Fabric of my Life.

“Hey babe, what do you want for dinner?” 
In our house it’s Luis Cooks (as opposed to Andy – or Paco, as the photos might suggest!), so when it comes to the kitchen – and all the gadgets we have littering the countertop – it’s his domain. Having invested in the Ninja Foodi 8-in-1 Flip Mini Oven about a year ago, and seeing just how often we used it (and how much its saved us energy-bill-wise by forgoing use of the larger, electricity-sucking, main oven), Luis had been keen on adding a stand-alone air fryer into the mix as well.
Since we’d been getting on so well with our existing Ninja appliance we decided to opt for the Foodi Dual Zone 7.6L Air Fryer and, since receiving it a few weeks ago, I don’t think there’s a day it hasn’t been in use!
I think a lot of people are overly sceptical of air fryers – especially since they became such a cult-buy during the multiple pandemic lockdowns – but honestly I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend buying one now. Anything that makes life quicker and easier when it comes to cooking – and cleaning up afterwards! – is a winner in my book.
As I say, Luis is usually the chef in our house – and takes charge whenever we’re cooking something more intricate than ‘decant-onto-a-tray-and-stick-in-the-oven’ dishes -so his reasons for wanting an air fryer were slightly more ‘chef-worthy’ than mine, but at the end of the day I think the following 4 reasons are the most compelling for making the switch for an average user:
1. Simple and easy to program. With two large independent cooking zones  you can cook 2 different foods with different temperatures, times and settings in each – and have both ready to serve at exactly the same time using the ‘sync’ feature! This might sound like it would be difficult to figure out, but I managed to easily configure both drawers the first time round without even having to look at the instruction manual. It really is very clearly labelled, and pretty intuitive compared to other kitchen gadgets!
2. Starts cooking straight away – i.e. no more wasted time waiting for an oven to heat up and, according to the accompanying product brochure, cooks dishes up to 75% faster than standard fan ovens.
3. Reduces electricity bills as a result. We had tracked our main oven gobbling up electricity on our smart meter before making the switch to a Ninja countertop oven last year, and feel confident that our new air fryer is just as economical.
4. It’s really easy to clean afterwards. Simply slide out the drawers and the internal trays and wash in soapy water (you can also pop them both in the dishwasher!). Trust me, it’s a million times easier than scrubbing down the inside of an oven laden with years of deeply encrusted grease – especially if you live in a rented home!
And when it comes to food-related reasons for making the switch they stack up just as well, with cooking modes that include the aforementioned Air Fry alongside Max Crisp, Roast, Bake, Dehydrate and Reheat. Using little to no oil, air fryers cook food by rapidly circulating hot air – like a convection oven but more powerful – to deliver a crispy finish, as if by magic! The biggest selling point though is the fact that air frying uses up to 75% less fat than traditional frying methods – which means traditional favourites such as fish and chips, burgers, sausages and chicken wings are all far healthier than their typically-dripping-in-finger-licking-grease counterparts.
Being able to consume less calories without sacrificing on the crunch and texture that frying provides means being able to enjoy more of my favourite comfort dishes at home, so the first thing I asked Luis to whip up was a American-diner style crispy chicken burger (à la Jackson + Rye, for anyone who remembers the dearly departed Soho diner from the mid 2010s), with a side order of sweet potato fries – which I’ve always found ridiculously difficult to perfect in standard fan oven (in my experience they always burn too easily outside, while remaining raw in the centre).
Keep scrolling for the recipe:

Crispy Air Fry Chicken Burgers

  • 2x chicken breasts, butterflied and cut in half
  • Plain flour
  • 2x eggs
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 x burger buns (we used brioche)
  • Desired condiments & garnishes


  • Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer* (or similar)
  • 3 wide, shallow dishes
  • 1 large plate, for resting chicken
  • Spoon
  • Tongs
  • Cling film
  1. Take your 3 wide, shallow dishes – place the plain flour into one of them, crack the 2 eggs into the second and whisk, and add the panko breadcrumbs into the third dish. Season the flour with the spices (adjust to suit your own taste requirements), add a generous pinch of salt and black pepper and gently combine using a spoon.
  2. Using tongs, dip each butterflied chicken breast into the seasoned flour, then the egg, and then the breadcrumbs, turning several times to ensure they’re fully coated.
  3. Rest the coated chicken breasts on a large plate, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 10 minutes, but ideally for 1-2 hours.
  4. Once rested, use tongs to place the coated chicken breasts into the drawer compartment of your air fryer.
  5. Program using Air Fry mode for 15 minutes at 200°c. Press start.
  6. After 10 minutes, remove the drawer (the program will automatically stop*) and turn the chicken breast to encourage even browning.
  7. Once the 15-minute program has ended start a new program using Max Crisp* for 5 minutes (default, 240°c)
  8. Et voìla! Assemble your cooked chicken breasts atop a toasted brioche bun, adding condiments and garnish as desired. I love mine with sriracha mayo, pickles and a good dollop of coleslaw. Serve with sweet potatoes fries on the side (these can be cooked alongside the chicken in the second drawer; just sync your programs so they finish cooking at the same time)



*nb. this method refers to the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer. Other air fryers may have different functions/require adjusted cooking times. 
Given this was our first attempt using the air fryer, fresh out of the box (after washing the drawers first, of course!) I was so happy with how both the burgers and fries turned out. The chicken was deliciously tender with a nice even crispy coating and the sweet potato fries (frozen, out of a bag – sorry) were perfectly cooked throughout with minimal charring! I think the key to both was using the Air Fry mode (at 200°c) to cook through thoroughly first, then perfecting the crispiness with a 5-minute blast using the Max Crisp program. All in all, we were both thoroughly impressed and devoured our meals in minutes (mainly because we spent so much time documenting the process it was gone 3pm by the time we sat down to tuck in, haha).
In the past few weeks we’ve used the air fryer most days and have found it to be super quick and reliable. My favourite usage to date has been for speed-cooking Pret frozen croissants for breakfast, which generally takes half the time of doing them in the oven, plus I’d recommend cutting them open after and filling with cheese and ham – plus a drizzle of dijon – and giving them another quick blast (max, 4 min at 180°c) to create an almost faithful reproduction of Pret’s in-store breakfast offering.
Are you already on the air fryer wagon, or are you contemplating investing in one? I’d love to hear your favourite recipes if you’re already a convert!
This post is in partnership with Very.co.uk but, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. All photography © Kate Baxter. 

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