The appeal of the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer is its versatility. Those who already own an air fryer will know that it can be tricky to cook two elements of a meal in one go, especially if they require different cooking times and temperatures. Some of the best things in life some in pairs - fish and chips, jacket potato and beans, cake and… more cake. The Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer can, in theory, cook all of those things and a lot more, but does it cook them well enough to make you abandon your oven?
I put the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer to the test for a few weeks to try out all six of its functions. Those include air fry, bake, and roast, which are definitely the modes that got the most use over the two weeks. This air fryer has two baskets that can work independently, or one at a time, to whip up delicious meals from scratch or cook from frozen. You can also “Match” or “Sync” these two elements to make sure all elements of your meal are ready at the same time.
When testing, I tried a mix of the recipes which come included with the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer, and once I was more confident, my own recipes. The Ninja Foodi Dual Zone is better at some things than others, and there are some things it can’t do at all, but it’s definitely one of the best air fryers I’ve ever used. Keep reading for the full review.
Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer: What’s in the box?
- Weight: 8.2kg
- Dimensions: H31.5 x W37.5 x D35 cm
- Cooking functions: Max Crisp, Air Fry, Bake, Roast, Dehydrate and Reheat
- Additional functions: Meal Sync, Match Zone
- Capacity: 7.6L, split between two drawers
- RRP: £179.99, $179.99
- Colour: Grey
- Cleaning: Dishwasher-safe crisper drawers and plates
What you should know about the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer
The AF300UK is a hefty machine. It weighs 8.2kg, so while I was able to carry it to and from my (modest) kitchen when needed, it wasn’t easy. The bottom of the Air Fryer has grooves for you to place your hands in to make carrying easier, which is a really nice touch. If you have more than one kitchen counter to play with, I’d suggest just leaving your Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer on the side. You’ll use it regularly enough to warrant this, and it saves you the effort of finding cupboard space for it.
While it’s big, the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer is also a great looking machine. I own the Ninja Foodi Max 9-in-1 Multi Cooker, which (while a great machine) isn’t as sleek to look at. The matte finish and sleek handles, which match the silver vent at the top of the machine, give it a high quality and professional look that will suit just about any kitchen. I should note that they’re non-stick, so treat them as you would a regular non-stick frying pan. The utensils you use to stir food or lift it out of the drawers should be silicone-tipped.
The Meal Sync setting allows you to program the two drawers separately with different timings and temperatures and cooks the two side by side so they finish at the same time. If you were to cook potatoes for half an hour in one drawer and chicken for 20 minutes in the other, the potatoes would get a head start and the chicken would automatically start cooking after 10 minutes.
Match Zone allows you to set the mode, timings and temperature of one zone and match the other to it. This worked well for me when I made cauliflower wings, because I was able to split the ingredients across both drawers so they could cook more evenly.
This machine will not heat up your kitchen, and the outside is perfectly safe to touch without fear of burning yourself. The rear vent releases steam and cooking heat so I wouldn’t put this too close to a wall in order to give the machine room to regulate its temperature. The handles to the drawers stayed cool to touch, even when the drawers certainly were not. Leave the drawers out to cool fully before washing up, like you would a regular baking tray.
The Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer comes with two crisper drawers, and each has a non-stick crisper plate insert. This can be added to elevate the food you air fry, which allows air to circulate around it easily for a more crispy and fried-like result. Both the drawers and the insert plates can be washed in the dishwasher, but they’re also very easy to clean by hand.
How good is the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone at air frying?
I made a lot of air fried food in the AF300UK. To name a few dishes, this included cauliflower wings, spicy potato wedges, chicken tenders, and halloumi fries. Everything came out perfectly, and the air fry function performed just as expected. The food was amazingly crisp, cooked through, and not burnt. Air frying is a brilliant way to cut down on the oil you use to cook your food. You can use an oil spray to add a misting in with anything you make, but really, this isn’t essential.
The AF300UK comes with a handy instruction manual that includes a chart of the cooking times and temperatures you’ll need to air fry all sorts of foods. This certainly came in useful, because it’s important to note that you won’t be cooking things in your air fryer the way you would an oven. Ninja claims this can cook up to 75% faster than most fan ovens. This isn't the case with every dish, but when you take into account that the air fryer needs absolutely no time to preheat,
What is Max Crisp?
Max Crisp is designed for frozen food, but in particular those smaller frozen items like oven chips and chicken nuggets. I tried this setting, which automatically heats up to 240 degrees, on some larger frozen breaded chicken fillets and found that it burnt the breading before the inside was cooked.
