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An extremely versatile air fryer/oven that can Air Fry, Sear Crisp, Rapid Bake, Frozen Pizza, Fresh Pizza, Griddle, Air Roast, Bake, Broil, Toast, Bagel, Dehydrate, and Reheat. Large enough to roast a turkey.
Like all oven-style air fryers, it can be difficult to keep squeaky clean. A few design quirks keep it from being as easy to use as it otherwise could.
The Ninja DT251 or the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Oven is the clever sibling of the Ninja DT201. If you’re having a hard time deciding between the two, the only difference is the integrated thermometer.
There’s an additional button to set your desired meat temperature.
Say you want to roast a medium-rare prime rib, the ideal temperature is 130°F. Once it’s reached, the oven will automatically stop. Then, all you have to do is take it out and let it rest for about 15 to 30 minutes.
Award: The Best Ninja Oven of 2022
Just in case, the manual has a list of all the temperature ranges for all types of protein. Whether you’re cooking fish, chicken, turkey, pork, or beef, this handy thermometer got you covered.
Apart from the smart thermometer, here are a few more things that I like about the Ninja DT251.
It has a generous 12-lbs capacity that can take a whole chicken or even a medium-sized turkey. You can preheat Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Oven in just 90 seconds, which is fast compared to traditional ovens. And lastly, it’s a surround convection feature that eliminates the need to rotate your dish.
Now, let’s get to its pros and cons.
- Modern design
- Comes with a smart thermometer
- Full surround convection for optimum heat distribution
- Easy on the budget
- 90-second preheat, quicker than traditional ovens
- 30% faster cooking time than full-sized ovens
- Large capacity, can roast a whole chicken and a 12-lbs turkey
- 10-in-1 functions: air fry, whole roast, air roast, bake, dehydrate, pizza, broil, toast, bagel, reheat
- 1-year warranty
- Bulky, requires a decent counter space
- Removable parts are not dishwasher safe
What can you cook with the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Oven?
The Ninja Foodi DT251 is identical to its sibling, the Ninja Foodi XL Pro. Only the smart thermometer sets them apart. So, in terms of capabilities, they can do the same thing.
Ninja Foodi Smart XL Oven can pretty much do all of these.
Please note that the Ninja Foodi Oven has 4 Rack levels. There’s an optimum rack placement depending on your recipe. I’ll try to cover it in the next section, but you can always check the quick start guide that comes with your unit when in doubt.
With a 12-lbs capacity, you can fit a whole chicken or even a medium-sized turkey in the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Oven. And if you want to cook your prime rib to perfection, that’s where the integrated thermometer will come in handy. It will stop the oven at the exact temperature you’ve set, ensuring the perfect doneness of your beef.
While roasting your protein on Rack #1 you can also cook your sides using the air fryer basket on Rack #4.
If you’re roasting a small portion of meat, or perhaps veggies, that is what the Air Roast function is for. Rack #3 would be where your sheet pan and roast tray should go for single rack cooking.
Should you need to roast two batches of veggies or meat, you can move your roast tray and sheet pan on Rack #1. Then, you can load the air fry basket on Rack # 3.
Pro Tip: Line your sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
For single-level air frying, Rack #3 would be the perfect spot. If you’re crisping up fries or other starchy veggies, the air fry basket will do just fine.
However, when you’re dealing with oily food such as chicken wings or any other protein, you need to use the roast tray and sheet pan combo to prevent the grease from dripping onto the crumb tray.
If you need to air fry on two rack levels, you can do it on Rack #2 and #4.
Pro Tip: Use high smoke point oil like canola, avocado, vegetable or grapeseed oil when air frying.
You can bake two trays of cookies, bacon, brownies, or muffins on Racks #2 and #3.
Dehydrating fruits and veggies is one of the Ninja DT251’s best features. Dehydrating fruits can take about two to three hours. If you love jerkies, that will take you four to six hours, depending on how thick your meat is.
You can use Racks #2 and #3 for dehydrating in bulk or just rack #3 for small batches.
To up your cooking game as a home chef, you need to master the art of broiling. This function can be helpful when cooking steak or perhaps making your casserole dish a tad interesting with a golden brown finish. By the way, use rack #3 for this function.
The toasting function is quite self-explanatory, I guess. But one thing that you need to remember is that you need to toast your bread on Rack #3.
The same thing goes for the bagel function of the Ninja Foodi Smart Oven. You need to use Rack #3. However, the bagel has to be cut-side up to ensure a perfect toast.
