Ninja OL601 Review (2022) The Ninja Foodi XL Steam Fryer

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Ninja OL601 XL Steam Fryer with Smart Lid, Silver/Black
Ninja OL601 XL Steam Fryer with Smart Lid, Silver/Black

The Ninja OL601 XL Steam Fryer with Smart Lid is the cheaper alternative to Ninja OL701. What I like about the brand’s line of steam fryers is the ingenious lid design. They are the first to release a unified air fryer and pressure cooker lid.

Instant Pot has been the leader in this segment, but today we’re giving the torch to Ninja. I’m sure they’ll catch up pretty soon. I’ll update this review once that happens.

Switching between lids is really a huge hassle when you’re trying to combine two cooking techniques with one dish.

Say you want to pressure cook a whole chicken, then finish it off with crispy skin, with older models, that would need two separate lids.

That’s no longer the case with the Ninja Steam Fryer Family.

The only issue with the Ninja OL601 is the lack of hands-free venting methods and an integrated meat thermometer. Those were deal breakers for me. So go ahead and check the Ninja Foodi OL701 and see for yourself.

But if you want to save a few bucks, I wouldn’t stop you from getting the Ninja XL Steam Fryer.

In the meantime, let’s dive into its pros and cons.

PROS

  • Modern and simple touchscreen design with a turn dial
  • Faster cooking than the traditional methods
  • 14-in-1 cooking functions with smart customizable programs
  • All-in-one smart lid, no more lid swapping
  • SteamCrisp technology
  • 8-quart cooking capacity
  • 5-quart crisp basket
  • Easy to clean non-stick pot
  • Comes with a 45+ recipe book
  • Includes the reversible rack with 2 layers
  • PTFE and BPA-free
  • Dishwasher safe
  • 1-year warranty

CONS

  • Excellent product at a premium price point
  • No built-in thermometer
  • No auto pressure release feature
  • It’s a huge appliance, be sure to have space on your countertop
  • Can be loud
  • Cleaning the lid requires extra patience, but a lot easier than older models
  • The lid gets in the way sometimes

What can you make with the Ninja Foodi OL601 Steam Fryer?

The Ninja OL601 has similar 14 cooking functions as the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Steam Fryer, broken down into three cooking modes—Pressure Cook, Steam Crisp, and Air Fry/Stove Top Mode.

Let’s start with the Pressure Cook Mode.

Pressure Cook Mode

Pressure Cooked Meat

I bought my first pressure cooker to tenderize proteins much faster. Using a regular pot would take you up to three hours to tenderize your beef or pork. It only takes 15-30 minutes with a pressure cooker. It’s also helpful when making soup stocks.

If you love cooking, having a pressure cooker will expand your culinary expertise and save you some time.

Now, let’s get to the Steam Crisp Mode.

Steam Crisp Mode

The function sounds fancy, but it only means adding water at the bottom of your cooking pot. This option will give you the ability to introduce humidity to your recipe, which can be useful for baking, and on some occasions, making your roasted chicken juicier.

When I worked at a fast-food chain, their oven was connected to the tap. I thought it was just for cleaning purposes, but I later realized that it also aids in the cooking process.

This type of oven is called Combi Oven, which has steaming and convection functions. And that’s what the Steam Crisp Mode is all about.

steamed lava cake
Steam & Bake
Steam & Crisp
Steam & Crisp

When you activate this mode, you’ll be able to use the Steam & Bake and Steam & Crisp function. The first one is for baking purposes, and the other one is for roasting your favorite protein.

Some cake recipes require steam to prevent cracks. This feature really makes it a proper all-around oven.

Air Fry/Stovetop Mode

Last but definitely not least, the Ninja Foodi OL601 also offers an Air Fryer/Stove Top mode with the following functions.

fries
Air Fry
slow cooked stew
Slow Cook
steamed vegetables
Steam
brownies
Bake
roasted chicken
Roast
vacuum sealed proteins for sous vide
Sous Vide
Seared Beef
Sear/Sautè
dehydrated fruits
Dehydrate
broiled beef
Broil
yogurt
Yogurt
Warm Food
Keep Warm
proofing
Proofing

Yes, those are mind-boggling numbers of cooking capabilities. I would say that you could replace multiple kitchen appliances with this mode alone.

Most of it is pretty self-explanatory, so I’ll just touch base with a few notable features, starting with the air frying function.

An air fryer is simply another term for a convection oven. Since less oil is required, it is a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods.

Ninja OL601 is one of Ninja Pressure Cookers that help you sous vide. Most Michelin Star restaurants use this advanced cooking technique to cook their steaks to perfection.

You can also make Focaccia or sourdough bread with the proofing function along with other baking modes.

Is the Ninja Foodi XL Steam Fryer easy to use?

When you buy a multi-cooker, be prepared to watch some youtube tutorials and get your manual ready when making your first and succeeding meals with it.

