If you are looking for an air fryer that is more than just an air fryer, the Instant Vortex Plus Oven might be the right choice for your kitchen. The air fryer oven also functions as a dehydrator and rotisserie in addition to baking, roasting, broiling, and reheating leftovers. With a small foot print and so much functionality, it’s easy to make room for this new appliance.
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So, I did a thing and I feel like I need to confess: I finally jumped on the air fryer band wagon and purchased a brand new Instant Vortex Plus air fryer oven.
For the record, I previously couldn’t commit to a basket style air fryer because it’s a single use kitchen appliances. I feared that it would take up space, not get used nearly often enough, and might not live up to its hype. I put all kitchen appliances through this test and most basket style air fryers don’t pass.
However, I was recently introduced to the concept of an air fryer oven. An air fryer oven provides all the functions of a basket air fryer, but it also provides so much more.
It’s basically a convection oven on steroids. Like a basket style air fryer it uses hot air to mimic the results of frying foods while also cooks things much more quickly than other methods. This air fryer oven also roasts, broils, dehydrates, reheats, bakes, and has a rotisserie. Best of all it does it all without heating up your whole house.
In this review I’ll break down each of the functions and cover what I do and don’t like about them.
The Air Fryer Function
The first (and arguably most important) function of this air fryer oven is the air fryer function. While I’m not fully versed in all of the options on the market and I haven’t air fried everything just yet, I can tell you that from the tests I have done, this one has performed pretty well in my kitchen.
Full disclosure: I don’t agree that air frying is a perfect mimic of fried foods. However, I do agree that it’s a healthy swap for daily use. Just remember, the little bit of added oil is necessary to get that crispy finish. If you don’t have one, look into a Misto oil sprayer – mine is sure getting a workout with this new toy!
With this oven there are two ways to air fry : on the slotted trays or the rotisserie basket. They each have their benefits but they also have their draw backs. The best part about this oven is that you can choose the one that is right for your needs.
Air Fryer Trays
Out of the box this air fryer includes two air fryer trays. They look like baking trays with holes in them and function like a stationary air fryer basket. These trays are ideal for things like coconut breaded shrimp and homemade fritters that don’t need to be constantly flipped or rotated, or may fall apart if you tried.
These trays are shallow enough that it isn’t awkward to remove a delicate piece of fish or a freshly baked cookie in one piece. I predict that the trays will be what I use most often in recipe development as I test through all of my homemade fried recipes.
The other option for air frying in this oven is to use the air fryer basket with the rotisserie function. The basket looks like a deep fryer basket and one of those cages for lottery balls combined. It holds a fair amount of food (enough for 4 servings) and the slow rotating motion cooks evenly without burning.
While a rotating basket would not be good for battered chicken, it’s great for air frying vegetables like french fries or cauliflower, or for getting a crispy finish on a batch of chicken wings.
The Roast Function
The roast setting allows the food to cook slower than the air fry setting. However, if you are getting similar results from the air fry setting in a fraction of the time, this setting may not be used very often. It all depends on your desired outcome and the time you have to put into daily food preparation.
The one place the roast function does have the advantage is that it works with the rotisserie spit. You can air fry a whole chicken or a leg of lamb, or even try your hand at spit roasted chicken shawarma. There is just something about meat on a spit that tastes better and now you’ll have one in your own home.
The Broiler Function
While the machine claims to broil, it has a set temperature of 400º. Compared to my oven at 550º, that isn’t nearly hot enough. If you don’t have a broiler in your oven this is a solid alternative, but when using it for things you already broil you will need to adjust the time to compensate for the lower temperature.
This is the function that I think will get the least amount of use in my kitchen.
The Dehydrate Function
To be honest, this function was one of the bigger draws for me. I’ve been wanting a dehydrator for a while, but don’t have the storage space for a large machine and don’t want to dedicate that much counter space to it. Also, I’m not sure I’ll actually use it enough to purchase one as a single use appliance.
What is gained by having a small countertop footprint, is sacrificed in the lack of space for dehydrating. To be clear: this is NOT the dehydrating machine for people who have endless piles of fruit to dry or are prepping for a zombie apocalypse. However, if you want to make the occasional treat it is large enough for the job.
Overall, it does a fine job of dehydrating, but it does take a while to get the job done. If it came with a third tray you could use all three rack placements, maximizing time spent dehydrating.
The Bake Function
The bake function allows it to replace your oven for smaller baked goods. It will fit a single 9″x9″ cake pan, or an 8″ springform pan. I don’t have a 6 count muffin tin, but that may fit as well. According to the included insert, you can use any oven safe bakeware in it.
While this air fryer oven is not marketed as a toaster, the bake function does a decent job of it. Place your food on the rack, at the highest level and let it preheat to 400º with the food inside. It should take 1 – 3 minutes depending on how dark you like your toast.
The Reheat Function
The reheat function is supposed to put this thing in competition with your microwave. The idea is that you can reheat leftovers at a low heat to give better results than a microwave. After a few trials in my kitchen it has my vote for reheating!
While it’s not as quick as a microwave, it certainly does a better job at maintaining food texture and heating more evenly. Things that heat relatively well in the microwave (leftover spaghetti, chili, taco meat, etc) do really well at the suggested 280º setting. Items like leftover pizza or french fries reheat really well at 375º. Accompanied with my oven safe, glass storage containers I see myself using this reheat function often.
The trays, rotisserie basket, and rotisserie spit are all dishwasher safe and it doesn’t get much easier than that. Even when washing by hand, the surfaces of the trays clean up quickly and easily. The basket is a bit difficult to scrub, but there are worse things to clean in the kitchen. Just pop it in the dishwasher.
Many of the reviews I’ve read suggest that you should line the drip tray (the one without holes) with aluminum foil to prevent messes and promote quick clean up. I CANNOT make that recommendation.
These trays are so easy to clean that using aluminum foil seems wasteful. Also, if it gets a small tear in it and oil gets between the foil and the tray it can create a grimy, difficult to clean mess. Instead just make it a habit to grab the drip tray when you run your dishwasher. You’ll save time, money, and a small bit of the planet too. Just remember to put the drip tray in place!
What makes this even easier to clean is that the door to the oven comes off completely. Open it at about a 45º angle and pull one side up. It should pop right out of the hinge and can be cleaned with a damp cloth to remove any food debris. Pop it back in by holding at a 45º angle and sliding one side in and then the other. Always let the door dry completely before reinstalling.
Recommended Kitchen Tools
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Overall, I am really enjoying my new Instant Vortex Plus air fryer oven. It gives me a healthier method to prepare some of my personal homemade favorites, has a small kitchen footprint, and packs a lot of functionality into a very small space.
As the market for these ovens grows I hope to see Instant Pot make extra trays available so the space inside can be maximized, especially for dehydrating and air frying.
I can’t wait to get in and adapt some of my favorites with air fryer instructions. The instructions to adapt my Panko Crusted Oven Fried Rockfish Fillets have already been added and Sweet Potato Fritters are next on the list. What do you want to air fry first?
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