Ninja DT251 Review (2023) The Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Oven

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Key Points

  • The Ninja DT251 Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Fryer Oven has a 12-lb capacity and cook a whole chicken or even a medium-sized turkey.
  • It can preheat in just 90 seconds; fast compared to traditional ovens.
  • The surround convection design eliminates the need to rotate your dish.

Best Oven Air Fryer
Ninja Foodi 10-in-1 Smart XL Air Fry Oven

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.

  • Cooks very fast... and that's not hype, our testing verified this
  • Smart thermometer makes cooking perfect meat a breeze
  • Very versatile cooker
  • Digital rack guide helps you achieve proper placement of your food in the unit
  • Large capacity cooker–can cook whole turkeys or large meals
  • Lots of accessories
  • Can't see controls when door is open
  • Hard to remove stains inside the unit
  • All accessories need to be hand washed
  • Takes up a lot of counter space
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02/18/2024 02:07 am GMT

The Ninja DT251 or the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Oven is the clever sibling of the Ninja DT201. If you need help 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.

roasting stuff in ninja oven

The manual lists 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.


The Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Oven is the top of the line from Ninja air fryer toaster ovens. It has all the features you would expect from a Ninja Foodi oven, but with some added “smart” features that make it worth the price.

Let’s look at what makes the Ninja DT251 a tremendous secondary or countertop oven.

True Surround Convection

One of the things that makes the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Oven so much more effective than other air fryer ovens is its unique heating design. All air fryer ovens have a heating element with a convection fan at the top of the oven. But Ninja doesn’t do anything halfway, and their model is much more effective.

In addition to the heating element at the top of the oven, there is a second heating element at the bottom and a third heating element at the rear with the fan. This means that your countertop oven heats as evenly (if not more so) than your traditional oven.

This makes all the difference when using the bake feature.

True XL Capacity

There are a lot of “XL” air fryer ovens out there that say they can fit a 9×13 pan, but most of them won’t fit a pan with any handle or lip. The Ninja DT251 Air Fryer Oven is much larger. I can put any 9×13 pan in this oven straight from my cabinet, even those with 1″ handles. That makes this one of the most versatile countertop air fryer ovens on the market.

The oven capacity is even large enough that you can do two pizzas simultaneously. Yet the intelligent design means most of the bulk of the appliance is the oven capacity itself, which leads me to the next feature.

Digital Display Handle

To keep the bulk of the machine smaller and the viewing window larger, Ninja put the controls for this air fryer oven on the handle. Don’t let this discourage you, because it has some great features that make it convenient.

First, you can’t accidentally change your settings using the handle. The digital display freezes when the door opens to avoid these accidental changes.

Second, the display handle takes all the guesswork out of cooking your favorite foods by showing the optimal oven rack position based on your chosen function.

🌡️ Smart Cook System with Built-in Thermometer

The built-in thermometer is the most critical update between the Ninja DT251 and the original Ninja Air Fryer Oven model DT201. This thermometer ensures that your foods are cooked to the optimal internal temperature. It helps the oven regulate the temperature during cooking and alerts you if your food reaches perfect doneness before the preset cooking time is up.

Cooking Functions

Both the Ninja DT201 and this Ninja Foodi Smart XL Oven have all of these cooking functions.

roasted chicken
Whole Roast
roasted vegetables
Air Roast
Air Fry
dehydrated fruits
broiled beef
toasted bread
toasted bagel
reheated chicken

Whole Roast

With a 12-lb 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. Whole Roast can be set from 250 to 400 degrees.

Air Roast

If you’re roasting a small portion of meat, or perhaps veggies, that is what the Air Roast function is for. This cooking function is similar to whole roast, but cooks faster and leaves more of a crust on the outside of your meat or veggies. Air Roast can be set from 250 to 450 degrees.

Air Fry

The Air Fry function works about as you would expect from an air fryer oven, but there are a few things to keep in mind to make cleanup easier. If you’re crisping up fries or other starchy veggies, the air fry basket will do just fine.

roasted chicken

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. Air Fry can also be set from 250 to 450 degrees.

Pro Tip: Use high smoke point oil like canola, avocado, vegetable or grapeseed oil when air frying.


Thanks to the additional heating elements in the convection design, the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Oven bakes like a champ. Other air fryer ovens don’t bake the bottoms of cookies or the crusts of quick breads in the same way as a traditional oven, but the Ninja DT251 makes my banana bread come out just as good as if I made it in my range oven. The bake feature runs from 180 to 450 degrees.


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 like I do, that will take you four to six hours, depending on how thick your meat is. For the easiest and best jerky, I like to go to the fresh meat counter at the grocery store, buy a good lean roast, and have them thin slice it for me.

The dehydrate function can be set from 85 to 200 degrees.


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. The Broil feature has a HI/LOW function rather than a temperature setting.


The toasting function is self-explanatory. One thing you need to remember is to toast your bread on Rack #3. According to Ninja’s FAQs, you can get up to 9 pieces of toast or bagels in the oven. But I have found that 8 pieces of toast or 3 large split bagels fit the most comfortably.

toasted bread


The same thing goes for the bagel function of the Ninja Foodi Smart Oven. However, the bagel has to be cut side up to ensure a perfect toast, even though there is a heating element at the bottom of the oven. This way, you’ll get that perfect balance between crispy outside and chewy inside.


