When I tested the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer, I found a multifunctional machine that can sear salmon, steam rice, toast French fries, and roast bacon. It's not the most attractive appliance, but it works quickly and quietly to cook carbs, veg, and protein to perfection. Once you're used to the pre-set cook modes, you'll be making meals in minutes.
10 pre-set cook modes
Less suitable for smaller kitchens
Takes a while to warm up
Accessories not included
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The Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer combines the functionality of a pressure cooker with the crunchy, crisp finish of air frying. Powered by a 1760W fan and equipped with 10 pre-set modes, this multipurpose machine can cook all manner of foods.
Just 14 inches tall and 12 inches wide, the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer is deceptively capacious. You could roast a whole chicken or bake a breakfast casserole in this thing. When you use the Speedi Meal function, you can make one-pot meals in minutes, and save time washing up, too.
I'm part of a product testing team here at H&G. Together, we've tried and tested some of the world's best air fryers. I put the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer to the test in our dedicated test kitchen, cooking foods as diverse as salmon, rice, French fries, and bacon. I also documented the cleaning and unboxing processes to give you the fullest possible picture of what it might be like to use this product.
Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer
Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer Specifications
|12.2 x 13.0 x 13.8"
|Speedi meals; steam air fry; steam bake; steam; grill; air fry; bake/roast; dehydrate; sear/saute; slow cook
Unboxing the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer
The Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer came double-wrapped in carboard boxes, presumably to protect against knocks and bumps in transit. As I opened the box, I was pleased there was no polystyrene, single-use plastic, or any sort of wasteful packaging. Instead, the components of the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer were cushioned in cardboard, which was easy to remove and recycle. If you're on the hunt for a new cooker, and you're keen to shop sustainably, I'd encourage you to seek out one of the best Ninja air fryers, which are packaged in recyclable materials.
Inside the box, I also found a recipe guide and an illustrated instruction manual. I wouldn't throw these away, especially if you're new to air frying. A quick skim through the instruction manual told me everything I needed to know about where to position parts and accessories and which cook modes work best for which foods. In the recipe booklet, you'll find grocery lists and step-by-step instructions to make all manner of one-pot meals.
With the lid down, the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer measures 14 inches tall and 12 inches wide. It's short enough to slot beneath standard kitchen cabinets, though it will crowd the counters in a smaller kitchen. The trouble starts when you lift the lid. At full stretch, the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer measures 20 inches tall. The average gap between countertops and cabinets is 18 inches, so it's likely that you will not have enough room above your countertops. To make the most of the space you've got, you should pull your cooker all the way out before you use it, or else set your machine on your dining table or kitchen island.
The Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer features no fewer than 10 functions. You can use this thing to steam rice, sear steaks, bake cakes, and much more. What distinguishes this rapid cooker from other multifunctional machines is the Speedi Meal setting. You can insert your cooking pot at the same time as your crisper tray to cook your mains and your sides in the same pot, cutting down on cook time.
Test 1: Salmon teriyaki rice bowl
I tested the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer alongside an electric kettle and a carpet cleaner over the course of a jam-packed morning in our test kitchen. With less than a half hour to go before we broke for lunch, I decided to test the Speedi Meal function and make a salmon teriyaki rice bowl. Steaming carbs and vegetables while grilling protein is a good test of a cooker's competency. Plus, this bowl might look similar to something you'd make for yourself as a mid-week meal.
First, I emptied a packet of rice into my colander and rinsed it under the faucet until the water ran clear. This step isn't strictly necessary, but it should help to wash off excess starch so that the rice grains separate, instead of stick together. I poured the rice into the bottom of my cooking pot and used the back of a spoon to spread it evenly.
Next, I took a bag of mixed vegetables and shook out the contents, so that the peas, carrot and corn chunks landed on top of the rice. Then, I poured cups of vegetable stock into the cooking pot until the rice and vegetables were completely covered. I clicked the crisper plate into place, above the cooking pot, and got started on the salmon.
It took me years to find the optimal time and temperature to cook salmon. Too long and strong, and you'll dry the fish right out: too low and slow, and it won't cook all the way through. I wanted to see whether the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer could strike the right balance.
You might decide to marinate your meat or fish. I grabbed a packet from the store to make a fuss-free teriyaki sauce, but you could easily make your own with a little soy sauce, sugar, sake, and cornstarch. I used a basting brush to coat the salmon fillets in teriyaki sauce, honey, chilli and paprika and laid them on top of the crisper plate. I lowered the lid and set my meal to cook at 365°F for 10 minutes.
After all that, I'd forgotten to pre-heat. The Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer took around eight or nine minutes to heat up, so I used that time to clean the counters and lay the table. Once the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer was up to temperature, it took less than 10 minutes to steam the rice and grill the salmon. I lifted the lid to find glistening salmon that was beginning to brown on top and around the sides, but was still nice and pink in the middle. Underneath was fluffy, fragrant rice that had absorbed all the flavors of the vegetables and stock. The other testers agreed that it was one of the best meals we'd ever made in the test kitchen.
Test 2: Rice
The above test of a complete meal was very impressive, but I wanted to see how it coped with steaming when there was nothing in the air fryer compartment, so I turned to some plain white rice.
