How is it that Air Fryer products and technology continue to advance the state of the art? Here is an excellent example of what’s new.I have long been a fan of and recommended “bucket” or basket style air fryers. The other popular style, countertop air fryers, typically with glass fronts and an open cavity, easily become filthy. An upscale countertop oven, they are a more modern version of a toaster oven.
The self-contained “bucket” design that I prefer places the heating element at the top, above an enclosed bucket at the bottom of which is, typically, a crisping rack The rack also allow air flow all around the food. All liquids, splatters and debris are contained within the “bucket”. The bucket and rack are non-stick coated and easily cleaned by hand or in a dishwasher.
What’s new with this Ninja Foodi model? The major upgrade to this double-basket model is a feature not seen before. This DZ550 is a dual basket 10-qt design with something extra. The left bucket has a helper, a temperature probe on a wire. Use the probe to alert and automatically shut down the DZ550 when the probe’s set point is reached. How is this different from other models? It’s the “Foodi Smart Thermometer” probe!
As of today, the DZ550 is exclusive to Best Buy at $250. Wait a bit to find it at Amazon, though the price may be the same.
An entire six-pound chicken with probe fits in the left basket and may be cooked on the roast setting. Another up to six-pound chicken may also be simultaneously cooked in the right side bucket, say, on the AirFry setting, then the unit may me be set so the food in both sides can finish at the same time. That’s genuine convenience any way you slice it.
- The Ninja XL air fryer with two independent cooking baskets tips the scales at about 20 pounds.
- With 1690 Watts of available power, it is expected to cook whatever is in one or both baskets as quickly as possible, all the while consuming less energy than a conventional oven. Temperature settings range from 105º – 450ºF.
**WHAT’S IN THE BOX**
- Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 10-qt. XL 2-Basket Air Fryer
- Dual 5-qt Cooking Baskets
- Nonstick Crisper Plates
- Foodi Smart Thermometer
READ everything, then re-read everything. There is much to learn and apply in order to experience a comfort level with repeatable successful outcomes.
A probe that connects to a port at the left front above the left bucket is the only obvious visual difference between this model and others with a similar look. Using the DZ550 in AirFryer mode, there is no easy way to determine the doneness of meat, fish or poultry. I use the tried and true method, which is to open the bucket and insert an instant-read thermometer in a few spots. With practice, I have become adept at estimating the correct cook time of my fan favorite whole chicken preparations. But now, the probe changes everything and takes the majority of guesswork from the equation. How to insert the probe.
For a six-pound chicken, as an example, I set the temperature to an internal doneness of 160º, not the recommended 165º, “with the probe inserted horizontally into the thickest part of the breast, parallel to, but not touching, the bone. Make sure the top reaches the center of the thickest part of the breast and doesn’t go all the way through the breast into the cavity.” I don’t like dried out, overcooked chicken breast or anything else, for that matter.
Press the button and let it happen. At the same time, another food, perhaps AirFried wedge potatoes that everyone here loves, can be set so that both buckets are done at the same time.
Built-in intelligence rockets the DZ550 to a higher performance level with new options not available on previous air fryers. Ninja calls it the Smart Cook System.
Versatility is the name of the game. Use the DZ550 with or without the probe, with or without both “zones” (buckets), i.e., DualZone Technology, with or without Match Cook.
Functions include Air Fry, Bake, Roast, Air Broil, Reheat and Dehydrate. The Quick Start Guide includes instructions and many recipes.
After hand washing both baskets and crisper trays, I set them back in place, set the operation to Roast, the temperature to 400º, and set the timer for 12 minutes. This was to burn off any debris or other coating and to dispense with the first-use odor.
And now, it’s time to . . .
**PUT IT TO THE TEST**
Always the first thing I make in an air fryer, I prepped an over six-pound chicken. Seasoned well and with the probe inserted as instructed, I cut a few russet potatoes into wedges and soaked them in ice water for 30 minutes. Rinsed, then pat-dried, I tossed them in a large prep bucket with salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoky paprika and Lebanese Za’atar.
Next, set so the chicken and fries would be ready at about the same time, with the push of a button, the cooking began. Sure smelled great!
Practice, practice, practice, and more practice. Once again, family and friends are enjoying the ever-expanding repertoire of wonderful dishes made with my most recent AirFryer. I can see daylight ahead! Pretty soon, everyone here will enjoy this versatility of deliciousness. Please look at the User’s Guide.
This Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 10-qt. XL 2-Basket Air Fryer with DualZone Technology & Smart Cook System is a big hit here.
The product appears to be durable and well-built.
Yes, it takes some dedicated, uninterrupted study of manuals to become comfortable with the different procedures. It has been absolutely worth the time AND effort.
Ninja Foodi DZ550 comes with the manufacturer’s one year parts and labor warranty.