Ninja Max XL Air Fryer Review: Designed for Smaller Portions

The Ninja Max XL Air Fryer is one of the brand’s most popular models. It features a 5.5 quart capacity circular insert capable of cooking for small households or making sides for the whole family.

Although we found that the shape of the basket was not ideal for cooking specific types of food, the air fryer did an impressive job of cooking bacon and even frozen foods in really record time.

We tested it alongside some of the best air fryers to see how it held up, frying fries, roasting veggies, and trying both its normal air fry mode and the Max setting. crisp.

Ninja Max XL Air Fryer: Specifications

Ninja Max XL Air Fryer

(Image credit: Ninja)

  • Ability: 5.5 pints
  • Cooking methods: Air Fry, Max Crisp, Air Roast, Air Broil (US Only), Bake, Reheat, Dehydrate
  • Temperature: 105°F–450°F
  • Cut: 14 x 11 x 14.75 inches
  • Mass: 11.7 pounds
  • Able: 1750 watts
  • Cleaning: Non-stick, dishwasher safe baskets and inserts
  • Rope length: 2.6 feet

Begin

Ninja Max XL air fryer in its box

(Image credit: Future/Millie Fender)

We tried the Ninja Max XL in the UK, so there are some very slight differences to note. In the UK it is known as the Ninja Max Air Fryer AF160UK, and in the US it is called the Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer.

The only other difference is on the control panel. While the settings work exactly the same, where the US air fryer has an air broil button, the UK has no alternative and only offers three cooking modes. We don’t tend to grill things in the UK so we couldn’t test this setting but we did test the four recipes we use in our air fryer reviews and just tweaked the settings for times and temperature.

Ninja Max XL Deep Fryer

(Image credit: Future/Millie Fender)

The product comes in a box with mostly cardboard packaging, meaning we didn’t have to feel guilty when throwing it in the recycling. It has a removable circular tray with an insert that elevates food to allow air to circulate around it for even cooking. This also lifts off, and this and the inside of the basket are coated with a sturdy non-stick coating.

We noted that the drawers were secure and clicked into place with no difficulty. It seemed very high quality, but the silver coated handle and top of the machine looked and felt pretty cheap, and although in our continued testing it didn’t chip, we preferred the handles from the Instant Vortex air fryer, and even the Ninja Dual Zone we also tested.

Cooking fries

Ninja Max XL Deep Fryer

(Image credit: Future/Millie Fender)

Our first standard test is making fries from scratch. We cut the potatoes into large wedges, soaked them to remove the starch, then dried them and tossed them in a little oil and a little seasoning. It’s true that making fries from scratch in an air fryer will significantly reduce the amount of fat in your finished meal. We only needed a few tablespoons, and that was split between three different air fryer tests.

To see how well the air fryer can cook at a slightly lower temperature, we set it to 360°F for 18 minutes in air fry mode. Unlike models from the Instant brands, the Ninja line of air fryers have no preheat time or halfway reminder to shake your fries while cooking. Despite this, we recommend shaking your fries for an even finish, but while it’s nice to have some preheat time, we find that isn’t always necessary when air frying. After all, preheating only takes about a minute.

Ninja Max XL Deep Fryer

(Image credit: Future/Millie Fender)

After 18 minutes we were disappointed that our fries were not cooked well at all. While in some air fryers we still manage to achieve a fluffy interior and a crispy exterior, the Ninja Max XL needed an extra 10 minutes.

After that, the fries still had no crispy coating but were well cooked. Some were a little more cooked than others, but for the most part our fries were even, which is impressive considering the smaller basket size of this air fryer. They tasted good, but we suspected this is an air fryer that works better at higher temperatures.

Ninja Max XL Deep Fryer

(Image credit: Future/Millie Fender)

Cooking frozen food

Air fryers are famous for cooking frozen foods. This especially applies to breaded foods, which can often take a long time in a conventional oven or even one of the best toaster ovens, and will need to be turned halfway through cooking to prevent softening. Air frying makes that a thing of the past, so we tried the Max Crisp setting to see how well the Ninja Max XL could cook frozen chicken gudgeons.