You can bake two 12-inch pizzas with the Ninja DT251 on Racks #1 and #3. Whether you love making it from scratch or you have a frozen pizza sitting in your fridge, this convection oven will do justice to it.
One thing that I hate about reheating leftover food with a microwave oven is it makes it soggy. That is true for day-old pizza, fries, or chicken. So most of the time, I use my big oven to maintain the crispiness of the dish.
Having a compact convection oven will definitely solve that problem.
What makes the Ninja DT2501 Smart?
The only thing that makes the Ninja DT251 smart is the integrated thermometer. The oven will turn off when the set temperature is reached. It’s useful for a medium rare prime rib, but that is it.
I guess using the word ‘smart’ makes this product more catchy than calling it XL Pro Oven with a Thermometer.
Anyways, if you already have a meat thermometer at home, you can save a few bucks by opting for the Ninja Foodi DT201 Air Oven variant. It does exactly the same thing minus the thermometer.
See the Ninja Foodi Smart Oven in Action
Here’s how the integrated thermometer works.
The Ninja Foodi DT251 Smart XL Pro Air Oven is an excellent countertop convection oven with an integrated thermometer. It can roast, air fry, bake, dehydrate, toast, and reheat leftover food. Ninja Foodi DT251 features a generous 12-lbs capacity, 90-second quick preheat, and surround convection.
Is it easy to use?
Ninja Foodi DT251 has very minimal buttons, making it super easy to operate. You just have to familiarize yourself with the proper rack placement for each function, but after you get the hang of it, you’ll be cooking like a pro.
If you ever get confused, you can always refer to the quick start guide. It’s like your cheat sheet for all the functions and proper rack placement.
Regarding the integrated thermometer, it’s also ultra simple. All you have to do is set your desired temperature and insert the thermometer into the thickest part of your protein. Once it reaches your desired temperature, it will automatically stop.
Unlike a regular thermometer, you won’t have to constantly open your oven to check the temperature of your meat. There’s also no turning required because of Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Oven’s surround convection feature.
The point is, it’s easier and more convenient to use than a traditional full-sized oven.
How to clean the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Oven?
The bad news is you can’t run the accessories of the Ninja Foodi DT251 into your dishwasher. However, that’s true for all ovens, big or small. The strong chemicals and heat will cause the finish to degrade or even damage the metal over time. Washing those parts by hand is the only way to go.
To make cleanup a little easier, cover the sheet pan with aluminum foil to catch the grease from the roast tray. That’s one less part to deal with.
The roast tray will probably be the most challenging part to maintain. If you’re having trouble brushing off tough greases, soaking it overnight will do the trick. The same thing goes for the air fryer basket.
Ninja Foodi DT251 Accessories
When you purchase the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Oven, you’ll get a couple of sheet pans, a pair of wire racks, an air fryer basket, and a roast tray.
In addition, you also have a smart thermometer with a magnetic container. It works like wired headphones. There’s a jack located at the bottom right part of the handle.
There’s also a crumb tray installed beneath the heating element. Aside from catching food particles, it also prevents the greases from reaching the bottom of your oven.
Those accessories are good enough for all ten capabilities of the Ninja DT251. Just in case you need more, the brand also offers a muffin pan, a 2-inch casserole tray, and a dehydrating kit for processing a generous amount of fruits and beef jerkies.
*Product Images and Video Courtesy of Shark Ninja
|Type||Air Fryer / Convection Oven|
|Brand/Series||Ninja Oven | Ninja Air Fryer → The Ninja Foodi Collection|
|Model #||Ninja DT251|
|Rating||4.5 out of 5|
|Functions||10-in-1: Air Fry, Air Roast, Bake, Whole Roast, Broil, Toast, Bagel, Dehydrate, Reheat, & Pizza|
|Capacity||12″ pizza, 9 slices of toast or 4-lbs in air fry basket, whole chicken, 12-lbs turkey|
|Dimensions||17.09 x 20.22 x 13.34 inches (43.4 x 51.35 x 33.88 cm)|
|Cord Length||3 ft. (91.4 cm)|
|Related Products||Ninja Foodi Dual Heat Air Fry Oven, Ninja Foodi 8-in-1 Air Fry Oven, Ninja 10-in-1 Air Fryer|
Is the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Fry Oven worth it?
Yes, I would highly recommend the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Oven looking for a countertop convection oven with multiple cooking functions. IMHO, it’s even better than a full-sized convection oven.
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