Philips Premium Airfryer XXL (HD9861/99) review: Large in more than just name
- Intuitive controls
- Impressive cooking performance
- Large capacity
- Easy to clean
- Not great if you have limited bench/cupboard space
- Accessories could be cheaper
The Philips Airfryer XXL is designed for home cooks who need to feed a whole family. Philips offers several air fryer options and the XXL is the largest and most expensive option in the Philips air fryer range. We put it to the test to see if it lives up to its $599 price tag.
The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the Philips Airfryer XXL was just how large this thing is. That's by no means a criticism — any product with XXL in its name obviously ain't going to be small — but it's something worth being aware of. If you're short on cupboard or bench space, you'll probably want to consider something a little smaller.
The XXL also weighs in at around the 8kg mark, so it's far from the lightest appliance you'll have in your kitchen. But it is a good-looking piece of kit, and its slick black design with copper highlights means it should look right at home in many modern kitchens.
It's also easy to set up and use straight out of the box. Grasp the handle on the front, pull gently and the cooking basket slides out smoothly. You've got 1.4kg of cooking capacity to work with, and the handle is attached to the cooking basket which features a removable mesh bottom.
Below this sits the fat reducer insert, which slips into place at the bottom of the pan. All removable parts are dishwasher-safe, which is handy when it's time for the post-dinner clean-up, and there's also an extra rack to increase your available cooking surface.
In terms of controls, you can program in your desired settings using a series of push buttons and a dial. There are pre-set programs for frozen fries, homemade fries, whole fish, chicken drumsticks and a whole chicken.
If you'd rather cook in manual mode, press the temperature button and then dial in your desired temperature on the digital display. Then press the timer button to choose your cooking time, confirm your choice and then sit back while the Airfryer XXL goes to work. It's intuitive and very easy — you'll figure it out in no time.
One issue I did encounter was finding cookware that was the right size and shape to fit into the cooking basket. When using the Airfryer XXL to prepare things like brownies and quiches, some of the baking dishes in my kitchen cupboards were just a little too big. I always found something that would fit, but it often took a little bit of rummaging in the back of the cupboard first.
Philips does offer a range of accessories for this product so that you'll always have the right-size dishes on hand. These include the Breakfast Kit ($59.95) and the Baking Master Kit ($49.95), so you'll be looking at a decent chunk of extra cash on top of the several-hundred you've already paid for the air fryer. Ideally, I'd like to see those accessories priced at a more affordable level — but there are plenty of cheap air fryer accessories on eBay that I plan to try out instead.
I should say upfront that I've always been a bit of an air fryer sceptic. My basic concern has always been that I don't usually make that much fried food at home, so what would an air fryer do other than take up space in my kitchen? Despite the fact that this model has picked up plenty of positive customer reviews, I wasn't really sure what to expect from the Airfryer XXL.
The good news is that I came away pleasantly surprised. I've cooked a wide range of dishes in this air fryer — much more than just fried and frozen food — and it's proven itself to be a pretty versatile performer. From French fries and quiche to brownies and even a whole chicken, it's delivered impressive results across a range of savoury and even sweet dishes (more on this in a minute).
We're a busy family with two young kids, so thinking of new dinner ideas each week can be a challenge. But that was another thing I liked about the Airfryer XXL; it encouraged me to search for new recipes, try new things and generally get out of the rut of cooking the same meals over and over again. I was also impressed by the fact that you don't have to worry about pre-heating the Airfryer XXL before you start cooking — just put your food in the basket, switch it on and away you go.
The 5 pre-set programs are also a handy inclusion. I've tried out the Smart Chef programs for a whole chicken and homemade and frozen fries, and I couldn't fault them at all. That said, I would have appreciated a few extra built-in programs for added convenience.
What I've cooked with the Philips Airfryer XXL so far:
Homemade French fries
What better way to test out an air fryer than with some delicious potato goodness? The Airfryer XXL has an in-built Smart Chef program for homemade French fries. All you have to do is peel potatoes, slice them into fries, soak them in warm water and then stir them in a bowl with up to three tablespoons of oil.
The Airfryer XXL chimes twice throughout the cooking process to notify you when it's time to shake the fries in your basket. Be sure to shake them thoroughly — my first attempt was a little lazy, so some fries weren't as well cooked as others. That said, once I gave them a proper mix around, they were crispy, crunchy and a big hit with my kids.
I again used one of the air fryer's Smart Chef programs and followed the steps outlined in the provided recipe book, including rubbing the chicken with a simple mix of paprika, salt and oil. I then put it in the airfryer, chose the whole chicken Smart Chef program and specified the weight of the bird.
The Airfryer XXL chose a cooking time of 80 minutes and the results were delicious. The chicken was succulent, the flesh on the leg was practically falling off the bone, and the crispy skin picked up rave reviews — mouthwateringly good stuff.
Spring rolls, samosas and dim sims
For my next test, I picked up a selection of tasty treats from the frozen aisle of my local supermarket. I decided to mix the spring rolls and samosas around in roughly a tablespoon of olive oil first, which turned out to be a mistake. Cooking them managed to set off the smoke alarm in my living room (though I didn't think the room was particularly smoky), and the oil didn't really add anything in terms of taste.
