Whether you like to put on a show for your family or know that you have everyone and their mother visiting you during big events and holidays, nothing will impress the crowd quite like a big, fancy turkey fryer. With their ability to make short work of those big birds, investing in the best turkey fryer means you can get the hardest part of the meal together in no time- and they’re super-fun to use, too.
These pieces of innovative technology are just what you need to make your life easier and make your turkeys even more delicious. If you’re someone who’s thinking about buying one but feeling overwhelmed with all the options out there or perhaps you don’t know much about them at all, then we have brought all the information you need in one place, alongside our recommendations to make your choice a little easier.
The Best Turkey Fryer
Standing proudly at the top of our list is The Big Easy from Char-Boil. Available with everything you need to cook a turkey to perfection, including a drip tray and all of your accessories, this is the best turkey fryer on the market, today. Despite its big size and grand name, this is also one of the healthiest ways to fry your food, thanks to The Big Easy’s infrared cooking.
This is an oil-less turkey fryer that uses infrared technology to evenly cook your turkey from the inside-out, resulting in a crispy outer while retaining the succulent meat, within. This gives you the options of using marinades and spices, which are unusable in a traditional turkey fryer. Meanwhile the lack of oil allows for no waiting time- just fire up and wait for your perfectly cooked turkey to arrive.
Big capacity for regular usage
Very simple to use as only 2 knobs are present
Removable drip tray
- Weight31 pounds
Versatile options for cooking
Can be a bit small for large feasts
Hitting our second spot is the Bayou Classic turkey fryer pot. One big advantage of this turkey fryer is that it can cook your turkey in a really short time. It is also very lightweight hence easily portable. It is a long/tall pot, which is an advantage as you’ll be needing considerably less oil to fully soak the turkey in it. On the other hand, a fat bird might be an issue. Fitting a turkey as big as 22lb can be done easily while thoroughly cooking through.
This fryer pot comes with all the accessories you’ll need, other than the propane burner. You’ll get a fryer pot, pot lid, poultry rack and rack grab hook, 12-inch thermometer and a 1-ounce injector. The aluminum is sturdy and guaranteed to last you a long while. It has clear markers on the outside which will allow you to clearly understand how much oil you have added.
Circulates oil evenly
Comes with a perforated poultry rack and a thermometer
- BrandBayou Classic
- Model2.72 ounces
Very strong build
Not good for smaller meats or birds
The Masterbuilt turkey fryer is another oil-free electric fryer is capable of properly cooking 18 pounds turkey, while the char-broil one can cook around 12 pounds. As it is an electric fryer, you will not have to worry about the hassles of using gallons of peanut oil, let it be the risk of spilling out/boiling over and injuring someone, or the extra calories that are accompanied with the frying oil. It’s much healthier than deep fried turkeys.
On the other hand, obviously, you’ll have to sacrifice a bit of the crispiness of the skin. However, they promise to make the turkey very juicy and succulent. Most customers have reviewed that Masterbuilt has kept this promise.
Healthier option compared to traditional deep fryers
Double-wall setting supplies radiant heating to thoroughly seal the external of the turkey
Strong 1650-watt electric heating element
Comes with a built-in wood chip box and removable drip pan
- Weight23.5 pounds
Safer than models that use oil
Small and compact
Can be used outdoors only but needs an electricity source
Does not give the flavor of frying
The Butterball turkey fryer just misses out on our top three- but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot on offer, here. This electric turkey fryer heats up oil at top speed- but its secret weapon is that it can be used with just about anything, thanks to the included options of being able to boil and steam your food, as well as fry. Making this one of the healthiest options available to buyers.
This is an easy to clean, easy to maintain and easy to use option from Butterball, who have managed to create a fryer that gives endless options to consumers- including how you choose to clean your turkey fryer. The patented drain clip allows for easy oil drainage and therefore makes this one of the easiest and safest turkey fryers on the market
Patented drain clip
Options of frying, boiling or steaming any food
Indoor turkey fryer
- Weight 14.66 pounds
Can be used with any foods, from vegetables to full poultry portions
The drain spout allows you to easily capture and keep used oil
Short cord means you’re limited for space to cook
Very few fryer sets come with 2 pots, so this is obviously a big advantage over the others for this King Kooker fryer. It is a traditional, portable propane fryer which you can basically use anywhere you want, as long as it’s outside.
The versatility offered by the two pots is massive as they intend the smaller pot to be used for frying fillets or smaller pieces of meat. The ability to fry both full-sized animals and smaller cut ones is quite convenient indeed. Customers have some complaints regarding the alarm sound, but it can be easily solved by using timers on your phone. It is always advisable to stay near your fryer when it is in use.
