Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi?

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    I have been testing out the Ninja Foodi because I’m trying to decide whether or not to get rid of my Instant Pot.

    UPDATE 12/26/2019: Instant Pot came out with its own air fryer lid for their 6 quart machines!

    This is such great news for those of you who don’t want to buy yet another small appliance for another task. What a great option for just being able to attach it to a machine you already have!

    I can’t wait to test it out and will be sure to give a review, but for now, the Ninja Foodi and Instant Pot review below!

    I tested the Ninja Foodi out for a full week and made all our meals in it.

    I’ve put together an informative pro and con list for each and my final decision below.

    Perhaps this will help those of you who are still wondering whether or not you should get an Instant Pot.

    There is definitely more and more options out there starting with this Ninja Foodi!

    Oh, this is not sponsored. I bought both machines myself so you can trust that this review is 100% unbiased.

    What’s different about the Ninja Foodi?

    It’s a pressure cooker AND an air fryer AND dehydrator.

    It does everything the Instant Pot does (sauté, slow cook, pressure cook) and MORE.

    It’s basically four small appliances in one. A slow cooker, a pressure cooker, an air fryer, and a dehydrator.

    Why did you get the Ninja Foodi?

    I got the Ninja Foodi because I have wanted an air fryer but I really didn’t want to buy another small appliance so I’m hoping that the Ninja Foodi can take place of my Instant Pot.

    I have too many as it is and while I have the room for it, I just didn’t want to use up that space for a machine that I may or may not use often.

    What comes with the Ninja Foodi?

    You get the nonstick pan, the fry basket, the wire rack, and the pressure cooker lid.

    How much is the Ninja Foodi?

    So, it’s not cheap when you compare it to the Instant Pot BUT if you think about it, it includes an air fryer. So that’s kind of like you buying an Instant Pot AND an air fryer separately.

    The cost ends up being the same, if not more, depending on what brand air fryer you buy.

    The Ninja Foodi cost me roughly $193 including tax. Retail price is $229 but I bought it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond so I was able to use a 20% off coupon.

    However, on Amazon, it is now $179.99!

    Why didn’t you buy it at Amazon?

    Well, because Amazon didn’t have it for 20% off (but now it’s actually cheaper than BBB at $179.99) but the main reason was because there’s two different models on Amazon and it’s confusing which one you are actually going to get.

    Some of the product photos show it has the dehydrator function/button but then some of the product photos show that they don’t. So I didn’t want to order this giant machine and then have to ship it back if I got the one without the dehydrator. See the photo above where this one obviously has the dehydrator option. There are models apparently that don’t have that button.

    It was just easier to buy in store somewhere.

    Pressure cooker function of Ninja Foodi

    I was very eager to test this out first because if I got rid of my Instant Pot, I would need the next pressure cooker to perform like the Instant Pot.

    I’m happy to report it worked just as well. I did have an issue with the seal/vent valve but it only happened once so it might’ve been a fluke/user error.

    Air fryer function of Ninja Foodi

    I’ve never used an air fryer before this machine so I have nothing to compare it to.

    I’m very impressed though with how little oil you need for everything to cook and get crisp.

    I made my three ingredient nuggets in it — dropped the meatballs in raw and didn’t even use any oil. They came out so crispy!

    We’ve made scallops in it, chicken tenders, asparagus, broccoli, and more!

    Pros of the Ninja Foodi

    • Essentially four machines in one
    • It does everything the Instant Pot does and more
    • It costs less than an Instant Pot and all the other machines you’d have to buy individually
    • Easy to use
    • Easy to clean
    • Not much of a learning curve
    • I like that as it’s coming up to pressure, the digital screen shows you that it’s doing that. With the Instant Pot, it seemed like a guessing game, haha

    Cons of the Ninja Foodi

    • The size; it’s definitely not a space saver, lol
    • The double lid; the air fryer lid doesn’t come off so if you are using the pressure cooker, the air fryer lid stays open. See photo above.
    • I don’t like that the main insert is nonstick vs. stainless steel like the Instant Pot. Because you are putting the fry basket into it, I feel like the legs of the fry basket can easily scratch up the nonstick and with use overtime, it might start to peel.
    • If you use the air fryer, you have to wash both the basket and the nonstick insert it sits in. Double clean up is no fun.
    • The seal and vent valve is more finnicky with the Foodi. You have to really make sure it’s on seal before you start it otherwise it starts to “leak” a little when it comes up to pressure and starts releasing a lot of steam. I ended up having to use a tong to keep it on the sealed side until it came up to pressure. That might’ve been a fluke though and user error.
    • There aren’t presets on the Ninja Foodi so those of you that aren’t sure about cooking times might find that this trial and error isn’t for you. Personally, this is no big deal for me because the machine comes with a general cook time template and also I’ve cooked enough with a pressure cooker to know what times to set for each. The air fryer; you can lift the lid during cooking to check up on it.
    • It only comes in one size right now. 6.5 quarts; which is decent for our family of two but I know some people have an 8 quart Instant Pot.
    • Sometimes with chicken dishes, I have to cook them in two or three batches because of the small basket which makes dinner time drawn out.

