Air Frying is all the rage and Instant Pot has jumped into the air fryer market with new, well-designed Instant Vortex Air Fryers. Here’s what you need to know before buying.
Update: The new Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer with ClearCook was recently released. It has a ClearCook window and internal light so you can easily monitor the cooking progress without opening the basket! I love this new feature.
Instant Pot recently released two great new products the Instant Vortex 6 Quart Air Fryer and the Instant Pot Vortex 10 Qt Oven Air Fryer. The Instant Pot Company sent me the Instant Vortex 6 Quart Air Fryer to review. I purchased Instant Pot Plus Air Fryer Oven, so I could also include it in my review.
What Is an Air Fryer?
Air fryers are popular because you can make quick, easy meals using 95% less oil and fat than deep frying. They’re basically small convection ovens that use a fan to circulate heat and air so your food crisps and cooks quickly without a lot of added fat.
Instant Vortex and Instant Vortex Plus 6 Quart Air Fryer
The Instant Vortex and Instant Vortex Plus 6 Quart Air Fryers are easy to use and easy to clean. They come with a Getting Started Guide and a Safety, Maintenance instruction booklet. There’s a cooking tray that fits in the bottom of the air fryer basket.
The Vortex is lightweight and easy to move around. Instant Pot recommends you have at least 5″ of space around the appliance, so I move it to my bar to use it.
The Vortex has four Smart Programs with pre-set cooking times and temperatures. The Vortex Plus has 6 Smart Programs. The Smart Programs can be customized to your own settings.
• Air Fry for fries, cauliflower wings, chicken nuggets and more.
• Bake Light and fluffy cakes and pastries, scalloped potatoes and more.
• Roast for beef, lamb, pork, poultry, vegetable dishes and more.
• Reheat to prepare leftovers without overcooking or drying out.
• Broil (Vortex Plus 6 only) for direct top-down cooking, melting cheese
on French onion soup and nachos, and more.
• Dehydrate (Vortex Plus 6 only)
I liked that you can adjust the time or temperature while it’s air frying without stopping the cooking. You touch Time or Temp button, rotate the Dial to the desired cooking time or temperature and press the Dial until it clicks.
A recipe book is not included, but the Instant Pot website does have How-To Videos and as well as a good cooking time table and answers questions. There isn’t much information on using the dehydrate feature, nor many recipes yet on the Instant Pot app or website but I expect they’re working on getting more recipes.
I’ve had good luck using air fryer recipes from some of my favorite blogs. Right now my favorite thing to air fry is vegetables. You get the flavor of oven-roasted vegetables in a fraction of the time when you air fry them.
Some of my favorite air fryer vegetable recipes are Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Honey Sriracha, Garlic Parmesan Air Fryer Potato Wedges, and Air Fryer Roasted Broccoli. I love the tip in the broccoli recipe to add a little water under the tray so the broccoli doesn’t smoke as it’s air frying.
Instant Vortex 10 Quart Oven Air Fryer
The Instant Pot Vortex Pro 10 Qt Oven Air Fryer shares the Vortex name with the 6 quart Instant Vortex Air Fryer but it couldn’t be more different. It’s an oven style air fryer with lots of fun attachments.
Included with the air fryer oven is a drip tray, two cooking trays, rotisserie basket, rotisserie fork/spit, and a rotisserie lift.
The Vortex Oven has Smart Programs that are adjustable. The Manual has good instructions showing how to use the attachments. It’s important to read about the weight and size restrictions when using the rotisserie basket and spit.
One of the things I was most excited to try in the Vortex Air Fryer Oven was a rotisserie chicken. Most of the chickens at my grocery store were too big for the rotisserie spit (under 4 lbs.) The organic chickens at Costco were just barely small enough, so I bought a two-pack.
I put an herb butter underneath the skin, and the chicken turned out moist and delicious with a gorgeous crisp and golden skin. The flavor was better than the rotisserie chicken I buy at Costco, but clean up was time-consuming and it cost about twice as much as a ready to eat rotisserie Costco chicken.
I bought some frozen potato wedges to eat with our rotisserie chicken and use the rotisserie basket to cook them. The basket works great and it’s fun to watch the food cook through the glass door in the air fryer oven.
However, the basket is a little bit difficult to clean and you have to use the rotisserie lift to remove the basket from the oven. (My rotisserie lift is currently missing. I’m sure I put it somewhere it would be easy to grab lol.)
Of course, I had to try out the bake feature, so I lined a cooking tray with a non-stick grill mat cut to size and baked some Snickerdoodle cookies. They cooked much quicker in the Vortex Air Fryer Oven and had a delightful chewy texture.
It would be fun to keep some cookie dough in the freezer to quickly cook some cookies. You really needed to cook four cookies at a time to weigh down the corners of the mat that had a tendency to blow up.
There are a handful of Instant Vortex Air Fryer Oven recipes on the Instant Pot website.
Instant Vortex Air Fryer Buying Guide
The Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer with ClearCook, Instant Vortex 6 Quart Air Fryer, and the Instant Pot Vortex 10 Qt Oven Air Fryer are great products. It can be hard to decide which one is right for you.
I preferred the lightweight, easy cleanup, and simple design of the Instant Vortex 6 Quart Air Fryer. In fact, I liked it so much I bought a second one to keep in my RV.
The Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer with ClearCook is currently my favorite and has earned a place on my kitchen counter. The little window is so convenient to easily see if your food is cooked without opening the basket.
The Instant Vortex Air Fryer Oven has lots of great features. It’s nice to have the glass oven door so you can see the cooking progress. It is more versatile, but I found myself not using it much and put it in my pantry and don’t use it much.
