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- More cooking capacity than other basket air fryers
- The Smart Finish and Match Cook are innovative features that improve the cooking experience.
- This unit is a great air fryer. But it doesn’t do well with baking or roasting despite having those presets. Adjusting the recipes for a longer, slower baking time will be necessary.
The Ninja Foodi Dual Basket Air Fryer or the Ninja Foodi DZ201 is one of a few air fryers with two cooking zones totaling eight quarts in capacity. It’s a 6-in-1 kitchen appliance that can handle air frying, broiling, roasting, baking, dehydrating, and reheating leftover food. In addition, the Ninja Double Air Fryer also has convenient smart features.
It has the biggest cooking capacity with a double-basket setup. You won’t find any other brand that offers the same features: zip, zero, zilch, nada.
When it comes to air fryers, the Ninja Foodi 2-Basket Air Fryer cannot be beaten. Here’s a look at its features and how they stack up to similar air fryers.
|Ninja Foodi DZ201
|Ninja Foodi DZ401
|Instant Vortex Plus Dual
|These plus IQ Boost, which optimally distributes power to the conjoined baskets for roasting a whole chicken
|No smart features
|Separate heating zones
|Separate heating zones
|Even Crisp feature pushes air from top down
|Temperature range 105-450 degrees
|Temperature range 105-450 degrees
|Temperature range 95-450 degrees
|Faster cooking (can cook two 6-pound chickens at once in 30% of the time of an oven)
Now that you know the differences between this and the other two 2-basket Ninja Air Fryers, let’s take a look at what you can do with the Ninja Foodi DZ201.
The Ninja Foodi DZ201 is a standard two-basket air fryer with some very useful features not found on competitor models. Here are the features that really make the Ninja Foodi 2-Basket Air Fryer stand out.
This dual basket air fryer has a larger capacity than most. It comes in either an 8-quart or 10-quart capacity, meaning each basket is either 4 quarts or 5 quarts. In the 4-quart basket I was able to air fry an entire pound of french fries. I can also fit up to 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs in a single layer in one side. This should give you an idea of what you can fit into this air fryer.
Smart Finish Setting
The Smart Finish option is useful when you’re cooking two recipes with different cooking times. They will finish at the same time when you configure this setting. There’s nothing more comforting than a perfectly warm meal.
The Smart Finish works pretty simply. Set each basket to the desired cooking function, time, and temperature, then choose the Smart Finish setting. The basket that cooks the least amount of time will hold and start automatically when that same amount of time is left on the first item.
For example, if you have chicken wings that cook for 20 minutes but fries that need to cook for 30, you can set them both at the same time, and the wings will start when there is 20 minutes left on the fries.
The downside to this feature is that if you pause one basket and not the other, your recipes will not finish at the same time. You have to pause manually before removing a basket to shake it, so just make sure you hit the pause button on both sides if you want them to be done at exactly the same time.
On the other hand, if you’re making the same recipe, there’s a shortcut for copying the setting of one zone to the other.
The brand calls it “Match Cook.” Instead of entering the temperature, cooking time, or mode over again, you can just press the match cook to port all the settings to the other basket.
This copy-and-paste feature can be helpful when you’re cooking a large batch of fries or chicken wings.
6 Cooking Functions
There are 6 useful cooking functions on this air fryer, but it won’t replace your oven by any means. Here are the functions and how they work.
It goes the same way with your conventional oven, and works just as well. If you want a golden brown finish for your dish, the broil function is your friend. It’s Ninja Foodi DZ201’s perfect setting for melting cheese or achieving a crunchy texture for your protein. The only way you’ll get a better broil is with a gas broiler.
Sadly, you can only use one zone for broiling. You can’t broil on both baskets at the same time. This is due to the fact that it takes the highest temperature (450 degrees) and it simply isn’t safe to run both sides of the air fryer at that temperature. Zone 1 will default to this function, but you can switch zones if you need to.
Overall, the air fry feature works better than most other air fryers. If you read my review of the Ninja Air Fryer Max XL, you’ll know that it has a Max Crisp function. You won’t find the button in the Ninja Foodi Dual Basket Air Fryer since it’s already built right into the system. It has the same temperature range of 105°F–450°F.
Making your fries or fried chicken more crispy can be done by simply adjusting the temperature and adding more time. There’s no need for a separate Max Crisp button.
Roasting in the Ninja Foodi 2 Basket Air Fryer is about the same as roasting in your conventional oven. It takes about the same amount of time, although you don’t have to preheat first as you do with your oven. You’ll get about the same results, and the air fryer does take less energy than the oven. This makes it ideal for roasting in small batches, but if you are doing a large roast your oven is still probably your best bet.
That said, I roasted a mess of potatoes for a family dinner while my oven was occupied by using both sides at the same time and temperature, and it worked just as well as if I had roasted them in the oven.
The bake function is not at all impressive. For instance, using a water bath is a challenge. I also found that cookies and other baked goods take longer to cook, and may need a higher temperature. Use the included crisper plate to raise up the recipe so that the heated air can flow beneath for the best possible results.
When I tried to bake cupcakes and a loaf of bread they were doughy in the middle and the crust was too crispy. This is because, like all basket air fryers, the heating element is at the top and the bottoms of your baked goods don’t get the heat necessary to cook fully. In other words, baking in the Ninja Foodi 2-Basket Air Fryer is rather limited.
