More than just a quality air fryer, the Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill & Air Fryer AG551UKDBCP is also a great grill, cooking evenly and quickly without the usual smells. Thanks to its temperature probe, this appliance can even stop cooking when your food is perfectly done. If you’re looking for flexibility and quality, then this is the air fryer and grill to buy.
- Automated temperature probe cooking
- Excellent air fryer
- Keeps grill smells inside
- Doesn’t let you override settings immediately
- CapacityThis air fryer and grill has 3.8 litres of cooking capacity
More than just an air fryer, the Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill & Air Fryer AG551UKDBCP also throws in a grill and precise cooking via its integrated temperature probe.
This Black Friday special edition comes in a fetching copper finish and is bundled with four skewers and an apron.
Design and features
- Easy-reach crisp basket
- Temperature probe stowed in the side
- Simple controls
The Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill & Air Fryer AG551UKDBCP is similar in many ways to the Ninja Foodi Max Pro Health Grill, Flat Plate & Air Fryer AG651UK, as both offer grilling and air frying.
The main difference between the two models is that the AG651UK has an open-top flat plate and grill function, for more delicate items that need to be turned regularly – a feature that you pay a premium for.
Here, with the Ninja AG551UKDBCP, you need to do everything with the lid down, like with most other air fryer-grills. What’s important is the level of cooking options available, selectable via the touchscreen controls that light up when the appliance is turned on.
I slightly prefer the physical dial on the AG651UK, as it’s a little easier to operate. In particular, I found that with the AG651UK, if I accidentally set the wrong programme or cooking settings and hit the start button, I couldn’t just adjust the settings. Instead, I had to close the lid and hit stop first.
The AG551UKDBCP offers a choice of air fry, roast, grill, bake, reheat and dehydrate. With the roast, bake, and dehydrate, the main 3.8-litre cooking pot can be used. That’s a good enough capacity for a single side for three to four people.
How useful some features are will depend on what you want to cook. The excellent inspiration guide, which gives sample recipes to show off each mode, has one for focaccia, which works well as it’s quite a flat bread. If you wanted to bake something longer, such as a baguette, or bigger, such as a regular loaf, you might not have enough space.
For air frying, there’s a 3.8-litre crisp basket, which sits in the cooking bowl. This should provide enough space for four people, for one side or main, but you’ll need to batch cook if you want to make more. Handles on the side of the crisp basket make it easy to shake the food, although you should wear oven gloves as it will be hot. Air fryers that have a drawer, such as the Ninja Foodi MAX Dual Zone Air Fryer AF400UK, make shaking food easier, as the external handles don’t warm up.
For grilling, there’s a grill plate that drops into the bowl. This should give enough surface area to cook for four people.
To prevent cooking food from damaging the heating element, there’s a splash guard in the lid, which can be removed and washed.
For each cooking mode, select the cooking temperature (high, medium, and low for the grill) and time, and hit start to get the AG551UKDBCP to preheat itself, which takes a few minutes, beeping and displaying ‘Add food’ when it’s ready.
Then, it’s a matter of sticking in the food and remembering to shake it during cooking. Grilling doesn’t technically require flipping, although it’s a good idea to do this so the food gets grill lines on both sides.
So far, so manual, but the AG551UKDBCP can also automate cooking via its temperature probe, which tucks away in a compartment on the right-hand side of the air fryer. Once plugged in, this can be used to stop cooking automatically.
In preset mode, the AG551UKDBCP lets you choose the type of food you’re cooking: fish, chicken/turkey, pork, or beef/lamb.
Pick the type of meat and then select the level of doneness (aside from the poultry option, which only lets you properly cook the food): rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well done. Alternatively, there’s a manual mode, where you can simply set the target temperature.
Then, stick the probe into your meat, use the cooking programme you want, and the AG551UKDBCP will turn off automatically when it has hit the target temperature.
All of the accessories can be washed easily by hand, but they can also go into the dishwasher, making the AG551UKDBCP simple to tidy up after.
- Very crispy results
- Excellent automatic cooking
- Smell-free grilling
I started by making chips, cooking them for 20 minutes at 200ºC. I was impressed by the results: evenly cooked and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. If I’m being critical, the chips weren’t quite as good as those from the Ninja OL750UK’s steam air-fry mode, but they were not far off.
There’s a high maximum temperature of 240ºC on this model, so I put in hash browns next and cooked them for just 12 minutes. These came out super crispy on the outside while retaining their texture, which is impressive.
Next, I used the grill to cook steak, setting the AG551UKDBCP for a target of medium-rare. After prompting me to turn the meat, the AG551UKDBCP stopped automatically when my food was done. The steak was cooked perfectly through with no effort on my part.
I also used the grill on sausages, turning them three times during cooking. This resulted in nicely done sausages with grill lines.
As the lid was shut, the usual smells and smoke from grilling didn’t leak out into the kitchen, making this device more pleasant to use than a regular cooking appliance.
Should you buy it?
If you want precision cooking via a temperature probe and a quality air fryer all-in-one, this is a great choice.
If you want more air frying capacity, a larger machine or one with dual drawers could be a better option for you.
The AG551UKDBCP costs the same as the normal version, the AG551UK, but comes in a cooler colour and has a set of skewers and an apron in the box. That makes it well worth snapping up.
The main competition is from the AG651UK, which offers the same capacity and cooking modes but comes with open-lid cooking on the grill and flat plate. Is that worth an extra £50? Well, if you need more space for frying and grilling in a compact kitchen, then yes; if you prefer to close the lid on the food and let it cook away, then no.
If you want something different, check out my guide to the best air fryers. Otherwise, this is a great all-round air fryer and grill.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every air fryer we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Used as our main air fryer for the review period
We cook real food in each air fryer, making chips, frying sausages and cooking frozen hash browns. This lets us compare quality between each air fryer that we test.
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You can use the preset meat options to get a level of doneness or you can programme in your own target temperature.
It can take 3.8 litres of food.