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Ninja Foodi Max Pro Health Grill review: Fast, fat-free cooking

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
300
inc VAT

A wonderfully versatile tabletop cooker that makes low-fat grilling a breeze, but it’s not cheap

Pros 
Incredibly versatile
Easy to use and clean
Comes with a cooking probe thermometer
Cons 
Very expensive
Absolutely huge
Flat plate temperature range could be better
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The Ninja Foodi Max Pro is a big, beefy tabletop grill designed to make healthy, low-fat cooking easier. And while there’s no end to the number of different health grills you can buy nowadays, many come with limited functionality, making them a less attractive option, particularly if you have limited space.

By contrast, the Foodi Max Pro is an altogether more multi-talented appliance. With seven different cooking modes, interchangeable plates and dishwasher-safe parts, Ninja is hoping to transform the simple tabletop grill into a health-focused multi-cooker.

Ninja Foodi Max Pro Health Grill review: What you need to know

The Foodi Max Pro will set you back the princely sum of £300. However, that substantial outlay gets you a whole host of really useful features and functions. There are three interchangeable plates – the classic grill, a flat plate and an air fryer basket – as well as a probe thermometer for meat. All of the cooking plates are non-stick, removable and dishwasher-safe, and there’s also a removable splatter guard inside to protect the heating element from mess.

You can choose from seven preset cooking modes: grill, bake, air fry, roast, flat plate, dehydrate and reheat, and each allows you to manually adjust the cooking time and the temperature accordingly. The result is an appliance that’s suitable for cooking everything from chicken and steak to fry-ups, cake and frozen oven food. Dishes with a high liquid content, such as curry, aren’t on the menu, though.

Size is a potential issue for smaller kitchens. At 44.1 x 39.8 x 29.5cm (WDH) with the lid closed, this is by no means a small appliance. It’s as beautiful as it is big, though, with a slick, high-end black and brushed-steel finish and a simple control panel at the front.

READ NEXT: The very best multi-cookers around

If this seems a bit too big, your choices are a tad limited – you won’t find grills much smaller than this without having to forgo all the features and plate space. At just 19.3 x 26.8 x 7.7cm (WDH), the George Foreman compact is a good budget alternative, ideal for single or small double portions of meat and vegetables. However, there’s no flat plate and no additional functions such as air frying or baking – it’s just a small, no-frills health grill.

Alternatively, the Cuisinart Style Collection grill (£120) comes in a fraction smaller at 37.2 x 33.0 x 20.0cm (WDH) and has both a double flat plate and a grill. Again, though, this doesn’t have quite the same versatility as the Ninja, as it can’t air fry, bake or dehydrate.


Ninja Foodi Max Pro Health Grill review: What’s good about it?

Versatility is the Ninja’s greatest asset. Using the flat grill you can cook fried eggs, omelettes and even scrambled eggs, as well as vegetables, bacon, pancakes and more. The griddle is ideal for achieving that chargrilled look and flavour and has a generously sized cavity at one end for oil run-off. The air fryer basket does everything a regular air fryer can do, as well as allowing you to dehydrate fruit and vegetables or bake sweet treats like brownies.

Capacity is a strong point, too. Both the flat grill and the griddle grill can comfortably hold up to ten normal-sized sausages, five small chicken breasts or three small to medium-sized steaks, while the air fryer comfortably holds 600g of regular-sized chips. You could probably squeeze more on if you had to, but if you want good colour and an even cook, it’s best not to overcrowd it. Another benefit of the flat plate is that you’re able to cook multiple ingredients at once. For example, in testing it comfortably held enough eggs, bacon, sausage and mushroom for two average-sized breakfasts.

The removable plates are easy to fit and take apart as well. The main grill plate clicks into place and can be released via a button on the side, while the flat plate and air fryer simply sit on top of the main grill.

Cleaning up is equally easy. The non-stick is excellent, and even sticky, caramelised fat and sugar came off without too much elbow grease required. All the plates can go in the dishwasher too, so if you have that option available to you, it makes clean-up even easier.

Another useful feature of the Foodi Max Pro is the included heatproof meat probe, which can be inserted into your food of choice with the lid both up and down. Not only does it record the temperature of your meat in real time, but you can also tell the grill which type of meat you’re cooking, prompting it to display the optimum temperature you should be aiming for. The recipe booklet provided also gives you a visual indication of rareness for steak, which can be used alongside the probe to find your perfect level of doneness.

Ninja Foodi Max Pro Health Grill review: What could be better?

While the meat probe is an excellent addition and works relatively well, during testing it took a lot of guesswork to figure out how best to place it. It had to be inserted into the side of the meat for the best results, but this wasn’t always as simple as it sounds. The probe itself is also quite thick, meaning it leaves a large hole in your food and, in turn, can easily fall out if knocked. I had better luck getting an accurate temperature with my own meat thermometer, which had a thinner tip, so it’s probably best not to rely on this too much until you’ve got the hang of using it.

Another small niggle is that the temperature doesn’t go quite high enough on the flat plate setting. It has a range of 160ºC to 200ºC, while other settings go up to 240ºC. Even at 200ºC things such as bacon and sausages took far longer to cook to a nice crispy consistency than they would in a traditional pan. It got there eventually, but as other settings on the grill go up to 240ºC, it would be helpful if this one did too.

As well as being on the large side, the base and main grill plate are also heavy and therefore not ideal for those with limited strength or mobility. This also means it isn’t easy to move around the kitchen, although that may not be an issue for everyone.

The elephant in the room is the price. There’s no getting away from how expensive this is, especially when you can pick up more basic health grills for so little. Of course, most cheaper models are missing crucial additional features such as easy-to-clean grilling plates, variable temperature controls and capacity. Nonetheless, if you’re primarily looking for a simple health grill, all those extras simply might not be worth shelling out for.

Ninja Foodi Max Pro Health Grill review: Should you buy it?

If that £300 price tag is just too much of a stretch, the Cuisinart Style health grill is a reasonably priced alternative, with a slightly smaller worktop footprint. It has a double grill and flat plate, as well as adjustable time and temperature settings, much like the Foodi Max Pro.

If you can spare the cash and the worktop space, though, you won’t be disappointed with the Foodi Max Pro, as this grill is far more versatile than its rivals. Whether you’re grilling, cooking on the flat plate, baking or air frying, there are plenty of ways to make your everyday meals lower in fat. Add to that adjustable cook times and temperatures, excellent non-stick, easy cleaning and a premium design, and you’ve got yourself an excellent all-round multi-cooker.

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