Ninja OP 401
- 9 in one (Pressure, Steam, Slow Cook, Sear/Sauté, Air Crisp, Bake/ Roast, Broil, and Dehydrate)
- 5 QT to 8 QT choice
- Accessories included – crisping lid, pressure lid, 8 qt. Ceramic Coated pot, 5 quart ceramic Coated cook and crisp basket, stainless steel rack, recipe book
- Tendercrisp cooking technology
Foodi Pressure Cooker Basics
FOR SO MANY PEOPLE, THERE ARE A FEW UNSPOKEN RULES WHEN it comes to cooking. It needs to be quick, it needs to be tasty, and it needs to be good for you. However, in the constant hustle and bustle of life, too often we sacrifice at least one of these areas to get the job done and move on to the next thing.
Multi-cookers claim to do it all, and slow cookers have long been touted for their versatility and convenience. After all, they do the work for you: just toss ingredients into the pot and come back to a perfectly cooked meal. Pressure cookers take it a step further, making your food incredibly tender, exceptionally fast.
But what about texture? Tender food is great, but no one wants to eat stews and soups every night. We all crave the crispy and crunchy. What are chicken wings without a crispy exterior? Who wants to eat potpie without a flaky crust?
Enter the Ninja® Foodi™ Pressure Cooker, the pressure cooker that crisps—a revolutionary appliance changing the multi-cooker game. With the Foodi Pressure Cooker, you can make quick, healthy, and delicious meals. As a result, you can spend less time cooking and more time doing all of the other things you need to get done.
This section will introduce you to the functions and benefits of this revolutionary appliance and help you choose the one that is right for you. Whether you are new to the Foodi or you are a Foodi fanatic, I will break down cooking with the Ninja® Foodi™ Pressure Cooker, giving you the Ninja Test Kitchen tips and tricks, and helping you unleash its full potential.
ninja foodi tendercrisp pressure cooker reviews: FOUR REASONS TO FOODI
For too long we have settled for convenience over flavor. Opting for takeout over a home-cooked meal or leaning on multi-cookers that don’t deliver to answer the question, “What’s for dinner?” With the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker, you no longer have to settle. TenderCrisp™ Technology unlocks unlimited possibilities for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and more.
TenderCrisp Technology is quite simple. First, use the pressure function to quickly cook and tenderize food with superheated steam. Then, remove the pressure lid and lower the crisping lid to quickly crisp and caramelize for the perfect finishing touch. With TenderCrisp Technology, you can cook quickly and ensure your food is tender inside and crispy on the outside. I’m talking about Garlic-Herb Roasted Chicken or Crispy Korean-Style Ribs!
One Pot Meals
With the Foodi Pressure Cooker, you can transform boring, one-texture meals into one-pot wonders. Use the pressure function to quickly cook your favorite casseroles, stews, and chilis. Then top with cheese, biscuits, or a crust. Swap the top and use the crisping lid to broil the cheese, bake the biscuits, or crisp the crust. With everything prepared in one pot, your prep time is cut down, and you only have one pot to clean! Make the recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation—but with this unique twist, you can make them in half the time! Try this Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole or a classic Green Bean Casserole.
Make a delicious, restaurant-inspired meal in one pot. I’m talking a full meal complete with fluffy rice, roasted veggies, and perfectly cooked proteins—each with its own unique texture. Pile grains on the bottom of your cooking pot, add some veggies, pop in the Reversible Rack, and place your proteins on top.
Perhaps the most convenient feature of the Ninja® Foodi™ Pressure Cooker is the ability to cook food straight from frozen. There’s no need to wait around for food to thaw. Use pressure to quickly defrost and tenderize frozen meat, then lower the crisping lid to sizzle and crisp the outside. No more uneven defrosting using the microwave or waiting hours for your food to defrost on the counter. Check out freezer-to-table recipes like Salmon with Almonds, Cranberries, and Rice and Frozen Chicken and Mozzarella Casserole.
CHOOSE THE FOODI FOR YOU (COMPARISON CHART)
Scale It Up, Scale It Down
Scale it up! If you have the Ninja Foodi Deluxe Pressure Cooker, you can easily modify the recipes in cookbooks—plus you can scale the recipes up to feed more people! The Foodi Deluxe has an 8-quart cooking pot and the Deluxe Reversible Rack for two times the protein capacity. Note that some of the recipes may require a bit more cook time or an extra shake of the Cook & Crisp Basket. For best results, check progress throughout cooking, and shake the basket frequently. As a good rule of thumb, you can scale up Pressure recipes like soups, stews, and chilies by as much as 50 percent when using the Foodi Deluxe. You can also fit 50 percent more in the Cook & Crisp Basket.
