If you are a fan of the Instant Pot, or aka a Pothead, you have probably heard the rumors going around about the Instant Pot Vortex Plus 7-in-1 Air Fryer Oven. The moment I found out about the soft sell (and this is actually a technique of advertising that uses subtle persuasion and and low key campaigning, and let me tell you, it worked on this gullible gal!) I searched ever Walmart location until I found one that was carrying it and like an iPhone sale on Black Friday I snatched that box right up and the moment I got home I did an Unboxing video which you can view here. Of course the next step was to actually try it out. I will be posting videos and recipes soon, but I wanted to write a quick initial review of the first few times using it.
**Important Info- I am not sponsored nor have I received any money for trying this product. Instant Pot did not send me one to try out. I heard about the Vortex Plus online and drove quite a long way to NJ through the Lincoln Tunnel to buy one.**
Accessories for the Vortex Plus
In my unboxing video you can see how easy it is to set up out of the box and I show you each of the accessories it comes with. No tools necessary and they bring all the accessories you need to start cooking. The accessories included are:
- Drip Tray– it is aluminum and coated with Teflon (PTFE) for easy cleaning. (If you do not cook with anything that has Teflon or non-stick coating, this might not be the appliance for you. The instructions say not to use any accessories that don’t come with this appliance, so until they come out with non-Teflon coated accessories, this won’t work.)
- 2 Cooking Trays– These are also non-stick. I like how it comes with 2 trays and not just one. I was able to fit 4 large slices of bacon or 4 slices of regular white bread on 1 tray.
- Rotisserie Spit– This is the long skewer and prongs used to make Chicken or a Roast.
- Rotisserie Cage– This is my favorite accessory. It is a round cage that attaches to the turner on the inside of the Vortex Plus and spins. This allows you to add food like fries, shrimp, or chicken wings (which I made from frozen and they were delicious!) and it will rotate while it Air Fries so that all sides of the food get evenly cooked without you having to stop the cooking to flip the food, mimicking regular frying technique because the food is being cooked on all sides at the same time.
- Rotisserie Remover– I’m not sure what this is called, but it’s a large metal fork that you use to remove the Rotisserie Cage or the Rotisserie Spit once the food is done cooking.**My first negative review.** I noticed the coating on the Fork has come off and the metal underneath has rusted. I have not used this accessory so this must have happened in the factory. I intend to reach out to the company about this and I will update you on it.
Vortex Plus Instruction Manual
The manual is not very detailed at all. It has enough information to get you started, (which I guess is why they call it a Getting Started Guide) but even though I don’t like manuals the size of encyclopedias, this one I felt was lacking a lot of information. It does include the dimensions and pertinent information about the appliance itself which is good.
**Update: Click here for the PDF of the entire complete manual for the Vortex Plus. It is more in depth than the one that comes in the box.
Initial Cooking Test with the Vortex Plus
The first thing I cooked with the Vortex Plus was bacon. My family loves crispy bacon, but I usually refrain from making it regularly because of the mess, time, and grease. I usually cook my bacon in the oven to keep down on the splatter you get from a pan. I always found this to be the best way to get really crispy bacon. However, it takes quite a bit of time (20 – 25 mins plus the time it takes for the oven to preheat)) and I though it’s great for large batches of bacon, using a baking sheet for just a few slices is a pain especially to clean. I thought if I could use the Air Fryer mode to cook crispy bacon without a lot of mess and time, this would be the best way to test the efficiency and worth of this appliance.
The Vortex Plus has a preheating feature built in. I pressed Airfry and set it for 5 mins.
When you press any function and “START” (I used the Airfry function as you can see int he photo below) the Vortex will say “ON” and then preheat the Oven. Once it is done preheating it will display “ADD FOOD” and that is when you add the tray. It took 2 mins to preheat before it told me to add the food.
While it was preheating I got the bacon ready. I started with one tray of regular Oscar Mayer bacon. I could fit 4 slices of the thick cut bacon on one tray (I decided to make one tray first just to test it out).
When the Vortex was done preheating, it beeped and displayed “ADD FOOD”. I opened the door and added the tray in the middle position. As soon as you close the door the oven begins again and starts to count down.
Once it is done cooking, it beeps and displays “COOL DOWN” for a few seconds. Then it turns off and you can take out the food.
The total time from start to finish was 7 mins (2 mins preheating and 5 mins air frying) and the bacon came out amazing! Very crispy and not greasy. All the grease dripped down below and collected in the drip tray. Once it cooled I was able to clean it in my sink with just a sponge and dish detergent.
(After this test run, I tried making 2 trays of bacon, one tray on the top and the other tray int he middle. The only difference is that I set the timer to 10 mins and half way through, the Vortex instructed me to turn the food. I switched the position of the trays because I could see since the heating element and fan is at the top, it cooks the top tray quicker than the bottom. Both trays of bacon came out crispy, but I did have to make sure the top tray didn’t burn.)
Cleaning the Vortex Plus
Cleaning the Vortex Plus Oven was pretty easy. I used a damp Norwex cloth (you can use a sponge or a dish cloth) to just wipe down the inside of the oven. Here is a picture of the cleaned inside after I cooked bacon, wings, and toast.
The trays and drip pan can be cleaned with just soapy water and a sponge. They have a very good non-stick coating that cleans easily.
One tip: The Instruction Manual says you can cover the drip tray with foil for easier cleaning. I haven’t found this necessary, but it’s a good tip.
The Rotisserie Cage I thought would be a pain to clean. At first I was just using a sponge, and it took quite a bit of scrubbing. However, I realized that my kitchen brush did a much better job and once I switched to using that, it cleaned much easier. So I would recommend if you are going to use the Cage often, get a cheap kitchen scrub brush. It works great!
Last, but not least, my favorite feature for cleaning was the Removable Door. I have a great toaster oven, but it drives me crazy how the crumbs always get between the oven and the door and are impossible to get out. With the Vortex Plus, you can actually remove the door so not only can you get any crumbs the get in between the door and the oven, but it makes it easier to clean the inside as well.
**This is my second negative critique.** The instruction manual does not have instructions on how to remove the door! I tried lifting, pulling, looking for a latch, but I could not figure it out. I was scared to pull too hard for fear of breaking it. So I had to resort to calling my husband to come help me. After a few minutes of both of us trying, we figured out the trick.
To remove the door, you need to open the door about half way and then pull up on the left side of the door to jimmy it out. Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to do, but boy was it an exercise in futility and patience for the first 20 mins trying to figure it out.
**I will be sure to show you how to remove the door in my video review so you won’t want to thrown the thing out the window like I was tempted to do.**
All in all I really like this oven so far. I will have to make a few more things to really get the hand of it, but I see it as a great addition to my kitchen!