Dual cooking zones
Smart Finish for coordinated finish time
Extra space for large batches
Takes up a lot of counter space
Large batches cook longer
We purchased the Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 8-Quart 2-Basket Air Fryer so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
With the promise of frying all of our favorite fries, crispy chicken wings, cookies, and more without using extra fat, air fryers have become a hot appliance. However, these trendy machines require you to cook in small batches so the air can flow freely around the food to cook it evenly. This means that those cooking for a larger family or crowd will have to make multiple batches.
Enter the Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 8-Quart 2-Basket Air Fryer. This powerful appliance features dual baskets to help optimize your air-frying experience. So, I decided to put it to the test. I bought frozen foods I could air fry, and I plotted new recipes to try. Is this air fryer an innovation worth buying? Read on for my thoughts.
Design: Attractive enough for counter storage
While this fryer isn’t what I’d call pretty, it’s got a few design elements that make it look more attractive, like the rounded edges, the metal trim, and the dark gray surfaces that look understated and classic.
The front handles are plenty large, so they’re easy to grab and hold, which is great since food may need a little shake or stir during cooking. They’re also a good shape and size to make it easy to pour food out of the basket after cooking. The fryer isn’t overly tall, so it should slide easily under cabinets to stay on the counter when not in use.
The controls are simple to use, although I did have a few moments where I wasn't sure what to do. A Start/Pause button let me pause the cooking on either side of the fryer, but when food on one side was finished sooner than I expected, I wanted to stop the cooking rather than pause it. The solution was to use the Time function to let the fryer know that the cooking time was done. While that worked well, it wasn’t obvious at a glance.
I had to consult the manual to familiarize myself with the Smart Finish and Match options, but it was easy enough to set the cooking time and temperature.
One piece of information I found lacking was regarding the use of the crisper trays that fit in the bottom of the baskets. I assume they offer more air circulation, which makes sense for air frying, but I wasn't sure what sort of recipes wouldn’t want the bottom heat. I even used the trays when I made a few cookies in the fryer. Aside from the fact that the trays have holes and an uneven surface because of the handle, I'll probably continue to use them for most or all of my air fryer cooking.
Setup Process: Simple
The two baskets and their crisper trays got a quick wash and dry before I used the air fryer, and then I moved on to button-pushing. I had to consult the manual to familiarize myself with the Smart Finish and Match options, but it was easy enough to set the cooking time and temperature.
Performance: Fast cooking
The quick-start guide included a few recipes, so I decided to start my test with the air fryer doughnuts. They’re made from biscuits with butter and cinnamon sugar added at the end. They were fine as sweet biscuits, but I didn’t think they’d pass as doughnuts. However, it’s good to know that if I want just a few of the biscuits, the air fryer can handle the job. I found a homemade air fryer doughnut recipe that had better flavor, but I quickly discovered that this fryer cooked faster than the recipes I tried.
One thing to note—and it’s not intuitive—is that when both baskets are used, the cooking time for both is longer than if a single basket is used.
Fortunately, the quick-start guide has cooking charts, with time, temperature, and preparation instructions for a variety of foods, and for cooking with one or both baskets. While the guide obviously can’t include every food, the variety is wide enough that it’s possible to find something close enough to estimate a cooking time, and it’s simple to peek into the baskets during cooking to check the progress. I did that when I air-roasted a chicken breast in one basket, and air fried steak fries in the other.
I liked the fryer for heating and re-crisping leftover fried chicken, but I had a few issues with converting frozen food instructions for air fryer use. I tried the Air Bake option for frozen meat-filled pastries as well as rice balls, and although I lowered the temperature 50 degrees below the convection oven temperature, the food still cooked faster than expected, browning the outside too fast while not cooking the inside as well. Lowering the temperature even more gave a better result, but I haven’t found a consistent formula for converting oven instructions to the air fryer. My breaded shrimp took a bit longer than I expected, while onion rings were done before time was up.
While the guide obviously can’t include every food, the variety is wide enough that it’s possible to find something close enough to estimate a cooking time, and it’s simple to peek into the baskets during cooking to check the progress.
