While the smell of roasting turkey wafting through your home is wonderful, deep frying a turkey brings new and delicious flavors to the table. Many cooks avoid this method, however, because it requires intimidating-looking special equipment—and because immersing such a heavy bird in gallons of hot oil can be kind of dangerous.
Finding the best turkey fryer can be a challenge, but after reading the information presented below, you should know how to find and purchase the best turkey fryer for you and your family. (Besides, the more turkey you fry, the more excuse you have to bust out your favorite carving knife.)
- BEST OVERALL: Cuisinart CDF-500 Extra-Large Rotisserie Deep Fryer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: GasOne B-5155 Propane Burner with Steamer Pot
- BEST LARGE CAPACITY: Enterprises Turkey Deep Fryer
- BEST KIT SET: Backyard Pro 30 Qt. Turkey Fryer Kit/Steamer Kit
- BEST TURKEY FRYER POT: Bayou Classic 32-Quart Stainless Steel Turkey Fryer
What to Consider When Choosing Best Turkey Fryer
After learning about the safest way to fry a turkey, consider the characteristics that separate so-so fowl fryers from the best of the best. Before purchasing a turkey fryer, get the facts about fryers: type, materials, capacity, power source, cooking settings, and safety features.
Several types of turkey fryers are on today’s market, and the best fryer for each individual’s needs depends on its intended use.
- Propane models are reliable and usually made of durable materials. When shopping, remember to calculate the additional cost of the propane tank and its refills.
- Oilless fryers use infrared or other cooking methods to heat and cook the turkey. Typically expensive, they can’t accommodate very large birds.
- Electric turkey fryers cook the turkey by radiating heat via a heating element. Generally used for indoor cooking, they’re smaller than propane fryers.
Cooking a turkey is a long process, and many fryers must be used outdoors to reduce the risk of fire or injury. Though a few indoor turkey fryers are available, they’re smaller than outdoor models and can’t fit a large Thanksgiving turkey, for example. However, an indoor fryer is handy for smaller turkeys and other fowl, such as quail, chicken, or duck.
Most turkey fryers are made from steel, aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, or a blend. However, smaller fryer parts may be made from plastic or rubber.
Also consider the fryer’s weight and bulk. They’re large, and both steel and cast iron are heavy. Also consider storage space since the fryer must be moved.
Turkey fryer capacity is frequently measured by how many quarts it can hold, which usually ranges between 24 and 44 quarts. This size can contain an average-size turkey.
Fryer capacity is also listed in pounds, the weight of the bird it can hold. Most indoor fryers can cook a 15-pound bird.
A turkey fryer’s power is measured in one of two ways: British thermal units (BTUs) or watts. Propane fryer power is measured in BTUs, which, for most fryers on the market, range between 50,000 to 200,000 BTUs. High BTUs allow the fryer to bring large quantities of oil or water to a boil; however, the higher the BTUs, the less control the cook has over the heat. On some outdoor turkey fryers, another number appears: the pounds per square inch (psi) of the propane regulator. Most turkey fryers’ regulators produce 10 to 20 psi.
Fryer power also is measured in watts. For instance, a typical indoor turkey fryer uses around 1,800 watts, which equals approximately 6,100 BTUs.
Like a gas stovetop or grill, an outdoor propane fryer has a simple knob to adjust the flame. An electric or oilless turkey fryer may have more than one setting, adding to their versatility. For example, an indoor fryer may have a rotisserie setting and a basket for deep frying. Air fryers are a healthier way to fry food.
All the options, add-ons, and additional equipment on turkey fryers can overwhelm even the most dedicated shopper. Many fryers have built-in tools that make cooking easier and safer, including:
- Meat thermometers help cooks determine with certainty whether a turkey is fully cooked.
- A marinade syringe allows cooks to inject marinades right into the bird.
- Timers help cooks know how long the turkey has cooked.
- Cool-to-touch handles make moving turkey fryer pots safer.
- Steamer and fryer racks help remove the turkey from the fryer.
