How To Use Ninja Foodi (The Ultimate Guide) | Home Chef Ninja (2023)

One of life’s greatest excitements is knowing how to cook. It keeps our bellies full and connects us with family and friends. The Ninja Foodi allows you to make good food that everybody wants to return for more. From the time humankind learned how to cook thru basic skills such as grilling over an open fire to the time we started cooking with pots, pans, and ovens, cooking has continued to evolve over the years.

I think cooking is lovely when you only have to deal with one type of cooking equipment instead of dealing with many pieces of cooking equipment. So why not make one piece of equipment and combine them all? This guide covers how to use Ninja Foodi and its features.

It’s a pressure cooker and an air fryer; the Ninja Foodi allows you to prepare recipes that you usually find difficult to prepare with standard cooking equipment. So, if you’re craving chicken wings or your sweet tooth is calling for sea salt caramel popcorn, the Ninja Foodi can get it done for you!

Table of Contents

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So How Do You Use the Ninja Foodi?

The Ninja Foodi is used just like most air fryers and pressure cookers but combined into one. The air frying features come with a crisping lid, and they will be used with buttons such as the Bake/Roast and Air Crisp. If you use the Ninja as a pressure cooker, you need to use its pressure-cooking lid and know what each button means, such as Pressure and Sear/Sauté. You will also be switching the settings of the Pressure.

1. Preheating: It is essential to preheat the inside pot of the Ninja Foodi before placing the food into the unit. Preheat the inner pot for at least 5 minutes before adding food. It’s the traditional cooking approach on the stovetop or oven, where preheating is essential to prepare the oven or pot for proper cooking.

2. Water for Pressure-Cooking: pressure-cooking needs steam to do its job, and some form of liquid starts this process. So, make sure to add at minimum half a cup of water to the inside pot before pressure cooking foods to make your cooking successful.

3. The Lids: The Ninja Foodi contains two essential lids, the Air Crisping Lid for air frying and the Pressure Lid for pressure cooking. Make proper use of each lid as instructed by the recipe you are using at the time.

4. Always Use the Inside Pot: Remarkably, the Ninja Foodi notices and overrides if the inside pot isn’t put in before cooking. It’s an intelligent appliance! So, make sure always to keep the inside pot locked in place before using any of the pressure-cooking or air-frying features.

Ninja Foodi Function Buttons:

You will find that using the Ninja Foodi at first could be terrifying because you see so many different buttons on the unit, and you don’t know what they mean. Not to worry, I’ll break them down one by one so that you will better understand what they all mean and do.

Air Crisp

The Air Crisp button lets you start the air frying feature to prepare many dishes by heating them. Use the Air Crisp feature in conjunction with the Cook & Crisp Basket to cook your favorite frozen foods, such as French fries, onion rings, and chicken nuggets. You can even make many recipes without oil. Make sure to shake the basket at least once during crisping to get the crispiest results.

Sear / Sauté

The Sear / Sauté button lets you use your Ninja Foodi as a stovetop. It is excellent for sautéing vegetables, meat, and other ingredients. In addition to having loads of surface space for searing meats and sautéing veggies, the Ninja Foodi also has five stovetop temperature settings. Use the Ninja Foodi as your stovetop; move between Low, Medium Low, Medium, Medium High, and High. Go from a mild simmer to an extremely hot sear.


The pressure button is a frequently used function because it makes cooking faster. It will also let you know how to release the pressure naturally and quickly. Pressure cooking is perfect for tenderizing tough cuts of meat, rapidly cooking rice and everything in between. Select between Low and High Pressure, set the cooking time, place the pressure release valve in the Seal position, and you are done!

Slow Cook

The Ninja Foodi is equipped with both Low and High slow cooking settings. The Slow Cook button lets you make recipes that need many hours of cooking at shallow temperatures. If you would rather have the ease of tossing the ingredients into one pot in the morning and coming home to a thoroughly cooked meal, then the Slow Cook function will be your number one go-to button. You can leave the Ninja Foodi overnight and find everything suitable and in one piece the following day.


The Steam button lets you cook everything from fish to veggies with no oil at an extremely high temperature. Cooking with steam infuses moisture, keeps in flavor and preserves the texture of your food. Add water to the cooking pot and the Reversible Rack in the lower position. Position your food on top of the rack and secure the lid closed.

Bake / Roast

The Bake / Roast button is self-explanatory. If you are not in the frame of mind using an oven or feel like making recipes that need baking, The Ninja Foodi also works like a mini convection oven to cook your favorite baked dishes and roast meats in way less time than in your oven. It takes the Ninja Foodi only 4 to 5 minutes to preheat, a lot less time than your kitchen oven.


The Dehydrate button not only dehydrates foods into jerky but will also help you eliminate any excess oil when the recipe asks for it. When you use the Dehydrate function, the Crisping Lid lowers the fan speed so that you can eliminate moisture low and slow. Make fruit and veggie chips or create your favorite flavored jerky without extra sugar or preservatives added to in-store sold brands.

Which Ninja Foodi has the dehydrator? The Ninja Foodi OP301 6.5-quart, FD401 8-quart deluxe, and Ninja OP401 dehydrator all have a dehydrator; the OP101 5-quart does not.


The Broil button is used to make some BBQ or grill something. Broil has the hottest temperature setting of all the Crisping Lid settings and is the simplest way to prepare crispier seared meats. The broil function on the Ninja Foodi is like having an upside-down barbecue grill.

Keep Warm

The Keep Warm mode automatically turns on after steaming, slow cooking, or pressure-cooking time is done. Ninja Foodi is made to keep this mode on for 12 hours. If you want to turn it off before the 12 hours are done, you can click the warm button.

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The Power button speaks for itself

Start / Stop

The Start / Stop button sets the time, temperature, or Pressure.


The Temp buttons comprise arrows and let you set the temperature up and down.

Buy: Ninja Foodi 8-Quart 9-in-1 Deluxe at Amazon

What is Tendercrisp Technology

Ninja Foodi is not just a kitchen appliance combined with an air fryer and pressure cooker. It also has Tender Crispy Technology. This technology gives the meat or vegetables a nice golden-brown finish, unlike most pressure cookers, whose food looks pale.

Tender Crispy Technology also makes it possible for Ninja Foodi to have these features working simultaneously in one unit. Technology lets you do many things, such as cooking frozen food, preparing them crispy, or creating recipes that you typically can’t do with traditional cooking methods.

In one Pot Cooking

Use TenderCrisp Technology to convert bland soups and stews into all One-Pot recipes. Use Pressure to prepare your favorite casseroles, stews, chilis, and desserts. Then top with cheese, biscuits, or a crust. Switch the top and use the Crisping Lid to broil the cheese, bake the biscuits, or crisp the crust. Prepare the dishes handed down from your grandma to your mother, but with this distinctive twist: You can prepare them in half the time it took them to make!

Cook from Frozen to Crispy

The Ninja Foodi can cook food directly from frozen, too. Use Pressure to defrost and tenderize frozen meat quickly, then use the Crisping Lid to crisp the outside. There is no more unequal defrosting using the microwave or waiting hours for your food to thaw on the kitchen counter.


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Is The Ninja Foodi A Crock-Pot? (What’s the Difference)

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