Ninja Max XL Deep Fryer

(Image credit: Future/Millie Fender)

We tested this air fryer alongside another Ninja model, the Ninja Foodi DZ401 6-in-1 XL 2-Basket Air Fryer. This air fryer lets you set the Max Crisp temperature, whereas in the more basic Max XL you can’t change the temperature from a preset 450°F. That’s hotter than we could even reach into the Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer which is limited to 400°F, so it’s no surprise that the Max XL cooked chicken by far the shortest time in our lineup.

The chicken was cooked in just nine minutes, when the packaging suggested it would take 25 minutes in an oven. It was very hot all the way, although the high temperature browned the studs too much in some places. If anything, it was a little overcooked!

Cooking bacon

Ninja Max XL Deep Fryer

(Image credit: Future/Millie Fender)

Cooking bacon in an air fryer takes a few minutes, and it often drains a lot of the fat that comes off the meat during cooking, leaving you with crispy cuts and a little less oil.

We noticed that the ridged bacon we used was a bit long to fit in the air fryer basket. Other air fryers could easily hold 6 or more slices at one time, but you’d be hard pressed to fit more than four in this air fryer without overlapping.

We put the air fryer on 400°F and set the cook time to five minutes. This air fryer isn’t the quietest air fryer we’ve tested, at 67 dB it’s on par with other Ninja air fryers. Its fan is very powerful, as evidenced by the end result. Our bacon had clearly been blown around the simmering basket during cooking, which meant it had bent in places. Putting this on pancakes would have been a struggle!

Ninja Max XL Deep Fryer

(Image credit: Future/Millie Fender)

However, the bacon cooked very easily, and we found that it even benefited from a little less cooking time. This is potentially due to the small cooking area, which means the air fryer preheats very quickly.

Roast vegetables

Most air fryers come with roasting modes. Is it different from air fry mode? Basically, no. Air fryers all work like a convection oven, so the main difference will be the preset cooking temperature. In this case, it is inferior to the air fry mode, which means the food will be less crispy but cooked in a manner similar to traditional roasting.

Ninja Max XL Deep Fryer

(Image credit: Future/Millie Fender)

We were happy with the roasting in this air fryer. Not all foods cook at the same rate, but that’s because we cut vegetables into different sizes. After 15 minutes we were particularly impressed with the light browning of the sweet potato, which had a lot of flavor. We also didn’t shake the tray during cooking, but thanks to the slats of the removable insert, the vegetables were cooked fairly evenly on all sides.

Where other air fryers we’ve tested struggled to brown zucchini, we found the Ninja Max XL Air Fryer did a good job, meaning it was effective at removing moisture. vegetables. It still left them with a bit of a crackle, but without any softening.

Ninja Max XL Deep Fryer

(Image credit: Future/Millie Fender)

Cleaning the Ninja Max XL Air Fryer

Ninja Max XL Deep Fryer

(Image credit: Future/Millie Fender)

A big advantage of Ninja air fryers is that the removable parts are dishwasher safe. This convenience factor is part of the reason you’ll also find the brand in our guides to the best blenders and best food processors.

Even if you don’t have a dishwasher to clean the removable insert and air fryer drawer, the non-stick coating is very easy to clean by hand. We have tips on how to clean an air fryer if you want to clean the heating element and control panel.

Should You Buy the Ninja Max XL Air Fryer?

The Ninja Max XL Air Fryer earns a four-star rating after our review process and weeks of continuous use. It’s well-designed, easy to clean, and performs especially well at high temperatures. However, it doesn’t perform as well as other air fryers at lower temperatures, and the Max Crisp setting isn’t adjustable, meaning you’ll be somewhat limited if you want full control of the machine.

This air fryer is one of the loudest models on the market, but it’s not so loud you can’t talk on it. It cooked frozen foods and bacon in record time, but the circular shape of the simmering basket will work best for side dishes or small portions of meat, as it will struggle to accommodate foods of certain sizes. sizes. We also found that the look and feel of the air fryer was not our favorite and it wouldn’t be our first choice of air fryer to display in our kitchen. If looks aren’t your main concern, you’ll love the Ninja Max XL Air Fryer for quick cooking and its surprisingly wide range of cooking modes, including Reheat, Dehydrate, and Bake.

About this review and our review

Millie Fender is our editor for all things small appliances at Homes & Gardens. She spends a lot of time testing everything from toasters to air fryers in her own apartment and recommending the best ones to readers.

Millie put this air fryer to the test for several weeks making French fries, bacon and roast vegetables. She will keep this review up to date with any thoughts on how she compares to other models on the market.