The Multifry Extra is a health fryer that promises to do much more than cook large quantities of healthier (2.8% fat) chips.
It cooks from above and below, with two independent elements and a removable paddle to stir ingredients. This means it's versatile enough to cook everything from risotto to gingerbread… although you probably have perfectly good ways of cooking these dishes already.
The Multifry Extra is fairly large: wider and shorter than a traditional deep fat fryer. It cooks in two directions at once: from an element below and from an element and fan above, blasting the top with hot air. The two are independently controlled, which gives the Multifry Extra the versatility to cook a wide range of foods, not just healthy chips.
But let's start with the chips: it can cook up to 1.7kg at a time using 14ml oil per kg, which makes for 2.8% fat chips (fresh chips lose a lot of water as they cook, so these figures allow for them shrinking). That's enough to feed a family of eight, and equivalent to the lowest fat oven chips you can buy. The downside is that it's slow: it cooks 750g chips in 21-23 minutes, but cooking 1.7kg takes 40-43 minutes.
As well as the independently controlled elements, the Multifry Extra has a removable paddle – use it to constantly stir dishes like risotto or chips, remove it to make a tart, pizza or pie. It comes with a small recipe booklet, but you can also download a free app (iOS and Android) with more than 250 recipes, or access these on the DeLonghi website.
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In a word: noisy. The fan in the top is very loud considering you're going to have to put up with it for up to 43 minutes to cook chips. It's loud enough that you'd probably give up on conversation or listening to the radio.
We cooked 750g fresh chips in it. You put the chips in the cooking bowl and use the tiny jug supplied to measure out the oil. Pray that you don't lose said tiny jug because you're not given the quantities in ml, instead the recipe says level 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. Then turn both heating controls on. The paddle starts stirring a couple of minutes after you turn it on.
Simple design features, like the way it stops if you lift the lid, were impressive. And there is a built-in timer of sorts. The timer doesn't control the Multifry Extra, in fact it's not even connected to it, it's just a little digital kitchen timer that clips into the front of the appliance. Still, it works well for counting down minutes, leaving your own kitchen timer free to keep track of other dishes.
Our chips took 23 minutes to cook and they looked the part, but they were soft and flavourless, no better than an oven chip. In fact, as an experiment we cooked fresh chips made from the same potatoes in the oven with a spoonful of oil, stirring them just once halfway through the cooking time, and got better-tasting results.
We also experimented with cooking prawn crackers in the Multifry but they were a failure. They didn't expand or go white, instead they stayed small and got browner and browner, some getting stuck under the paddle as it rotated. So much for our dream of low-fat prawn crackers.
Cleaning is simple: the bowl can go in the dishwasher. But whether washed by hand or machine, we did find that its non-stick finish was left looking greasy.
Maybe. It produces large quantities of low-fat chips, so it could be a good buy for a large family that loves chips and wants a healthy alternative. But the results are no better than oven chips or even oven-baked fresh, home-made chips. So perhaps only a worthwhile buy for a large family that needs its oven space to cook the rest of the dinner.
As for all the other recipes, again they're dishes you can cook just as well in the oven or on the hob, so it feels like a solution to a non-existent problem. But… browse the recipe website or app and decide for yourself. If the Multifry Extra will encourage your family to cook more fresh meals then that can only be a good thing.
But shop around: at the time of writing, you could save up to 40% on the suggested retail price.
A versatile big health fryer… but it's slow and we're not convinced that you need it.