While it cannot replace a traditional dehydrator, the ability to dehydrate is a nice thing to have. To be truly effective, you need to buy the multi-layer rack accessory.
It takes a long time to dehydrate foods, so it’s better to do it in bulk using a multi-level platform. In addition, the foods will bake somewhat rather than just drying out, which means you want to be careful not to overdo it when you are making fruit chips. The dehydrate function on the Ninja Foodi DZ201 is best for making chewy jerky.
Instead of using the microwave oven to reheat fried foods, use the Ninja Foodi Air Fryer. It will achieve a crispier and better-tasting result.
Reheating foods should be done with caution. Make sure you don’t put anything flammable in the air fryer that can blow up and hit the heating element. You won’t have as much versatility as your microwave, but you will get a crispier result. This is ideal for reheating pizza.
Those are all of the features of the Ninja DZ201 2 Basket Air Fryer. Before we get into how this air fryer performs, here are its technical details. The air fryer doesn’t come with any accessories, but there are some available at an additional cost.
|Dual Basket Air Fryer / Drawer Type Air Fryer
|Ninja Air Fryer → The Ninja Foodi Collection
|Ninja DZ200, Ninja DZ201
|4.5 out of 5
|6-in-1: Air Fry, Air Broil, Roast,
Bake, Reheat, and Dehydrate
|8 quarts (fits 4 lbs of fries)
|15.6 x 13.9 x 12.4 inches (39.6 x 35.3 x 31.5 cm)
|2.6 ft. (79.2 cm)
|Ninja 6-in-1 Air Fryer, Ninja Air Fryer Max XL, Ninja Air Fryer AF101
Is the Ninja DZ201 easy to use?
I’ll be honest, the Ninja Double Air Fryer can be intimidating at first with its multitude of buttons and the dual basket setup. Luckily, after a few runs, you’ll get the hang of it.
If you watch the video below, it’s just like a mini version of a full-sized oven. The only challenging part is setting the right amount of time and temperature for each recipe. The independent baskets can be set with different presets to cook two dishes at the same time, synchronized to finish together.
Note that the baskets cannot be combined to make a single cooking zone like other air fryers. These are completely separate baskets with separate heating elements and fans on each side.
You won’t be able to memorize it, but the good thing is you’ll have a quick start guide courtesy of Shark Ninja.
On top of that, there’s also an included recipe book to get you started right away.
In comparison to the Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Max XL, this model doesn’t automatically pause when removing the air fryer basket. To ensure you’re following the cooking time religiously, you’ll have to pause and start it manually whenever you’re shaking or flipping your ingredients.
What can I cook with Ninja Foodi 2-Basket Air Fryer?
Aside from crisping up your french fries with less oil, this Ninja double air fryer has a total of six functions up its sleeve. It can also broil, roast, reheat, dehydrate, and bake. With a generous capacity, it can be your go-to kitchen appliance for preparing a quick dinner for the family.
You can cook just about anything (in the right portion) in this air fryer, but there are some important things to remember. First, the fan is pretty powerful, so if you’re going to line with parchment paper or aluminum foil make sure it can’t blow around and hit the heating element.
Likewise, keep in mind that lightweight food can be blown around by the air fryer. For example, I pin the upper bun of my burger to the patty with a toothpick to avoid it burning on the heating element.
Pro Tip: Shake or use non-abrasive tongs to flip your ingredients for even cooking. Unfortunately, there is no shake reminder, and you’ll have to pause the basket manually to pull it out to shake or flip safely.
Still, for quick small meals this air fryer can’t be beat. You can roast your protein in one basket, and on the other side, you can caramelize your carrots or perhaps Brussels sprouts. That’s the beauty of having a two-basket air fryer.
Is the Ninja Foodi 2-Basket Air Fryer easy to clean?
The cleanup for this two-basket air fryer is easy-peasy.
First, the basket and crisper plate are dishwasher-safe. But its straightforward to wash them by hand.
It has a non-stick coating, so most food residue will come off quickly.
By the way, only use a soft sponge and non-abrasive cleaners to prevent damaging the coating.
Last but not least, use a damp cloth to wipe the main unit.
Thankfully, the brand has a quick guide on how to clean it.
What makes the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer better than its competitors?
The Ninja DZ201 Smart Finish
As I have mentioned, the Ninja Foodi DZ201 is one of the few air fryers that feature separately controlled baskets.
You can cook different (or the same) types of food with distinct (or similar) settings across the two zones. I mean, even traditional ovens can’t do this. So, that’s a major win for the Ninja Foodi Double Air Fryer.
The Ninja Foodi DZ201 Match Cook
The DZ201 features a smart finish feature. Simply put, the foods will finish simultaneously even if they have different cook times, temps, or perhaps functions.
It works together with the hold function. So, instead of cooking right away, the other zone will not start until it matches the cooking time of the other zone.
*Product Images and Videos Courtesy of Shark Ninja
Alternatively, if you’re cooking the same recipe, you can press the match function to copy the exact same settings. Brilliant right?
For advanced cooks or amateur cooks, this is an excellent feature. It makes sure that both foods will still be hot when served. Plus, you don’t have to worry about setting a timer for yourself on when to start the second dish.
Is the Ninja Dual Air Fryer worth it?
If you don’t mind the significant footprint in exchange for the ability to cook hefty portions of meals, then the Ninja Foodi DZ201 8-Quart 2-Basket Air Fryer certainly deserves a place on your kitchen countertop.
As a side note, the brand released a 10-quart version of this double air fryer.
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