Excellent air fryer
Delivers complete meals quickly
Intuitive and easy to use
Bulky, industrial design
Lacks handles on pot and crisper tray
The air fryer has become a kitchen essential. It crisps up everything from French fries to battered chicken to leftover pizza. It can even “grill” burgers, and roast a respectable chicken. But it takes up a big chunk of countertop real estate.
Along comes the Ninja Speedi. This latest Ninja air fryer can do all of that—plus, it can steam. It uses that steam in combination with the air fry setting to cook a meal with several components at one time.
The Speedi also has nine additional settings for everything from baking to proofing bread. While it offers a lot more versatility for the space you’re giving up, does it give good results? We took this new Ninja air fryer for a spin; here’s our take after comprehensive testing.
About the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker & Air Fryer
The Speedi is designed to air fry, steam, or do both at once. Using a combination of both functions, it can cook Speedi Meals consisting of a grain, a vegetable, and a protein simultaneously on two levels. In addition, it has settings for Steam & Crisp, Steam & Bake, Steam, Proof, Air Fry, Bake/Roast, Broil, Dehydrate, Sear/Sauté, Slow Cook, and Sous Vide.
There’s a lever on the lid to switch between Air Fry (convection) and Rapid Cooker (steam convection) modes depending on the function you want to use. On the front, the Ninja Speedi has a touchscreen to control all 12 functions.
With the lid down, the Speedi fits easily under a cabinet but when in use, it has to be pulled forward on the countertop to provide enough room to raise the lid. This Ninja air fryer and multicooker comes with a large removable cooking pot and a flat crisper tray.
The Speedi comes with a comprehensive manual as well as a pamphlet with instructions on how to cook Speedi Meals and a booklet with recipes, color photos, and cooking charts. You can also access the Speedi Meal Builder online, which suggests various combinations of foods and cooking times.
How we tested
We took it function by function to see how each one performs. Here is a summary of our testing process, and what we thought of each function.
First, I put the Speedi through our standard battery of air fryer tests. When it came to making frozen and made-from-scratch French fries and chicken nuggets, it really excelled. It gave super even and crispy results that are among the best I’ve seen in years of testing many air fryers and air fryer toaster ovens.
Next, I tested the most touted feature of the Speedi, its Speedi Meal function, using the recipe for turkey meatloaf with cheesy riced cauliflower from the accompanying booklet. The instructions were easy to follow, the food cooked in the half hour recommended in the recipe, and the meal turned out exactly as pictured.
I prepared two boneless, skinless chicken breasts on the Broil setting and got excellent results. The chicken was beautifully browned and moist after only 15 minutes of cooking. On the Steam setting, I cooked 12 ounces of broccoli florets which came out bright green and perfectly tender, and the process took only 10 minutes.
To test the Sear function, I cooked two sirloin steaks, which were poorly browned when they were cooked without preheating the pot. However, when I seared a chuck steak before slow cooking, I preheated the Sear function for five minutes, and this time the meat was nicely browned.
I tested the Bake and Steam & Bake functions by making double chocolate chunk banana bread and yellow cake. While both turned out well, the results didn't outperform a standard oven and left me feeling as though I'd only use the Speedi for baking if I was in a pinch for oven space.
I also tested the Sous Vide, Slow Cook, Proof, and Dehydrate functions but none wowed me. Sous vide didn't work as expected, while the others all performed to acceptable levels, but did not exceed expectations.
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What we like
The Ninja Speedi is excellent at air frying, steaming, and broiling
I’d go as far as saying it’s the best air fryer I’ve ever tested. French fries and chicken nuggets came out exceptionally evenly cooked and were as brown and crispy as if they had been fried in a pot of oil. In fact, I actually cooked potatoes in the Ninja Speedi for my personal dinner one night. In addition, the steam function quickly turned out perfectly tender broccoli.
It’s rare to find an appliance, even a broiler in a full-size range, that broils meat beautifully in the time it takes for the meat to reach a moist tender doneness. In the Speedi, chicken breasts broiled up golden brown but not overcooked in just 15 minutes.
The Speedi is excellent at cooking several different foods at once
Using the “Speedi Meals” setting and the guidelines that come with the appliance, I was able to cook a starch, protein, and vegetable at the same time in less than a half hour. Each of the components came out attractive and perfectly cooked.
