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Ninja Foodi MAX Multi-Cooker OP500UK Review

Part pressure cooker, part air fryer, the Ninja Foodi MAX Multi-Cooker OP500UK is an all-in-one solution for healthy eating

Verdict

The Foodi MAX is different from traditional multi-cookers in its sheer scope and size. It make soups, stews and curries, plus its twin lids mean it can double-up as an air fryer, too, browning everything from tough-to-tender meat to vegetables, steak and seafood. In our tests it delivered great results, and was effortless to use. However, it’s more expensive than the majority of multi-cookers (and £30 more than Ninja’s smaller Foodi model), so consider whether you need the capacity and functionality before you invest.

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Nine functions
  • Dishwasher-safe parts

Cons

  • Heavy
  • No storage for pressure lid
  • Investment buy

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £229.99
  • 1760W
  • 7.5l cooking pot
  • Pressure lid
  • Reversible and low racks
  • 4.7l Cook & Crisp basket
  • H42 x W38 x D35cm
  • 10kg

If you find that catering for a crowd means constant shelf-swapping in the oven, or clogging the hob with pans, you need a cooker with capacity. One such super-sized solution is the Ninja Foodi MAX Multi-Cooker OP500UK. This huge 7.5-litre pot with accessories can function as a pressure cooker, grill, air fryer, yoghurt-maker, dehydrator, steamer, slow cooker and more. A bigger version of the brand’s 6-litre Foodi, it comes with two lids – a removable one for pressure-cooking and a hinged one for crisping – that allow you to use pressure for fast-cooking followed by hot air for an authentically straight-from-the-oven/grill finish.

Ninja Foodi MAX Multi-Cooker OP500UK – What you need to know

  • Homemade chips test – A few pieces of potato emerged pale but cooked; others were golden and crisp
  • Poultry test – Cooking a whole chicken was quick, and the meat remained juicy. Skin turned golden but not as brown and crispy as from an oven
  • Vegetables test – Very effective at steaming corn on the cob, so each kernel was soft and sweet, and not overcooked

Ninja Foodi MAX Multi-Cooker OP500UK design – A flexible multi-cooker and spacious inside to boot

There are two good reasons that the Ninja Foodi MAX is more flexible – and as such more useful – than basic multi-cookers. The first is the crisping lid, which makes food appealing visually and improves the flavour once it’s been pressure-cooked or steamed (referred to as Tendercrisp technology). The second is the sheer capacity of the MAX model, which is bigger than standard cookers and the original Foodi.

For example, its Cook & Crisp basket (for making fries, roast chicken, burgers and more) holds up to 4.7 litres compared to the original’s 3.6 litres, while still promising to cook with up to 75% less fat than traditional frying.

Ninja Foodi MAX Multi-Cooker OP500UK Inside

There’s plenty of room inside the Foodi MAX, and you can use racks to cook multiple things at the same time

The Foodi MAX also comes with two further functions over the Foodi: buttons for dehydrating (for drying fruit and making jerky) as well as pasteurising and fermenting yogurt. Another point of difference is an extra rack, which allows you to turn the standard reversible rack into a two-tier accessory. This means you can cook a whole meal at once, with rice or grains in the bottom of the pot, with vegetables on one layer and meat on the top.

The downside of all this extra functionality and capacity is its size. The Foodi MAX is bulky, and something of a worktop hog – especially when you factor in the pressure-cooking lid. The only options for storing the latter seem to be having it in place with the crisping lid up, or stashing it in a cupboard, neither of which is particularly practical.

Ninja Foodi MAX Multi-Cooker OP500UK performance – Excellent results across the board

Ninja Foodi MAX Multi-Cooker OP500UK Chips

Our chips were as well cooked as if they’d come from an air fryer

Storage aside, the Foodi MAX delivers on the cooking front. Named buttons, clear instructions, cooking charts and recipe ideas make it easy to use.

While it was tricky to toss chips in the Cook & Crisp basket (having to be lifted out to be shaken or chips turned over with tongs), the results were almost as good as from an air fryer. Most were well browned and crisp at the ends, with only a few still pale.

Roasting a whole chicken using the Tendercrisp method of pressure-cooking followed by air crisping was quick (actual cooking time was 35 minutes, plus 7 minutes to reach pressure), producing meat that was both tender and flavourful.

The Foodi MAX also proved useful for vegetables. Steaming corn on the cob on the reversible rack took a similar amount of time to using a tabletop steamer, but produced only a small amount of vented steam as it cooked. The corn was perfectly cooked and sweet, plus there was the option for it to be grilled in-situ to finish.

I also used the multi-cooker to ferment yogurt, which was time-consuming when the initial pasteurisation was factored in (20 minutes or so to heat up, but more than hour to cool to the right temperature). Nevertheless, the results over 12 hours were thick and creamy.

Ninja Foodi MAX Multi-Cooker OP500UK vleaning – Straightforward, but there’s a little maintenance

The Ninja Foodi MAX’s biggest selling point is the ability to cook a variety of different foods using a range of methods. That, plus a handy recipe booklet, cooking charts and quick-start guide, all imply that you’ll be getting lots of use out of it.

So, it follows that easy cleaning should be a priority – and for the most part, it is. The majority of kit is either ceramic-coated or non-stick and dishwasher-safe – although it’s awkward to wash some of the larger parts by hand.

However, like almost every other multi-cooker or pressure cooker, the silicone ring on the pressure lid needs to be removed for a thorough wash each time. It’s the one chore in what’s otherwise a very low-maintenance appliance; plus, it’s a faff to get back in place again. Even with cleaning, the ring can be prone to odour, which is the reason extra rings are available, should you want to prevent flavour transfer between savoury and sweet foods.

On the plus side, the pressure lid is detachable and therefore easier to clean than pressure cookers where the lid is attached. Less can be said for Foodi MAX’s crisping lid since it’s attached. This needed wiping down in-situ once it had cooled.

Should you buy the Ninja Foodi MAX Multi-Cooker OP500UK?

If you’re thinking of investing in a large multi-cooker then the Foodi MAX offers enough to ensure you get the most out of it for the price. It’s loaded with functions, and has the sort of capacity that families, batch cooks, keen entertainers and healthy eaters will relish.

A final reason to buy is if you intend to make it your main cooking appliance – since it also has the potential to expand its repertoire with accessories, such as a loaf pan, cake tin, skewer stand or folding crisping rack.

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