Seven features in one
Cooks quickly and quietly
Looks beautiful on the kitchen counter
Easy to clean
Interior is a bit small considering the appliance’s overall size
Included instructions are limited—you have to find the full manual online
You’re likely familiar with Instant Brands thanks to the company’s infamous Instant Pot. But now that the pressure cooker craze has calmed down, Instant is back with another innovation: the Instant Vortex Plus 7-in-1 Air Fryer Oven. Much like the Instant Pot, the new Instant Vortex promises an all-in-one experience with the ability to roast, broil, bake, dehydrate, and air fry, but does it live up to the high expectations of Instant Brand fans? As avid Instant Pot users, we picked one up to find out.
Setup Process: Took a little trial and error
The Instant Vortex is basically ready to go right out of the box. If you’re going to use the Air Fry or Bake settings first, all you have to do is remove the plastic and styrofoam packaging, insert the cooking trays and the drip pan, and then complete a test run which simply involves running the machine for 20 minutes. Once that’s done, you’re ready to cook.
If you want to start with the Rotisserie setting, however, things are a little more complicated. Though the Vortex comes with two user manuals, we couldn’t find clear instructions on how to insert the rotisserie basket or spit. After a bit of trial and error—about 10 minutes of fumbling with the accessories—we figured it out, but it would have been helpful to have step-by-step instructions.
As avid Instant Pot users, our expectations for the Instant Vortex Plus were admittedly high …luckily, it didn’t just live up to our expectations—it exceeded them.
After struggling with the setup process, we decided to Google more thorough instructions which led us to an additional manual on Instant Brands’ website. This proved to be exactly what we were missing as it detailed—with pictures—how to properly set up the Vortex for each cooking mode. While we were happy we found it after the fact, we wish the full manual had just been included in the box.
Design: Worthy of dedicated counter space
The Instant Vortex Plus is a beautiful piece of kitchen equipment that’s worthy of a dedicated spot on your countertop. If you’re already the proud owner of the Instant Pot, the two will also complement each other nicely.
The majority of the Vortex’s body is shiny black plastic while the door is made from sleek stainless steel. The front boasts a black touchscreen control panel which lights up to reveal a bright LED display that shows your cooking time, cooking temperature, reminders, and error messages. Around the display is a series of buttons: one for each smart program (air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, and dehydrate), +/- keys for time and temperature, and individual controls for start, cancel, light, and rotate (the latter which spins the rotisserie accessory).
The machine’s body is square-shaped and significantly larger than other air fryers at 14.17 x 13.86 x 14.96 inches. This is par for the course, though, considering it has a 10-quart capacity compared to typical air fryers which fall between 2.75 to 5.3 quarts. The Vortex Plus comes with a number of accessories including two cooking trays and drip pan as well as a rotisserie spit, basket, and fetch tool.
Performance: Exceeded our expectations
As avid Instant Pot users, our expectations for the Instant Vortex Plus were admittedly high. We wanted to see the same level of performance from the brand’s first air fryer, and luckily, it didn’t just live up to our expectations—it exceeded them.
For our first test, we tried out the Air Fryer setting by using the two included trays to cook up an entire package of bacon. When you hit the Air Fryer button, it defaults to a temperature of 400 degrees and a cooking time of 18 minutes. We knocked the time down to 12 minutes and then waited two to three minutes for the appliance to preheat. Once it was ready, the display lit up with an Add Food prompt. Then, once the cooking cycle was finished, the Vortex went into Cool mode to shut off the fan and then less than a minute later it displayed End, so we knew we could safely remove our bacon. The final product was two pans full of perfectly crispy bacon. Since the cooking trays have holes in them, most of the grease fell through to the drip pan, although a little bit from the first tray did collect on the second tray. Overall, it was still far less greasy (both the cooking process and cleanup) than cooking bacon in a pan on the stovetop.
We were able to cook a whole chicken in just 45 minutes…it was juicy and tender on the inside, and the skin had just the right amount of crispiness.
One of the features we were most excited about was the rotisserie spit, so we tried that out next. First, we set the Vortex to Roast and let it preheat to its default 380 degrees. While that was happening, we slid our 4-pound chicken onto the rotisserie spit. Once the Vortex lit up with Add Food, we popped the chicken in making sure the spit was aligned properly in the cooking chamber. Once we shut the door, the preset timer then started its 40-minute countdown. To retrieve the chicken from the Vortex, we carefully used the fetch tool to grab onto each side of the spit. While in the end we needed to add a few extra minutes, we were able to cook a whole chicken in just 45 minutes and found that it tasted as good as those that are slow-roasted for an entire day. It was juicy and tender on the inside, and the skin had just the right amount of crispiness. The only downside we found with this entire process was that our small chicken took up the entire cooking chamber. If you’re looking to make a rotisserie chicken for a large crowd, you aren’t going to be able to do it with this alone.
