Flipping from a traditional toaster into a sandwich press and grill, the Ninja Foodi 3-in-1 Toaster, Grill & Panini Press is an incredibly versatile kitchen appliance. It’s single slot can hold only two slices of bread, but you can at least fit odd-sized and larger slices in it. Cooking is very even, and the results from the panini press particularly impress. I found the grill slightly less useful since it doesn’t hold much food, but it’s good for making foods such as cheese on toast.
- Dual cooking modes
- Even toasting
- Great toasted sandwiches
- Only takes two slices of bread
- ToastingHas one wide slot that takes larger bits of bread
- GrillLies horizontal for panini, grill and baking
Ninja’s first foray into the breakfast appliance market was the rather good Perfect Temperature Kettle KT200UK. Now it’s pairing that with the Ninja Foodi 3-in-1 Toaster, Grill & Panini Press. This being Ninja, you couldn’t expect just another toaster; this is a full-on cooking appliance, with a clever grill mode and panini press built in.
It’s the most customisable toaster I’ve used and cooks perfectly. However, the single slot does mean it can only toast a maximum of two bits of bread at once.
Design and Features
- Single wide slot
- Lie-flat grill mode
- Comprehensive controls
Available in colours that match the KT200UK kettle, the Ninja Foodi 3-in-1 Toaster, Grill & Panini Press looks much like a regular toaster at first glance. It has a single slot on top (260 x 70mm), rather than the four individual slots that I’d normally expect to see on such a wide toaster (220 x 420 x 150mm). That means it will hold a max of two slices of bread at a time in toaster mode.
While other toasters can handle more slices in one go, the Ninja Foodi 3-in-1 Toaster, Grill & Panini Press’s wide slot easily accommodates wider slices of bread, pitta bread and slices of artisan loaves, too. In some ways, having one wide slot can prove better than four smaller slots, depending on what you’d normally toast.
The toaster largely operates as you’d expect, but this Ninja appliance has a trick: it’s hinged, and the toaster can be laid down into a horizontal grill position.
In this mode, the combination grill tray and panini press works alongside the toaster to deliver additional cooking modes: Grill, Panini, Bake and Reheat. In other words, this isn’t just a toaster; it’s a full-on cooking appliance.
And the appliance’s controls reinforce that. Rather than a simple dial to set the level you want your bread toasted, here you’ll find an entire control panel. For toast, there are options to set the shade you want, a defrost option (this adds extra time before toasting), and a bagel option (this turns off one side of the heating elements, and the handy icon on the slot shows you which way to insert your sliced bagels).
Cleverly, when the side handle is pulled down, the Ninja Foodi 3-in-1 Toaster, Grill & Panini Press has a display that indicates how much toasting time remains. How long the toaster takes will vary according to how warm the appliance is: the first slice of bread is likely to take the longest to toast; the following slices will toast faster due to the residual heat.
In Grill mode, the toaster handle has to be locked back into position, and then the grill pan inserted. For paninis and toasted sandwiches, the press must be attached; for everything else, the grill pan can be inserted. In both cases, the toaster uses its two heating elements to cook food on both sides so it doesn’t need to be flipped.
Also available are a set of controls to choose between Grill, Panini, Bake and Reheat, with each mode having a selectable temperature (low, medium and high). The exact temperatures will vary with mode, so check the manual, but these range between 120°C and 250°C. A timer can then be set between one and 20 minutes, with the toaster stopping automatically at the end.
Ninja has an inspiration guide in the box to help you get started, but the basic functions are Grill for melting cheese on toast or cooking sausages; Panini is for use with the press for toasted sandwiches; Bake is for breakfast pastries and the like; and Reheat is to bring cooked foods – such as a slice of pizza – back up to temperature.
The grill pan and sandwich press can be put in the dishwasher for cleaning, although Ninja recommends that you hand-wash to prolong life. What you’ve cooked dictates how difficult that job will be, but in general, I found the grill pan easy to clean. For the toaster, there’s a removable crumb tray that should be emptied after use.
- Cooks evenly
- Excellent toasted sandwiches
- Not all things are ideal in the grill pan
While most toasters use old-fashioned heating elements, with runs of wire that heat up, Ninja uses strips of heating elements that look similar to those used in an electric fire.
The advantage of this design is that heating is exceptionally even. From normal sliced bread to longer slices of artisan bread, the Ninja Foodi 3-in-1 Toaster, Grill & Panini Press delivered perfectly toasted bread on the first run, from edge to edge.
Adding a fresh slice of bread after the initial toasting, the toaster reduced the cooking time slightly. This resulted in toast that was cooked, but not quite as well as the first slice. I put the bread back in for a further 20 seconds to toast it to the level I wanted; still, the Ninja Foodi 3-in-1 Toaster, Grill & Panini Press avoided burning the second slice.
I then switched to make toasted cheese sandwiches using the panini press. The grill tray needs to be greased to stop the food from sticking, and the sandwich needs to be oiled or buttered on top, too, for the same reason. I went with the traditional method of buttering the outside of the top and bottom of the sandwich, then grilled it for 10 minutes, checking on progress.
The end result was nicely melted cheese, with grill lines showing across the bread on top. It’s a neat and easy way to make sandwiches more interesting, although the size of the grill pan means that there’s room to make only one sandwich. With a sandwich toaster, you can typically cook two sandwiches at once, and the end result is sealed.
Next I tried the Grill option, cooking some halloumi to add to a salad. Here, I had to remove the panini press and then use spray oil to grease the bottom of the grill plate before adding the slices of the cheese. Although the grill cooked the cheese well enough, I did have to move the slices around to cook them evenly. At the end, the liquid running out of the cheese caused quite a mess. I didn’t bother cooking halloumi using this appliance again, instead choosing the old method of using a griddle pan on a hob.
How useful the grill is will largely depend on what you want to cook. Since the pan isn’t very big, grilling is likely best in smaller amounts – say, for one or two people. It’s useful for some jobs, such as melting cheese on toast, where using a full oven grill would be far too much faff.
Should you buy it?
If you want a flexible toaster that can also make toasted sandwiches, then this appliance is a great choice.
It’s quite expensive, and you can find cheaper models that will toast more slices of bread in one go.
Easily the most versatile toaster I’ve tested, the Ninja Foodi 3-in-1 Toaster, Grill & Panini Press combines traditional features with a grill and sandwich press. It toasts evenly and well across its wide slot, which can take all types of bread, and the sandwich press is impressive. I found the grill aspect to be slightly less useful, but it could be handy for small amounts of food. If you want something cheaper or more traditional, look at my guide to the best toasters.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every toaster we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main toaster for the review period
We test with different sized bread, and see how well the toaster toasts one bit of bread. We follow up with a second slice immediately after to see if the toaster burns the second slice.
We test other cooking features where available: sandwich presses, grilling, etc.
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It can toast, grill, bake, reheat and is also a panini press.
It has one wide slot, so can take up to two bits of bread at a time.
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