Yes, it’s pretty challenging at first, but you’ll get the hang of it in a few weeks or so. After a month of using it, I don’t look at the manual anymore. However, it’s still handy when trying out new recipes.

Ninja Foodi OL601 Control Panel
Ninja Foodi OL601 Control Panel

Now:

The beauty of this machine lies in the simplified user interface. It’s a complex kitchen appliance, but the touch control panel made it less intimidating.

I just don’t like the fact that it doesn’t have the integrated probe thermometer and automatic vent release function. That’s why I still prefer the flagship Ninja Steam Fryer over this variant.

Using the Ninja Smart Lid

The Smart Lid is the ultimate selling point of the Ninja OL601, or any of the Ninja Steam Fryers. You have to switch between the air fryer lid and pressure cooker lid in the previous models. Now that it’s been fused into a singular lid. You don’t have to do that anymore.

Here’s how it works.

For the record, Ninja leads the technology in the airfryer-pressure cooker market.

How to clean Ninja OL601?

Keeping the Ninja Foodi XL Steam Fryer at its mint condition also requires attention to detail. Before cleaning it up, make sure that the heating element has cooled off. To be safe, leave it for about 15 or 30 minutes.

Ninja Foodi OL601 dishwasher safe

While waiting for the heating element to cool down, you can take the pot off carefully using oven mitts. The good news is your cooking pot, racks, cook and crisp basket, and diffuser are all dishwasher safe.

Once the Smart Lid is safe to touch, you can remove the silicone ring, pressure release valve, and anti-clog cap and wash it with water and dish soap. The silicone ring is also dishwasher safe, but manual handwashing is the most efficient way to get rid of nasty greases.

Then, you can wipe off the base, top of the lid, the heating element, and inner components with a damp cloth or kitchen towel. The brand doesn’t recommend cleaning the fan. I guess damaging it would mean voiding your warranty coverage.

Pro Tip: Use soft sponges or non-abrasive brush when cleaning nonstick accessories to prevent damaging the coating.

See the Ninja OL601 Steam Fryer in Action

Don’t take my word for it, here’s a short video demonstration of the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Pressure Cooker.

Ninja OL601 Steam Fryer is a multi-functional pressure cooker with an 8-quart cooking capacity. Apart from pressure cooking, it can also slow cook, air fry, steam, bake, sous vide, make yogurt, sear, sauté, broil, dehydrate, proof your dough, etc. The unified air frying and pressure lid make it one of the best multi-cookers in the market.

What accessories can I get with the XL Ninja Foodi Steam Cooker?

Thankfully, most of the Ninja Foodi pressure cooker accessories are cross-compatible. These accessories will fit both their 8-quart and 6.5-quart models.

ninja foodi steam cooker accessories
Deluxe Bake Kit on the left, Dehydrator Stand on the right
  • Dehydrator stand — Since dehydrating food takes a significant amount of time, it’s ideal for processing several foods in one go. With the dehydrator stand, you can make 250% more than the reversible rack the Ninja Steam Fryer comes with.
  • Deluxe bake kit — According to Ninja, “Any accessory that you currently use in your oven is also safe to use in your Foodi.” If none, on the other hand, I suggest getting a Foodi specific bake kit to utilize the space better.

These set of accessories will work with the Ninja OL701, Ninja OL601 and the Ninja OL501.

*Product Images and Video Courtesy of Shark Ninja

Technical Specifications

TypePressure Cooker / Air Fryer / Multi-Cooker / Slow Cooker/ Steamer
Brand/SeriesNinja Air Fryer | Ninja Pressure CookerThe Ninja Foodi Collection
Model #Ninja OL601
Price$$$
Rating4.5 out of 5
Wattage1760 watts
Functions14-in-1: Pressure Cook, Slow Cook, Air Fry, Steam & Crisp, Steam & Bake, Steam, Sous Vide, Yogurt, Sear/Sauté, Bake/Roast, Broil, Dehydrate, Keep Warm, Proof
PotNon-stick ceramic coated
Capacity8 quarts cooking pot, 5 quarts crisp basket
Dishwasher safeYes
PTFE, BPA FreeYes
ColorStainless Steel/Black
Dimensions (LxWxH)15.39 x 14.21 x 14.25 inches (39.1 x 36.1 x 36.2 cm)
Cord Length3 ft. (91.4 cm)
ApplicationPersonal Use
Warranty1 Year
Related ProductsNinja Steam Fryer, Ninja OL501, Ninja FD401, Ninja Foodi Pro, Ninja OP101
This table shows the technical specifications of Ninja Foodi OL601.

Is the Ninja OL601 Steam Fryer worth it?

While I like the Ninja OL601, I would still recommend the flagship Ninja OL701 Steam Fryer over it. The integrated thermometer and automatic pressure release will make your cooking routine safer, faster, and more enjoyable.

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