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My thoughts on the Ninja AF101 Air Fryer

My thoughts on using the Ninja AF101 Air Fryer, its features, cooking benefits, and how it fits into daily life.

John Goodrich


November 17, 2023


I recently delved into the world of air frying with the Ninja AF101 Air Fryer and have some thoughts to share. Having worked my way through various meals, I’ve noted the highs and lows of this particular model. Its quick preheating, versatility, and non-stick basket have all impressed me, though there are quirks in the design that caught my attention. As someone who values both convenience and health, this appliance has been a game-changer in my cooking routine. Here’s a breakdown of my experiences with the Ninja AF101, from its cooking prowess to the minor design annoyances that could use some tweaking.


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Exploring the Ninja AF101 Air Fryer Features

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I’ve spent time using the Ninja AF101 Air Fryer. Its 4-quart capacity is suitable for small-to-medium meals. I can cook fries or chicken wings efficiently in it.

The ceramic-coated basket is beneficial. It’s non-stick and resilient against high temperatures, preventing flaking. Cleaning is effortless as a result. A rinse and wipe-down often suffice, but it can also be placed in the dishwasher for added convenience.

Air fryers are known for their quick preheating time, which typically takes around three minutes. This feature sets them apart from conventional ovens that require more time. The multiple cooking functions of an air fryer, including air fry, roast, reheat, and dehydrate, significantly increase its versatility. I’ve found myself using it more frequently than anticipated for various tasks such as making crispy kale chips or experimenting with dehydration.

The Ninja AF101 is not just an air fryer but a multipurpose kitchen gadget. One of its functions that sets it apart from others is its ability to dehydrate food. This capability, which not all air fryers possess, opens up various potential uses and makes it a valuable addition to any kitchen. I have yet to fully explore this feature’s possibilities but am excited about the versatility it brings to my cooking experience.

However, the air fryer’s preset times may need adjustment for accurate cooking. Beginners might find this challenging. But with practice, consistent results can be achieved.

And, while I value the Ninja AF101’s appealing design and craftsmanship, its functionality sets it apart. The appliance’s temperature control and timer are user-friendly, yet the default timer setting of 20 minutes can be bothersome. This is a small issue that annoys me each time I need to adjust the duration.

The one-touch control panel is easy to use and doesn’t have too many buttons or settings. I appreciate the sleek black exterior which blends well on the countertop and suits modern kitchen designs.

For more extensive cooking, this air fryer may not be sufficient - it’s ideal for individuals or couples instead of larger families. I would find the 4-quart size restrictive when cooking for a crowd. Although larger models like the Ninja Foodi with multiple baskets exist, the AF101’s compact size suits my requirements and kitchen space.

One aspect I value is the Ninja AF101’s energy efficiency. It heats up rapidly and cooks food more swiftly than an oven, potentially saving electricity in the long run. In contrast to traditional ovens that heat up the entire kitchen, this appliance keeps the heat enclosed, making it advantageous during warmer seasons.

In summary, the Ninja AF101 is a solid performer with some caveats to keep in mind. It’s best for personal or small family use, easy to clean, and offers multiple cooking functions that can inspire a bit of culinary creativity, not unlike the versatility I found with the Blendtec 75oz FourSide Jar Blender. While it might need a little finesse to circumvent its preset timer settings, the overall experience leans towards the positive.

Cooking and Health Benefits I Discovered

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Having made the leap into the world of air frying with the Ninja AF101, I’ve discovered some pleasantly unexpected cooking benefits and health advantages. Let’s start with the cooking – the crispness and speed at which this gadget churns out dishes is impressive. For someone who’s experienced with traditional frying, the initial skepticism I had has morphed into appreciation. Sure, there’s a bit of a learning curve—getting the timings right for perfect crispness without burning can be tricky—but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s a breeze.

The Ninja AF101 is a versatile air fryer that excels in preparing crispy foods such as French fries without oil while preserving the taste and texture of reheated pizza. Reheating pizza in an air fryer offers significant health benefits by eliminating the need for oil during the reheating process, saving approximately 120 calories per tablespoon. By using an air fryer to make crispy foods like French fries and pizza instead of traditional methods, you can make substantial calorie savings over time without compromising on taste or texture. This practical approach reduces unhealthy fats in your diet while still allowing you to enjoy the pleasure of crispy French fries and pizza.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial, and this unit plays an essential role in supporting that goal. Its ease of cleaning significantly increases its usage frequency, contributing to a healthier lifestyle by encouraging cooking instead of relying on unhealthy options such as deep frying.

