I Was an Air Fryer Skeptic Until I Tried My Ninja Foodi
I'm pretty frugal (read: cheap), so it's pretty easy for me to resist new kitchen appliances. That includes the ever-popular electric pressure cooker. The internet has made its case for the electric pressure cooker over and over, but I resisted. Then came the air fryer. More resistance. But when I was presented with the Ninja Foodi, I caved. And I don't regret it one bit.
If you're wondering what the Ninja Foodi is, it's a multicooker that has both a pressure cooker and air fryer function. It's basically a convection oven, but it does a lot more than swirl hot air around your food with its instant vortex. The size is impressive—it's like having a spaceship on your counter—but it makes getting dinner on the tables so easy that it's worth the kitchen real estate sacrifice.
I've done a lot of experimenting with it—it's super easy to use, easy to clean, very reliable and extremely sturdy. My first experiment is what made me a believer: It returned my cold french fries to their original crisp-tender glory. Then I tried making air-fryer chicken wings. Making chicken wings at home always seemed too daunting, but with the Ninja Foodi, I had restaurant-quality wings in 20 minutes without heating up any oil. Then I tried roasting a chicken. It was perfectly cooked with crispy skin in 40 minutes, saving me about 20 minutes.
I now use it every day. I don't make chicken every day, but I do use it to roast vegetables, heat up leftovers, cook frozen vegetables, make sourdough bread, mini casseroles, mini cakes, single-serving bread pudding… I could go on. And that's just using the air fryer function.
The pressure cooker function probably does many things, but I mostly use it to cook beans for salads and chickpeas for hummus. I like using dried beans because they're great for cooking in a budget and they save space in the pantry. And with the pressure cooker function, instead of soaking my beans overnight and then cooking them for an hour, my beans are done in 40 minutes, start to finish. The bonus: I can make small amounts of beans instead of in bulk because it's no longer a time commitment to make them.
Related: Budget Cooking Guide
The other thing that I really love about my Ninja Foodi is that I can cook and bake through the summer without heating up the house. That means I won't break a sweat when I bake bread in the middle of July. That alone makes this the best investment I've made this year. Want to snag one for yourself? The Ninja Foodi is currently on sale at Bed, Bath & Beyond for just $229.99 (down from $269.99).