A grilled cheese sandwich was less than stellar, as the top slice of bread moved around during cooking. I had previous success with sandwiches in another model of air fryer—but the fan on this one seems stronger, which is great for fast, crisp cooking, but less great when it comes to lightweight foods. I was determined to have lunch, so I readjusted the bread several times during cooking. I eventually had a sandwich, but I'd choose another method next time.
Features: Dual baskets with coordinated cooking options
Air fryers have gone from new and innovative to ubiquitous. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new to be found. This Ninja model solves the not-enough-space problem while also freeing cooks from having to choose whether the wings or the fries get air fried. The dual baskets, along with the ability to control the left and right side separately, means that either side can have its own time and temperature settings. Even better, though, are the Smart Finish and Match options.
With Smart Finish, the cook can set separate cooking times and temperatures for each basket, then let the machine handle starting the shorter cooking time so the two items finish at the same time. Of course, that doesn’t help if the cook is guessing how long something will take, but it’s perfect when making family favorites, so the fish and chips are done at the same time.
The Match option simply repeats the settings from one side to the other. It’s not an earthshaking innovation, but when a double batch of wings is in the fryer, it’s nice to be able to set the time and temp a single time, then start both at the same time. I noticed that the right side cooked just a little hotter than the left side. It wasn’t a dealbreaker and the difference wasn’t major, but it was enough to notice that foods on the right were slightly darker than those on the left.
With Smart Finish, the cook can set separate cooking times and temperatures for each basket, then let the machine handle starting the shorter cooking time so the two items finish at the same time.
Cleaning: By hand or machine
The baskets and their crisper trays were easy to clean by hand, and they’re also dishwasher-safe. While it was easy to find room in the dishwasher for the trays, the baskets are large and the handles got in the way. I washed the baskets in the dishwasher once, but I actually preferred washing them by hand.
Price: Relatively expensive
The Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 8-Quart 2-Basket Air Fryer retails at around $180. The price of air fryers has come down since they came on the market, so it’s easy to find models that are less expensive than this one. However, this can take the place of two air fryers, making it a better buy for people who need more cooking space.
Competition: Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 8-Quart 2-Basket Air Fryer vs. Many More Ninjas
While the Ninja air fryer I tested is a traditional model with some added features, Ninja has also created some innovative appliances that combine air frying with other functions. While I’d recommend the model I tested to folks who love air frying, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Ninja’s other options.
Ninja Foodi 8-Quart. 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer: The Ninja Foodi 8-Quart. 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer combines an electric pressure cooker with an air fryer, taking just a little more storage space than a pressure cooker alone. Retailing for around $250, the 8-quart size is equal to the space in the air fryer I reviewed, but in a different shape so it can accommodate larger foods. I like this option for cooks who don’t yet have an electric pressure cooker, or for those who would like a second electric pressure cooking along with an air fryer.
Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill with 4-Quart Air Fryer: The Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill with 4-Quart Air Fryer has a 4-quart crisper basket inside a 6-quart pot, so it’s smaller than the air fryer I reviewed, but again in a different shape. Retailing around $210, this model offers the ability to char-grill food as well as bake, roast, dehydrate, and air crisp. Cooks who can’t grill outdoors might want to consider this option for its grilling ability along with air frying.
Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven: The Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven is an air fryer oven that takes less space than most countertop ovens because it’s shallow. It retails at around $230, and it's great for making pizza, toast, wings, and more. When cooking is done, it can be flipped up so it takes less space on the counter. Anyone who’s looking to replace a toaster and would like to cook a pizza without heating up their large oven would likely love this option.
A great option for those who need extra space.
Fans of air fryers who are looking to air fry more delicious crispy foods at a time will love the Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 8-Quart 2-Basket Air Fryer. Its dual baskets are great for cooking two different foods at the same time or making multiple batches of the same recipe. However, it's worth noting that as more appliances incorporate air frying with other cooking functions, this may not be the best air fryer appliance on the market.
- Product Name Foodi 6-in-1 8-qt. 2-Basket Air Fryer
- Product Brand Ninja
- UPC 622356564380
- Price $180
- Product Dimensions 15.63 x 13.86 x 12.4 in.
- Material Plastic & Metal
- Warranty 1 year
- What’s Included This has two fryer baskets and two removable crisper plates