Heavy duty body
Two pots of different sizes with heat resistant handles
Comes as a full set with necessary accessories
- BrandKing Kooker
- Weight19 pounds
Safety timer shuts down cooking every 10-15 minutes, preventing any harm
The pots have been known to bend
Propane turkey fryers have been one of the most popular options among cookery enthusiasts for a long time now and for good reason- they’re powerful and can make short work of a messy job. Not to mention that the best cookers are also easy to control, as you can change the amount of gas supplied to your cooker with a simple knob.
The Bayou Classic SP10 is a great option for those who like to spend their time in the great outdoors, as this is a cooking device that can easily be adapted to suit your needs, whether that’s heating up some coffee or cooking a big bird for a family feast. It may be marketed as a turkey fryer but, thanks to the fact it comes as a cooking attachment, as opposed to a full pot and accessories, it’s adaptable to suit whatever needs you may have.
Propane turkey fryer
1-piece steel welded frame
Includes 48-inch stainless braided hose, 10psi high-pressure regulator and brass control valve.
- BrandBayou Classic
- Weight 13.01 pounds
Acts as a gas heater, so you can choose how to cook your food- boil, steam or fry.
The lack of pot makes this a lightweight and small option- great for lugging around
Base only, so you’ll need to purchase a pot at your own expense
Another contender of the Masterbuilt brand, this electric fryer has become quite popular amongst its users too. The main and most obvious difference between this and the previous one is that it uses oil and therefore acts as a deep fryer.
This is an indoor turkey fryer; hence it comes with many strict instructions that have to be followed to the letter. Users have said that if all the instructions are followed carefully, then the end result is really amazing. The 1650-watt electric heating element heats up the oil in a jiffy, and draining the oil is very easy as it has an oil drain valve.
Fries up to a 14-pound turkey
Analogue control of temperature using a knob
- Weight26.9 pounds
Deep fryer so the taste is as desired
There have been complaints about the temperature not being maintained
Another propane turkey fryer, that comes complete with turkey fryer pot. The Big Bird from Bayou Classic comes with a complete set of accessories, allowing you to leave the worry back in the kitchen. This outdoor turkey fryer is aptly named, as it’s ideal for those really big birds.
Available with everything you could possibly need, from the glove and hooks to the thermometer, this is a great turkey fryer option for those who like to go with the classic route of deep-frying their turkey. Simply add in your oil, fire up, wait for the oil to get hot enough with the thermometer and add in your preferred turkey!
20-gauge commercial stainless steel
Full accessory set
- BrandBayou Classic
- Weight35 pounds
A huge 44Qt turkey fryer pot, ideal for those really big birds
Great for those who like to go for the classic deep-fried taste
Being large and heavy makes it difficult to get about, so not ideal for regular users
The Char-Broil Big Easy is an all-in-one propane turkey fryer that remains oil-less. Designed to create a crispy outer while keeping the inner meat succulent and juicy, this is a propane turkey fryer that has brought together the best of both worlds. Keeping the healthier options of being oil-less while keeping the power source nice and portable.
The Big Easy does exactly what it says on the tin- allowing you to pop your turkey in and get on with your other preparatory work while your turkey cooks. Speaking of which, this is a super-fast turkey fryer, taking only 10mins per pound! Just check the thermometer (included) to keep track of your cooking time.
Easy to use
As portable as your propane tank
- Weight28.9 pounds
Oil-less, so you can get the taste of a fried turkey without calories
No spills or burns, thanks to the design of this all-in-one turkey fryer
Will need a propane tank to be bought separately
Can be quite heavy, so not the most portable option on our list
Bringing you everything except the propane tank itself, is this option from Cooper & Co. Included are two pot types- one being a 30Qt turkey pot, the other a 11Qt frying pan- which allows to chop and change from food type to cooking style, with minimal fuss.
This is a heavy-duty turkey fryer and steamer kit that suits those who really like to put out a full spread during get-togethers. The base is really sturdy and great for camping trips too, although you’ll need to be careful that you don’t overfill the pots, as some customers have mentioned there is a higher risk of spills and burns with this brand over others on our list.
Two pans included
Great for campers and travelers
- BrandCooper & Co
Two different pans, which allow the user to change from one to the other, with different cooking styles
Can boil, fry or steam items thanks to the accessories, included
Is prone to spilling
Lack of a draining spigot can make this a difficult turkey fryer to clean
Best Turkey Fryer Buying Guide & FAQ
Features to Look for in a Good Turkey Fryer
Just like any other purchase, a turkey fryer should be bought after taking important factors into consideration. Different people have different needs, so make sure your fryer suits your needs perfectly before deciding on one. The important factors are:
- Usage and versatility:
How do you plan on using your fryer? Will it be something you keep stored round the year and use during the holidays only, or do you wish to use it throughout the year in cooking various meals? Depending on your choice, make sure that the fryer has the features or accessories that you might need (for example, having certain additional accessories should make it easier for you to prepare almost anything in your turkey fryer). We recommend you make the most of your money by keeping it in regular use and cooking other non-turkey dishes with it too, so make sure it is capable to do so.
