The Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer AG301UK is a good option for anyone wanting a dual-purpose machine. It combines the features of an air fryer and grilling machine, so you can cook your chips using the fry mode but grill your meat or vegetables. The results in all the cooking modes were excellent. It’s compact so won’t take up too much room on your counter, and stylish so you’ll be happy leaving it out on display. However, it is rather noisy and takes a while to pre-heat.
- Easy to operate
- Excellent results in all modes
- No smoke
- Grill and air fry options
- Pre-heat times can be long
- Review Price: £199.99
- 235 x 356 x 450mm
- 1 cooking compartment
- Grill, roast, air fry, bake and dehydrate
- 5.7-litres capacity
- Cooking pot, crisper basket, grill plate, roasting rack, 5x skewers, apron
The Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer AG301UK is a dual-purpose cooking machine. Air fryers have been a hidden gem for many years now. Those who own one rarely use anything else for their cooking and love the results, which offers the crispness of frying without the need for lots of unhealthy oil soaked into the food.
This machine offers something extra for the air fry fan, as it’s able to operate as a grill or roasting oven as well as an air fryer.
The cooking area is large enough that you can easily cook a meal for two people – we easily cooked sausages and hash browns and fish and chips for two people at a time in the 3.8-litre Crisper Basket – or fit in more food and just keep giving it a shake around to ensure an even finish. The grill plate that sits in the 5.7-litre Cooking Pot will easily fit enough meat or vegetables for four.
Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer AG301UK – What you need to know
- Chips: With lots of space inside, it’s easy to get an even finish on chips, with a nice crispy outside and a smooth, fluffy interior.
- Meat test: Brilliantly grilled sausages, with sear marks around the side, a nice colour overall and a succulent finish.
- 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 – Smart, compact and easy to use
The Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer AG301UK is a sleek cooking machine. Measuring just 235 x 356 x 450mm, it won’t take up much room on your counter but is also small enough to find space for in or on top of a cupboard if you prefer to store it out the way.
You’ll need to find room to fit the accessories, as this model ships with a lot. As per the standard model, there’s a large cooking pot, which has to be installed before you can cook anything.
Into this go the other accessories, each one build to provide a different type of cooking. If you want to use the air fryer mode, you’ll need to install the ceramic crisper basket, which simply drops into place. It provides a large surface, so you can mostly lay food flat.
For grilling, there’s a grill plate, which has angled fins that your food sits on. The handles are useful, as you can lift the plate and food out in one go, provided you’re wearing oven gloves, of course.
You can cook fresh or frozen ingredients, with no need to defrost the latter first, and as the food needs little or no added oil it’s a healthier option than frying.
We found it a much more pleasant experience cooking with the Ninja than using a traditional grill, BBQ or frying pan. For a start, the lack of smoke means no accidental smoke alarms being set off every time you’re cooking some chips, and no need to open the windows on a cold evening to air the room.
Unlike with traditional grilling or frying, there’s often no need to turn food over using the Ninja. A powerful fan circulates temperatures up to 265°C so your food will be evenly cooked. However, if you’re using the air fryer and have food piled up, say when making chips, the advice is to give everything a shake. Ninja’s dedicated air fryers have pull-out drawers with a handle at the front for easy shaking, the Health Grill requires you to wear oven gloves or to use tongs for moving food, which isn’t quite as handy.
There are five cooking functions: Grill with Low, Medium, High and Max settings; Air Fry; Roast, which is ideal for meats or potatoes; Bake to cook pies or bread; and Dehydrate to dry herbs and fruit. However, we found the air frying and the grill settings were the ones we turned to most.
Given the size and shape of the inside and that you can’t have a look at what’s cooking without opening the lid and letting in cold air, I didn’t find the Bake option so good; a regular oven with a glass window where you can see what’s going on is often better.
The front of the Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer AG301UK has a control panel with the different cooking functions, temperature and timer settings. It’s really simple to use – much more so than some conventional ovens and microwaves from our experience. You just choose your mode, eg Air Fry, and then you’ll need to select either Low, Medium, High or Max for grilling or the temperature for Air Fry, Roast or Bake. You should opt for the same temperature as per the cooking instructions.
For all these, you also need to set the cooking time – the general guidance is to deduct around 15 to 25% of the suggested cooking time as per the instructions, though on occasion we found the food was ready a little sooner than this so it’s worth lifting the lid towards the end to check. This will be automatically paused partway through cooking if you need to open the lid to give your food a shake or add extra items. Helpfully, Ninja provides a booklet that gives you some cooking temperatures and times for common foods, although, as noted above, don’t take these figures as gospel, and adjust your cooking to suit.
One thing to note is you need to pre-heat the machine before adding your food. We found this could take a while – seven minutes to be ready to grill some sausages on the recommended High grill setting, which is longer than you’d need to wait to heat up a normal oven grill. You also need to remember to listen out for the beep alerting you that it’s time to add your food – we missed this a few times, which resulted in delayed meal times.
Everything can be put into the dishwasher when you’re finished and you should also remove the grill cover at the top of the unit to clean off any dried-on food; this part protects the heating element.
Performance – The large interior helps with perfectly cooked food
I cooked a variety of fresh and frozen items in the Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer AG301UK, and was always really impressed with the results.
Frozen chips and hash browns came out evenly cooked with a lovely golden-brown colour, and that perfect combination of crunch on the outside and soft and fluffy inside. It’s also ideal cooking for kids as you can feed them their favourites – I did fish fingers, chicken nuggets and veggie sausages for mine – and they get the taste of fried food while I know I’m not clogging up their arteries with fat. I didn’t use oil at all for the air fryer when cooking frozen food, and I didn’t need to shake the food to get an even finish thanks to the large size of the cooking dish.
If you’re cooking fresh food, for example, hand-made chips, you’ll need to use a little oil and give the crisper basket a shake during cooking – and remember to use oven gloves as it will be hot. Putting chips through the air fryer results in a crispy coating on the outside, and soft and fluffy on the inside.
I grilled some sausages, using a little oil, and these again came out even although I did turn these while cooking using tongs. You get the nice sear marks thanks to the angled fins on the grill plate, and the taste is impeccable.
And I roasted some corn on the cob, which I brushed first with buttered and then turned during cooking. The result was a nicely browned and juicy piece of corn, with no burnt bits.
I also reheated some chips using the Air Fry mode, bought the evening before at the local chippie. The results were scrumptious, triple-cooked chips ready in a few minutes and with none of the frying hassle.
Should you buy the Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer AG301UK?
If you’re looking for an air fryer or health grill but don’t want to shell out the cash for a one-mode machine, the Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer AG301UK is a good buy. The cooking results in all its mode are excellent, it’s really easy to use and you’ll end up eating incredibly tasty, evenly cooked meals that are healthy too. If you’re only going to use the air fryer part, then the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer, with its two cooking zones, might be the better buy. If you can use the grill, too, or want a large single cooking area, the Ninja Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer is a great choice.