The Beginners Guide to the Ninja Foodi Tender Crisp Pressure Cooker

If you have ever seen this kitchen tool in your local store, or online, you may have wondered what it even is!

For anyone looking into it, or new to using it: I am here to answer some common questions! As well as give my 10 month use review and give you some recipes to get started with it.

I first got my Ninja Foodi TenderCrisp last November (2018). I had been in the market for an instant pot for awhile but hadn’t taken the plunge yet. We were around 3 months away from meeting our newest bundle of joy, who was due in March. I was looking for a way that I would be able to prepare meals faster once she came! With a hungry toddler and husband I had to have a way to do this.

My mother-in-law and several friends had instant pots and loved them, so I began to look into them. I stumbled upon the Ninja Foodi in a Black Friday Sale flyer, and was very intrigued by it. I BEGGED my husband to let me buy it as my Christmas Present. He obliged, wonder why… (maybe me having motivation to cook yummy new recipes lol)    😉

I wanted it so badly because it claimed to be many kitchen appliances in one, and having a small kitchen myself this really appealed to me.

It has now been 10 MONTHS LATER and I can honestly say this gadget has been used THE MOST out of every small appliance (designed for cooking meals that is) in my kitchen. Because of this amazing little tool I was able to put away my crockpots, and get rid of my deep fryer!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link. You can read our full disclosure policy here

*Disclaimer: I do not own a separate instant pot, but am very familiar with them as several family members own them.

What is the Ninja Foodi TenderCrisp Pressure Cooker?

So what is the Ninja Foodi anyways then? As you can tell, it is made by the common brand Ninja. You may have seen Ninja coffeemakers, blenders and more.

This is a wonderful little appliance that…

  • Pressure cooks, broils, bakes, roasts, sear/sautés, air crisps, dehydrates, steams, and slow cooks!

I know right! 9 different functions, in one space-saving design. It is all made possible due to the two lids; a pressure lid and a crisping lid.

Some models do have a few less features than others, so keep that in mind when looking at them.

Common Questions/FAQ About the Ninja Foodi

If you are new to this appliance, or are currently researching them before you buy; these FAQ’s will help you answer some beginner’s questions.

1. How big is the pot?

  • I bought the Ninja Foodi Tendercrisp 6.5 quart version. However they do also have an 8 quart version available with the Tendercrisp features.
  • They do also have a Ninja Foodi compact version with a 5 quart pot, and 3 quart Tendercrisp basket. It is harder to find.
  • Personally I recommend just sticking with the 6.5 quart if you have anywhere from 2-6 people in your family.

2. What are some of the differences between a Ninja Foodi and an Instant Pot

FeatureNinja Foodi TenderCrisp 6.5QTInstant Pot Ultra 6 QT
Pressure CookYESYES
Pre-programmed buttonsNOYES (rice, cake, yogurt, egg, porridge and more.)

The main differences between a popular Instant Pot model and the Ninja Foodi TenderCrisp.

Personally, I really like the added value that comes from the Foodi having the aircrisp lid and 4 qt cook and crisp basket. It allowed me to get rid of my deep fryer completely, while still being able to enjoy fries, wings and fried foods.

You can use the TenderCrisper feature to really lock in the juices in your meats, while still being able to cook them super fast thanks to pressure cooking. Best of both worlds!

3. Can you buy accessories for the Foodi?

  • Yes you can! The Foodi will come with a
    • Reversible cooking rack
    • A cook and crisp basket with a detachable diffuser
    • A pressure cooking lid
    •  A 6.5 quart removable cooking pot. You can prepare a max of 4L when pressure cooking, or around 18 cups.
  •  There are also other accessories available for purchase from Ninja, such as
    • A Cook and Crisp layered insert
    • Multi-purpose pan
    • Roasting rack insert
    • Dehydrating rack
    • Loaf Pan
    • Crisper pan
    • Additional extra cooking pot
    • Extra silicone rings: helps keep flavours separate, much like the idea behind having two cooking pots.
  • I was able to purchase an extra cooking pot from Amazon for a very reasonable price! Having a second pot to prepare more than one dish at a time, to keep one pot for savoury dishes and another for sweet dishes is very handy. Or if you don’t get the first one cleaned in time!
  • Of course there are many additional accessories one can get for pressure cookers. You may have seen things such as inserts for hardboiling eggs, making cheesecakes etc! I promise I will update this post as I continue to experiment with different recipes using various accessories. I don’t feel comfortable recommending any yet! As I really don’t have a solid review on anything yet, and wouldn’t want to recommend something that I don’t truly love!

