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Ninja XXXL FlexDrawer Air Fryer AF500 review

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9.8Expert Score
Giant appliance, giant performance

The Ninja XXXL FlexDrawer air fryer is huge, but it can also easily cook a meal for the whole family, making it perfect for larger kitchens.

Design
9.5
Performance
10
Pros
  • Easy controls
  • Versatile cooking modes
  • Cook in two separate zones or one Megazone depending on the meal
Cons
  • Bulky and not designed to be moved
  • Need to clean the whole drawer even if you only use one zone
  • Cooking guidance is a bit too specific

The Ninja XXXL FlexDrawer AF500 made me an air fryer convert. 

I’d held off the bench-top cooking craze for years, arguing that we didn’t have the bench space for another appliance, and our oven and microwave were perfectly capable of cooking our meals.

But the XXXL FlexDrawer AF500 is an incredibly versatile appliance. It’s big enough to feed a family, and can perform multiple functions simultaneously.

And the results are great, no matter whether you’re air frying some vegetables or reheating some breakfast burritos.

The appliance is pretty huge, though, and takes up a lot of bench space. Smaller kitchens may struggle to fit it comfortably.

But if you have the space, the Ninja XXXL FlexDrawer is a fantastic kitchen appliance.

Ninja XXXL FlexDrawer AF500 review: Design

If you want an appliance that’s big enough to cook a meal for the whole family in one go, then it goes without saying that it’s going to be a big appliance.

The XXXL FlexDrawer measures in at 497 × 317 × 327 mm and weighs 9.3 kg, so it’s quite the beast. 

It’s designed to sit on your bench and stay there — there aren’t really any carry handles apart from the drawer handle, and there’s no storage for the power cable. 

You can move it to put it away, but you’ll want to be careful, as it simply isn’t balanced when you carry it using the drawer handle.

The flip side of this bulk is that you get 10.4 litres of space to cook entire meals. That’s enough to throw in an entire chicken and numerous vegetables.

Like other Ninja appliances like the Woodfire electric grill, there is a definite design ethos of black with silver trims. It looks impressive and refined, which is what you want in an appliance that will likely live on your bench top permanently.

Looking at the display panel of the Ninja XXXL FlexDrawer

Flexibility

The big feature of the AF500 is the FlexDrawer. As the name suggests, it features a removable drawer divider, which gives you the flexibility to cook in two separate 5.2 Litre zones, or combine them for the massive 10.4 Litre Megazone.

If you’re not cooking in the Megazone, you can easily sync the two separate zones to finish cooking at the same time, so you don’t have to wait for your veggies to finish cooking while your protein goes cold.

And if, for whatever reason, you need to give one side a little longer than the other, you can always use the “Keep Warm” setting on the second half to ensure you aren’t eating cold food.

Features and functions

Controlling the Ninja XXXL FlexDrawer is done via a straightforward interface on the front of the air fryer, which includes several buttons and a big, central dial.

That dial is the key to defining which of the seven different functions you want to use in each zone. There’s air fry, obviously, but you can also use the AF500 to roast, bake, proof, reheat, dehydrate and keep warm.

In the middle of the control panel is a two-sided LCD, which you use to define the cooking temperature and cooking time.

You need to choose which zone you want to set before you can start cooking. If you would like to use both zones separately, you can get one zone going then another, or use the Match Cook function to have both zones finish at the same time.

Close up of the LCDs of the Ninja AF500

Ninja XXXL FlexDrawer AF500 review: Performance

Air fryers have become increasingly popular over the last few years, in part because of their ease of use.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Ninja XXXL FlexDrawer is also incredibly easy to use.

My first recipe was super basic: potato fries. All that was required was to chop the potatoes, season, and add a little bit of olive oil before placing in one of the AF500’s drawers.

As expected, the chips came out great.

Things were equally impressive when I used the Megazone. The cooking times are a little longer when using both drawers at the same time, though.

I did find that as a newcomer to air fryer cooking, I spent a fair amount of time consulting the manual to make sure I was cooking at the right temperature, and for the right length of time.

Ninja has included a wide range of cooking times for different foods in its manual. However, these times only apply to certain quantities of food, which isn’t necessarily how much you will be cooking.

I would love to see a smarter solution to this, maybe through an app, which allows you to input your ingredients and weight or volume to understand how long to cook for.

As time went on with the review, I did become more comfortable with cooking times for simple things like chips or chicken breast, but I would still appreciate a smarter solution.

Inside the drawer of the Ninja XXXL FlexDrawer, with the basket divider inserted

Cleaning

Versatility of the FlexDrawer is that you can cook different foods or larger quantities of foods at the same time.

The flip-side of that is that you need to clean the entire drawer unit, even when you only use one half of it to cook.

Because the draw itself is large, it can be cumbersome to wash up by hand.

All the drawer components are dishwasher safe, but they are also so large that putting them in the dishwasher doesn’t leave a huge amount of room for your actual dishes.

The drawer separator, and the grill base inside are coated with a nice nonstick coating that does make it easy to wash up without too much effort, though.

The FlexDrawer with the divider removed, ready to be used as a MegaZone

Ninja XXXL FlexDrawer AF500 review: Verdict

The Ninja XXXL FlexDrawer AF500 air fryer is a beast of a unit. It is not designed for small households or apartment dwellers.

This is an air fryer for families. It’s an appliance that sits on your bench top and cooks enough food to feed everyone quickly and easily.

Because of its size, it can be a little awkward to find a place for it in your kitchen, and washing it up is a mild inconvenience.

But the AF500 cooks well. It’s quick and easy to cook and reheat frozen food, and is a much more healthy option for cooking chips than frying in oil.

If you are after a large air fryer to cook enough food for the whole family, this is a fantastic option, and I’d argue one of the best air fryers on the market right now.

Buy the Ninja XXXL FlexDrawer Air Fryer online

AU $449.00
Free delivery
2 new from AU $449.00
as of 27 May 2024 5:38 am
Amazon.com.au
AU $449.00
+ Delivery *
Mydeal.com.au
AU $478.99
Free delivery
AU $499.00
+ Delivery *
Thegoodguys.com.au
AU $562.59
+ Delivery *
Mydeal.com.au
* Delivery cost shown at checkout.
Product disclosure

Ninja provided the product for this review.

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

    View all posts
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