The performance of the rotisserie basket proved equally impressive. We used it to cook frozen french fries and they came out perfectly crisp and evenly cooked after 15 minutes. The best part about the rotisserie basket was that it continuously rotated the fries on its own, so we didn’t have to manually flip them halfway through the cooking process.
Features: Everything you need
Like other air fryers, the Instant Vortex Plus cooks food by using a motorized fan to evenly circulate hot air, thus eliminating the need for cooking oil. We’ve already touched on the appliance’s different settings, but if you need a refresher, you can choose from seven different preset programs: air fry, roast, broil, bake, reheat, dehydrate, and rotate. If none of those fit the bill, you can also manually set the temperature and time controls. One extra feature we really appreciated was being able to save our settings. So say you nail down the exact temperature and time for chicken nuggets, you can save your setting and then get started with just the touch of a button the next time you’re jonesing for chicken.
The Vortex has 1500 watts of power and the ability to circulate air rapidly with a trademarked One-Step Even-Crisp Technology. The manufacturer claims that this tech can reduce cooking time by 20 percent when compared to traditional cooking methods, and based on our testing, we’d say that’s accurate.
The best part about the rotisserie basket was that it continuously rotated the fries on its own, so we didn’t have to manually flip them halfway through the cooking process.
The large-capacity chamber allows you to cook for a family of six, while the ability to utilize two separate cooking trays means you can also prepare more than one item at once. This feature certainly sets it apart from other air fryers. The cooking chamber also has an interior light that you can turn on and off to check on the progress of your food.
The Vortex also comes equipped with everything you need to utilize the different cooking settings. In addition to the actual air fryer, you’ll find two cooking trays and a drip pan as well as a rotisserie basket, spit, forks, and fetch tool. We were happy to see that all of these accessories were included and that we didn’t have to purchase anything separately.
Cleanup Process: Only takes a few minutes
The Vortex proved extremely simple to clean. No matter the cooking mode, we found most of the juices and greases collected nicely on the drip pan without making a major mess in the cooking chamber. Instant Brands suggests lining your drip pan and cooking sheets with tinfoil to make cleanup easier, but they were so simple to clean—just a quick wipedown with a sponge or scrub brush—that we found it necessary.
If you don’t have time to wash the accessories by hand, they’re also all dishwasher-safe, so you can pop them in without worry. Additionally, you can slide the door off of the Vortex (just open it at a 45-degree angle and then pull), so you can wipe it down if anything really makes a mess.
Price: Lots of bang for your buck
The Instant Vortex retails for $150 and while that’s on the higher end for an air fryer, the appliance does so, so much more. With six additional smart programs, the Vortex can replace other common kitchen gadgets—saving you money and precious cabinet and counter space.
Competition: Nothing comes close
Although it’s classified as a multi-use programmable air fryer, it doesn’t seem fair to stack the Instant Vortex Plus up against standard air fryers. However, if you’re looking for something that’s a little more straightforward—AKA minimal bells and whistles—there are some worthwhile choices.
Philips Avance Collection 2.75-Quart TurboStar Digital Air Fryer: If you want a user-friendly, effective air fryer, the Philips TurboStar is an excellent option. It has a 2.75-quart fryer basket and a 20-percent smaller design than its predecessor, so it won’t take up as much counter real estate. Plus, the Philips heats up in seconds, so there’s no downtime or preheating required. The one downfall here is that it has fewer features than the Vortex and is pretty costly with an MSRP of $299.99. That said, it’s a great buy if you can get it on sale.
Farberware Digital Oil-Less Fryer: If you’re looking to save time while cooking and cleaning, the $70 Farberware Digital Oil-Less Fryer may be your best bet. It comes equipped with 3.2-quart fryer basket and a digital touchscreen that lets you choose your own temperature and cooking time or opt for one of eight pre-programmed settings. As an added bonus, the fryer basket is dishwasher-safe, so there’s no hand washing required.
- Product Name Vortex Plus 7-in-1 Air Fryer Oven
- Product Brand Instant
- MPN 140-3000-01
- Price $119.99
- Weight 16.6 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 14 x 14 x 15 in.
- Capacity 10 qt
- Power 1500 W
- Warranty 1-year limited
- What’s Included Air fryer, two cooking trays, drip pan, rotisserie spit, rotisserie basket, rotisserie fetch tool, two user manuals