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Air fryers are now popular kitchen gadgets thanks to their ability to make low-fat chips, but the Ninja AF101 – also known as Ninja AF100UK in the UK – proves that they can do so much more. This is the brand’s entry-level air fryer but its price tag means it sits at the mid-range of the market. It has a 3.8-liter/ 4-quart capacity which, according to Ninja, “is enough for 900g/2lb of fries,” and well as air frying, the appliance can also be used to roast, reheat and dehydrate food.
Like all air fryers, the Ninja AF101 uses fairly less oil compared to traditional deep-frying Ninja claims it requires 75% less oil, making it a healthier way to enjoy tasty treats such as fries and chicken wings. The foods are cooked in a frying basket with perforations at the bottom to allow the hot air to circulate around the food.
- Fries low-fat homemade chips and chicken wing
- Roasts, reheats, and dehydrates
- Dishwasher safe
- Small capacity
- Three-minute preheat required
The Ninja AF101 has four presets that control the different cooking functions, each has a default cooking time and temperature, but these settings can be adjusted to meet your needs using the touch controls on the 3.4cm / 1.26-inch display.
For the small household looking for a healthier way to enjoy fries, chicken wings, and other delicacies, and which don’t have lots of countertop space, the Ninja AF100UK is an excellent appliance.
About the Ninja Air Fryer (AF101/AF100UK)
There are a few considerations to make before purchasing an air fryer, and they ultimately determine if you get real value for money. Typically, you need to look at capacity (if it’s too small, air can’t circulate properly), ease of cleaning (if it is dishwasher safe so that you can get rid of all that grease), and the range of functions it offers.
Luckily, the Ninja AF101/AF100UK air fryer does well on all those points, with a 3.8-litre non-stick basket that can accommodate 900g of fries (enough serving for six people eating medium portions, or four good portion chips), it has an entirely dishwasher-safe drawer and four settings than can be adjusted by time and temperature. It’s the dehydrate function that sets it apart from most, which are only designed for frying at temperatures of between 160-200˚C, meaning they lack the low-temperature range to gently dry foods.
As priced, the Ninja Air Fryer costs fairly less than, let’s say, a Vitamix 5200 blender or the cheapest Philips Airfryer, which has only 800g capacity. If you don’t mind spending a bit more on an air fryer to max out capacity, the Philips Airfryer XXL and the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro are great options. However, for most households, the Ninja Air Fryer AF101 should be able to meet your regular frying needs.
Ninja Air Fryer Review: Design
The Ninja Air Fryer AF101 has a circular shape and comes with a dishwasher-safe frying basket and crisper plate. It happens to be one of the more compact air fryers we’ve reviewed, measuring 36 x 25 x 23cm / 13.6 x 11 x 13.3 inches (D x W x H), but at 3.8 litres / 4 quarts it does have a lesser capacity than most air fryers on the market. In addition to air frying, it can also roast, reheat and even dehydrate, making it as versatile as many of the best air fryers you can find out there.
On looks, the AF100UK sports a sleek grey exterior, which you can wipe clean with a damp cloth, and a 4cm / 1.26-inch LED display that shows the temperature selected and the remaining cooking time. As we’ve already mentioned, it comes with four presets that activate different cooking functions, each has a default temperature and cooking time. Also, both the temperature and time can be manually adjusted using buttons on either side of the display.
The Ninja Air Fryer can cook for up to an hour at a time, and reaches a maximum temperature of 210C / 410 F. Also included in the package is a recipe booklet that offers suggested timing, cooking temperatures, and oil quantities for different foods.
Ninja Air Fryer Review: Performance
The Ninja Air Fryer is excellent when it comes to crisping foods: anything from fries to chicken wings, all get cooked well with satisfying crunchiness. However, while it’s claimed that air fryers don’t need oil to cook your food in the Ninja AF101, the truth is you’ll need some oil in the air fryer to achieve tasty foods. Even chicken wings, which can be cooked in other air fryers such as the Instant Vortex Plus without any oil, you’ll need at least a tablespoon in the Ninja Air Fryer.
The instruction booklet recommends anywhere from 1 tbsp of oil for a 500g / 1.1lb batch of chicken wings to up 3 tbsp for the same quantity of fries. Inside, a removable ceramic-coated crisper plate elevates food so excess fat can drip away as it fries. By doing so, Ninja estimates that the Air Fryer can cook your chips using up to 75% less fat than, let’s say deep-frying hand-cut French fries using traditional frying methods.
The Ninja Air Fryer produces fries – both homemade and frozen – that are fluffy with soft potato inside the crisp shell, however, chicken wings have these extremely crispy skins, but the meat isn’t as tender and moist as when cooked on rival air fryers. The temperature suggestions in the instruction book are quite comprehensive, so you don’t have to tweak either setting – the results will be just right no matter what you cook.
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The AF100UK cooks well once it gets going, but it requires three minutes of preheating before use, but it doesn’t have a dedicated setting for this – instead, you need to add three minutes to the timer, while other air fryers heat up instantly. It is also disappointing that Ninja doesn’t include a reminder to turn or shake the food part-way through cooking to ensure that all items are evenly browned; the Ninja AF101 does, however, have an audible and visual alert once cooking is complete.
It also has a vent on the top that expels hot air, rather than ejecting it from the back of the device, as many other air fryers do. This is quite impressive as it means you don’t need so much space around the machine. During cooking, the Ninja Air Fryer runs at around 60db, which is just about the noise a dishwasher makes mid-cycle. Well, this isn’t the loudest air frier we’ve tested, it’s not the quietest either; nonetheless, the fryer is only audible for the cooking time.
Another handy feature of the Ninja AF101 is that in addition to being able to dehydrate meat and fish into jerky, the option of a higher heat after drying means you can pasteurize using the same appliance.
Finally, cleaning and maintenance of the Ninja AF100UK needs to be done after every use, but given that the pan and crisper plate are both dishwasher-safe, this can take a few seconds. Even hand-washing is fairly effortless, the removable parts are ceramic-coated, so food just slides off.
Is it worth buying a Ninja Air Fryer?
The Ninja Air Fryer AF101/AF100UK is a fantastic appliance for looking to try different cooking functions and cut down time spent in the kitchen. With a capacity that’s ideal for couples, small families, and solo households, this air fryer offers a range of features that make it more flexible than most air fryers out there. It’s definitely one to consider if you’re thinking about a health fryer. Its flaws are barely there, but it offers lots of value for the price.
While there are cheaper air fryers in the market that can do the job just fine, they don’t offer the robust feature set you get with the Ninja AF101 and that justifies the extra cost – more control over temperature and time, along with easy cleaning. The Ninja Air Fryer AF101 gets full of hot air – and that’s just the way we all like it. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Last update on 2023-06-07 at 19:47 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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