Including the same features that made the Ninja AG301UK so great, the Ninja Foodi Max Pro Health Grill, Flat Plate & Air Fryer AG651UK adds open-lid cooking, a flat plate and a temperature probe into the mix. Delivering generous capacity and simple controls, this is a great all-round cooker that doesn’t take up too much space, either.
- CapacityThis cooker has a 3.8-litre capacity for air frying
I’ve seen plenty of Ninja cooking appliances deliver flexibility with a range of cooking modes, but the Ninja Foodi Max Pro Health Grill, Flat Plate & Air Fryer AG651UK takes things to the next level. This air fryer and grill can cook with the lid down or up, offering a choice of flat plate or grill plate.
Air-frying capacity is a touch lower than on rival appliances; but for versatility, the Ninja AG651UK is hard to beat.
Design and Features
- Can cook with the lid open or closed
- Grilling, air frying and flat-plate cooking
The Ninja AG651UK is similar in appearance to the Ninja AG301UK. Both are fairly square boxes that aren’t too tall, so are slightly easier to store than your average air fryer. While the AG301UK is primarily an air fryer with a grill function, the AG651UK is more of a multi-purpose cooker.
Flip open its large lid, and there’s space inside to fit one of the three cooking accessories. First, there’s the traditional crisper basket for air frying, baking and roasting, with the lid closed. It offers a 3.8-litre capacity, which in my experience, proved sufficient to cook chips for four people.
With this model, you do have the minor issue of the entire basket heating up, which means you’ll need to wear a set of oven gloves, or use some tongs, mid-way through cooking to shake food. That said, the basket is quite wide and shallow, so it’s fairly easy to put your food on one level for even cooking.
Even so, I find air fryers with drawers easier to use, as you can pull out the drawer with the external handle, give everything a shake and reinsert it to continue cooking.
Also included in the box is a grill plate, which can add searing lines to food. This can be used with either the lid down or up. Lid down results in a more intense heat, and I found that the AG651UK also locked in the smoke and cooking smells, to avoid them wafting around your home. I could cook more delicate foods with the lid up, turning it as needed, although this did result in more cooking smells being released.
Finally, there’s the flat plate, which provides a solid cooking surface, for frying eggs or cooking up breakfast with the lid open, for example. It’s particularly handy if you need to cook for a lot of people and have run out of hob space, although the Domo Teppanyaki XXL provides even more space for those who wish to cook in this way.
Note that all cooking modes that can be run with the lid open do first require the lid to be closed to allow the cooker to get up to temperature, which makes sense.
As with most Ninja appliances, the AG651UK skips automated cooking modes – for chips, for example. Instead, there are simple manual controls on the front for setting the temperature, cooking mode and cooking time. This model also has a button to skip the preheat option, but I don’t recommend doing that as food is always best added to a pre-heated environment.
I haven’t really missed the automated cooking programmes, since they’re rarely any good. Take chips, for example. The size, total volume, weight and whether you’ve parboiled them will all impact cooking time and results, so it’s best to learn the right settings and check regularly. To help, Ninja has an excellent cooking guide that offers an overview of the typical temperature, cooking modes and cooking times for common ingredients, ranging from fresh fish to frozen chips.
The standard cooking modes are grill, roast, air fry, bake, flat plate, reheat and dehydrate. For foods that need to hit a specific temperature – such as fish, chicken and meat – there’s a probe hidden inside a compartment on the right-hand side of the grill. There are preset modes for fish, chicken, beef, pork and lamb, plus (where appropriate) cooking levels, too – rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well and well-done. It is possible to skip these and set a target temperature, however.
Stick the probe into your chosen food, heat up the grill and cooking stops the moment your food is cooked properly. I still had to remember to flip my food, but this method reduced the risk of me accidentally overcooking anything.
Once done, I found all of the parts of the appliance easy to wash by hand. Everything is dishwasher safe, too, which makes things even easier.
- Super-crispy results
- Excellent automated cooking via probe
- Flat plate cooking is fairly even
I started by cooking chips using the air fryer, setting it to 200ºC for 20 minutes. I was warned halfway through cooking to flip over the contents, which I duly did. At the end of the cooking period, my chips were evenly done, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They were missing the same crunch that the Ninja OLG650UK’s steam mode delivered, though.
Next, I moved to frozen food, this time opting to cook hash browns. Here, I set the AG651UK to 240ºC and reduced the cooking time to just 12 minutes. This achieved spot-on results: super-crispy on the outside; soft and tender on the inside.
Note that if you’re choosing to air fry, be careful with oil use. The basket has a couple of deep pockets where oil tends to settle. With small items, such as chips, food can become stuck in these oil wells.
Next, I moved on to the grilling function, cooking a rump steak to medium-rare using the temperature probe, with the lid shut. The results were spot on, with my steak done just to the right level.
Heating up the flat plate and taking a picture of it with a thermal camera, I found that the cooking surface was fairly evenly heated, although a touch cooler towards the top-right. It’s easy enough to cook on, with the lid opening fully out of the way.
Should you buy it?
If you want exceptional flexibility, then this model offers plenty of different cooking methods in a single appliance.
If you want more space for air frying, there are larger alternatives that will better cater to your needs.
The Ninja Foodi Max Pro Health Grill, Flat Plate & Air Fryer AG651UK is a very useful kitchen tool, and relatively compact considering its cooking surface. It provides the same excellent cooking options as the older AG301UK, but throws in open-lid cooking (flat plate and grill) and temperature-probe controlled cooking for even more versatility. If you’ll use all of its cooking modes, it’s a brilliant choice; but opt for a traditional air fryer if you mainly want an appliance for crisping foods.
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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Both are very similar, but the AG551UK doesn’t have the flat plate.
It has a 3.8-litre basket.
For some modes, including grilling and flat plate, yes.