4. Why are there two different lids?

  • Simply because this appliance is multi-functional! It is not just a pressure cooker, you can also air fry with it. Several features also can be performed with no lid at all! But the air fryer lid is attached to the machine at all times. When you need to pressure cook, or slow cook you simply leave the air fry lid in the upright position and secure the pressure cooking lid. As you may know, if you have an Instant Pot, or have researched them, they only have a single pressure cooking lid.
  • You may be wondering: “Is it a pain to have two lids, storage wise?” I am ALL about storage. And personally I would rather store two lids on one appliance than have a slow cooker, instant pot, and air fryer all sitting in the bottom of my small pantry!
  • I have included a picture under the next section to illustrate how it really does not take up too much room at all when you store the pressure cooking lid above the appliance itself.

5. How big is it?

  • I thought I would use this opportunity to outline how large it is, while I have the picture below of it sitting in my pantry. If you know Tupperware, it is as tall as the large modular mates containers with both lids on. However for those who prefer measurements it is…
    • 21″ High with Crisping lid open
    • 13.5″ High with Crisping lid closed
    • 16″ High with both lids stacked
    • 18″ Long (side to side horizontally)
    • 14.5″ Deep (from front to back)
  • Some people may choose to store something like this on their counter, I am not sure. BUT when you are using it, you HAVE TO be careful not to be using it underneath of cabinetry if you are using the pressure cook function. Again, please refer to the complete instruction manual included with it, but they do warn against the potential of damage from releasing the pressure in an inappropriately vented area. (That probably is not very grammatically proper, sorry)
Storage of the Ninja Foodi with both lids

6. Why is it more expensive than an Instant Pot?

  • In short, it is more expensive because it has more functions.
  • So far I have also been really impressed with the quality to!
  • I think there are just a few little things that make it more pricey to begin with. Ninja is known as being a good brand with good quality products, so I think the price is also reflective of the brand it is coming from.
  • However, I was able to get this pot myself for around $130 less than list price during the Black Friday sale.

Personally I do think it is worth every penny! Having the ability to combine air crisping with the pressure cooker is so neat and handy. So that is why I would have paid full price for it even!

7. Is it easy to use, even if I am not familiar with the Instant Pot?

  • ABSOLUTELY! I did NOT own an Instant Pot before, or any form of pressure cooker. I was whipping up recipes left right and center easily and without fear!

8. How long does it take to pressurize?

This will all depend on what you are cooking! Something that is frozen, or has cooler liquid in it will take longer to come up to pressure.

If you are cooking for example, meat and need to add some broth to it. Adding warm broth will speed up the amount of time the Ninja Foodi takes to come up to pressure. In my experience it takes anywhere from 5-15 minutes in my meals.

You can grab the exact model I have and love right here on Amazon

How to get started with this Ninja Foodie TenderCrisp: Beginners Guide

Okay, I have one…now WHAT DO I DO WITH IT?

When you first pull it out of the box, you will be greeted by a wonderful little recipe book that contains 20 recipes to get you started, as well as handy conversion charts in the back. See a pictures of the book below. You will also get an instructional manual. Please read through that carefully and follow the instructions, as my guide I am providing here is not fully comprehensive and I am not responsible for any misuse of this appliance due to not reading the included instructions 🙂

The included recipe book and instruction manual

In the instruction manual you will find instructions to guide you through the control panel and all the machines functions. It will also explain how to use the included cook and crisp basket, and the reversible rack.

DO: TEST the pressure cooking function with water first. Especially if you have never used a pressure cooker before. Releasing the pressure in the water test really does prepare you for the noise it makes when you release the pressure at the end of making a meal. It is quite something if you have never pressure cooked before!

Read through the instruction book thoroughly, then wash all the pots and accessories before first use. I will include a link here for the very first recipe I made with my pressure cooker. A simple roast! I was amazed at how fast it cooked, and how tender it was! Simple Beef Pot Roast in the Ninja Foodi

Tips for Success with the Ninja Foodi

Here are links to some recipes I have made with the Foodie to get you started

Beef Quinoa Soup!