Scale it down! The Ninja Foodi Compact Pressure Cooker is, as the name suggests, compact. So it is perfect for one to two people. Because of the smaller size, some recipes may require a bit less cook time or fewer shakes of the Cook & Crisp Basket. For best results, check progress throughout cooking. As a good rule of thumb, you can scale down Pressure recipes like soups, stews, and chilies by as much as 50 percent when using the Foodi Compact. And for recipes that call for the basket, you will fit about 50 percent fewer ingredients. Also note that the Foodi Compact Pressure Cooker does not come with a Reversible Rack, so you will need to make some 360 Meals in two steps. If you are following a recipe that calls for broiling, choose Air Crisp on the highest temperature setting instead.
Use the pressure lid to turn the Ninja® Foodi™ into the ultimate pressure cooker, cooking and tenderizing food faster than you ever thought possible. Turn the valve from the seal to the vent position to steam your favorite fish and veggies or slow cook your favorite stew.
The crisping lid adapts the fan and temperature so that you can Air Crisp, Bake/Roast, Broil, and Dehydrate. Use the crisping lid after pressure cooking for the ultimate TenderCrisp™ meal or use it on its own for the ultimate Air Crisping experience. On some Ninja® Foodi™ Pressure Cooker models, the crisping lid goes as low as 100°F so that you can dehydrate fruits, veggies, and meat for yummy snacks with no added sugars.
The Ninja Foodi’s cooking pot was specifically designed with an extra wide diameter so that you can sauté vegetables and sear meat without crowding the pot. Go from searing and sautéing to pressure or slow cooking all in the same pot. Since it is covered in a ceramic coating, the cooking pot can handle whatever you want to cook in it. A word of caution: Be sure to use silicone or wooden utensils so as not to scratch the pot.
Cook & Crisp Basket
The Cook & Crisp Basket is designed to make sure that each bite comes out perfectly golden brown and crispy. Use the Cook & Crisp Basket to Air Crisp crunchy French fries and crispy chicken wings or to dehydrate mangos, apples, and beets. You can use the Cook & Crisp Basket when making TenderCrisp recipes, like finger-licking barbecue or a whole roasted chicken. Like the cooking pot, the Cook & Crisp Basket is ceramic coated for easy cleanup so be sure to use silicone or wooden utensils.
In the lower position, the Reversible Rack allows you to steam veggies and fish quickly and easily. In the higher position, you can broil steaks for a crisp crust or cheesy bread to perfectly golden brown, or you can cook a full meal—protein, starch, and a vegetable—in one pot.
FOODI PRESSURE COOKER FUNCTIONS
Now that you are acquainted with the Ninja® Foodi™ Pressure Cooker and its parts, let’s dive into the nine unique cooking functions and take a look at what you can use them to make.
The Ninja Foodi is a far cry from your grandmother’s pressure cooker, but the science behind it is the same—pressurized steam infuses moisture into ingredients and quickly cooks them from the inside out. Pressure cooking is ideal for tenderizing tough cuts of meat, quickly cooking rice, and everything in between. To get started, choose between low and high pressure, set the cook time, make sure the valve is in the SEAL position, and voila! Perfect for Carrot Cake Oats, Loaded Potato Soup, or Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta.
Steam is the perfect setting for cooking fresh veggies or fish. Simply add water to the cooking pot and place the Reversible Rack in the lower position. Place your food on top of the rack and secure the lid. If you are using the Ninja Foodi Compact Pressure Cooker, use the Cook & Crisp Basket instead of the Reversible Rack.
Contrary to pressure cooking, which is used to quickly cook meats, soups, and stews, the slow cooking feature builds flavor by braising food low and slow. If you prefer the convenience of tossing your ingredients into a pot in the morning and coming home to a fully cooked meal, then slow cooking will be your go-to. The Ninja Foodi is equipped with both low and high slow cook settings. Check out this Slow Cooked Chicken in White Wine and Garlic or use your favorite slow cooker recipe.
