The Ninja Air Fryer AF101 is one of a range of countertop cookers with differing functions, offering great tasting food, using less oil, for lower calories, and healthier meals.
But does it deserve space on your countertop? Is it really more than yet another air fryer that produces tasty, crispy fries and little else?
Let’s find out.
The Ninja AF101 is packed with great features that give you full control over how your food is cooked, for that perfect crispy finish, with up to 75% less oil needed than with a traditional deep fryer.
You can use four different cooking options, offering you the chance to cook far more than just crispy fries.
There’s no longer any need to use gallons of oil when making fried foods. With the Ninja Air Fryer AF101, many recipes don’t call for oil at all, and even with those that do, you’re using a minimal amount to still get wonderfully crispy and delicious food. The food is crisped by the rapid flow of hot air within the machine. Great for your cholesterol level and your waistline!
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The AF101 isn’t just an air fryer. You can also roast fish, meat, potatoes, and gorgeous, healthy vegetables for a meal that’s packed with flavor, but not with calories. Casseroles are another option that will give you great results.
Don’t suffer with soggy, cold leftovers if you’re late for dinner. Get the Ninja AF101 on the job and bring back the crisp and flavor to fries, chicken wings, burgers, pizza and more. The AF101 is great for cooking leftovers the day after, too, helping you reduce food waste as well as providing a delicious, easy meal, with only one round of prep.
Set your air fryer on dehydrate for low temperature cooking that slowly dries out food but still gives great results. Make your own potato chips or experiment with sweet potato, carrot and more. Try homemade dried apple or pineapple pieces, dried fruits, or even beef jerky made fresh at home.
- The Ninja Air Fryer AF101 has an excellent temperature range, starting at 105 degrees Fahrenheit and going right to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing you to cook food to the perfect finish for you.
- It’s safe to use the air fryer even with kids around, as the outside of the fryer stays cool when in use.
- The dryer has a generous cord length of almost three feet, allowing you to plug it in and use it wherever is most convenient on your counter.
- The basket is 4 quarts and will allow you to cook two pounds of fries all at once, so there’s plenty of space for good-sized meals, even though this is the smallest in the range.
- The unit is 8.5 x 12.1 x 11 inches, so it doesn’t take up a huge amount of room on your countertop. And it’s under 5 pounds in weight, making it easy to move into place for use and put away afterwards.
- You can pause cooking with one click if you need to. If you get a call that goes on a while, just pause your cooking until you’re done. No more burned or overdone meals!
- The basket is nonstick with a ceramic coat for easy cleaning no matter what you’re cooking. And the basket, multi-layer rack and crisper plate can all go in the dishwasher for quick cleaning without the hassle. No more draining deep fat fryers and cleaning out all the grease.
- The control panel is simple to use. You can easily choose between your cooking options and manually control what temperature you use and how long your food is cooked for.
- Be aware that you need to preheat the air fryer for three minutes before adding any ingredients, to give the best results. But if you switch it on when you’re almost done with your food prep, when you’re ready to cook, your AF101 will be ready to go!
- The air fryer comes with a crisper that helps to circulate air under the food, a multi-layer rack and a recipe book to get you started cooking the Ninja way.
You can also check a good video review by Chasing Paradigms here:
Pros and Cons
Our rating: 4.8 / 5
So, you’ve looked at the features and cooking options on the Ninja AF101. Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons:
Where do we start? You can already see quite a few pros just from the list of features. In addition to those, here are a few more to consider:
- You can open the basket during cooking, without losing the internal heat, to shake your food for more even cooking and crisping. This also allows you to finish your food exactly how you want it as you can keep checking until it’s just the right shade of golden for you.
- The air fryer is extremely easy to use, even straight out of the box. You won’t spend hours poring over a thick and weighty tome of a user manual with this machine. Just take a look at the safety information and setup details, check out how easy to use the one-touch control panel is, pick what you want to cook, and you’re away!
- Who doesn’t hate cleaning the deep fryer? Well, clean it no more with this genius air fryer. Not only do you get great, healthy, and tasty results with this thing, but you can just wipe down the outside of the fryer with a cloth when you’re done. And even the bits that do get greasy are easy. All you need to do is give them a quick rinse to remove the worst of the food and then pop them into the dishwasher and forget about them until next time you want to use your air fryer. And we’re betting it’s not long ‘till you do!
- It’s safe! We already mentioned that the outside of the fryer stays cool during use, so neither you nor the little ones will burn yourselves on it, but there’s no more need for large quantities of hot oil in the kitchen, reducing accidents and the possibility of either a dangerous oil spill or an oil fire.
- The air fryer is better for the environment than your old convection oven and if you use it a lot, you could find your energy bills are lower, too. Food cooks so much faster in the machine that you’re not using up nearly as much power.
Well, frankly, we’re struggling here. There really aren’t many to mention. But here goes with a list of things to consider:
- Once your air fryer has finished cooking, it will switch itself off after 30 seconds. This is a safety feature, of course, but it can be annoying if you were about to cook another batch or another part of your meal. It’s a minor thing though, as you can easily turn it back on again.
- The basket is only 4 quarts, so not as large as it might be if you have a large family. Having said that, the Ninja Air Fryer AF101 is the baby of the range, so you can look at different models, going up to 8 quarts, if you really need the extra space for larger batches or family meals.
- It doesn’t have all the features of the other models in the range, such as slow cooking, steam, pressure cook, broil, bake, and sear/sauté. However, before you buy, think about what you really need. Will you use all those other fancy features or will this model be good enough for your cooking needs? If so, you’ll save on electricity at only 1500 Watts and on the cost of buying your machine as this is one of the cheaper models.
- You do need to preheat the air fryer for three minutes, but compared to waiting between ten and fifteen minutes for a conventional oven, that’s not so bad.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need to season the basket before you use it, like you would with a cast iron frying pan?
Nope. Not at all. The air fryer is ready to go once it’s out of the box and you’ve removed all the packaging. Just give the crisper plate and basket a quick rinse in soapy water and dry thoroughly before your first use.
1) Can I cook frozen foods in this machine?
You can definitely cook some foods from frozen and you’ll still get great results, but definitely check on the packet whether your items are okay to cook from frozen.
2) Can I cook fresh potato fries in this air fryer or just the frozen packet ones?
Fresh fries will still come out beautifully in the air fryer, with a tasty, crisp finish. Just use up to 3 tablespoons of oil (to taste) and set your temperature up to 390 degrees Fahrenheit. Your fries should take between 20 – 30 minutes, depending on their thickness. You may need to experiment a little with how much oil you prefer at first. It’s best to keep checking your fries as they near the end of cooking to make sure you get the right finish.
3) Can I use parchment and foil in the air fryer?
Yes! It’s perfectly safe to use either of those if your recipe needs it.
What’s not to love? With a good-sized basket for larger meals and batches, total control over the outcome, and effortless cleaning, we like this air fryer a lot.
Really, the only decision to make here is ‘will you actually use it’? But given the amount of different cooking options the Ninja Air Fryer AF101 has, the ease of use, and the great results you get, why wouldn’t you?
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