The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

Ninja air fryer AF100UK review: Does the reduced-fat fryer serve the perfect crunch?

There’s a reason this healthy cooking hero is one of the most popular pieces of kitchen kit this year

Rosie Conroy
Wednesday 19 May 2021 11:21
<p>Using less oil than regular fryers, you can fry, roast, reheat and dehydrate all with one machine</p>

Using less oil than regular fryers, you can fry, roast, reheat and dehydrate all with one machine

If there was an award for the world’s most popular potato it would have to go to the champion of all spuds – the golden, crunchy, salty chip.

If we didn’t have chips what would we eat with our fish and mushy peas? And if we didn’t have chips what would we turn to in the freezer after a long day? We think it’s fair to say they’re a national treasure.

The only downside to chips that we can make out is of course that they’re hardly a super food; these guys won’t give you much nutritional benefit. But what if things were different? What if there was a way to make your chips a healthy habit? Enter: the air fryer. More specifically, the Ninja air fryer AF100UK.

This clever piece of kitchen kits allows you to get all the crunch of fried foods while keeping calories and saturated fats down, as there’s little need for oil.

The Ninja air fryer AF100UK – as the name suggests – uses heat and air to create a crisp exterior on foods like chips or breaded chicken. Because the technology is doing all the hard work here, you add hardly any fat but still get an almost deep-fried finish.

Read more:

And the benefits of the Ninja air fryer AF100UK don’t stop there. You can also use this nifty bit of kit to cook, dehydrate and reheat foods in various ways.

The dehydrator is another healthy food hero. Make your own banana chips or kale thins for easy snacks, or even experiment with leftover bread to cut down on your food waste, turning it from dry scraps into delicious croutons.

For our review of the Ninja air fryer AF100UK we put it through its paces, from setup and cooking to cleaning and storage. Here’s what we thought.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism acrossThe Independent.

Ninja air fryer AF100UK

Buy now £119, Ao.com

Capacity: 3.8l

Dimensions: (H)34.5 x (W)27.9 x (D)33.8

Power: 1550W

Maximum temperature: 240 degrees

Weight: 4.4 Kg

Guarantee: 1 year

Pros:

  • Easy to clean 
  • Good size for two people
  • Healthier cooking
  • Competitively priced 
  • 4 functionalities – air fry, roast, reheat and dehydrate 
  • Simple to set up 

Cons:

  • Bulky on worktops 
  • Needs space for ventilation 
  • Emits a noise during cooking 
  • No automatic pause when drawer removed

How do you set up the Ninja air fryer AF100UK?

We found setting up the Ninja air fryer AF100UK really simple – you basically take it out of the box ready to use. The main drawer comes taped up, and once you remove this you can easily pull the drawer out. Inside there are a couple of packaging wrappers that need to come off and both the drawer and crisping tray need to be washed, but aside from that you simply plug into the mains and you’re ready to go. Because the Ninja air fryer AF100UK has ventilated sections on its sides and top, you have to give it room on your counter to “breathe”, so it can’t be pressed up against a wall for instance, or tucked too tightly under overhead cupboards.

Read more: 8 best rice cookers for flawless, fluffy results every time

How do you use the Ninja air fryer AF100UK?

There’s a simple manual included in case you are unsure of the controls on the outside of the machine, but we found these quite intuitive. There are buttons for time and heat variations, as well as cooking functionalities dials for you to pick between the four settings. In the manual you’ll find timings for the most popular items to make in the Ninja air fryer AF100UK, and for our testing we tried a recipe for each setting.

Frying

As we’ve mentioned, we’re lifelong chip fans, so we kicked things off with spuds. The instructions for homemade fries say you need to soak the starch off the chips then pat dry, so you’re half an hour in before you even get started on the cooking bit. Once dried, you toss the chips in oil and throw into the pull out basket of the Ninja air fryer. Once you’ve selected the appropriate heat and timing using the buttons on the outside you leave everything to cook for the required time.

We found the chips cooked a little unevenly, so needed shaking up every few minutes, and overall they took 20 minutes. Results are crispy, but you definitely lose some of the flavour with the reduction in oil. However, as far as healthy chips go we thought these were pretty good – golden and crunchy with a side of smugness knowing you had cut some serious sat fats out of dinnertime.

Dehydrating

The dehydrator function was a bit of a novelty aspect we thought. Because of the size of the basket we could only fit in a handful of the berries we were testing, and after the eight hours needed to get things fully dried out we were left with a small snack portion for one person. We’re guessing most people don’t buy a Ninja air fryer primarily to dehydrate things so this just becomes a nice extra for using every now and then.

Reheating

A surprising upside for us of the Ninja air fryer AF100UK was its reheat function; it doesn’t exactly sound like a glamorous setting, but it’s one of those things in life where you wondered what you did before. Instead of having to spend the time and money heating an entire oven for one slice of pizza – our weapon of choice – you instead simply plug in your air fryer, pop your pizza in for a few minutes and then enjoy piping hot, crisp-bottomed pizza you have pulled from the fridge only moments ago.

Roasting

If you’re after a Ninja air fryer to help make mealtimes that little bit healthier, we love that the roasting function allows you to create delicious veg-heavy dishes without tons of oil. We roasted cubes of butternut squash, which took around twenty minutes and came out with lovely toasty middles and soft centres. This would also be great for chicken thighs.

Read more: 10 best food steamers for quick, easy and healthy meals

How do you clean the Ninja air fryer AF100UK?

The Ninja air fryer AF100UK is really easy to clean. For the outside we used a damp cloth to clean off finger marks on the buttons or exteriors. All the internal sections where the actual cooking happens are happily dishwasher safe. This includes the basket, crisper plate and any accessories.

How much is the Ninja air fryer AF100UK?

The Ninja air fryer AF100UK costs £119 from most retailers, including AO, which is where we sourced ours from. Presumably because it’s so popular we haven’t seen it on offer or sale anywhere, but if you’re looking to buy a reduced one it could be worth keeping an eye out around traditional sale times – like Black Friday.

The verdict: Ninja air fryer AF100UK

Overall we thought this was a really clever piece of kit which helped make mealtimes that little bit healthier. The setup was a doddle and the cleaning really straightforward, thanks to all removable elements being dishwasher safe. We liked the sleek design and thought the controls were easy to use and intuitive because of the simple interface.

Our few drawbacks were that the size of the bowl was only really big enough for two people – although there is a 5.2l max version (£149, Ao.com) if you have more mouths to feed – the machine doesn’t pause when you remove the drawer to shake food during cooking, and that the unit itself is bulky. If you’re happy to clear an area for it on your worktop – or have ample cupboard space – this makes wonderfully crispy food in minutes and is much more attractive than a lot of its competitors.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on kitchen appliances, try the links below:

For more healthy frying alternatives, check out our review of the best air fryers, from the likes of Ninja and Tower

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.