Use your Ninja Foodi just as you would your stove, alternating between low, medium low, medium, medium high, and high. Easily go from a gentle simmer to a screaming-hot sear. Use this function as a first step before pressure cooking or slow cooking to unlock more flavor from your aromatic ingredients like onions and garlic.
Air Crisp is our version of air fry. With Air Crisp you can achieve that crispy, crunchy, golden brown texture we all crave—without all the fat and oil. Use this feature in conjunction with the Cook & Crisp Basket to cook your favorite frozen foods: French fries, onion rings, chicken nuggets, and more. Be sure to shake the basket at least once or twice to ensure the crispiest, most even results, and don’t be afraid to sneak a peek under the crisping lid so that you can remove your food when it is crisped to your liking. Try the Ham, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Pockets, Rosemary Hush Puppies, or Fried Oreos, all crisped to perfection!
The Ninja® Foodi™ Pressure Cooker also works as a mini convection oven, cooking your favorite baked dishes and roasted meats in less time than your oven. Use the bake/roast function to make Curried Chickpea and Roasted Tomato Shakshuka or Italian Pasta Potpie.
Broil reaches the hottest temperature of all of the crisping lid settings. Use Broil to add a crispy, cheesy finish to baked pasta dishes or reverse sear your favorite steak for a restaurant-style crisp crust. With Broil, you are cooking your food directly under very high heat, so be sure to open the lid to sneak a peek frequently so that your food is crisped to your liking and not overdone. If you are using the Ninja Foodi Compact Pressure Cooker, it does not have Broil. Instead, choose Air Crisp on the highest temperature setting.
Dehydrators can be expensive and take up space in the kitchen. These single-function appliances are usually relegated to the basement after a few uses, but if your Foodi Pressure Cooker has this feature, you can dehydrate fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, and more without adding another appliance to your collection. Try making the Sweet Potato and Beetroot Chips for a healthy homemade snack.
Yogurt is the newest feature added to the Foodi™ Pressure Cooker. Now you can make homemade yogurt easily with just a few simple ingredients. No need for guesswork here. If you do not have the yogurt feature on your Foodi Pressure Cooker model, there are a number of hacks you can follow to make yogurt in the original Foodi Pressure Cooker.
Converting the Old Standards
Easily convert your favorite recipes to be used in the Ninja® Foodi™ Pressure Cooker. When converting recipes from a conventional oven, use the Bake/Roast setting and reduce the temperature of the recipe by 25°F. So if your conventional recipes call for baking at 375°F, set your Ninja Foodi to 350°F. You will also likely be able to cut down the cook time. Check food frequently to avoid overcooking and keep notes so you know how to proceed the next time.
You can also use pressure to cook your favorite slow cooker recipes much quicker. A good rule of thumb is recipes that cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high in a slow cooker should take 25 to 30 minutes in a pressure cooker. It is also important to check your liquid level and ensure your recipe includes ½ to 1 cup of liquid to get to pressure. And as always, make sure the pressure release valve is in the SEAL position before beginning to build pressure.
NINJA® TEST KITCHEN FAQ
Q: How do I know when my food is done?
A: In the Ninja Test Kitchen we are constantly asked how to get perfect results every time. How can we ensure folks at home have success every time they use the Ninja® Foodi™ Pressure Cooker? All food is created differently but we have put the Foodi through its pacing in the kitchen and developed a ton of charts and recipes to guide you through the Foodi.
In addition to following our recommendations, I highly recommend investing in a temperature probe and using it to ensure your proteins are cooked to your desired doneness. While there are a lot of probes available, I find it best to use one with a cable so that you can keep it inserted while cooking and monitor temperature. Note that the temperature probe can only be inserted while cooking with the crisping lid. Always be sure to follow USDA recommendations for doneness.
Last but not least, in addition to monitoring the internal temperature of your food, I always recommend frequently sneaking a peak while cooking. Lift the lid to check on or shake your food. The Foodi Pressure Cooker recovers air temperature quickly so sneak a peek often to ensure your preferred level of crispiness.
Q: Why do you recommend kosher and sea salt? What if I only have table salt?
A: Salt is arguably one of the most important ingredients in a number of recipes. However, not all salt is created equal. Not only does it differ in size and taste, but also in sodium content. In fact, salt varies not only by type, but also by brand. In the Ninja Test Kitchen, we primarily use kosher salt and sea salt in our recipes. It is important to use the type of salt indicated in each recipe. Note that table salt cannot be substituted for kosher salt and sea salt as it will result in an overly salted dish. If you are sensitive to salt or unsure of how much to use, start with a pinch and season to taste.
