Dreo ChefMaker review: convection heat combines with water atomization for perfectly-cooked meals

Air frying is just the tip of the iceberg with this multi-function cooker

5 Star Rating
baking cookies in the dreo chefmaker
(Image: © Future / Terri Williams)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

The 6-quart Dreo ChefMaker is part air-fryer and part countertop oven. It uses convection heat to cook food quickly and evenly, but also uses a water spray system to keep food moist so it never gets dry. Three cooking modes (chef mode, classic cook, and probe cook) provide plenty of choices, and the Dreo app lets you remotely control the machine, monitor the progress of your food, and view tutorials. It’s expensive for an air fryer, but not for a countertop oven.

Pros

  • +

    App provides video-guided recipes

  • +

    See-through basket

  • +

    Compact considering countertop oven features

Cons

  • -

    6 quart may be too small for some

  • -

    Time estimates are sometimes off

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The Dreo ChefMaker is a versatile machine that can cook just about anything. The combination air fryer does everything you would expect from one of the best air fryers on the market, but it also does so much more. The custom algorithm allows it to use multi-state cooking. Super convection cooking is both accurate and fast, while the water atomization process sprays a mist of water to keep food from getting dry. The Dreo ChefMaker also has a dual sensor probe to sense the temperature and make adjustments as necessary.

There are three cooking modes. Chef mode includes presets, while Classic Cook lets you control the cooking style based on both time and temperature. Probe cook is for temperature-based cooking. The ability to sear and crisp food is yet another feature that makes the machine fun to use.

With over 80 cooking programs that include detailed instructions, there’s no need to be a master chef to cook like one.  And the see-through basket, along with the optional light feature, can let you see what’s happening as the food is cooking. There are other convenient details that make the ChefMaker easy to use as well. For example, the estimated time left feature integrates other types of information like letting you know when the food is browning, and also when it's resting. And when the food has finished cooking, there’s an audible alert, along with a reminder to beware of high temperatures when handling the cook probe.

Keep reading to find out how the Dreo ChefMaker performed in all my tests then, head to our best air fryers guide to see how it stacks up against competitors.

Terri Williams freelance writer
Terri Williams

Terri is a freelance writer living in Birmingham, AL. She has tested hundreds of products, including kitchen appliances, vacuums, bedding, furniture, luggage, and tech gear. Terri has bylines at Architectural Digest, Forbes, Popular Science, CNN Underscored, NBC News, The Daily Beast, USA Today, and US News & World Report, as well as TechRadar, Homes & Garden, and Tom's Guide. Follow her adventures @Territoryone.


Terri has tested several countertop ovens, including models by June, Breville, Tovala, Ninja, Wolf, and De’Longhi. She tested the Dreo ChefMaker for several weeks, evaluating design, user-friendliness, and performance. Terri was allowed to keep the Dreo ChefMaker for ongoing use.

Dreo ChefMaker: key specifications

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Model nameDreo ChefMaker
Functions3 modes (Chef, Classic, Probe) and 8 functions: Air fry, bake, roast, reheat, toast, broil, dehydrate, and defrost
Wattage1800 watts
Capacity6 quarts
Noise level54dB
Temperature range100 - 450°F
Dimensions10.59 x 15.67 x 14.65 inches
Weight15.36 pounds

Dreo ChefMaker in the kitchen

Dreo ChefMaker fully assembled (Image credit: Future / Terri Williams)

Dreo ChefMaker: price & availability

The Dreo ChefMaker is priced at $359. It’s available at Amazon, and on the Dreo website. At the time of publication, Dreo is also offering an $80 discount using the code on its website.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Dreo ChefMaker: first impressions

The Dreo ChefMaker arrived in a branded cardboard box partially covered with plastic to protect the edges from fraying. The contents were cradled in Styrofoam and paper. The Dreo ChefMaker has a modern, stylish design. It’s larger than the typical air fryer, but compared to a countertop oven (which it can certainly compete with), the appliance is actually a space-saving option.

And that’s the dilemma of the Dreo ChefMaker. Since it’s a combination appliance, it straddles the fence between air fryer and countertop oven. The 6-quart capacity allows it to hold a lot of food, which is typical of an air fryer, but not very large for a countertop oven. So, even though it performs most of the same functions as a countertop oven, consumers who use a countertop oven to cook family meals may not find it big enough to meet their needs.