You can bake two 12-inch pizzas at once with the Ninja DT251 using Racks #1 and #3. Whether you love making it from scratch or have a frozen pizza in your fridge, this convection oven will do justice to it. I have had just as much luck with fresh, frozen, and French bread pizzas.


One thing I hate about reheating leftover food with a microwave oven is that 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. The Ninja Foodi DT251 is perfect because I don’t have to wait long for the oven to preheat before reheating my food.

Having a compact convection oven will definitely solve that problem. The reheat feature is the most versatile, with a temperature range from 85 to 450 degrees.

Technical Specifications

TypeAir Fryer / Convection Oven
Brand/SeriesNinja Oven | Ninja Air Fryer → The Ninja Foodi Collection
Model #Ninja DT251
Rating4.5 out of 5
Wattage1800 Watts
Functions10-in-1: Air Fry, Air Roast, Bake, Whole Roast, Broil, Toast, Bagel, Dehydrate, Reheat, & Pizza
Capacity12″ pizza, 9 slices of toast or 4-lbs in air fry basket, whole chicken, 12-lbs turkey
Dishwasher safeNo
BPA FreeYes
Dimensions 17.09 x 20.22 x 13.34 inches (43.4 x 51.35 x 33.88 cm)
Cord Length3 ft. (91.4 cm)
ApplicationPersonal Use
Warranty1 Year
Related ProductsNinja Foodi Dual Heat Air Fry Oven, Ninja Foodi 8-in-1 Air Fry Oven, Ninja 10-in-1 Air Fryer
This table shows the technical specifications of Ninja Foodi DT251.

Accessories are available to make this air fryer oven even more capable, but it has an impressive number of accessories included. These include:

  • 2 wire racks for positioning within the oven
  • Crumb tray to catch food debris
  • Air fry basket for frying vegetables and other foods with less oil
  • Roast tray for pot roasts and roasting chickens
  • 2 sheet pans just the right size for the Ninja Foodi DT251
  • Smart thermometer

How to Make the Most of the XL Capacity Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Oven

Ninja DT251 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. The capacity of the Ninja Foodi DT251 is large enough to make whole meals.

While you can’t make everything in this air fryer oven that you would in your traditional oven, it does work well as a backup or countertop oven. In fact, I highly recommend this oven for use during large meals such as Thanksgiving dinner. You can’t fit a turkey, but you can fit up to a 10-pound chicken.

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 with your unit when in doubt.

Rack #3 would be where your sheet pan and roast tray should go for single-rack cooking, regardless of the mode.

You can make whole meals in your Ninja Foodi XL Air Fry Oven with roast and bake features. While roasting your protein on Rack #1, you can also cook your sides using the air fryer basket on Rack #4.

Should you need to air roast two batches of veggies or meat, you can move your roast tray and sheet pan to Rack #1. Then, you can load the air fry basket on Rack # 3.

If you need to air fry on two rack levels, you can do it on Rack #2 and #4.

You can bake two trays of cookies, bacon, brownies, or muffins on Racks #2 and #3.

You can use Racks #2 and #3 for dehydrating in bulk or just Rack #3 for small batches.

Pro Tip: Line your sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup, but make sure it doesn’t touch the heating elements or sides of the oven.

What makes the Ninja DT251 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.

Perfect For Those With Less Cooking Experience

It’s especially useful for new and less experienced cooks that need to make sure their meat is cooked to the correct temperature. A roast chicken can look great, but if the core temperature is less than 165 degrees it isn’t safe to eat.

I guess using the word ‘smart’ makes this product more catchy than calling it XL Pro Oven with a Thermometer. The smart thermometer, however, doesn’t work in concert with your smart home, smartphone, tablet, speakers, or smart apps.

Save $$$ With This Alternative If You Don’t Need the Thermometer

Anyways, if you already have a meat thermometer at home or don’t need the extra help with monitoring temperature, 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.

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.

Ninja Foodi DT251 Control Panel
Ninja DT251 User Interface

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.

No Need To Open Oven To Check Doneness

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

Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Oven Accessories
Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Air Oven Accessories: Air Fry Basket, 2 Wire Racks, 2 Sheet Pans, Roast Tray, Thermometer

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.

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 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.

If you want a slight step-up from the XL Pro Air Over, check out Ninja’s Smart Double Oven. It is similar to this model except it has two separate ovens and is capable of cooking different items so that they finish simultaneously.


What are the maximum timer settings for the Ninja DT251?

Most of the cooking modes on the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Oven have a max timer setting of 4 hours. The dehydrate feature can be set for up to 24 hours, and the broiler for up to 30 minutes. Toast and bagels have their own setting based on desired darkness.

What size are the pans for the Ninja DT251?

The roast and sheet pans that come with the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pro Oven are 13.5×11.5×1. This means it is a bit shallow like a cake sheet pan, but you could fit a 9×13 casserole dish as long as it doesn’t have much of a handle.

Does the Ninja DT251 Air Fry Oven get hot while in use?

This oven doesn’t get hot enough to burn you for the most part, but it does get pretty warm. It’s best to avoid storing items on top of the oven, or remove them before operating. Ninja says that their accessories are safe to store on top even when the unit is hot, but it might melt plastic or damage inferior kitchen accessories and tools.

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