Easy Saucy Instant Pot Hamburgers

Beef Stew

My biggest tips would be

  • USE IT!!! Don’t let it be another tool that sits in a box in the bottom of a closet
  • Try something easy first, like slow-cooking some meat that you would normally slow cook anyways! Then try pressure cooking something easy when your ready.
  • Use it on an open piece of real-estate on your counter. It isn’t gigantic, but it is large enough, so have enough room around it and keep it clear from kids. Also don’t use it underneath of your cabinetry. Safety wise.
  • Never fear about dish washing the components. I have, (for the majority) dishwashed ALL these pieces below for the last 10 months I have owned it, with NO issues thus far of being wrecked) You can put the following in the dishwasher (from the instruction book itself)…
    • The Cooking Pot
    • The seal ring from the Pressure Cooking lid
    • Reversible rack
    • Cook and Crisp basket
    • Detachable diffuser
  • Use the SEAR/SAUTE feature to cook your meats right in the pot so you don’t have to use your stove.
    •  I used to brown my hamburger and cook my chicken in a wok style frying pan so I could just add my sauce (tomato, Alfredo, butter chicken etc) into the deep pan and not dirty a second dish.
    • BUT I truthfully hated washing the frying pan because it had to be hand washed, didn’t fit in my dishwasher and was SO wide it was hard to wash in my sink
    • NOW I just use the SEAR/SAUTE feature literally EVERY time I need to cook hamburger or chicken because the pot is SO huge I can add lotsa lotsa sauce! Then I Simply toss into the dishwasher when I am done. No more hand washing that big WOK!

The Last Thing You Need to Know about the Ninja Foodi

If I had to sum up everything about the Ninja Foodi TenderCrisp in two points it would be

This amazing appliance is so versatile, is a great quality and allows you to replace several small appliances in your kitchen with the convenience of one.

The dishes I have been able to create using the TenderCrisp lid has been so fun! Truly a bonus compared to just pressure cooking. You can easily crisp up the cheese on a casserole after using the pressure cook feature first to cook it all, or crisp up meat after it’s been slowly cooked all day in the slow cooking feature.

I truly love this little appliance. So much so, I bought my Mom one for Christmas last year. I have now owned it for around 10 months and have used it at least twice a week (honestly most the time: daily) for the last 10 months, and not only would you hardly know it has taken that much abuse, but also I have proven to myself just how useful this gadget is, and I would replace it in a heartbeat with the same one if it ever broke!

This picture below shows how minor the wear and tear is on it after 10 months of really solid use! A few tiny scratches in my cooking pot with mild discolouration from tomato sauces and a few scratches on the top of the lid itself in the plastic. I have not used my new pot yet, so I have strictly used this pot here only, and put it in the dishwasher 95% of the time. Also it has seen a few regular metal utensils…not just non-scratching ones…. (hiding head now)

My cooking pot in great shape still after 10 months of heavy use

Closing thoughts

This is truly the most useful kitchen appliance I have, other than my Keurig HAHA. I would replace it in an instance, even for full price. I LOVE IT, and wish that EVERYONE had one. Because I mean…who wouldn’t want to be able to have a perfectly yummy casserole with crispy cheese on top…all cooked quickly in a single pot!! (Drooling….)

I hope you have enjoyed this Beginners Guide to the Ninja Foodi TenderCrisp.

Don’t forget to grab your free printable tips for using this great appliance! In case you missed it, here it is again

Beginners Guide to the Ninja Foodi TenderCrisp

Hey There!

I’m Amy, the mom behind the scenes. I’m glad you are here!

The Briar Patch is a place for Moms; to help them navigate the tangled messes of Motherhood. With inspiration and tips on cooking, home life, organization, hobbies, and all things mom and child related.

Thanks for stopping by,

Briar Patch: meaning

A Briar Patch is a dense, tangled patch of thorny flowering plants. Or in other words: the perfect analogy for Motherhood. Sometimes it seems like you will never make it out of the tangles and hurdles of it unscathed. But when you pause and look back on it. You see the beauty; the flowers, that were there all along.

Hey There!

I’m Amy, the mom behind the scenes. I’m glad you are here!

The Briar Patch is a place for Moms; to help them navigate the tangled messes of Motherhood. With inspiration and tips on cooking, home life, organization, hobbies, and all things mom and child related.

Thanks for stopping by,

Briar Patch: meaning

A Briar Patch is a dense, tangled patch of thorny flowering plants. Or in other words: the perfect analogy for Motherhood. Sometimes it seems like you will never make it out of the tangles and hurdles of it unscathed. But when you pause and look back on it. You see the beauty; the flowers, that were there all along.