Ninja Steam Fryer Review (2021) 14-in-1 Pressure Cooker with Smart Lid

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Ninja Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer with Smart Lid, Silver/Black
Ninja Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer with Smart Lid, Silver/Black

The 14-in-1 Ninja Steam Fryer is the newest addition to the Foodie family. And I have to say that it’s the best electric pressure out there. Ninja Kitchen has beaten Instant Pot at releasing an all-in-one lid.

There’s no other multi-cooker out there that offers this convenience. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Nada.

The only disadvantage of cramming two functions in one accessory is its size. If you have a small counter space, you might want to consider a more compact alternative.

However, if your countertop can handle a 15.39 x 14.21 x 14.25-inch kitchen appliance, nothing is stopping you from getting the Ninja Foodi Steam Fryer.

It’s available in three configurations.

Ninja Foodi OL701

Ninja Foodi OL601

Foodi OL501

Ninja Foodi OL701, 8 quart pressure cookerNinja Foodi OL601, 8 quart pressure cookerNinja Foodi OL501, 6 quart pressure cooker
a.k.a. Ninja Foodi SMART XL Steam Fryera.k.a. Ninja Foodi XL Steam Fryera.k.a. Ninja Foodi Steam Fryer
$$$$$$$$$$
8-quart cooking pot8-quart cooking pot6.5-quart cooking pot
5-quart cook & crisp basket5-quart cook & crisp basket4.6-quart cook & crisp basket
3 layers3 layers2 layers
15.39 x 14.21 x 14.25 inches15.39 x 14.21 x 14.25 inches15.39 x 14.21 x 13.07 inches
with smart thermometer
1760 watts1760 watts1460 watts
Get at Ninja Kitchen →Get at Ninja Kitchen →Get at Ninja Kitchen →

IMHO, the model with an integrated thermometer has the most to offer. Say you’re roasting chicken breast. You don’t have to check it every now and then. You just need to set the temperature and wait for the beep.

But if you already have a meat thermometer at home, you can save a few bucks by getting the XL Steam Fryer, or perhaps the 6-quart model, if you don’t need that much cooking capacity.

Now let’s talk about 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
  • Flagship Model (Ninja Foodi OL701) includes smart thermometer for a more straightforward cooking
  • Customizable doneness
  • Auto steam-release
  • Available in 8 or 6-qt configuration
  • Generous air frying capacity
  • 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 with a premium price tag
  • 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
  • This type of air fryer favors the least
  • The lid gets in the way sometimes

What can you make with the Ninja Steam Fryer?

Either one of pressure cooking and air frying has numerous advantages already. In fact, even the preceding Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL can already do so much. 

And now?

The new cooking technique and technology went even further. In other words, with the Ninja Steam Cooker, you can effortlessly try (and/or create) new recipes. 

With that said, let’s talk about its three main modes, starting with pressure cooking.

Pressure Cook Mode

Pressure Cooked Meat

The pressure cook mode solely has, well, pressure cooking. Yet, despite having only one function, you might use this program more often than not. At least that’s true with my pressure cooker. 

You see, with just this one method, you have thousands and thousands of recipes to try.

Best of all:

You can cook recipes quicker than traditional methods (about 70% faster). Also, you can achieve tender and juicy results without even breaking a sweat. In fact, these two reasons alone make any pressure cooker worth the spend.

What can you cook: chicken breast, beef stroganoff, beef stew, curry, mac and cheese, chicken thighs, etc.

Steam Crisp Mode

Here’s the deal:

There’s this so-called Combi Oven in restaurants—an oven that combines baking and steaming simultaneously—hence the name. In the past, I looked for a smaller, personal use version, but to no avail. Now, newer oven ranges feature a similar function, but it’s just too expensive.

That’s precisely why the Ninja Steam Fryer is such a game-changer whether you’re a foodie or not. Essentially, it’s like a mini combi oven for personal use!

Therefore, it goes without saying that the Steam Crisp is the most vital feature for the Ninja Foodi with Smart Lid.

