer recipes I found online to the ones on the Dreo app, are cooked to perfection. I’m particularly impressed that its air fryer function delivers better results than other regular air fryers I’ve tested, producing gorgeously and evenly cooked results that are super crispy on the outside and mind-bogglingly moist on the inside.

Foods made in the Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Foods made in the Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

My favorite chicken wings recipe, Vietnamese chicken wings, came out even better when I made them with the ChefMaker, as did my favorite pork belly recipe. And I didn’t even need to fill up the water tank, or adjust the temperature or cooking time from the recipes, to get those results. 

Foods made in the Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The water tank does play a massive role when using the cooker’s Chef and Probe modes, however. The ChefMaker uses water atomization via its water spray system, and super convection heating, with the occasional assistance of the included dual-sensing probe, to cook dishes, and the combination works wonderfully. 

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Foods made in the Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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Foods made in the Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
Image 3 of 3

Foods made in the Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

I tried several of the Chef mode recipes on the Dreo app, including the Perfect Steak and the Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedge recipes, and they were not only easy to make but also came out incredible, with the steak nicely seared but beautifully pink in the middle and very tender, and the potatoes coming out with a nice crisp. 

The best part about making the steak was it took the guesswork and a chunk of the work out of the whole thing – just what a steak-cooking novice like me needs. I’ve only really made steak three times in my life, so while two out of those three came out great, I’m not exactly a steak master. With the help of the ChefMaker, however, my fourth steak came out steakhouse-worthy. 

Foods made in the Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Fair warning, though: the Dreo ChefMaker seems to produce a lot more heat than regular air fryers, even when it’s on air fryer mode. Even when there’s a lot of space behind its rear vent, it still manages to set off my smoke and carbon monoxide detector which is a few feet away in the hallway next to my kitchen. This never happened with the similar-capacity air fryers I’ve tested. I did, however, find that turning on my range hood helps minimize that issue.

This also was not a deal-breaker for me, especially since my kitchen isn't the biggest, and the bigger air fryer ovens I've tested have done the same thing.

  • Performance:  / 5

Should I buy the Dreo ChefMaker?

Dreo ChefMaker during testing

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Dreo ChefMaker: Also consider

How I tested the Dreo ChefMaker

  • I tested the Dreo ChefMaker for a couple of months
  • I used it as my main air fryer almost every day, cooking different recipes
  • I also tested its other cooking modes, especially Chef mode

I utilized the Dreo ChefMaker as my main air fryer and cooker almost every day for about two months, making sure to use different recipes I found on the Dreo app and from social media as well as my favorite recipes. I also made sure to test all three cooking modes available, documenting my process and the results.

As a regular air fryer user, TechRadar's Interim Homes Editor and someone who loves to cook, I've used and tested more than my share of cooking appliances, from air fryers to multicookers and the occasional baking implement.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

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First reviewed December 2023