Turkey-fryer horror stories abound on the media. Even electric and oilless fryers cook at temperatures high enough to cause third-degree burns or fires. When shopping for the best turkey fryer, ensure that the fryer has safety features. Other safety precautions include:
- Goggles shield the eyes from oil splatter.
- Gloves help protect hands while maneuvering the turkey or the pot.
- Keep an ABC fire extinguisher on hand to put out oil-related fires. Never use water to put out a turkey fryer fire or leave the fryer unattended.
- Keep the oil level inside the pot even.
Pro tip: Before frying a turkey, measure the oil, weigh the turkey, and prepare all the supplies. On the day of the event, cooks can keep their focus on that giant pot of boiling oil.
Our Top Picks
The following top picks recognize that shoppers prioritize different safety features, capacities, and construction materials when comparing turkey fryers. However, all these fryers have quality construction, and each can cook a succulent, juicy bird.
This indoor electric fryer by Cuisinart features sturdy stainless steel construction that coordinates with the stainless steel appliances that many cooks already have in the kitchen. Cuisinart’s deep fryer can hold a turkey up to 14 pounds and fry it in around an hour. Not only can it fry turkeys, but it can also churn out crispy onion rings, seafood, chicken, veggies, doughnuts, and more. Its rotisserie setting brings additional versatility, and it includes a 120-minute timer and adjustable temperature control.
A lid helps keep fingers and arms safe from splattering meat juices and bubbling oil. Remove the oil, and the fryer does double duty as a steamer. Cuisinart’s 5-liter electric fryer weighs 26.45 pounds, so it’s fairly easy to move around the kitchen.
GasOne’s propane burner comes with a 24-quart aluminum stock pot and a steam rack to cook crab or lobster. Savvy bargain shoppers also appreciate that the GasOne comes with a steel-braided hose with an adjustable regulator, which allows users to adjust the flame with precision. The regulator’s O-ring keeps propane from leaking, so cooks stay safe. The steel-frame burner is coated with heat-resistant paint.
Bayou Classic’s 44-quart “Big Bird” commercial-grade stainless steel outdoor fryer is sturdy enough to handle massive birds. It weighs 35 pounds, which makes transporting it a bit difficult. The burner’s adjustable knob allows for control over the flame, and the 48-inch steel-braided hose keeps the tank a safe distance from the flame.
An insulated glove, aluminum perforated poultry rack, a grab hook, a 12-inch thermometer, and a stainless steel injector are included.
Backyard Pro’s turkey fryer kit contains accessories similar to those in a deluxe set. It includes a lid for the 30-quart capacity aluminum pot. This propane burner’s steel frame is sturdy enough to hold almost any size food. The set includes a marinating syringe, hanger, poultry rack, steam rack, meat thermometer, and an additional smaller pot with a steam rack.
The propane hose is about 3 feet long, which may be a bit short for some users. It produces an impressive 55,000 BTU.
Bayou Classic’s stainless steel pot comes with a lot of useful gear, including a perforated basket, frying rack, hanger, marinade syringe, 12-inch meat thermometer, and a vented lid. Heavy-duty stainless steel handles make it easier to transport. It weighs about 14 pounds.
FAQs About Turkey Fryers
Since so many people have safety concerns about cooking with a turkey fryer, you may have some questions. The most frequently asked questions about the best turkey fryers and their corresponding answers appear below.
Q. How large of a turkey can fit in a 30-quart fryer?
The maximum recommended weight for a 30-quart fryer is 18 pounds.
Q. What is the oil temperature for frying a turkey?
The ideal oil temperature for frying a turkey is 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Q. How long should I fry a turkey?
The total time varies depending on the size of the turkey. Experts recommend that you cook the turkey 3 to 4 minutes per pound.
Q. How do I clean my turkey fryer?
After removing the used cooking oil, add degreasing dishwashing soap and fill the pot with hot water. Be sure cooking tools, such as fryer racks or steaming racks, are covered with hot water; then use a rough sponge or brush to scrub away the grime.