Dreo ChefMaker: Design

I love the user-friendly design of the Dreo ChefMaker. It only weighs 15.36 pounds, and the dimensions are 10.59 x 15.67 x 14.65. I tested it in a corner on my countertop and there was plenty of space on all sides, which was important since the vent is in the back, so there needed to be enough ventilation behind it.

In addition to the appliance itself – which includes a non-stick basket – there’s a nonstick grilling rack, nonstick cooking tray, and cooking probe, along with a manual and quick start guide. I used the grilling rack for the majority of foods that I cooked, and used the cooking tray for baked goods. The cooking probe (temperature thermometer) fits neatly above the glass window in the nonstick basket. The glass feature lets me view the cooking progress (although the display shows a countdown timer as well).

dreo chekmaker unboxed with all parts

(Image credit: Future / Terri Williams)

The command center or digital display is on the top front (above the basket). The touch button controls consist of easy-to-understand icons, and include power on/off, interior light, Wi-Fi status, cancel/back, confirm/pause, and menu navigation.

There’s also a water tank on top of the Dreo ChefMaker. It holds 6.7 ounces of water, and is used for some meals to add moisture and keep food from drying out.

It’s an absolute pleasure to cook meals in this appliance because it provides so much helpful information and provides so many options. There are three modes. Chef Mode contains presets for cooking beef, poultry, pork, seafood, lamb, and vegetables.

For example, when cooking a ribeye steak, I would select Beef, which opens up a variety of beef selections, such as Beef Brisket, Beef Burger Patty, Beef Short Ribs, Steak-Filet Mignon, and Steak-Flank. Each selection has specific instructions. Under Pork, I can choose from Pork Chops, Pork Ribs and Pork Tenderloins.

The second mode is Classic Cook. It’s recommended for air frying, reheating, baking, roasting, defrosting, toasting, broiling, and dehydrating — when I want to choose my own cooking style. For example, when making chocolate chip cookies, I already know the time and temperature that I want to use.

The third mode is Probe Cook. When I want to just set a probe temperature and cook by it, this is what I would use.

Score: 5 out of 5

Dreo ChefMaker: Performance

I can’t rate the Dreo ChefMaker’s performance high enough. I’m giving it 5 out of 5 stars, but if I could give it more stars I would.

The combination of the super convection cooking system, combined with the water atomization process, and the easy-to-use temperature probe combine to make each meal easy and delicious.

One thing that I found rather puzzling is the Estimated Time Left. For example, when I insert the food into the appliance, and press start, the estimated time left might display as 20 minutes, but 3 or 4 minutes later, there’s only 8 minutes remaining, and 2 or 3 minutes later, the food is done. However, I don’t consider this a flaw, since I’m always pleasantly surprised when I can eat sooner rather than later. Also, I’ve used MacBooks for the past 20 years, and it uses this seemingly haphazard system of estimating time when making updates (1 hour remaining, and a few minutes later, ta-da! It’s finished).  

Dreo ChefMaker app

(Image credit: Future / Terri Williams)

The smartphone app (Dreo App V2) provides access to thousands of cooking videos with step-by-step instructions, and I could select one and send it to the appliance. The app also allowed me to monitor the cooking progress and receive push notifications when the cooking cycle finished. However, my brother is a retired fire chief, and it’s baked into my thinking not to leave a cooking appliance unattended, so I rarely used the app to monitor the cooking process.

Dreo ChefMaker: taste test

I’m a basic cook, so I just shake Weber’s Gourmet Seasoning on everything and insert the probe. In one test, I made steak using Chef’s Mode. After I selected the type of steak (ribeye), I was asked to select my preferred level of doneness from medium rare, medium, medium well, and well done. I love this level of specificity! I was advised that the probe and water were required, and it would take 10 minutes to cook the steak to my specs. The next option was to choose between classic and sous vide flavor. After making that choice (classic), I pressed start. The steak came out tender and juicy, and it was easy to cut. It could best be described as mouthwatering.

In another test, I made chicken thighs using Chef’s Mode. Under Poultry, my options were chicken breast, chicken thighs, chicken drumsticks, chicken wings, and chicken whole. I selected thighs, and was informed that I needed to use the probe and add water, and it would take 25 to 35 minutes to cook. Again, the food came out perfectly, and some parts of the chicken were browned and crunchy like they came off of a grill.

