Buy now £99.99, Instantbrands.co.uk
- Capacity: 5.7L
- Dimensions: 31.4cm x 32.6cm x 37.9cm
- Power: 1450-1700W
- Maximum temperature: 200C
- Weight: 5.4kg
- Rating: 7/10
- Cooks chips in 20 mins
- Much lighter than comparative models
- Large enough to cook a small chicken in
- Auto-programmed settings
- Quick to set up
- Quiet when running
- Doesn’t include handy auto-settings for recipes like chips
- Initially smells strongly of plastic
- No recipe booklet included in the box
Setting up the Instant vortex is super low maintenance, with it pretty much being an unpack, plug-in and go sort of scenario. It’ll come packaged with things like the plug wrapped and the air fryer basket taped closed, but once you’ve removed that there’s little else to do.
We quickly washed the basket and the frying tray with warm soapy water before use, cleared a spot on our worktop for it and plugged it in. We liked that the box itself came with quick-fire pictorial based instructions to reassure you while you did your initial use and thought the contemporary design was much better than others we’d tested in the past.
Initial impressions are that the basket is easy to pull in and out, and that it has a large capacity. We thought it would likely be roomy enough to feed a family, while the basket insert fitted in snuggly for ease of use. We also liked that there was a spacer on the back of the machine which we hadn’t seen before, a simple way to ensure it sat away from the wall at a safe distance so as not to let it overheat.
The touchscreen interface on the Instant Vortex 4 in 1 Air Fryer is also really easy to use. You just select which of the four functions you’d like to programme it to do and then you can toggle the time or temperature depending on your recipe or desired outcome.Frying
As with all of our air fryer reviews, our first task was to get cracking on some good old-fashioned spuds. Before we began, we had to download the brand’s app because this machine doesn’t come with an included recipe booklet, an element we found handy in rival brands for a quick reference point.
Once the app was downloaded, we then found it fairly tricky to filter through the recipes, because it’s setup to provide ideas for all the different machines Instant makes. Fries recipe located and we were ready to get started.
The instructions said to use a couple of large potatoes and cut them into thin fries. Next, we had to soak the spuds for ten minutes in cold water before drying them thoroughly in a clean tea towel. Following this, there’s a quick toss in two teaspoons of your chosen oil and then you chuck them into your basket. Clicking the basket back into the machine is the final step before you use the controls. At this point we were sort of wishing we’d just reached for some freezer fries and been done with it.
Once your basket is loaded you switch the air fryer on at the wall and turn on the interface. Following the recipe we set the temperature and time and then left it to do its thing. While they cooked there was a slight smell of plastic from the machine, which we imagine would dissipate over time if used regularly but it was slightly unnerving.
We were meant to shake the basket every five minutes if we were obedient students, but truthfully we gave ourselves a lovely break while they cooked. Because what’s the point in having a machine to work for you and then having to check on it every five minutes?
After twenty minutes they were ready and despite their abandonment issues they were fairly evenly cooked. If anything they were a little too crispy, if you’re willing to believe that’s a thing?
Read more: Instant Pot pro crisp vs Ninja foodi max
Overall we were impressed with the flavour and texture given that just two teaspoons of oil were used, and it produced two generous portions of chips with the potential to make more if you needed it to. They were much better than freezer chips too, for the record.Other features
Baking was easy but with little guidance we felt limited to the recipes on the app. And despite tasty results, things weren’t exactly light and fluffy – it was better for the likes of bready cinnamon buns or brownies, which the brand recommends itself.
We were pleasantly surprised, however, with how easy reheating things in this was. It helped to transform the sad story of a leftover slice of pizza into a lunch to be proud of. Despite this not being its primary function we could imagine the reheat button being used regularly.
Lastly, we gave the roasting function a whirl with a handful of frozen roasties and because they already had a coating of oil on them they crisped up perfectly – really, really delicious (but perhaps not very healthy).Cleaning
The basket and tray are both dishwasher safe, so you just pop everything in there and let it do the hard work, thank you very much. There’s a small pull handle on the tray which is stainless steel rather than non-stick – which is used everywhere else – and this definitely has the potential to build up dirt over time.
The brushed matte exterior didn’t show any fingerprints and the touch control pad easily wiped clean with a damp cloth. Overall, extremely easy to clean.Cost
At just under £100, the Instant vortex is comparatively fairly priced for an air fryer of this size. We haven’t seen it much cheaper than on the brand’s own website, but it is available from places like Amazon (£100, Amazon.co.uk) and Argos (£99.99, Argos.co.uk) which can be handy for keeping an eye on in case they run seasonal promotions.
If you’re not in a rush it’s also always worth waiting for traditional sale times like Black Friday or Boxing Day in case there are promotions running.The verdict: Instant vortex 4-in-1 air fryer
Given its relatively generous capacity we thought the Instant vortex 4-in-1 air fryer was efficient real estate perfect for smaller kitchens, and appreciated the little details like the back spacer to ensure it didn’t overheat. Overall we weren’t sure the chips were the best we’ve ever had but they were satisfyingly crisp, pretty tasty and took twenty minutes to cook – so we can’t find it in us to complain too much.
It’s handy and does what it says it will. It’s also quiet and easy to clean, and performs a number of other functions which helps it earn its keep in your cupboards. Slight niggles like the plastic smell are outweighed by the easy to use touch pad and smart design.