Pressure Cooker Air Fryers: If you already have a pressure cooker but want to add an air fryer capabilities to it, there are now air fryer lids for your pressure cooker – Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid and Mealthy CrispLid.
Air fryer recipes you might like:
- Barbara Bakes Air Fryer Recipes
- Air Fryer Potato Chips, Tasty Air Fryer Recipes
- Air Fryer Bacon, TwoSleevers
- Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Scallops, Skinnytaste
- Crispy Parmesan Buttermilk Chicken Tenders, Foodie Crush
- Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks, Show Me The Yummy
Disclosure: I was sent an Instant Pot Vortex 6 Quart Air Fryer to review, but all opinions expressed are always my own.
I baked a chocolate cake, it tested done, but when it was cool, I cut it and the insides oozed out, what a mess. Then tried a carrot cake, and it did the same thing. The insides that oozed out was cooked but not baked. Why is it doing this? I baked it on air fry at 350 for 20 minutes, the top was brown. Is anyone else having this trouble?
Does yours have an oven setting? It sounds like you are air frying it and not doing the baking setting.
Here it is 2022 and still no real information or cooking tips from Instant Brands on how to use the various functions of this air fryer. I bought one recently because of the recommendations by Wirecutter and America’s Test Kitchen but am very unhappy with the lack of information out there. The drawer has become more and more difficult to replace in the machine. One would expect it might go in smoother with use but with this particular machine that does not appear to be the case. The other thing I do not like is the forced preheat. Seriously considering returning it for another brand.
Hi Barbara, just bought the vortex 6 plus and wanted to know if I can cook without the cooking try when using other features eg baking. I know it has to be used for air frying etc but is it necessary for other cooking programs? Can I also line the bottom of the pan with aluminium foil before baking? Many thanks
Hi Denise – the cooking tray is pretty thin, so I have never tried cooking without it, even when baking I’ve placed the pan on top of the rack. When you use foil in the air fryer you have to be sure it’s weighted down enough so it does move around. I tried using a flat sheet of foil to bake a cookie on the tray and the edges flap around. Are you looking for easy clean up?
Thanks so much for your feedback. Magically, the first time I actually used my Vortex 6 the plate came out easily and I haven’t had that problem with it since. No idea why. My frustration is with the lack of air fryer cooking guidelines both in the user manual and on the Instant website. Should I cook boneless pork chops on air fry, roast or bake? There shouldn’t be so much trial and error involved. I have been using it daily for almost 2 weeks now with generally very good results. Sooo great not to have to man the grill or turn on the oven in this heat. It has earned a permanent place on my counter. I have made fillet mignon, parmesan crusted chicken, chicken cordon bleu (from frozen) kielbasa and many other things with great results.
I just purchased the Vortex 6+ and have yet to use it. I’m already concerned that the plate seems very difficult to squeeze into place inside the basket. I’m worried that the front and rear silicone bumpers are not going to last as a result, especially the one that has to pass over the screw that holds the handle to the basket. Is yours as tight fitting as mine? And yes, I have the arrows pointing in the right direction. I’m wondering if the tight squeeze is by design or if my unit is irregular/flawed in this regard and if I should exchange it.
Hi Lisa – no, mine doesn’t fit too tightly – as long as I put the back silicone bumper on the raised metal bump first and then push it down. I’ve been using it several times a week for months now and haven’t had a problem.
Thanks so much for your feedback. Magically, the first time I actually used my Vortex 6 the plate came out easily and I haven’t had a problem
with it since. No idea why. My frustration is with the lack of air fryer cooking guidelines both in the user manual and on the Instant website. Should I cook boneless pork chops on air fry, roast or bake? There shouldn’t be so much trial and error involved. I have been using it daily for almost 2 weeks now with generally very good results. Sooo great not to have to man the grill or turn on the oven in this heat. It has earned a permanent place on my counter. I have made fillet mignon, parmesan crusted chicken, kielbasa and many other things with great results.
i wondered if i was the only one frustrated with the lack of cooking guidelines. i’ve ruined a few things and don’t want to waste any more food! it would be really nice to know what exactly the difference is between the air fry, bake, and roast functions. i roasted a russet potato, but i nuked it for 2 minutes first to get it started (which i would like to get away from the microwave so much!), and then roasted at 400 for 5 minutes and it was perfect. i can’t imagine cooking one from room temp long enough to get it thoroughly cooked without having the skin burn, which is the best part. i also tried air frying broccoli at 350 and the florets were fried and the stems tough still, even though i cut them small. helpful hint: clarified butter has worked really well for me; doesn’t smoke and goes so well with garlic, salt, pepper and veggies. i
Hi Tammi – sorry you’re frustrated. I see more and more food bloggers posting air fryer recipes, so there should be more soon. Keeping a notebook of cook times is really helpful too.
Barbara I have both as I got them on a super cheap Christmas sale and I am just bout ready to put them in the trash or set them out on the curb for somebody to grab. Instant Pot company can give no info about them and the document that came with them is only set up and safety guides. There isn’t ant info available if you can use a trivet is it or pans from other companies. It is a hit and miss. I had a GoWise Air Fryer before and wish I still did. The cost of food isn’t cheap enough to experiment with when yo are on SSI
Hi Larry – sorry you’re frustrated. I’ve been having great success with mine just keeping on eye on whatever I’m cooking. You can often smell when things are getting browned and you can open the basket as often as you’d like without having to restart the cook time. What things do you want to cook that need a trivet or pan?