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It’s a game changer for my weekly meal preps.
Even though I’ve been meal prepping every week for more than six years, I hate spending hours cooking on the stove (especially when it involves getting multiple pots and pans dirty). I’m always eager to try out new kitchen gadgets that allow me to spend less time in the kitchen, so when Ninja offered to send me its latest innovation last summer, I happily put it to the test.
After using the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker & Air Fryer at home for more than seven months, I’m continuously impressed by how this versatile appliance has transformed my Sunday meal prep sessions. With that said, all of my lunches for the week are typically done in about 15 minutes, which is significantly shorter than any other cooking method that I could use.
The 12-in-1 appliance can air fry, steam, broil, dehydrate, slow cook, and more; but my favorite setting by far is Speedi Meals, which air fries and steams at the same time. I use this setting almost every week to make fluffy quinoa and crispy tofu simultaneously—I occasionally throw in broccoli florets or cubed sweet potatoes, too. I love that you can cook many types of veggies from frozen, which is both cost-effective and time-saving.
to buy: from $160; amazon.com or ninjakitchen.com.
The multicooker consists of a 6-quart pot and a removable tray with pull-out legs, which allows you to cook two different foods at once. You can make things like pasta and rice on the bottom and proteins like chicken and falafel on the top tray, so it’s a game changer for one-pot meals. Depending on the recipe and ingredients, the Speedi makes around four servings of food. My boyfriend uses it for his weekly meal preps on Sundays, too, and he has never found an easier way to make big batches of chicken for his weekday lunches. (The chicken breasts consistently come out perfectly cooked—always juicy with a crispy exterior, never tough and dry.)
Because you can make a complete meal with multiple types of ingredients, the Ninja Speedi would also be an incredibly convenient tool for anyone who needs to get quick weeknight dinners on the table for their family. The pot and tray are nonstick and dishwasher-safe, so cleanup is effortless.
In case it wasn’t obvious already, the Speedi is really easy to use. There’s a switch that you can flip between the air fryer and rapid cooker modes, and each unlocks a menu of applicable settings that you can scroll through. From there, the only buttons are used to adjust the time and temperature. It takes a lot of guesswork out of cooking: It’s extremely consistent and reliable, so you’ll get the same results every time, and you don’t have to worry about your pan being too hot or your oven maintaining temperature. I also love that you can open the lid to check on your food without having to manually stop and restart the cooking process—the timer automatically pauses when you open it up, too.
Related:The 7 Best Slow Cookers for Easy, Hands-off Meals
I’ve also used the Ninja Speedi to make last-minute appetizers for my family during the holidays. I followed recipes from the brand’s site, and the Honey Goat Cheese Balls and Crispy Buffalo Tofu Bites were definitely crowd-pleasers. Ninja even has a website dedicated to helping you create your own Speedi Meal recipes. Simply select your base, protein, seasonings and vegetables, and the site will generate a recipe for you to follow, complete with a temperature and time range that you can adjust based on your preferences. The appliance also comes with physical recipe books and quick-start guides that we often consult. It explains exactly how to cook some of the most common ingredients—everything from proteins to grains to vegetables—depending on whether you want to use the steam and crisp mode, the air fryer mode, and so on. And once you get comfortable with the basics, you can experiment with your own ideas.
There are a few things to keep in mind before buying this multicooker. For starters, it’s a bulky appliance that you probably won’t want on your countertop 24/7. It has a 14- by 14-inch footprint, and the hinged lid probably won’t be able to open directly underneath your kitchen cabinets. (I recommend using it on an island or a table.) But since it takes the place of multiple appliances, you’ll probably be able to make room for it by getting rid of others. The Speedi has a standalone air fry mode, so we tossed our old air fryer when we got it (it works much better than the one we had, anyway). My only wish is that this multicooker had a pressure cooker mode so that it could replace my Instant Pot, too.
Overall, the Ninja Speedi saves me so much time every week that I think it’s absolutely worth the storage space it requires. Sunday meal preps in my apartment have never been easier. Even if meal prepping isn’t your thing, easy weeknight dinners and multifunctional kitchen products are something we can all get behind.
Head to Amazon or Ninja to snag this all-in-one kitchen appliance for yourself.
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