Ninja Air Fryer Max XL Review: Ninja AF161 7-in-1 5.5-qt Basket Air Fryer

Ninja Air Fryer Max XL, Model no. AF161
Ninja Air Fryer Max XL, model no. AF161

With the massive success of the Original Ninja AF101, the Ninja Air Fryer Max XL comes along as the newer and better iteration. It’s bigger in capacity and offers more cooking power than its predecessor.

Let’s make a quick comparison.

The Ninja Max XL has seven functions in comparison to AF101’s four settings. There’s the max crisp function for frying frozen food. In addition, it also comes with a broil setting and as well as the ability to bake desserts.

If you like the official Ninja Foodi Air Fryer, you might want to check Ninja Foodi Double Air Fryer.

What I love about it is it automatically pauses the cooking time whenever you take out the air frying basket. With the previous model, you need to manually pause and start the cooking time when you flip or shake your recipe to achieve even results.

With a little more investment, you’ll get more bang for your buck with the Ninja 5.5-qt Air Fryer Max XL.

Now, let’s dive deeper into the new updates, starting with the pros and cons.

PROS

  • Modern design
  • Budget-friendly
  • 3-minutes preheat, quicker than traditional ovens
  • Automatically pauses the cooking time when you take the basket out
  • 5.5 quarts capacity
  • Basket air fryer design is easier to use than a pressure cooker air fryer
  • Wide temperature range, maximum 450℉
  • 7-in-1: Max Crisp, Air fry, Air Roast, Air Broil, Bake, Dehydrate, Reheat
  • It includes multi-layer rack
  • Programmable cooking functions
  • Dishwasher safe parts
  • BPA-free
  • 1-year warranty

CONS

  • No auto-pause when removing the basket
  • Square basket design would have been better
  • Non-stick are usually not long lasting

What can you cook with Ninja Air Fryer Max XL?

The Ninja 5.5-qt Air Fryer Max XL is more than just a piece of frying equipment. It can also roast, broil, bake, reheat, and dehydrate.

Here’s a deeper look into its seven functions.

fries
Max Crisp
chicken nuggets
Air Fry
roasted vegetables
Air Roast
broiled chicken
Air Broil
brownies
Bake
dehydrated fruits
Dehydrate
reheated chicken
Reheat

Pro Tip: Only use plastic or silicone tongs (or spatula). Metal utensils might damage the non-stick coating.

Max Crisp

The max crisp is one of the new technologies of the Max XL version. Essentially, it’s an air fry feature with a hotter temperature, perfect for frozen pizzas or chicken nuggets.

Air Fry

Air frying is the standard function of the Ninja Air Fryer Max XL. While it’s debatable if it’s a healthier alternative than traditional frying methods, using less oil leans on the positive side of the argument.

Compared to the Max Crisp function, Air Frying uses a lower temperature which is excellent for fresh recipes like chicken wings, pork chops, or sausages.

Pro Tip: You can use the broil rack for more capacity with even layering. If there’s any overlapping food, it’s important to shake it midway.

Air Roast

The Ninja AF161 can also roast your favorite veggies or small portions of protein. It’s the ideal function for caramelizing carrots or Brussel sprouts as a side for your main dish.

Air Broil

If you want to finish up your main dish with a golden-brown crust, that’s what the Air Broil is for. It’s the best setting for cooking steaks and fish for a crispy finish.

Pro Tip: Since the heat will only come from the top, it would be ideal to use the broil rack.

Bake

The Ninja Air Fryer Max XL can do more than just mains and side dishes, as it can also make desserts. It can handle a few cupcakes or brownies.

Dehydrate

While dehydrating is a nice feature to have, you won’t make the most of it with the Ninja Max XL. It doesn’t have enough space for processing a decent amount of fruits, let alone beef jerky. Think of this as a bonus feature.

Reheat

If you were to use the microwave to reheat crispy food, it might result in a soggy outer layer which is not at all tasty. That’s where the reheat function of Ninja AF161 saves the day. Your day-old chicken or fries will remain crunchy and appetizing using this setting.

See the Ninja AF161 in Action

Here’s how the Ninja 5.5-qt Air Fryer Max XL works.

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The Ninja Air Fryer Max XL AF161 is an excellent 1750-watt cooking appliance. It highlights 5.5 qt capacity for substantial portions. Now, considering it’s an updated version, it now highlights a wider range of temperature. As a result, the Ninja AF161 can reach up to 450ºF for faster and more even cooking of frozen foods.

Is the Ninja Max XL Air Fryer Easy to use?

ninja air fryer max xl controls
Ninja AF161 User Interface

Air frying is like a miniature version of your wall oven. It works the same way. You have to pick a cooking method, say roast, bake or broil. Then you need to set the time and temperature.

See what I mean?

In fact, if you already have a convection oven, you don’t need an air fryer. The only benefit of getting the Ninja Air Fryer Max XL is that it consumes less electricity and preheats faster. And it’s also an excellent alternative for microwave ovens.

To make things a little easier on your end, the brand included a quick start guide. It’s your cheat sheet for setting the ideal temperature and cooking time for any type of food.

What I like about the Ninja AF161, which isn’t offered by its smaller sibling, the Ninja AF101, is it automatically pauses the cooking time whenever you take the basket out. This feature will ensure that your cooking time is still on point, no matter how many times you’ve rotated or flipped your recipe.

How to clean the Ninja 5.5 qt Air Fryer Max XL?

On a different note:

The Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer’s basket and crisper plate have a non-stick coating, which will make your life a little easier during cleanup time. Not to mention, these parts are dishwasher safe.

Here’s the deal:

Even if you don’t use the dishwasher, it’s still straightforward to clean. Just make sure to use a soft sponge when scrubbing the ceramic-coated items to prevent damaging them.

As for the main unit, you only need to wipe it with a damp cloth, and you’re done.

Here’s how easy it is to clean:

*Product Images and Videos Courtesy of Shark Ninja

Technical Specifications

TypeAir Fryer
Brand/SeriesNinja Air Fryer → The Ninja Foodi Collection
Model #AF161, AF160
Price$$
Rating4.6 out of 5
Wattage1750 Watts
Functions7-in-1: Max Crisp, Air Fry, Air Roast,
Air Broil, Bake, Reheat, Dehydrate
Air Fryer TypeBasket Drawer
Basket ShapeRound
Basket MaterialCeramic non-stick coated
Capacity5.5 Quarts, fit 3 lbs. of fries
Dishwasher safeYes
BPA FreeYes
ColorsGrey
Dimensions 14 x 11 x 14.8 inches (35.6 x 27.9 x 37.6 cm)
Cord Length2.6 ft. (79.2 cm)
ApplicationPersonal Use
Warranty1 Year
Related ProductsNinja DZ201 2 Basket Air Fryer, Ninja AF101 4-qt Air Fryer

Is Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer worth it?

Considering the balance of multifunctionality and affordability, you’d actually get more than what you pay for with the Ninja Air Fryer Max XL. I mean, it has six more functionalities that you can use, making it truly versatile equipment.

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