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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.