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Cooking with Instant's new Vortex Plus air fryer

We tested out every mode of the new 7-in-1 air frying machine by the maker of the Instant Pot. Here's how it went.

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Molly Price

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Instant Vortex Plus

Instant Brands, maker of the Instant Pot, steps into the air fryer arena with the $119 Instant Vortex Plus, a 7-in-1 air fryer that can also bake, broil, roast, reheat, dehydrate and rotate for rotisserie-style cooking. 

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Air frying

The Instant Vortex Plus comes with an air-frying rotisserie basket to tumble food while it cooks. The basket clips into the sides of the cooking chamber and can be released by the red latch on the fryer's left side. 

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Frozen-food frying

Our first batch of fries came out soggy and undercooked when we followed package directions. A little more time in the rotisserie basket and we reached golden-brown perfection. 

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Bake and broil

Slotted cooking trays allow grease to drip down to the catch tray below. Line the bottom tray with foil and cleanup is quick and easy. 

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Bacon

Bacon air-fried in the Instant Vortex Plus was crispy and evenly cooked. The slotted trays meant the bacon grease dripped through to the foil below. 

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Roast and rotisserie

The Instant Vortex Plus includes a rotisserie spit and two forks, so you can cook chicken or other small birds and meats rotisserie style. However, a 4-pound limit means most large chickens won't fit. 

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Chicken

Our roasted chicken cooked on the rotisserie spit for an hour at 380 degrees. The meat was juicy, but the skin wasn't as crispy as we'd hoped, even though the seasoning was very blackened.

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Reheat

Of course, the Instant Vortex Plus can also reheat your food. It will set the temperature to 280 degrees, and you select the time. This worked just fine for my leftover macaroni and cheese lunch. 

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Chocolate chip cookies

Cookies baked according to the package directions were a bit overdone. We lowered the temperature by 25 degrees and had a much better second batch. Finding the right time and temperature for your recipes will take some trial and error. 

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Dehydrate

The Instant Vortex Plus can also dehydrate, so we gave it a go. We dehydrated top round, marinated beef in thin slices at 155 degrees for 3 hours and then baked at 275 for 10 minutes. 

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Beef jerky at home

Making beef jerky with the Instant Vortex Plus was easier than I expected. The results were as good as common store-bought brands and it's one of our favorite features of this air fryer. 

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Design

We found the digital display to be less than helpful, and the 4-pound weight limit and 400-degree temperature limit mean you might need to rely on your full-size oven more often than not. 

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