Now, onto the drawbacks; while the Ninja AF101 comes with a decent-sized basket, some may find it slightly limiting if cooking for a larger family. For those looking to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle, perhaps reducing clutter and focusing on essentials in the kitchen, this smaller appliance might actually be a benefit. And while it is touted as a 4-quart capacity, which sounds great, it practically you may not be able to fit larger items like a whole chicken breast comfortably. If you’re interested in minimalist living and its principles extended beyond the kitchen, you might find My thoughts on ‘Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism’ particularly insightful. That said, it handles smaller items and portions remarkably well, which works for single servings or sides.

One other issue is the timer function, which sets to 20 minutes by default. This isn’t a major concern, but it can be inconvenient when preparing foods that only need shorter durations. Adjusting it manually each time feels like an oversight in design for a more convenient user experience.

Despite the drawbacks, the benefits significantly outnumber them. The preset functions, such as dehydration, offer additional functionality that goes beyond being a mere novelty. Homemade beef jerky and dried fruits are clear advantages, showcasing the appliance’s versatility.

In the final analysis, the health advantages of using less oil and the Ninja AF101’s capability to cook food rapidly and uniformly make it a worthwhile investment for my kitchen appliance collection. The enjoyment of savoring the texture and taste of the food, which this air fryer consistently provides, is not only about eating healthily but also about finding pleasure in it. Moreover, the appeal to the palate—fried food is enjoyable—and being able to indulge in that crispy texture without as much guilt is a definite advantage.

Real-world Use and the Design Quirks

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After spending a considerable amount of time with the Ninja AF101 Air Fryer, I’ve garnered a few insights that I think will be beneficial for anyone considering this appliance. Overall, my experiences lean towards the positive side, but it wouldn’t be a fair assessment if I didn’t account for a few design quirks that you might want to consider.

Firstly, the Ninja AF101’s cooking performance is excellent. It excels in various dishes such as fries with minimal oil and perfectly crispy chicken wings. This appliance is ideal for quick meals and has reduced my oven usage significantly. The consistent outcomes and faster cooking time while maintaining healthier options are noteworthy advantages.

However, it’s not all sunshine and crispiness. One particularly irksome quirk is the timer functionality on the device. The default of 20 minutes is somewhat baffling and inconvenient since a lot of air fryer recipes or cooking tasks require shorter or more specific durations. Preheating, which is a three-minute process, highlights the inefficiency of the default timer since it’s a step you’ll frequently need to perform. The lack of a halfway timer is another oversight. You have to remember to manually check and potentially flip or shake the basket, which seems like a missed opportunity for added convenience in an otherwise user-friendly appliance.

Cleaning the Ninja is straightforward due to its dishwasher-safe parts. The process is uncomplicated, but you might encounter minor greasy residue after high-fat cooking which may require additional effort to remove. This isn’t a major issue but something to anticipate.

The appliance’s quietness is one of its most appealing features. It produces significantly less noise than other kitchen appliances such as a microwave or range hood fan. Consequently, it is an thoughtful addition to the kitchen that prioritizes peace and tranquility.

The build of this appliance is both compact and spacious. It doesn’t take up too much counter space but provides enough room for one or two people to cook comfortably. If your household requires feeding more individuals, you may need to prepare meals in batches, which could be a limiting factor depending on your family size.

In terms of design, I’ve appreciated the black color scheme and the modern look of the Ninja AF101. It has that sleek, non-imposing aesthetic that won’t clash with most kitchen decors, similar to the Perfect minimalist blender: Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender.

I haven’t found many research papers that thoroughly examine this model. Instead, insights from Reddit threads and Hackernews posts offer valuable experiences that align with mine. These forums provide firsthand accounts of users who have implemented or interacted with the model on platforms like Hackernews, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of its strengths and weaknesses.

To wrap up, the Ninja AF101 Air Fryer has some unique timer settings. Despite this, its excellent cooking results, easy cleaning, and quiet operation make it a worthwhile kitchen appliance. Remember to use a separate timer for complex recipes. Enjoy various healthy dishes with minimal hassle.