    Things about the Ninja Foodi that are worth mentioning

    • The air fryer actually cooks a lot faster than I thought too. Most things come together in half the time.
    • Though both the air fryer basket and nonstick insert look “small,” they are actually 0.5 quarts more than the Instant Pot. I think looks are deceiving because the Foodi is short and round while the Instant Pot is tall and narrow.

    Ah, the machine that started it all. The good ole Instant Pot.

    I honestly love this machine. I used it plenty.

    I found myself to use it more in the cooler months though because I love a good cozy roast.

    Pros of the Instant Pot

    • It does its job.
    • There are presets for those that are nervous about not knowing about cook times.
    • If you just want a pressure cooker, this is really honestly the only machine you’ll need.
    • It’s smaller so easier to store although I know some people think even the IP is too big!
    • It has the ability to slow cook too so again, if you need space and don’t want two appliances, the Instant Pot is a good option.
    • Multiple size options. 3 quart, 6 quart, and 8 quart.
    • Price; you can always seem to find it on sale on Amazon for like $89.99 or similar; especially during flash deals and Black Friday.

    Cons of the Instant Pot

    • If you’re looking for more than a pressure cooker then the IP definitely doesn’t do it for you.
    • If you want an air fryer or dehydrator, the Instant Pot doesn’t have that.
    • Sealing issues with the Instant Pot seem to be the biggest issue I’ve heard. The ring is super finicky. I’ve had one incident where it never completely came up to pressure and I had to release it and it basically ruined dinner cause it was like par-cooked.
    • The rubber seal keeps cooking smells and I can definitely attest to this. When I made my Instant Pot Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup, my Instant Pot now can’t “unsmell” of Chinese five spice, lol
    • I’m hearing the slow cooker function is TERRIBLE on the Instant Pot; I haven’t tried it because I use my 23 year old Crockpot because I know it works.

    VERDICT: which did I end up choosing?

    So after using the Ninja Foodi to cook dinner in for a week, I ended up PACKING IT UP AND RETURNING IT. Don’t worry, I kept all the packaging and washed it up real good.

    I just couldn’t get past the size of the beast (and its weight) and I didn’t see myself actually using the air fryer THAT often.

    And the fact I would have to be lugging out the machine just to use the pressure cooker wasn’t appealing.

    Additionally, I felt like the air fryer was more like a broiler than anything else.

    Some people said if I had a convection oven, I didn’t need an air fryer — slightly disagree.

    While the air fryer does push around hot air (it has a fan) like a convection oven, it does cook differently. The final product is crisper than a convection but that might be because the heating element is literally on top of your food — hence why I think it’s more like a broiler.

    So yep, I’ll be keeping my Instant Pot!

    Now that I’ve actually used an air fryer, I don’t think I’ll be buying one. I’m happy with my pressure cooker and slow cooker!

    Where to buy?

    Questions?

    I’m sure I’ve missed something and I’m sure you’ve got questions.

    Feel free to ask below and I can try my best to answer!

    Pressure Cooker Recipes

    These recipes can be made in either the Instant Pot or Foodi (on pressure cooker mode)!

    There are affiliate links in this post.

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    Comments

  • Regina Bensuaski Desiderio says:

    I don’t like when all house smells food. Does Ninja when is cooking dinner makes a lot smell.?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I think this is pretty relative. Everyone has a different idea of scent…I think the Ninja was fine and it didn’t smell up my house, but my house is 3000 sq. feet so it’s all relative to how small or large the space is and how sensitive you are to smells.

  • Kathy says:

    Thank you sooo much for a great review. So helpful.

  • Ruby Bunch says:

    when using the hot pot, should the vent be up or down?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      what do you mean when using the hot pot?

  • Kim says:

    Looks like now they have acombo for the instant pot too. Anyone do a comaprison on the Ninja, Instant pot and Nuwave pressure and air fryer combo? I wanted the 8 quart ones. Are there other models as well?

  • Mary Kelly says:

    I am so glad I read your review. I have been pondering the difference between the two machines for quite awhile. I ended up coming to the same conclusions as you did. I will be keeping my 6 quart intstapot for the time being. Thanks for the information

  • sharon campus says:

    hi- after unpacking my ninja foodi and reading the mountain of precautions, and the place i was going to put it is 33″ below the beautiful handmade cabinetry that husband made- worried that the steam would be a problem, or i would injure myself. Thank you for the unbiased review- have a great crockpot, and truth be told my Italian husband would prefer making pasta sauce- don’t really need a time saving devise- but that ninja does look like a fantastic tool!

  • kilo g says:

    thank you for this review. very helpful; was thinking the added air fryer would be great but i am on the same thought trail as you- how often would i really use it? as for the smell of the IP seal, i take it off and soak in dawn, warm water, and baking soda for a bit, then rinse with white vinegar, followed by cold water and seems to do the trick.

  • Mandy says:

    Great review!! I’ll stick to my instant pot! Thank you!!

