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Ninja Foodi SmartLid 11-in-1 Multi-Cooker hands-on: Why it's now the most important appliance in my kitchen

By Zelda Lee - 21 Apr 2024

Ninja Foodi SmartLid 11-in-1 Multi-Cooker hands-on: Why it's now the most important appliance in my kitchen

Note: This article was first published on 4 April 2024.

The Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 SmartLid Multi-Cooker is now the most important appliance in my kitchen. Image: SharkNinja

Most Singaporeans are foodie at heart, and there’s nothing we love more than a good homecooked dinner. But as much as a plate of fried indomie with an egg (sunny side up only, please) is arguably the simplest dish to whip up quickly, the last thing anyone wants is the ordeal of cooking dinner after a hard day at work. The preparation and dishwashing often feel like an uphill battle, and the convenience of a GrabFood delivery is fast becoming a luxury that’s hardly sustainable daily.

So when I was offered the opportunity to review the SharkNinja’s Ninja Foodi SmartLid 11-in-1 Multi-Cooker, with a couple of friends who have also used it claiming it has helped to cook delicious food speedily and easily, I was intrigued.

The multi-cooker also comes with a crisper basket and a steaming rack. Image: SharkNinja

Despite its lengthy and somewhat tongue-twisting name, this Ninja Foodi is essentially a “Swiss Army knife” table-top (an all-in-one, if you will) cooker that allows singles, couples, and small families to cook a variety of dishes quickly and as fuss free as possible. It boasts three cooking modes – pressure cooking, steaming and slow cooking. It can also air fry, steam fry, grill and even produce home-made yoghurt. All these in a one-lid pot, which is quite amazing. From what I know, other similar cookers tend to come with two lids – one for pressure cooking and another for air frying.

The multi-cooker base, which houses the 6-litre capacity non-stick removable pot, features an attractive silver-black finish that, in my opinion, would complement any kitchen decor. Despite its 36cm diameter and 33cm height dimensions not being overly large, it occupies a notable footprint in the kitchen. In my case, it's situated uncomfortably close between the stove and my rice cooker, more so than I'd prefer. Ideally, I would position it further away, but the length of the power cord restricts this, preventing it from reaching my power outlet – an important aspect to consider.

Don't let the photo fool you; the Ninja Foodi is quite large.

All the magic begins with the big SmartLid Slider: Slide it to the far left for pressure cooking, to the centre for combi-steam functions, and to the far right to engage air fry and hob settings. The rest of the interface is user-friendly too, with the pre-set cooking modes making the cooking process straightforward. For instance, pushing the Slider to the Combi-Steam option reveals Steam Air Fry and Steam Bake settings, while the Air Fry mode broadens the selection to include Air Fry, Grill, Bake, Dehydrate, Sear/Saute, Steam Slow Cook, and Yogurt.

Adjustments to the default time and temperature settings are available within each submenu, and it’s probably the only part of the cooking process that requires some trials and errors to get your dish cooked right. Or like me, you can also keep the settings unchanged and check on the progress by lifting the lid.

The SmartLid Slider determines the presets that will show up on the screen below it.

The first dish I tried was a Chinese dish that I love to have during Lunar New Year – Ho See Fatt Choy. It’s a classic dish that includes braised mushroom, black moss (fatt choy), as well as roasted pork as its main ingredients. While not technically difficult to cook at all, it can be time consuming as it takes a while for the mushrooms to turn soft and flavourful.

With the Ninja Foodi, the process is unchanged from what my mother’s recipe dictated: I simply added water into the pot followed by the ingredients. I then slide the SmartLid Slider to the left and activate the pressure cooking mode. About an hour later, the dish is ready and all in time for dinner. I have since tried the Air Fry (with hash browns for breakfast) and Grill (for my lunch salmons) presets and they work wonderfully well, but the game changer is the Ninja Foodi’s pressure cooking function, as it does accelerate cooking times much faster for dishes – such as Cantonese soups – that would otherwise take hours without altering the flavour.

SharkNinja claims that with the Ninja Foodi accelerates cooking by up to 70% faster.

All in all, I really do like the Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 SmartLid Multi-Cooker and I think it is more than capable of replacing your standalone kitchen appliances such as an air-fryer or steamer. Although cooking rice in it is feasible, the absence of a specific preset makes it less convenient than a dedicated rice cooker. This multi-cooker is ideally suited for preparing main dishes; if rice is also on the menu, it requires your full attention.

There are other things to point out too. Firstly, the price. At S$608, the Ninja Foodi may not be for everyone. If you have a very specific need, such as air frying alone, then a more affordable air fryer could be a more practical choice. To truly justify this purchase, you will have to frequently use the Foodi’s extensive cooking functions. If you love being adventurous in the kitchen, then the Foodi might even be a fantastic investment.

I am impressed with the Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 SmartLid Multi-Cooker but my rice cooker is staying.

Then there’s the size, and the Foodi is quite a monster that demands a space all by itself. In my case, just having it next to my rice cooker makes that part of my kitchen look cluttered. Its short power cable also meant it has to be close to a power source; limiting where you can place it in the kitchen too. A possible solution to overcome this limitation is to incorporate a power track system like the well-known Eubiq, which our editor uses too for similar woes in his own kitchen.

But despite its price and size, the Ninja Foodi SmartLid 11-in-1 Multi-Cooker stands out as a versatile and modern kitchen companion that can handle a wide range of cooking tasks. I like the fact that its simplicity and all-in-one capabilities have encouraged me to explore my own culinary adventures beyond the boring and very unhealthy instant noodles and fried eggs combination meals – and that’s saying a lot.

Note: The Ninja Foodi SmartLid 11-in-1 Multi-Cooker is available on AmazonLazada and Shopee.

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