When making salmon, I selected Seafood, which brought up a variety of choices, including shrimp, lobster tail, cod filet, and scallops. Again, I was instructed to use water and the probe –with additional information to place the probe in the thickest part of the salmon. The salmon was soft and buttery, and easy to break apart when it came out of the appliance.

I made some beef tips using the Probe Cook mode and set the temperature to 130°F (I wanted them medium rare). The display panel showed the progress and also the ambient temperature. The beef tips came out seared on the outside and they were indeed medium rare (and delicious) on the inside.

In yet another test, I made pork chops. I could choose between pork chops, pork tenderloin, and pork ribs. I chose the appropriate setting, and the pork chops came out tasting like they’d been grilled, while remaining moist and tender.

For my final test, I made Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies and this time, I used the cooking tray. I was distracted and chose the time setting I select when baking them in my June Oven (350°F for 11 minutes). However, the cookies were slightly burnt. The next time, I set the time for 7 minutes and they came out crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside, as intended.

Score: 5 out of 5

Dreo ChefMaker: cleaning & maintenance

Cleaning couldn’t be easier, especially since almost everything is made of nonstick material. After unplugging the appliance, the control panel, main unit, and cooking probe were wiped with a damp cloth. The cooking tray, grilling rack, basket, and water tank were washed in the sink with warm water and dish soap. However, these items are also dishwasher safe.

Here's my favorite part of cleaning the Dreo Chefmaker: Not all of the water is used during a cooking cycle, but Dreo recommends drying it out after every use. However, there’s a Water Tank Draining feature on the control panel under Settings. I merely had to press this feature and all of the water drained out into the basket to be discarded. There’s also a descaling feature that uses water and baking soda to help maintain the appliance.

Should you buy the Dreo ChefMaker?

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AttributeNotesScore
Price & availabilityExpensive for an air fryer, but not for a countertop oven★★★★½
DesignVery intuitive and user friendly★★★★★
PerformanceExcellent. Sear, browns, and keeps food from drying out★★★★★

Buy it if...

You don’t like to fuss over cooking

The Dreo ChefMaker has plenty of presets that make it as easy as tapping a selection on the control panel to prepare food. Chef mode provides step-by-step instructions to take the guesswork out of cooking. However, it’s so user friendly, that even the other cooking modes make cooking easy.

You hate dried-out food

The water atomization feature helps to keep food nice and moist. The feature works really well, so you don’t have to worry about the food being soggy. It produces just enough water to keep food from being dry and tough.

Don't buy it if...

You’re accustomed to making entire meals in a countertop oven

The Dreo ChefMaker has almost all of the same features of a countertop oven – except the size. For one or two people, the compact appliance is fine, but don’t expect to use this alone to cook for a family on most days. 

You’re trying to get an air fryer on a budget

The Dreo Chefmaker is a good choice for a quality countertop oven, but if all you’ll ever use it for is an air fryer, there are plenty of other less expensive options to choose from. Granted they won’t have these smart features, but if you’re trying to save money, your budget may take priority.

How does the Dreo ChefMaker compare?

The Brava Glass Oven is another smart option that not only provides guided instructions, but also has a camera to let you view the food from the top of the oven, or remotely. The appliance has 3 zones so you can cook different foods at different temperatures. It even includes a Dutch Oven for slow cooking. However, at $1,995, it’s one of the most expensive countertop ovens on the market – and has a learning curve.

Another countertop oven — one that can cook two items at different temperatures at the same time — is the Ninja 12-in-1 Double Oven with FlexDoor. The items can also be synced to finish cooking at the same time. And the oven has a large capacity for family-sized households. The Ninja 12-in-1 Double Oven with FlexDoor is $249. 

How I tested the Dreo ChefMaker

I tested the Dreo ChefMaker in my home for several weeks. Using it on a regular basis gave me the opportunity to assess quality of build, ease of use, performance, durability, and ease of cleaning.

I cooked a variety of foods, from steak, chicken, salmon, pork chops and chicken to cookies. I also used the various cooking modes and settings to gauge performance.

Read more about how we test 

Terri Williams
Freelance Writer

Terri is a freelance writer living in Birmingham, AL. She has tested hundreds of products, including kitchen appliances, vacuums, bedding, furniture, luggage, and tech gear. Terri has bylines at Architectural Digest, Forbes, Popular Science, CNN Underscored, NBC News, The Daily Beast, USA Today, and US News & World Report, as well as TechRadar, Homes & Gardens, and Tom's Guide.