  • Ola Marie Smith says:

    Thank you!

  • Jane Storek says:

    Gifted with Ninja Foodi 3 in 1…How do I use the thing. Need simple please. You’re dealing with senior citizen..lol..

    • Julie Wampler says:

      hi, i would recommend you refer to your instruction manual that came with your Foodi.

  • Bobbie W says:

    I have the ninja foodi and I would recommend to EVERYONE!
    It makes the greatest roasted chicken, Tony Roma ribs ftom scratch, roasts, prime rib, baked potatoes. Bacon, spring rolls, french fries, irish stew, chicken taco soup and even cake and cheesecake. I dehydrate dog treats…elk, bison duck etc.
    The possibilities are endless!

  • Rurik says:

    You’ll be happy to know the 6 qt instant pot now has an air fryer lid available that converts it to being able to do this task

    • Julie Wampler says:

      whaaaat?! omg that’s amazing!!! thanks for the heads up

  • gina cochran says:

    I’ve got a ninja pressure cooker. How is it

    • Janet Garrett says:

      It does some things well. I made the pulled pork and it was great! However, I have discovered that it doesn’t work the way the instructions say it will all the time. I tried making yogurt and ended up with a pot of spoiled milk.

  • Carla Baker says:

    Excellent and very helpful overview. Thank you!!

  • Theresa says:

    Any feedback on the instant pot’s air fryer lid?
    I am debating getting an air fryer and an instant pot (which my husband is against) so this could be a great solution.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I just received it yesterday so I haven’t really had time to play with it or review it.

  • Ruth P says:

    I was wondering when impute potatoes to cook on bottom then frozen or not meat on top the meat drips into potatoes while it is defrosting. Is liquid healthy for u to eat.

  • Janet Garrett says:

    I am trying to learn how to use my ninja foodi. It doesn’t work the way the instructions say it will. It’s very frustrating!

  • Mary Magnus says:

    My question is how do you clean the airfryer lid on the Ninja Foodie?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      no idea, i don’t have that machine anymore

  • Lonna Sodemann says:

    I’ve spent weeks researching which pot to get. I recently purchased the Emeril Lagasse pressure air fryer but it’s still sitting here unopened. Before I commit to such a large appliance I want to make sure I have the one that’s going to simplify my life. Thank you so much for your unbiased review. I will be returning the recent purchase as I’m not an experienced pressure Cooker and the reviews haven’t been positive enough to convince me. I now know I need to look into the larger Instapot!

  • C. Pietsch says:

    My husband bought me an Instant Pot two Christmases ago. I tried using it with just a minimum of reading the front part of the instruction booklet AND then trying one of the recipes in the booklet. It was a horrible experience! None of the control panel buttons made any sense… to either of us.
    [Note : My husband holds FOUR masters degrees — one in Public Administration and has his Bachelors degree in Computer Science. I have an IQ of over 148 and was told by college professors that I should enter Masters programs.]
    Yet neither of us could get the Instant Pot to function easily. The only buttons that seemed to get any movement or programming out of anything on the control panel was random pushing of the + and the – feature AND the “Adjust” button to eventually land on and light up a button that would work for the technique the recipe called for. Nothing about it was in any way intuitive or logical — AND the Instruction booklet that came with the Instant Pot was totally useless when it came to how to set the functions, set the amount of time I wanted things to cook, or the high or low pressure feature.
    To set the timer, I had to first set the clock, then we had to CALCULATE the TIME on the clock that the process should be done. For example — Let’s say it is now 4:47 p.m. and what I want to pressure cook will take 35 mins. We would have to add 35 minutes to the current time of 4:47 p.m., which comes out to being done at 5:22 p.m. and THEN set the clock time to alert us at 5:22 p.m.
    We used it three times. The food was fine, however the saute function we used for browning chicken pieces –as the recipe called for — left skin and chunks of meat stuck to the bottom of the pot. We are wonderful. experienced cooks, even holding massive dinner parties for TWO dozen people at once — and this machine was maddening.
    Last week we gave up and he ordered the 8 quart Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker / Air Crisp Fryer.
    We’ve already used it three times.
    The control panel is logical and highly intuitive. We made Buffalo Wings, a stew, and Copy-Cat Rosemary Fries like Smashburger. All easy and excellent.

  • Amita says:

    Does Ninja foodie OP305 have ‘time delay’

  • Christine Harvey says:

    Found this via google search while at the store. It’s a thorough review, but I’m quite taken aback that you used the Ninja for a week for your review and returned it. That’s pretty bad behaviour.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      is it though? how is this any different than buying an appliance or any electronic, using it for a week, deciding it’s not for them, and returning it? it’s not like i returned it broken, dirty, with zero packaging, etc. – please don’t scold someone for their behavior as if you are holier than thou. we don’t need that right now.

  • Peggy Brown says:

    HELP; I bought my daughter a Ninja Foodie for her b;day. I kept wondering why she was not using it. Her Ninja did not include the book I have with mine. I would love for you to send her a book that is standard for the Foodie.

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