Again, I rinsed my rice until the water ran clear and poured it into the cooking pot. I filled three cups with water and added the liquid to the pot until it completely covered the rice. I selected the 'steam' function from the SmartSwitch menu and set the timer for 15 minutes. This time, there was no option to adjust the temperature: the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer needs to steam at around 212°F.
Once my time was up, the machine beeped and alerted me to remove my rice. When I lifted the lid, I wasn't so sure. Each grain had a bit too much of a bite to it. Since I like my rice fluffy, rather than chewy, I decided to steam it for a few minutes' more. It was the right decision: the rice came out light and fluffy for the rest of the testers to enjoy.
Test 3: French fries
Once I'd got a good sense of the Ninja Speedi's steaming abilities, it was time to move onto the air fryer tests. I wanted to see how the machine coped with firmer produce and frozen textures. I took a bag of frozen French fries and shook a few servings' worth onto the crisper plate at the bottom of the cooking pot.
I lowered the lid and selected the 'air fry' function. I like my fries nice and crispy, so I adjusted the temperature to 375°F, and set them to cook for 15 minutes. Usually, around the eight-minute mark, I'd open the air fryer basket and give the fries a good shake to promote even cooking. However, the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer doesn't have a basket. Instead, I had to lift the lid, don an oven mitt, and pick up the pot to get a good look at my fries. Such are the perils of multipurpose design: the Ninja Speedi works perfectly as a rapid cooker, but leaves a little to be desired as an air fryer.
Plating proved a little tricky, too. You could lift the pot right out of the machine to pour out your fries, but you'd have to get a good grip on it. I ended up grabbing a spatula and using that to lift my fries from pot to plate. However, as soon as I bit down on my first fry, I knew it was worth it. Each fry was golden brown and beginning to crisp around the edges, yet light and fluffy in the center. I invited my fellow product testers to dig in and we ate the whole batch in a matter of minutes.
Test 4: Bacon
Following the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer's triumphs with salmon, rice, vegetables, and French fries, I was feeling optimistic about the bacon test. I wanted to see how well the fat rendered and how quickly the meat cooked.
I took five rashers of bacon and laid them on top of the crisper plate at the bottom of the cooking pot. I selected the 'air fry' function and set the meat to cook for eight minutes at 300°F. I like my bacon crispy, so I'd normally set the temperature a little higher. The other testers like it tender and juicy though, so 300°F was our compromise.
The Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer managed to please all three of us. The rind rendered beautifully into a golden-brown crisp, while the rest of the fat retained a little juice. The bacon test is the ultimate challenge for any air fryer, and the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer passed it with flying colors.
Cleaning the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer
While the Ninja Speedi cooking pot, crisp tray, and condensation collector are technically dishwasher-safe, I chose to wash each piece by hand in warm, soapy water. That way, I could get a good grip on the components and scrub away any stains from fat and oils.
The only part of the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer that isn't dishwasher-safe is the machine itself, which is still pretty easy to clean. All it needs is a quick wipe with a damp cloth to look as good as new.
How does the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer rate online?
The Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer is one of Ninja's newer products, but it already boasts hundreds of five-star reviews, praising its quick cooking, versatility, and value for money. A few customers claim that this little cooker has made their full-sized oven obsolete. What few complaints there are tend to concern how much time it takes to preheat this 'rapid' cooker.
How does the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer compare to other machines?
The Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer is one of the best kitchen appliances I've ever tested, but it won't suit everyone.
For one thing, it's not quite as revolutionary as the marketing might have you believe. Cooking two meals in one appliance is very useful, but it's also true of some of Ninja's other air fryers, like the Ninja Foodi Flexbasket or the Ninja Foodi XL 2 Basket. However, those appliances can't cook rice. It's also not as versatile as the Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid, but while we love that multicooker, you can't use multiple functions at the same time.
Measuring 20 inches tall at full stretch, it might be too large for smaller kitchens. If you're working with limited counter space, I'd suggest something more compact, such as the Paris Rhône Air Fryer. This little machine can roast, bake, and broil with the best of them, though it couldn't feed a family.
Multifunctional machines might appeal to more ambitious cooks looking to expand their repertoire of recipes, but they might intimidate starter chefs who just want to fry food. The best basic air fryer is the Instant Essentials 4-Quart. It's not a smart machine, and it doesn't have the largest capacity, but it produced perfect French fries in our test kitchen.
If money's no object, and you want to cook with the world's best air fryer, then you should consider the Instant Vortex Plus. It cooks a little quicker and has more space than the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer. At 17 inches tall, it's shorter, too, and better suited for use in smaller kitchens.
Should you buy the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer?
The Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer retails for around $300 on the Ninja site, and more like $200 on sites such as Amazon and QVC. Don't get me wrong: that's a lot of money to spend on an air fryer, but it feels worth it to get such a multifunctional machine. If you're working with a smaller kitchen and lower cabinets, then I'd recommend clearing some room before you try to work with this machine. If you've got the space and cash to spare, then nothing should stop you from trying the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker and Air Fryer.
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Before she joined Homes & Gardens, Emilia studied English at the University of Oxford, where she sharpened her critical writing skills. She also worked on the other side of the aisle writing press releases for regional newspapers and crafting copy for Sky. Emilia combines her business savvy with her creative flair as our eCommerce Editor, connecting you with the products you’ll love. When she’s not in the office, Emilia is happiest when entertaining friends al fresco or out in the country.
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