So I put the oil back in the pantry and cooked the dim sims without any additions, producing much more pleasing results.
Ham and zucchini quiche
This time I tried to experiment with a recipe I've cooked in the oven plenty of times before. While there are plenty of quiche recipes out there specifically designed for air fryer cooking, I wanted to see how the air fryer performed on a familiar dish.
I used manual settings and a little bit of guesswork, and the quiche cooked roughly 10 minutes quicker than it does in my oven. It tasted good too, but was maybe a little too rich and oily for my liking. I plan to use the Airfryer XXL to cook an air fryer-specific quiche recipe in the future, so watch this space to find out how it goes.
Sweet treats probably aren't the first thing you think of when cooking in an air fryer, but there are plenty of air fryer dessert recipes out there if you do even a basic Google search. I hunted around for a simple brownie recipe online and then combined all the ingredients with a few extra choc chips thrown in for good measure.
Set to a temperature of 165°C, it took 20 minutes until the brownies were cooked perfectly. Crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside, they were a great match for a morning coffee.
With my barbeque out of gas, the Airfryer XXL was called into action to cook up some burgers for a mid-week family dinner. I put 4 supermarket-bought patties into the basket and then fired it up not really knowing what to expect. Happily, the end result was one of the best things I've made in the air fryer so far.
The beef patties were perfectly cooked and full of flavour, but a lot of the fat in them had dripped out and through to the bottom of the pan. Air fryer advocates often tout the health benefits of cooking in these appliances, and while I'm not sure exactly how much truth is in some of those claims, the burgers definitely seemed less greasy than when fried in a stovetop pan.
The patties were also ready very quickly. I cooked them for 12 minutes at 200°C, added some cheese to the top of each patty, then cooked for another 3 minutes to melt the cheese.
Sweet potato chips
Next on the Airfryer XXL's list of cooking tasks was creating this light snack. This was a simple matter of peeling off thin strips of sweet potato, soaking them in water and then seasoning with salt, pepper and a tiny bit of oil.
The result was light and crunchy chips that were reasonably more-ish, though I reckon a bit more seasoning (including some rosemary) is in order next time.
Pork belly has always been something that sounds good in theory but that we rarely cook at home, so I was keen to give it a go in the air fryer. After patting the pork dry, seasoning it with salt and giving it a quick spray with oil, it was popped in the cooking basket and ready in under an hour.
Served alongside an apple coleslaw concoction, the pork itself was tender and succulent, while the crackling — oh baby, the crackling! — was super-crunchy and delicious. I also used some of the leftover pork the next night to make a Vietnamese-style banh mi on a crusty baguette, so it did two meals in one.
What do you get when you combine beef mince, breadcrumbs, onion, grated parmesan, an egg, barbeque sauce, and some herbs (mint and dill) from the garden? Some pretty damn tasty rissoles, that's what.
I cooked them at 200°C for 15 minutes, the same temperature and cooking time I used for store-bought burgers, but I was concerned that the rissoles were a little overdone when I opened the air fryer. But while they weren't the most aesthetically pleasing creations, they tasted great.
Roasted Cajun Chickpeas
I made these by adapting a recipe from the Philips NutriU app. After rinsing and drying a tin of chickpeas, I combined them with some salt, 1 teaspoon of oil, and some cajun seasoning (the recipe called for curry powder).
Into the basket they went at 160°C for 25 minutes. I wasn't expecting much from these humble-looking little bites but I was once again impressed. These crunchy and salty morsels made a perfect beer snack, and would also make a handy ingredient if you wanted to add some crunch to a salad.
One of the headline features in Philips' marketing literature is the Airfryer XXL's Smart Sensing technology. This essentially means that the air fryer decides on the optimum temperature and cooking time based on what (and how much) you're frying.
I relied on this when cooking the whole chicken as well as homemade and frozen fries and it didn't put a foot wrong. Once you select your food type from the range of Smart Chef programs, the Airfryer XXL takes a few seconds to calculate the optimum settings and then shows them on the digital display.
Of course, with only 5 Smart Chef programs available, you'll often be relying on manual settings. These are easily programmable on the central dial, with any adjustments instantly displayed on the screen. The whole process feels very smooth and high-end, as it should on an appliance with a $600 price tag.
Should you buy the Philips Airfryer XXL?
- Buy it if you want an air fryer that's big, easy to use and produces great-tasting food.
- Don't buy it if you're short on cupboard or bench space, or on a tight budget.
The Philips Airfryer XXL has been a surprisingly impressive addition to my kitchen. I'm using it a lot more than I thought I would, and it can cook a far greater variety of dishes than I realised.
However, it's not cheap and it's not the best choice if space is already at a premium in your kitchen. But if you're searching for a large-capacity air fryer that's user-friendly, versatile and can provide a treat for your taste buds, there's a lot to like about the Airfryer XXL.
The other question that remains to be answered is whether the Airfryer XXL will continue to get regular use, or whether the novelty will wear off and it'll just be taking up precious cupboard space in my kitchen. Time will tell, but after 6 weeks it's still getting regular action, which I think is a good sign of things to come.
If you're looking for a cheaper, or smaller, air fryer, check out our guide to the best air fryers in Australia for more options.
Pricing and availability
Images: Tim Falk
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