For smaller frozen items though it delivered a super crispy outside and perfectly cooked inside - ideal for fish fingers, scampi, veggie nuggets, frozen chips and more. It also did this far faster than the cooking instructions on the packaging suggested, to keep an eye on your food as it cooks when you’re still adapting to the Dual Zone. For frozen fish fillets or other larger frozen items, I’d recommend using the regular air fry setting where you can adjust temperature to account for the fact that they will take longer to cook.
Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer: Roast setting
I tried one of the included recipes to test out the roast setting with the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer AF300UK. This recipe was hunter’s chicken, which cooked through exactly as expected. One issue I encountered was that this air fryer isn’t best suited to fiddly tasks. The deep trays make it hard to interact with the food as you cook it, so when the bacon I had wrapped the chicken in came away from the fillet, it was a faff to put it back in place.
I have used this setting for other tasks, and the most successful was the fajita recipe. It’s easy to cook chicken in one compartment and veggies in the other to make life easier for picky kids who don’t like vegetables, or vegetarians who won’t eat chicken. Everything came out sizzling hot and perfectly cooked, and because I was able to sync the two drawers, they finished at the exact same time.
Can you bake in the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer?
As an avid baker, I must admit I was sceptical that the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer can bake, but I was wrong - to an extent. I tested this setting by making my favourite lemon drizzle recipe, a recipe that I essentially know by heart at this point. I divided the batter between a tray for the oven and a Ninja Foodi tray, lined with baking parchment. Using the same temperature setting and cooking for the same amount of time, I got what appeared to be two very different lemon drizzle cakes.
The oven cake was lighter in colour and rose a little more, whereas the Ninja Foodi cake browned on the top before the cake was cooked through. It also didn’t rise as much, and because of this the drizzle left marks on the darker top of the cake. Appearances aside, the actual quality of the cake was very comparable to the oven version. It was springy and cooked through, even if the top had cooked quicker than the rest of the sponge. So can you bake in the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer AF300UK? Yes, you totally can, and it will certainly cook your cakes and baked goodies as desired. That said, I’ll probably just bake my lemon drizzle in the oven next time.
What the bake setting is really good for is dishes like pasta bakes. My cake browned on top faster than the oven, so it will give you a super cheesy baked top on cottage pies or pasta bakes.
Dehydrating and reheating food in the Dual Zone Air Fryer
Yes, you can dehydrate food in your Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer. It’s probably not something you’ll do on a regular basis, but it’s more than capable. I made dehydrated slices of bananas, which actually tasted delicious when they were finished. The instructions for dehydrating also include meats and vegetables, so you have the option of making jerky or savoury treats if you wish. The process can take up to (and over) ten hours, and while my banana was dehydrating I used the other drawer to cook my lunch on the Max Crisp setting. I was impressed that this didn’t noticeably raise the temperature of my dehydrating drawer, given that they’re side-by-side.
I used the reheat setting a few times when working through leftovers, and it’s a great function if you plan on eating leftovers alongside a new element, because you can cook this in one drawer and use the Sync setting to make sure your leftover rice, pasta, or whatever else you’re having is hot when your main dish is done.
Should you buy the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer?
I seriously recommend the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer to anyone who wants to expand their air frying repertoire. It makes life so much more streamlined, and the Dual Zone is a real game-changer. The machine is bulky, but even with my tiny kitchen I would definitely find a place for it - it's weighty, but this is outweighed by the convenience of being able to cook all elements of a meal in one go. It definitely left my oven and microwave feeling very neglected.
Of course, there are some things you won’t want to cook in the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer. You may struggle with anything fiddly because of how deep the drawers are, because sticking your hands in a piping hot cooking drawer is definitely not advised. In theory you could heat saucy foods like beans and curry in it, but it’s probably worth using the microwave or cooktop for this instead. Again, you could cook cake in it - I did, and it was perfectly adequate, but the oven cake won out on results.
Really though, if you’re reading this review it’s not because you want a new air fryer to cook your cakes in. The additional functions are excellent for cooking component parts of different meals at the same time and in their right conditions, and this cuts down on washing up considerably. Most importantly, the actual quality of the air frying results is next level. For healthier, quick convenience, it’s a must-have.
About our review - and our reviewer
Millie Fender is an ecommerce editor at Real Homes, specialising in small appliances and all things cooking. She loves putting new products to the test, whether they're air fryers, blenders, or even pizza ovens, and her family and friends love eating the results.
Millie has a constant stream of new products waiting to be reviewed in her kitchen. It's a little snug, so if she thinks anything deserves to stay there, you know it's something special.