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

Anyway, there’s mainly two functions for this mode—Steam & Bake and Steam & Crisp. With the first function, you can quickly achieve fluffy or airy consistency with your baked goods! 

On the other hand, the steam & crisp method enables you to effortlessly make more tender, juicier, AND crispier proteins. In short, some recipes will cook better with this function than the standalone pressure cook program. 

On top of all that:

Simultaneously frying and steaming cuts your cooking and active time by a lot (no need to swap lids).

Air Fry/Stovetop Mode

The Ninja Smart Cooker’s air fry or stovetop mode boasts the most 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

Here’s the thing:

Most of these functions are self-explanatory, so to keep it brief, I’ll only discuss the three noteworthy cooking methods. 

Nowadays, air frying isn’t news anymore, but it’s still fantastic. In simple terms, it’s like a convection oven with a robust fan and excellent air circulation for even cooking. More importantly, since you only need little to no oil, you can have healthier and cheaper fried foods (compared to deep-frying). 

Secondly, you can use the Ninja Steam Cooker as a proofer. Essentially, this appliance further simplifies baking since you can specify the temperature and duration. 

Moreover, you can directly utilize the steam and bake after proofing, so you don’t need to move it around. It also means less stuff to clean later on. (Valid with the sear/sauté function too.)

The third is the sous vide program. By having so, you can elevate the cheap recipes to taste more premium-like. Thus, this function is a significant advantage for Ninja Foodi OL701.

As if that’s not enough:

Its XL size allows you to create three meals in one go, perfect for 1-2 people. And of course, one-component recipes are also ideal (up to 6 people). It’s the best of both worlds.

Is the Ninja Foodi 14 in 1 Air Fryer easy to use?

Ninja Steam Fryer controls

I’ll be blunt, the Ninja Steam Fryer has a learning curve whether you’re new to Multi-Cookers or not. Luckily, the machine has simple overall controls, so surely you’ll get used to it in no time.

Now:

The unit features a touchscreen design with a dial, making the control panel look cleaner and easy to use. In other words, compared to older models, it doesn’t have a perplexing amount of buttons. 

Furthermore, the slider makes it easy to switch between modes (which also neatly organizes the cooking functions). Additionally, the “smart” programs hallmark default settings taking away the guesswork for a more straightforward experience. 

(Even better? You can get rid of guesswork altogether with its smart thermometer, which I’ll talk about in the next other section.)

Smart Lid’s Usability

As I mentioned, the Smart Lid not only improves your recipes but the overall ease of use of the machine. 

Think about it:

Other pressure cooker air fryer combos have separate lids. To mimic steam frying, you have to pressure cook and air fry separately. With the Ninja Smart Cooker, you don’t even need to change the lid, AND you can use steam and air fry simultaneously! 

In short, the Ninja OL701, Ninja OL601 and the Ninja OL501 save a massive amount of time and requires less effort.

Better yet? 

Ninja Foodi with Smart Lid also boasts an automatic venting method which is undoubtedly one of the best features of a pressure cooker. You see, instead of running to the kitchen to release pressure, the machine does it for you. In short, that’s one less step to worry about.

Here’s the catch:

Ninja Steam Fryer Lid

The Ninja Steam Fryer could have had an auto-sealing feature. In fact, most Instant Pots have this convenient feature. Imagine, even when you forget to seal the vent when pressure cooking, Instapot will still cook properly since it closes the vent itself. 

Secondly, while a fixed lid solves the problem of heavy lifting, it introduces a new issue. Mainly, you have to be extra careful not to touch the heating element when placing or retrieving food.

Luckily, these minor flaws are nothing compared to the unparalleled advantages of Ninja Foodi Steam Fryer.

How to clean Ninja OL701, OL601 and OL501?

Sadly, cleaning the Ninja Foodi 14-in-1 Steam Fryer is a little more tedious than other pressure cooker brands.

Here’s the deal:

After cooking (and cooling), removing the silicone ring and the anti-clog cap isn’t as straightforward due to its fixed lid. Thus, when doing so, always support the cover from the back with your other hand.