The Speedi is a cinch to use
In spite of its many functions, the Ninja is exceptionally easy to program. The lever to switch between air fry or rapid cooker is large and easy to flip. Once you do that, it’s completely intuitive to select a cooking program, temperature, and time on the control panel.
Default temperatures and times are suggested for each setting, but there are arrows to adjust both, which are clearly displayed and very responsive to touch. No double taps necessary to go up or down.
There is no automatic preheat cycle but the manual instructs to add 5 minutes to air fry cooking times to heat up the oven before you begin cooking. That means you have to set a timer to remind you when to add your food, but that’s a relatively minor inconvenience.
Cleanup is a breeze
The cooking pot, crisper tray, and condenser tray are all dishwasher safe and aren’t overly large, so they don’t take up excess rack space. If you prefer to hand wash the pieces, the pot and crisper tray have a nonstick coating that makes them easy to clean without scrubbing.
The underside of the lid gets dirty. To clean it, you run a steam cycle which loosens debris and makes it easier to wipe down.
You can’t burn yourself on the exterior
Although the exterior gets warm on some functions, it always remains cool enough to touch without risking a burn. That’s a definite advantage for anyone working in tight kitchen spaces who wants a multipurpose machine like this on their counter.
What we don’t like
The commercial-looking design isn't an attractive countertop staple
The Ninja Speedi has an industrial aesthetic. It looks like a piece of equipment that you’d see in a restaurant or food service kitchen not on a home countertop. While it has some stainless-steel accents, its primary color is battleship gray.
However, it is a solidly built kitchen appliance and looks like a high-quality item. It reminds me a bit of the original Vitamix blender which wasn’t particularly attractive but became a status symbol because of its professional look and performance.
It’s big and heavy, and can be a bit noisy
At about 14 inches square and 12 inches high, the Ninja Speedi takes up a big chunk of countertop space. It fits below a cabinet when it’s closed but not with the lid raised. That means when you’re using it, you have to pull it forward.
The Speedi weighs 16 pounds, which makes it hard to maneuver. It’s not an appliance that you will want to be stashing away in a cabinet or closet often.
While the Speedi is almost silent when it steams, the air fry setting makes a whooshing noise that sounds like a hair dryer on low speed. It’s certainly not louder than your average air fryer, but it does make noise.
There are no handles on the pot and the crisper tray
Neither the cooking pot nor the crisper tray have handles. During cooking, they get very hot as does the inside of the unit. In order to remove the pot and/or the tray, you need pot holders or mitts to grasp them and you have to be very careful not to touch the inside of the appliance as you pull them out.
What owners say
As the Ninja Speedi is a very new product, there are few user reviews online. At the time of writing this review, it has 34 reviews and a star rating of 4.8 out of 5 on Amazon. It is also sold on BestBuy.com, where it has 25 reviews and 4.0 stars. In their reviews, people rave about its versatility, speed of cooking, and how well it cooks.
The few negative comments note that some experimentation is needed to get the timing right for Speedi Meals, as well as that the machine takes up a lot of space on the countertop and an 8-inch pan doesn’t fit inside the cooker.
Should you buy the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker & Air Fryer?
Yes, if you air fry often and will use its Speedi Meals feature
This product is a really terrific air fryer. I’d go as far as saying that you can’t get a better one. While this is not the priciest air fryer on the market, it is considerably more expensive than many; however, if you simply don’t want to compromise on air frying results, it’s worth the money.
Ninja is promoting this product for its ability to cook Speedi Meals and it delivers on its promise to quickly turn out a relatively simple dinner with starch, veggie, and protein that’s well cooked.
I was also impressed with how well it broiled. However, I found most of the other functions of minimal benefit. For baking, you’re better off using a conventional oven, and for searing and sautéing, a skillet.
It steams a small portion of vegetables well but then so does a microwave. While it slow cooks, it doesn’t create the melt-in-your mouth results that you typically get from slow cooking.
If you don’t want to sacrifice counter space for a standalone air fryer, the extensive additional functionality of the Ninja Speedi makes it worth the investment.
More than just an excellent air fryer, this small appliance can get dinner on the table quick.
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Meet the tester
Sharon has been testing kitchen equipment for the past 30 years. Before becoming a cooking tools maven, she worked as a professional chef in New York City restaurants for seven years.
See all of Sharon Franke's reviews
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