Q: What’s the best way to add flavor when pressure cooking?
A: So often we hear from folks that their pressure cooker recipes were perfectly tender but lacked flavor. This crushes me because there are so many easy tricks to packing your pressure-cooked recipes with flavor.
First and foremost, I always recommend using SEAR/SAUTÉ as a first step to sauté your aromatics before pressure cooking. Sautéing your onions, garlic, and spices in a splash of oil before pressure cooking builds flavor that will be infused into your food during pressure cooking. Searing your meat on the SEAR/SAUTÉ function also helps to build flavor. Remember, color equals flavor, so anytime you can brown and caramelize your food before pressure cooking you are adding another layer of flavor.
Another great tip from the Ninja Test Kitchen is to swap out water in pressure cooker recipes for broth/stock, wine, juice, etc. Use every ingredient in your recipes as a way to add flavor. If you are making pulled pork, add a splash of apple juice. Making pulled chicken? Use chicken stock to ensure that it is packed with flavor. I also love using red wine in my stews to add another depth of flavor.
Q: How do I know when to manually release pressure?
A: Releasing the pressure when cooking is complete can be intimidating to people who are new to pressure cooking—especially the manual, quick release. There are two ways to release pressure after the unit beeps, quick release and natural release.
Quick release stops cooking quickly and should be used for ingredients like vegetables so you don’t overcook them. To quick release, manually switch the pressure release valve to the VENT position. When doing this, use caution as a jet of steam will be released.
Natural release is when you leave the pressure release switch in the SEAL position when the cook time ends. This lets the pressure release naturally and cooking stops gradually. If a recipe calls for a quick release, you can use a natural release if you prefer, but reduce the cook time so as not to overcook your food.
Q: I’ve used my Ninja Foodi to cook a variety of dishes, but the smell of one of those dishes seems to be sticking around. What should I do?
A: I am happy to report this is an easy fix. A pressure cooker gasket, also known as a sealing ring, is used to keep your Ninja® Foodi™ Pressure Cooker airtight in pressure cooker mode. This gasket can last for a long time; however, some foods can lead to this gasket having an odor over time. To mitigate this, clean the gasket after every use by removing the gasket from the lid and washing it with soap and water. If the odor persists, you can replace the gasket. If you use your pressure cooker frequently, consider investing in two gaskets, one for savory foods and one for sweet.
Q: The Foodi has so many options for cooking at home. How do I know which is right for me?
A: If you are new to the Foodi pressure cooking, or pressure cooking in general, it can be intimidating to know what functions to use when. At a basic level, pressure cooking allows you to quickly tenderize ingredients. Pressure cooking is ideal for soups, sauces, stews, and pulled meats. Air Crisp is our version of air fry and is used primarily for crisping foods quickly. Air Crisp is ideal for frozen, breaded ingredients, as well as fresh vegetables.
FOODI PRESSURE COOKER KITCHEN
With the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker, you don’t need a lot to make a delicious meal. By keeping a few simple ingredients in your fridge and pantry, you are sure to be able to throw together a meal in no time. This section will review the staples that will help you get the most out of your Foodi Pressure Cooker, as well as the tools that will unlock the Foodi’s full potential.
Basics: The Foodi Staples
Bread Crumbs – These are perfect for topping casseroles and breading chicken. You can buy a prepackaged brand or save some money and make your own. Wheat, white, multi-grain, or rye breads can all be turned into fresh toasted bread crumbs.
Broth/Stock – Broths and stocks are an easy way to add extra flavor to any recipe you make using pressure. Simply swap the water in the recipe for vegetable, chicken, or beef broth.
Canned Tomatoes – Whole, diced, puréed—tomatoes add acidity, sweetness, and color to a vast array of dishes. It is impractical to assume you will always have fresh tomatoes available, but canned tomatoes provide consistent flavor, especially when fresh tomatoes are out of season. Use canned tomatoes for sauces, stews, and soups.
Chicken – From a whole bird to thighs, breasts, or wings—I always have chicken in the fridge (and freezer). It’s perfect for creating a quick, healthy meal.
Lemons – There aren’t many fresh foods on my list of staples but having lemons available for fresh juice is a must.
