For several months I have been evaluating and learning to love dedicated air fryers. My initial exposure left me cold. Our first one had a small cavity which, obviously, limited its value as compared with multi-function countertop ovens that also featured an Air Fry setting.
With those countertop combo devices, I discovered the interior mess they produced. These upscale toaster ovens have been gaining traction. It is hard to discount 7-, 8- 9- even 10-in-1 combination devices for their apparent space-saving and multi-use benefits. Below is our GE combo countertop oven with Air Fry. We do not use it for air frying foods that spatter because of the mess. Use a dedicated Air Fryer!
The extra cleanup required from their use as an air fryer and countertop broiler was not a time saver. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with those countertop combo ovens, but I can do without the mess and cleanup. It was a learning experience.
In my kitchen and with my home crew, I value my time. Though there is not enough countertop space to leave out this double-wide Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 10-qt capacity air fryer, it is not too large or heavy to store it. Then, we can retrieve it for use just about anywhere, on any kitchen surface or on the backyard island. There is NO external mess. None. This cannot be overemphasized. By design, there is virtually no mess on the inside of bucket-type air fryers. There is just the basket and insert.
The following pictures show a size and capacity comparison with our 6-quart Bella Pro Air Fryer.
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With two separate and equal baskets, each individually addressable and controllable, it we can do two unique and distinct preparations in each basket. Yes, it is two, two, TWO air fryers in one!
**WHAT’S IN THE BOX**
- DualZone Ninja Air Fryer model DZ401 (From Amazon $220)
- (2) 5 Quart Baskets with Nonstick Crisper Plates
- 15 Recipe Inspiration Guide
- Additional Meal Options & Cooking Charts
There is not much to set up. Wash both baskets and both inserts (crisper plates) in preparation for first use. The baskets and inserts are coated with non-stick material and are dishwasher safe.
Settings include Air Fry, Air Broil, Roast, Bake, Reheat, and Dehydrate. Temperature settings range from 105º to 450º, the lower setting used for dehydrating fruits and meats.
Here are two unique features of THIS dual air fryer (from the manufacturer):
- DualZone™ Technology allows you to choose between the Smart Finish feature, which unlocks cooking 2 foods 2 ways that finish at the same time, and the Match Cook feature, which easily copies settings across zones for full 10-qt. capacity meals.
- IQ Boost optimally distributes power across each basket to cook a 6-lb. whole chicken and side as quickly as possible when Match Cook or Smart Finish is not selected.
**WHAT IS AN AIR FRYER?**
An air fryer is a convection oven. It has a top-mounted electric baking and broiling element with a fan to move the hot air and provide the convection effect. They do not “fry” food in a traditional sense. It is a marketing term to suggest that the results are healthier than traditional frying. Aren’t those marketing and advertising experts clever! Results are only healthier than traditional “frying” when using little to no oil as compared to frying with and in oil.
Now, back to the review. Scanning the manual and the Internet, it’s time to choose a couple of items to start testing versatility. Yes, it’s time to . . .
**PUT IT TO THE TEST**
My go-to test has been air frying a large, whole chicken. All of us at my home have come to absolutely love air fried, no oil chicken. Not only is it consistently moist and flavorful more than other methods, but the cleanup is far and away the easiest anyone could encounter. With NO external mess and NO internal mess because all the splatter, the fat and what is encountered in conventional cooking is contained in the basket. The basket’s deep sides go very near to the electric burner at the top of the inside cavity. Whatever splatters up to the burner is burned away.
For the other basket we decided upon air fries. I cut up russets and purple sweet potatoes, mixed then in a bowl with just a third cup of oil, liberally sprinkling with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and freshly minced garlic.
Set on Air Fry, the nearly 6-lb chicken would take about 50 minutes, turned once. The air fries would take about 40 minutes at a lower temp, shaking the basket once.
I used the Smart Finish feature to test if both could be finished at about the same time.
Both foods came out perfectly finished.
Over the course of the next three days, I dehydrated peaches and apples to perfection with a layer under the insert and a layer on top of it.
Then I seasoned some uncooked tri tip strips and sirloin strips and made my own version of sugar-free jerky. Very tasty! Here is a three-level insert that makes it possible.
Next, baking! I found a recipe for air fryer cinnamon muffins and another for corn bread, both adapted for a small, single pan. Both were perfect. Here is a small round silicone baking pan for the job.
And finally for this round of tests, an Air Fryer stir fry with marinated veggies, completely prepared in the bottom of the basket without the screen on the Air Broil setting. They were as if pan fried in the basket from above. The lack of mess was so welcome and the result was the same as doing this on the stovetop. Every six minutes I pulled out the basket and gave the contents a stir until done, about 35 minutes at 330ºF.
I am sure we will be even more creative in the future.
For now, with nearly daily use, I am staging it for convenient access until we find the best place to keep it while using it with such regularity.
Cleanup has been easy. I have hand washed the basket and crisper plate as well as cleaned both parts in the dishwasher. Easy as can be.
For anyone who can make use of what is functionally two separate and identical high quality 5-qt. Air Fryers side-by-side within a single housing, this is for you! Better yet, the done together or done separately capability enhances its versatility. We like it! I recommend it.
One year manufacturer’s warranty