But wait, let me tell you something:

Compared to previous models, the Ninja Steam Cooker is actually easier to maintain! 

First off, there’s no outer grate, so getting in the nooks and crannies of the lid is simpler. You also don’t need to clean the fan (NOT recommended by Ninja). 

Ninja Foodi OL701 dishwasher safe

Besides, even if food debris persists, you can use the steam method advised by Ninja in their manual for a more manageable cleaning. 

In a nutshell, the lid only needs a simple wiping, just like the outer base.

Anyway, you can place the removable accessories (except the thermometer) in the dishwasher for effortless cleaning. Plus, even when you wash them by hand, any food debris will likely slide right off thanks to its non-stick aspect.

Tip: Only use soft sponges when cleaning nonstick accessories to ensure they have a longer lifespan.

See Ninja OL701 in Action

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

See more buying options at Amazon →

The Ninja Steam Fryer is one of the best Pressure Cooker Air Fryer Combos in the market, with 14 cooking programs. Moreover, it’s currently the only one that features a 3-in-1 smart lid that simplifies kitchen tasks further. Not to mention, it highlights a lot more clever innovations such as hands-free venting, a smart thermometer, etc.

What makes Ninja Foodi Steam Fryer better than other multi-cookers?

Let me just re-enumerate the noteworthy features of Ninja Steam Fryer:

  • *All-in-one Smart Lid, so no more switching, and it consumes less space
  • *Steam/pressure cook and air fry simultaneously (Steam Crisp & Steam Bake)
  • Hands-free venting
  • Touchscreen control panel

*Unique features to Ninja Foodi 14-in-1 Steam Fryer

Here’s the next best thing:

If you opt for the Ninja OL701 model, it comes with an integrated thermometer.

Here’s how to use it.

The smart thermometer takes away the guesswork, particularly the cooking time. Essentially, you can set your desired doneness (9 levels + 4 protein settings). Then, the Ninja Foodi will do the rest of the cooking and automatically switch off once done—no more overcooking. 

Even finer? You can also use the smart probe with pressure cooking for either “WELL” or “SHRED.”

In other words, you don’t need to look up a chart for the cooking time as you can effortlessly achieve your preferred perfect meal.

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

Fun fact: Prior Foodi pressure cooker accessories might fit with the Ninja OL701. Therefore, if you’re upgrading, there’s no need to buy new accessories.

Otherwise, I highly recommend these two:

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 OL701: Ninja Foodi SMART XL Steam Fryer
Ninja OL601: Ninja Foodi XL Steam Fryer
Ninja OL501: Ninja Foodi Steam Fryer
Price$$$$
Rating4.7 out of 5
WattageNinja OL701 & Ninja OL601: 1760 watts
Ninja OL601: 1460 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
CapacityNinja OL701 & Ninja OL601: 8 quarts cooking pot, 5 quarts crisp basket
Ninja OL601: 6.5 quarts cooking pot, 4.6 quarts crisp basket
Dishwasher safeYes
PTFE, BPA FreeYes
ColorStainless Steel/Black
Dimensions (LxWxH)OL701: 15.39 x 14.21 x 14.25 inches (39.1 x 36.1 x 36.2 cm)
OL601: 15.39 x 14.21 x 14.25 inches (39.1 x 36.1 x 36.2 cm)
OL501: 15.39 x 14.21 x 13.07 inches (39.1 x 36.1 x 33.20 cm)
Cord Length3 ft. (91.4 cm)
ApplicationPersonal Use
Warranty1 Year
Related ProductsNinja Foodi Deluxe XL 8-qt 9-in-1 Pressure Cooker, Ninja Foodi Compact 5-qt 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker, Ninja Foodi Pro 6.5 qt 11-in-1 Pressure Cooker

Is the Ninja Steam Fryer worth it?

With all that said, the Ninja Foodi 14-in-1 Steam Fryer with Smart Lid is definitely worth every penny. It may be a bit expensive, but thanks to all its smart functions, you’ll get MORE than what you pay for. 

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