A pro tip: don’t buy a fryer that’s exactly the size of the first turkey you’re about to cook. For example, if you want to cook an 18lb bird, it is better not to opt for one that says, “can take up to 18lb of turkey”. This usually means that 18lb is the highest limit the fryer can take but it has the chances of burning the skin of your food without cooking through to the center.
In easier words, choose a turkey fryer that is big enough to PROPERLY hold the amount of food you plan on cooking. You won’t be buying one every day, so make sure that yours is worth the investment.
If you’re someone who often to forgets about food when it is being cooked or leaves it unattended for a while, then it is better to buy a greaseless, auto-shutoff fryer. Also, if you want to use the machine indoors, make sure it has the necessary safety features.
- Type of cooking and source of heat:
As we have mentioned, different types of turkey fryers prepare the turkeys in different ways, such as deep frying or air frying. Each method has pros and cons, so make sure you know the one you actually want before making your decision.
Alongside, make sure the source of heat you want to use is suitable for the place you want to use it in. many propane burners cannot be used inside while many electric fryers cannot be used outside. It will be a shame if you want to cook a true, deep-fried crispy turkey with your friends in the lawn but end up buying an electric air fryer made for the indoors.
- Transparent lid:
This can be a really useful feature if you are a perfectionist when it comes to cooking. Achieving the perfect brown skin can be difficult if you have to keep opening the fryer at intervals as it will release all the stored lid.
Benefits of Using a Turkey Fryer
How Do They Work?
When it comes to the mechanism of turkey fryers, models of a specific type usually work the same way, regardless of their brand. Even then, some might have added features, so we have tried to cover the basics of all types of models.
- Traditional fryers:
These fryers have the simplest mechanism. After connecting all the apparatus and setting up your propane burner, make sure that the drain valve of the fryer (if it has one) is closed tightly. Then pour in your required amount of oil and allow it to heat up, after which you will positioning your turkey on the rack and lower it into the pot using the lifter or hook. Wait for it to cook through and get the color you want and take it out when you think it's done.
In air fryers, the natural oils of the turkey come out of the meat when it is heated, and then they are circulated around it instead of cooking oil, but you can still add some if you want extra softness. Its natural oils give it a slight crisp on the outside. The whole mechanism of the circulation is done by air (as the name suggests), which is heated by the heating element present at the bottom of the fryer. The air is heated to such an extent that it starts bouncing off the walls of the fryer.
- Infrared fryers:
In infrared fryers, a special type of burner is used in which propane is needed as the fuel. The burner is placed between the inner and outer walls of the fryer; therefore, it does not come in direct contact with the turkey. Instead, it heats up the inner wall which in turn radiates heat to cook the meat. So even though this is an oil-less fryer, you will still have to buy propane to use it.
- Electric or radiant heat fryers:
An electric turkey fryer is basically as simple as plug and play. The heating element at the bottom of the fryer uses electricity to heat the bird, so you have to allow it heat up to your desired temperature first and then put in the turkey. The heating element is controllable so you can set it to any temperature you need. These fryers also usually have a user-friendly, digital interface which also makes them very easy to use. They are often equipped with timers and auto shutoff features; hence they are quite convenient.
Types of Turkey Fryers
There are many different types of turkey fryers, so you do not have to worry about being stuck with a machine that will not suit your desires. The different types of turkey fryers are:
- Turkey fryers that use oil
In other words, traditional turkey fryers that many people are familiar with. These fryers involve a lot of cooking oil (peanut oil to be exact) and propane which is usually used as the fuel. Turkeys that are deep fried in oil have the BEST taste and texture, hands down. The smell and crisp skin of a fried turkey is to die for.
However, the taste of a deep-fried turkey comes with quite some risks too. First of all, the huge amounts of blazing hot peanut oil used is enough to be a huge risk itself. Any sort of mistake while handling the pot might result in a huge accident. If you have kids running around you, then using such a fryer might be too dangerous for you.
Some other important points to notice are that these are harmful to your health as well as your pockets. Deep frying something in oil just heaps on calories and fat on to it, which are stored inside the blood vessels of our body. Moreover, the huge amount of oil needs to properly fry a turkey (both peanut oil and propane) is very expensive indeed.