Lentils and Beans – Relatively inexpensive and super easy to make, lentils and beans add extra protein, fiber, and a bit of bulk to any dish.
Onions – Almost every great meal begins with sautéing an onion. Don’t worry about keeping all varieties on the counter—a few yellow onions are versatile enough to cook with in most recipes.
Pasta – Whether you prefer penne, rigatoni, or cavatappi, having dry pasta in the kitchen means you are always prepared for an impromptu meal. Dry pasta is versatile and can be paired with ragus, soups, and casseroles so you can make a meal with whatever fresh ingredient you have on hand.
Pie Crust – Save yourself the time and effort. Refrigerated pie crust can be just as buttery, flaky, and delicious as homemade. Keep a roll in the fridge and you will always be prepared for impromptu casseroles and desserts.
Rice and Grains – Rice, oats, and quinoa make a satisfying base for any meal and work for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Oats can also be tossed with sugar and butter to turn frozen or fresh fruit into an epic dessert crumble.
Spices – I could write a whole section on how to stock your spice cabinet, but there are a few staples you should always have on hand: Sea salt, black pepper, dried basil, garlic powder, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, onion powder, dried oregano, and paprika are our top choices!
Tools: Set Up for Success
Baking Pans – The Ninja® Foodi™ Pressure Cooker is so much more than a pressure cooker; it can also be used as a mini convection oven. Baking pans and ramekins are handy for making small batches and unlocking new recipes. Use a cake pan or baking dish to make a Spanish Potato and Chorizo Frittata or Coffee Cake.
Oven Mitts – Oven mitts are a must for removing the cooking pot and accessories from the Foodi Pressure Cooker. My favorite are mini silicone mitts because they are easy to maneuver.
Meat Thermometer – For best results, use a digital food thermometer to accurately measure internal temperature of protein. Insert the thermometer into centermost, thickest part of protein. If protein is bone-in, insert it very close to (but not touching) the bone.
Potato Masher – The Foodi Pressure Cooker not only helps you whip up weeknight dinners, but it is also your best friend when entertaining. Around the holidays, free up the stove and use your Foodi for simple sides like mashed potatoes. Just be sure to use a plastic or silicone potato masher to protect the ceramic coating on the cooking pot.
Tongs – Tongs are a quick and convenient way to flip and toss ingredients in the Cook & Crisp Basket. Reach for tongs with a silicone tip.
Wooden Spoon – When cooking and serving in and out of the cooking pot, a wooden spoon is a must to protect the ceramic coating. If you don’t have a wooden spoon, opt for a silicone one.
Accessories: Do More with Your Foodi Pressure Cooker
In addition to the accessories that came with your Ninja® Foodi™ Pressure Cooker, there are a few additional accessories you can purchase so that you can truly get the most out of your Foodi.
Dehydrate Rack – This rack is specifically designed to expand the amount of food you can dehydrate at once. Arrange ingredients in a single layer and carefully place the rack in the cooking pot. Follow the Dehydrate Chart to create your own custom jerky, vegetable chips, dried fruit snacks, and more.
Glass Lid – With this new accessory, there is no second guessing with how your food is cooking. The glass allows you to check on your food as it steams and slow cooks without removing the lid. I also love using the glass lid with the Keep Warm setting as a buffet. Great for holidays or keeping dinner warm until the whole family is home to enjoy together!
Loaf Pan – This specially designed loaf pan fits perfectly on the Reversible Rack. The ideal baking accessory for quick breads, it works equally as well for your favorite meatloaf recipe. Plus, the loaf pan has ceramic coating and is nonstick for easy cleaning.
Multi-Purpose Pan – Perfect for baking everything from desserts to casseroles, the Multi-Purpose Pan is the must-have accessory for any Ninja Foodi fanatic and can be used across most Ninja Foodi products. If you follow me on Instagram, you know the skillet cookie is my favorite recipe to make in the Multi-Purpose Pan, but you can also make cobblers, frittatas, and casseroles.
Multi-Purpose Sling – Aluminum foil is a hack used in many recipes for removing accessories and roasts from pressure cookers. The multi-purpose sling is a more durable, reusable option, and is great for that whole roasted chicken or the Multi-Purpose Pan.
Tube Pan – A tube pan is very similar to a Bundt pan but it has detachable sides like a springform pan, making it easy to remove foods. Use this pan for everything from cheesecakes and delicate desserts to cornbread and casseroles.