This 2021 model does a really good job in almost all cooking modes. Economical in use against a standard gas or electric oven. Versatile in the sheer number of cooking modes and reasonably inexpensive to purchase
Ninja Foodi 550 functions
What can the Ninja do? It’s a long list
- Pressure Cook – top speed
- Steam Air Fry – cook with almost no oil
- Steam Bake – Cakes to perfection
- Air Fry – Crisp up with almost no oil
- Grill – browning
- Bake – Just like your trad oven
- Dehydrate – make snacks
- Sear & Saute – browning, sauteing veg
- Steam – cook delicate foods high temp
- Slow cook – ideal for stews
- Yogurt – heat treat milk for yogurt
- Keep Warm – auto switch at end of cooking.
- Choose a mode with the slider
- Scroll through the functions with the dial
- set up temp with the LEFT arrows **
- set up time with the RIGHT arrows
- press START to begin cooking
** the LEFT arrows also change the preset functions
In air-fry mode you can open the lid to move the food around or shake the basket, the cooker resumes as soon as the lid is closed again.
How Does It Work?
The secret is in the lid, Ninja has made a lid that is compatible with pressure cooking and air-frying. Built into the lid is a large fan and a heating element.
Make sure you inspect this regularly, the silicon seal must be clean and sitting correctly in its track, to fully seal the unit, enabling it to pressurise. It is the same either way up, so it’s very easy to re-assemble.
The anti-clog cap can be accessed when the lid is up, make sure this is clean.
As with all air-fryers, grease can accumulate on the heating element and will smoke. Use the steam function to loosen the grease. In extreme cases unplug the unit and use a solution of baking soda applied directly to the element, with a stiff brush, to remove it.
Safety When Cooking with a Ninja
The Ninja lid will only open when fully depressurised. The display will show “OPN LID” when it is safe.
Only use the insulated handle to avoid handling the hot lid
Open the lid by operating the mode slider, it will ONLY open in AirFry or Combi modes.
The unit will shut down if there is not enough water (250ml min ) for the steam functions and display an error message
Don’t use the crisping basket without the diffuser, even cooking depends on good airflow.
There are vents and intakes on the back of the unit, ensure these are not near a wall or cable and do not cover!
WARNING: The Ninja is very loud when the pressure is released , so don’t be surprised !!
With the shadow of rising prices on us, this is very important.
My own standard oven uses well over 2.5kW. The Ninja uses just 1.76kW. A conventional oven has a much bigger volume to pre-heat and will consume a lot more power to get to the cooking temperature.
Cooking times are up to 70% faster in the Ninja cooker, so overall with the two advantages, expect a massive reduction in energy use.
This is especially true if you live alone, heating a big oven is incredibly wasteful. It is often still hot 15 minutes after I have finished using it.
6 litre or 7.5 litre Model?
What the buyers Said...
(1) Love this device. We cook with it maybe twice per week, meaning that those days are the quickest, most straightforward meals of the week.
A family favourite is risotto. 12mins once the lid has gone on, and no more constant stirring. I’m sure a true Italian would tell the difference, but it makes the whole process so easy.
(2) Bought this for my parents as a Christmas present.
And it gets used daily to make lamb, pork and chicken Curry’s.
Both parents love it as it cooks the meat til it melts in your mouth.
(3) A few people had told me how great this gadget was so I eventually succumbed and decided to buy one. The reason for purchasing was that we were looking for a way of cooking food without heating up the kitchen given the heat wave that we are currently experiencing, the rising cost of energy was also a factor. I am still getting to grips with functionality and plan to invest in a cookbook. I do think that it should come with a book rather than the three leaflets which you always end up flicking between. The device is well made and relatively easy to clean. So far I have found meat to be the best item to cook in the device, it retains its moisture very well. All in all I am very happy with my purchase.
For bigger families the 6 ltr model ( ok up to 4 people) has a big brother, the 7.5 ltr ( made for up to 6 people) . And the new big model has a temperature probe, so you can confidently cook knowing the exact temp has been reached.
PRICE DROP bargain !
At the moment, the big model with the temperature probe is heavily discounted down from its regular price NOW !
Overall there were an enormous number of very positive reviews, there was of course the odd one with a complaint like,” it doesn’t slow cook,” another was” it never fully cooked the rice” and one about a bad seal, but all these were one-offs. When an item is this popular, there are obviously going to be a few with simple faults, that should have been spotted by QC in the factory.
This is nothing like when I reviewed some of the early halogens, when you would see a whole bunch of complaints about the same thing, like “noisy fan” lead too short” , bulb failed in just 2 months. So my impression with the multi-cookers and in particular this one the Ninja Foodi 550 is really positive and I can be confident you will have a good buy.
I must admit to being a little hesitant about a device that has an electrical heater and a mechanical fan, inside a high-pressure steam vessel. The bearings on some halogen oven fans have been known to be an occasional breakdown problem, but they are operating in a low-pressure atmosphere with some oil content, whereas the Ninja fan is operating in potentially corrosive steam.
Ninja does not seem to have had any problems with this, so the design quality is a lot better than most. Long-term… we shall see!
Download the Ninja Instruction Book
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