Product Review: Instant Brands, Instant™ Vortex Plus™ Versazone XXL Air Fryer 8.5L

The Brand

Instant Brands might not be top of mind for the kitchen but it owns a boggling array of category leaders from Corelle, Pyrex, Corningware, Snapware, Visions and its iconic Instant Pot. So it has you covered from bakeware, dinnerware, kitchen and household tools to storage and cutlery. The brand’s origins date back over 100 years, and I can remember my mum’s passion for her Pyrex cookware from my childhood!

Today we are reviewing the top of the range (and biggest option). The Vortex plus. Now if this sounds like a new Marvel movie hold your horses, there is a lot of action packed into a small space.

Unboxing and setup

It’s a breeze. The bright red and black cardboard packaging opens easily to reveal the airfryer. There really is nothing much to do than a quick wash of the basket and tray and plug it in. It comes with a small instruction manual, but no QR code which would have been a nice touch to access more information.

The tray is wide and shallow with a grill and divider.

The LED Screen

I like the fact that it is so sleek, no physical buttons to press that can get yucky in the kitchen, just an easy to clean LED touch screen. The central dial enables me to easily change time which is faster than the alternative of press n’ hold options for the time to zoom up or down. I also like the noises. They are delicate, soft, not SHOUTY and loud which make your ears ring.

The Cook – Bake
It has six presets Airfy, Roast, Bake, Reheat, Grill (not broil!) and the one am excited to try – dehydrate. This model as Instant™ Vortex™ and what they call VersaZone™ which is an extra large 8.5L basket which can be divided in two by using a plastic divider to create individual 4.25L baskets.

First up is my quiche. I tap ‘bake’ it presets to 180C for 20 minutes which is bang on. I really like the ‘pre cook mode’ which enables better cooking -essential to stop a pastry base from going soggy first. I follow the warm up progress as the bars on the display expand. A little beep and its ready to pop in.

Twenty minutes later it’s ready. The top is cooked evenly, not overly brown, and the heat has been distributed around the quiche. The bottom is not as crispy as cooking in an oven (plus I didn’t flip it upside down for obvious reasons!).

The basket is quite shallow, which makes it easier to get my ‘mits’ around it and pick it up, the big tray also means more air can circulate. The taste is great, and its been beautifully and evenly cooked.

I use the ‘roast’ function’ on air fryers regulary to cook sourdough , but given how shallow the basket is, it’s not suitable for a 500g loaf or even something like a banana bread which needs room to rise. So the bake function is limited due to the lack of height clearance. Same with a chook. Spatchcock yes but a chicken over 1.5kgs will have trouble fitting without squishing it flat.

SyncCook and VersaZone™ – Dehydrate

This technology cooks in a single 8.5L zone or in two 4.25L zones, with separate controls for each, for the ultimate in cooking flexibility.

Now, if you have dogs or cats, it’s likely that like me, you are paying upwards of $60per kilo whether its lamb lung, chicken necks, liver or a heap of other rather off putting offal! With two greyhounds treats cost a fortune. So I am going to try the dehydrate to create doggie treats!

I use the divider to create two zones for differnt type of cuts (Versazone feature). In one I place premium beef mince which I have squished into flat ball shapes and in the other, slices of raw beef from Harris Farm (the nice butcher gives me offcuts!). I time the mince for 3hours at 60C, the other for 4 hours. The synch finish means I can time them both to be ready for ‘doggy dinner’ at 6pm!

The down side of a longer cook is the noise. This air fryer has a noisy fan and if you have an open plan kitchen/lounge you might like to dehydrate overnight rather than needing to turn up the TV so you can hear your favourite Netflix show.

Fast forward a few hours and voila! The meat has been beautifully cooked, with the fat rendered, though if I did it again I would go lower and slower to get a dryer result. The girls are in grey-heaven and snapple the pieces up.

The Fry – Chicken drumsticks

The preheat kicks off, and in minutes my BBQ wings are bubbling. They are evenly crispy with a shake or two mid fry. The pre set is 15 mins at 196C. This is perhaps my favourite function as the wide basket enables maximum room for each piece of chicken to get really crispy, unlike some of the other more slimline versions, where you need to rotate them more to get an even cook.

What are we addicted to?  I love the idea of compartments with different cooking zones, the sync finish is a nifty one which is fantastic for cooking meats and veggies delivering dinner on the table at the same time. The bake, roast function is excellent and the dehydrate also works a treat. Sleek, powerful and easy to clean by hand washing or popping the basket and tray in the dishwasher. It’s a great all round family option.

What do we need to be more addicted? It’s a louder fan than some on the market, and loses its versatility due to the basket being so shallow. It’s a large machine which takes up more counterspace. There is no steam option.

Available at and other leading retailers including Myer, Big W,Amazon, Harvey Norman, Kitchen Warehouse
RRP $399

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).