Combining everything you love about grilling and frying, but with none of the greasy, smoky downsides, the Ninja Health Grill & Air Fryer AG301UK works well as a two-in-one concept. The heat of the grill can be hotter than you might expect, so you’ll need to adjust times and temperatures to prevent food overcooking.
- Healthy grilling and frying
- Virtually smoke-free
- Large and heavy
- Investment buy
- Review Price: £199.99
- Cooking surface max 25sq cm
- Non-stick grill plate
- 3.8l crisper basket
- 5.7l cooking pot
- Splatter guard
- Cleaning brush/scraper
- H23.5 x W35.6 x D45cm
Multi-tasking compact appliances are fast-becoming the norm, with Ninja’s latest hybrid a new breed. Combining an air fryer for low-fat chips or speedy snacks from the freezer, with a health grill for chargrilled steaks, burgers, fish, chicken and more, the Ninja Health Grill & Air Fryer AG301UK is the ultimate solution for rained-off barbecues, healthy living and family feasts.
A splatter guard and lid ensure that the Ninja isn’t hindered by the usual problems associated with indoor grills: you needn’t worry about filling the kitchen with smoke or splashes of hot fat thrown across the worktop. Even better, all its potentially greasy parts are removable and dishwasher-safe, so there’s no in-situ scrubbing or messy cleaning up.
Ninja Health Grill & Air Fryer AG301UK – What you need to know
- Steak test – While it was difficult to gauge the level of “doneness”, it browned quickly with excellent grill marks and flavour
- Sweetcorn test – These singed on the recommended heat, so a lower setting may produce more consistent results
- Chips test – It wasn’t as easy to shake the contents as it would be in an air fryer, but results were as good – golden brown and crisp.
Ninja Health Grill & Air Fryer AG301UK design – Easy to use, but you’ll need to clear some worktop space
Ninja is well known for its air fryers, so the Health Grill & Air Fryer could be thought of as the next logical step. It does everything Ninja’s air fryers can – roasting, dehydrating, baking and air frying – with a grilling function and ceramic-coated plate that transforms it into a closed-lid indoor barbecue.
It’s shorter and squatter than an air fryer, so will tuck under cabinets more easily when not in use. It utilises the same fanned hot air as an air fryer to grill faster and more evenly, which means there’s no need to keep opening up the grill to turn food over. The only reason to do so is to get chargrilled marks on each side.
Much like an air fryer, both grilling time and temperature can be toggled – or, if you’re not sure of the temperature to use, there are four grill presets from low (200°C) to max (265°C) to make things easier.
It isn’t hard to imagine how the Health Grill & Air Fryer could become your main cooking appliance. Not only are there multiple additional accessories to expand its capabilities – such as a griddle for eggs, dehydrator rack and a vegetable tray – but there’s also a fairly comprehensive recipe book with ideas and cooking charts to help you achieve the best results. Its ability to roast, bake and dehydrate like Ninja’s dedicated air fryers is a huge plus.
However, it’s the ease of use that could make it a go-to in your kitchen. Clearly named buttons, a cooking pot and basket with notches to ensure they’re correctly positioned, and a clip off and on splatter guard that protects the element from greasy splashes serve to simplify cooking and clean-up. All parts are non-stick and dishwasher-safe, plus there’s a brush should you need to give it a scrub – although I found that both cleaning it by hand and in the dishwasher left it sparkling.
Perhaps the only drawback is its sheer size and weight: at more than 8kg, you’re unlikely to want to store this grill in a cupboard to be heaved out every time you’d like to cook. It also requires overhead clearance for opening and closing the lid, so while the grill can live at the back of a worktop, you’ll need adequate space above to use it as well as sufficient work surface.
Ninja Health Grill & Air Fryer AG301UK performance
Using the Max grill setting was quite intense. When used to cook corn on the cob, it resulted in the ends becoming burnt in the first half of cooking time, even though the corn was brushed all over with oil. The AG301UK was also pretty noisy in operation, vibrating slightly as it grilled.
What I liked about grilling this way was the handy preheating function, where the countdown timer didn’t start until the grill had reached the specified temperature for cooking. This meant there was less guesswork involved with regards to when to put food in and how long it will take to cook – with the bonus of being able to replicate results more easily.
It was also simple to add or subtract a few minutes mid-cook or change the temperature if food was starting to burn.
Cooking steak was rapid. The recommended heat was the High setting (260°C), but the suggested nine to 11 minutes’ grilling time was more than the meat needed. After seven minutes, the steak was a deep brown colour and more done than the medium I’d planned. Sliced open, there was no pink flesh inside. Despite that, the meat had retained its moisture well, the instant searing heat of the grill serving to seal in the juices. The chargrilled marks added an extra level of flavour. This is a good reason to invest in a meat thermometer, or to use a smart one such as the Meater Block.
The final food I tested was fresh potato chips using the air-frying function. Time and temperature were set as you would with Ninja’s air fryers, but the frying method differed. Rather than being equipped with a pull-out drawer and basket that’s shaken to redistribute the contents for even crisping, the Health Grill has a crisper basket that sits within a cooking pot.
In order to move the chips around, the basket either has to be lifted out and shaken or the chips tossed manually with tongs. This was more time-consuming than quickly shaking a drawer during cooking.
The thick chips cooked in less time than expected, though – 20 minutes rather than the anticipated 23-26 minutes – at 200°C, and emerged consistently golden and crisp.
Should you buy Ninja Health Grill & Air Fryer AG301UK?
When it comes to capacity, the AG301UK excels. Its grill plate can accommodate enough food for up to four people, the basket’s size is equivalent to the AF100UK Air Fryer (the smaller version of the Ninja Max AF160UK), and the main pot is spacious enough for a whole chicken, making it ideal for mid-week roast dinners.
Coupled with the versatility it offers, the Ninja Health Grill & Air Fryer is a good buy for families, keen entertainers and batch cooks who want speedy, healthy meals with minimum fuss. Just be careful with the grill settings and suggested cooking times to get the best results.
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