Cooking with oil can also become very messy and require heavy cleanup afterwards. But, at the end of the day, no other method of cooking turkey beats the old, traditional, outdoor deep frying of turkey in terms of taste and flavor.
There are many types of these fryers, such as models that have all parts built from stainless steels and others in which the pot is made from aluminum and the burner is made from steel. All of the pretty much work the same way.
- Oil-free turkey fryers:
Technically, these shouldn’t be called fryers because you will not be deep frying your turkey in oil using these. Instead, you will be roasting your turkey in really high temperatures inside a cooking pot that will be heated from the outside.
Even though you will definitely not get the exact flavor, texture or taste of an actual deep-fried turkey, it’s a much safer option as it does not involve you using huge amounts of highly heated oil. It’s also much healthier as deep-fried turkeys are soaked and cooked in a lot of oil, which can be a huge health hazard if you have children running around you.
Another important advantage is that, unlike traditional ovens which can make your turkey dry, these turkey fryers make sure that your turkey is juicy even if it does not have the accurate flavor of a deep-fried turkey. Moreover, they are a bit cheaper as you will not need huge amounts of cooking oil.
Bear in mind that, within these types of oil-less turkey fryers, there are 3 further sub-type: Air fryers, Infrared fryers and Electric fryers.
Best Turkey Fryer FAQ:
Q: Are they safe?
A: Turkey fryers are completely safe if safety procedures are followed; don’t use an outdoor fryer indoors, and don’t set it up on a tilted plane so that it does not tip over. You should also ensure that all the parts are assembled correctly and are in place.
If you want to use a propane burner ensure that children or pets don’t get too close to it, and if you are thinking about an electric one, set it up in a place where people will not walk around too much.
Be very careful when removing the lid as it will release a lot of steam and heat, so standing directly above it might cause injury
Q: Can a turkey fryer be used for anything else?
A: Turkey fryers can be used for many different types of poultry, or meat even. Just make sure you know the recipe and temperature/cooking time properly as different meats take different times to cook. Many people use their turkey fryers to cook chicken or steaks.
They can also be used to boil large amounts of sauces or dips or to cook seafood even. Since the pot used in frying is quite big (especially if you have a traditional one) it can be used in any task in which you might need a huge contained, such as boiling crawfish. Or even do laundry!
Q: How do I clean my turkey fryer?
A: Despite their complicated exterior, cleaning a turkey fryer can be surprisingly simple. This is especially true if you decide on a dishwasher-safe turkey fryer, as all you’ll need to do is pop all the parts in the dishwasher except the source of heat, which is usually separated, anyway. For those who don’t own a dishwasher, try using the following method:
- Start off by letting the contents of the fryer to cool down enough to avoid burns from the oil, while remaining warm enough to still be able to move the oil from your appliance.
- Drain the oil into a clean metal can using the draining valve (if your fryer has one) or by carefully pouring it out of the pot. What you do with this oil is up to you as you can throw it away or reuse it again. We recommend you reuse it as it will save you a lot of oil cost but check the smell of the oil before you decide to reuse it.
- Next, you’ll need to take a plastic scraper or spatula and use it to scrape down the residue from the fryer walls (try to get as much as possible) then dispose them into a trash bag. You should then scrape it down using a paper towel to get rid of excess oil. This will make the final wash much easier as you have gotten rid of much of the excess oils and greases.
- You should now boil your fryer with water. Fill it with water to the same level you used while pouring in oil (or a bit higher if there’s space). While adding the water, add some detergent or dish soap that can remove the grease efficiently, but be careful to not use too much as it might bubble up and spill over. When you’ve added the water and soap, bring the mixture to a boil. The foam should get rid of the leftover gunk.
- When you’re done boiling the water, you have to allow it to cool. Check whether any food or gunk is left. If there are remnants still, take a sponge or a scrubbie and carefully remove all that’s left behind from your cooking. If you can see splashes of oil on the outside of the fryer, you can remove them using a mixture of baking soda and water, mixed in a ratio of 1 to 1. Then get rid of this soap water and rinse the fryer’s internal and external surface thoroughly and completely so that no soap or oil remains. Make sure you make it dry using paper towels or a dry cloth.
Q: Can I Mix Different Oils in a Turkey Fryer?
A: Oil mixing can be both effective and useful- and you can absolutely combine two oils in a deep fryer such as an outdoor turkey fryer. If you’re looking to mix up your cooking a little, check online for some great ideas as each combination can have a slightly different taste. Of course, this can sometimes lead to some disasters, as well as huge hits- so the best thing to do, would be to try out each mix and do taste tests, before using an expensive turkey in your fryer!
- 7 Safety Tips for Using Turkey Fryers - Erie Insurance