With two independently controlled drawers, the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone 7.6L Air Fryer lets you cook different items and have cooking complete at the same time. Whether you’re cooking from scratch, such as your own chips, want to get the best out of frozen foods, or simply wish to reheat what you had for dinner yesterday, the Foodi Dual Zone produces exceptional results. With a huge range of cooking programmes, this will become your go-to kitchen gadget for the majority of meals. It’s the best and most flexible air fryer we’ve tested.
- Two separate drawers
- Clever timing options
- Large capacity
- Excellent cooking programmes
- Can’t fit in very large ingredients
- Review Price: £179.99
- 315 x 375 x 350mm
- Two compartments
- Air Fry, Max Crisp, Bake, Roast, Dehydrate, Reheat cooking modes
- 7.6-litre capacity
- 2 x crisper plates
As good as air fryers are, they all tend to have one problem: you can only cook items at the same temperature and programme setting. If you want to make a meal that comprises of more than one component, then you either have to turn to your regular oven or cook in batches, keeping one part warm while you tackle the next. Not so with the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone 7.6L Air Fryer, which has two compartments with individual controls.
Excellent performance across a wide range of items and generous capacity are the stand-out features, but the individual drawer size means that you can’t cook larger items in this air fryer.
What you need to know
- Homemade chips: Using a combination of standard and max crisp settings achieved perfectly cooked chips that were crunchy all of the way around.
- Meat test: Brilliantly cooked burger, with charring on the outside and good bite, but soft and succulent on the inside.
- Reheat test: Our pizza emerged with a crispy base and gooey cheese top, which is pretty much as it should be when fresh.
Related: Best air fryer
Design and features
The first thing I have to say is that the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone 7.6L Air Fryer is an absolute beast of a machine. It measures 315 x 375 x 350mm, so you’ll need a fair amount of counter space to use it, and a large enough cupboard in which to store it . Of course, the reason that the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone 7.6L Air Fryer is so big is that it has two individually controlled drawers. These combine for 7.6 litres of capacity overall, or 3.8 litres per drawer.
That’s pretty generous capacity, with each drawer relatively sizeable. However, despite the decent-sized drawers, you still won’t be able to cook a whole chicken, for example, as you can in the Ninja Air Fryer Max AF160UK – which has a massive 5.2-litre single basket.
Ultimately, it’s a trade-off, and what the Dual Zone offers is the flexibility to cook different items at the same time. So, if you want a burger and chips, you can use one drawer for the meat and the other for the fries.
Each drawer has its own crisper plate, which lifts your food off the drawer’s base, increasing air circulation around it. You should use the crispers for most modes, although there are a couple where you should remove it.
Control is simple: use the selector buttons to choose which drawer you want to control, and then proceed with the main cooking controls. You can run each drawer with its own settings, or you can use the Match button for the same settings on both sides.
If you go for individual controls, then you can use the Sync button. This will ensure that food will finish cooking in both drawers at exactly the same time, even if you programme them with different timers and cooking modes. It’s pretty clever, taking the hard work out of managing timings.
If you’ve seen other Ninja air fryers, the Dual Zone controls will look familiar. You select the cook mode first, then the cooking temperature and then you set the timer.
Air Fry is probably the most commonly used mode, running at up to 210ºC. The Max Crisp mode runs at 240ºC and is a welcome inclusion; it’s designed to give food that perfect crunch.
There’s an individual Roast mode, which makes this air fryer act like an oven, plus a Bake mode for making cakes and brownies. To use Bake mode, you’ll need to remove the crisper and put ingredients directly into the drawer. This can be a bit limiting, as what you cook will emerge the size and shape of the drawer. It isn’t a mode I’ve used often.
Reheat lets you warm up leftovers without them becoming soggy, and Dehydrate runs at lower temperatures for a longer period of time to remove moisture from ingredients, such as herbs.
All of the buttons are super-responsive, the screen is clear and easy to understand, and Ninja provides a handy book that includes recommended preparation and cooking times for lots of common foods. All Foodi Dual Zone parts can be cleaned in the dishwasher, although Ninja recommends hand-washing the drawers to extend their life.
I started by making my own homemade chips. I peeled and sliced the potatoes, and then left them to soak in water for 30 minutes, before draining and patting dry. Ninja recommends using a maximum of 450g of potatoes for fresh chips (1kg per drawer if you’re using frozen), although I made a little more than this.
Using three teaspoons of oil, I next used the Air Fry mode at 200ºC for 24 minutes. Ninja recommends that you remove the drawer and shake the contents at least two or three times through the cooking process to redistribute items. As per the manual, it’s worth using silicone tongs to move the chips around to get the best results; in particular, items at the centre of the pile will need a bit of help to get hot air over them.
At the end of the cooking time, I ran the Max Crisp programme for five minutes, just to finish off the chips. I ended up with pretty-much perfect results: decent colouration without burning, with even the lighter parts of the chip having a nice crunch to them.
Next, I cooked a burger without oil, following the instructions. The result was a juicy burger, cooked to perfection, with a slight crunch to the top and a succulent interior.
Using the Roast option, I tackled corn on the cob, brushing the corn with butter before cooking. Again, the results were excellent: succulent corn with some nice colouring on the outside, but all of the flavour locked in.
An air fryer is as much about convenience as it is about cooking from scratch, so I used the Ninja Dual Zone to tackle a dinner of hash browns and fish fingers. Cooked in an oven, these frozen items often emerge stuck to the baking tray with an uneven finish. Not so here: perfectly crisp on the outside, both fish fingers and hash browns were cooked to perfection.
Reheating food in this air fryer also produces excellent results. Left-over pizza was warmed up on the Reheat setting in about five minutes with no burning, turning from a floppy piece of dough into a crisp, almost-as-good-as-when-fresh slice. The only downside is that the drawer size means you’ll only be able to fit in about two slices per drawer.
Finally, I tried the Dehydrate option on some fresh oregano. The suggested cooking period was a little long – which is why it’s worth keeping an eye on contents regularly – so I stopped early. My fresh leaves were now crispy dried herbs, ready to go in a jar and be used for cooking at a later date.
Should I buy it?
For those who’d like the convenience of being able to cook a whole chicken, for example, the Ninja Air Fryer Max AF160UK is the better option. For everyone else, the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone 7.6L Air Fryer is an incredible bit of kit, one that I turned to using a good 80% of the time.
The inclusion of two drawers allows you to easily cook a meal for two in one go, or you can use that extra-large capacity to use both sides at once to increase the quantity of food you’re cooking. Spot-on results in all cooking modes cement this model’s place as the most flexible air fryer, whether you’re cooking from scratch or just want the best out of frozen convenience food. It comes highly recommended.