See the November 2021 review of the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro.
The expedition this week into indoor electric grilling continues with the Ninja Foodi 5 in 1 Indoor Grill. This popular kitchen appliance is virtually smokeless; in fact, of the grills we’ve tested this one produces the least amount of smoke when grilling meats or veggies. What’s more, unlike other grills we’ve tested here, this grill can also bake and act as an air fryer—it is truly a multi cooker.
From a price perspective, it is less expensive than some of the models we’ve tested, and more expensive than others. We continue to be impressed with many of these units and the Ninja Foodi Grill is no exception, allowing a perfectly cooked dinner in less than 25 minutes in most cases.
Different than any other unit we’ve tested, this grill uses cyclonic air flow around an innovative grill grate design. Air circulates around the grate to produce a class leading sear and interesting grill marks.
OK, enough small talk, lets dive into the fun stuff.
Item Specs: Ninja Foodi 5 in 1 Indoor Grill (Model AG302)
- Product Dimensions: 17″ L x 14″ W x 11″ H
- Wattage: 1760
- Capacity: 10″ x 10″ grill grate, 4-qt crisper basket, 6-qt cooking pot
- Cord Length: 3 feet
- Dishwasher Safe: Much but not all
*Specs from manufacturer web site.
What We Loved
There’s a lot to love about this grill, most notable—the way we were able to consistently cook food with very little mess and very big flavor. The grill has various cooking functions which allow for baking, air frying, dehydrating and of course grilling.
Because this grill operates with heat being delivered from the top down—like some of the salamander-style grills we’ve tested—flare ups are non-existent. This is one of the greatest advantages that this grill offers. There is also a grease screen that covers the heating element and we recommend washing that after each use.
Cooking time is also greatly reduced because of the design of this grill; heat isn’t being lost and your countertop isn’t getting splattered with grease, etc. The unit is easy to clean with most of the components being dishwasher safe.
Cooking traditional fried food like French fries, fried chicken, etc. is super easy and quick. Heat up time of the grill is fast, and the controls are intuitive. The instructions are robust but almost not required just based on how the control panel is operated and laid out.
Despite its various uses, where this grill really excels is our favorite part. Appropriately, that’s the grill function. Below is a ribeye we cooked in 4 minutes start to finish. For reference this steak was right at 1 inch thick, and we flipped it once at the two minute mark. The edge to edge doneness is remarkable for an indoor grill.
What Could Be Improved
While this grill produced the least amount of smoke of all the indoor grills we’ve tested, when cooking bacon there was still smoke present. We got the best results by placing the unit on the stovetop and using the vent hood when cooking bacon. That said, we’d like to see the cord be a bit longer for this reason.
The cook timer doesn’t start counting down until the grill is preheated and food placed in the grill for grilling, but the cook timer starts immediately for baking. We’d like to see that changed as well.
Who It’s For
This is perfect for any apartment or condo dweller who can’t use a traditional gas or charcoal grill. It’s also great for the busy family who doesn’t have enough time to set up and grill outdoors. It’s a great substitute (not replacement) for outdoor grilling when the weather isn’t cooperating but you still want that great grilled burger or steak. Finally, the Ninja grill makes a nice companion piece for sous vide enthusiasts.
We’ve recommended a handful of indoor grills in the past, for various reasons. These grills serve a purpose and many of them work very well; others, not so much. The Ninja Foodi indoor grill exceeded expectations and is to date, our top choice in the indoor grill category. We highly recommend this unit.