Turkey Fryers Review
How to Choose a Turkey Fryer
The top performers in our review are the Waring Pro Rotisserie, the Gold Award winner; the Brinkmann 815-4001-S, the Silver Award winner; and the Eastman Outdoors 37069, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a system to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of products.
Turkey fryers have become increasingly popular in recent years – and for good reason. Deep-frying a turkey creates a crispy golden-brown skin and juicy, delicious meat. Using a turkey fryer this Thanksgiving will also shave hours off traditional cooking times. Be sure to consider a number of factors as you choose the best turkey fryer for your family.
Oil vs. Oil-less
Although a few oil-less models have hit shelves, we chose to feature only oil fryers since they will give you a turkey that’s crisp and crunchy on the outside and perfectly tender on the inside. They can also cook your Thanksgiving turkey incredibly fast compared to more conventional methods, the most popular being oven roasting.
Oil-less turkey cookers are much safer to use than oil turkey fryers simply because you’re not cooking with hot oil. They can give you delicious turkeys, but you won't get true deep-fried results that frying with oil will give you. Oil-less cookers use radiant heat to evenly cook the turkey until it is golden brown. These units cook much slower than oil fryers, although the time it takes to heat the oil evens out the difference somewhat.
Indoor vs. Outdoor
We have included both indoor and outdoor cookers in our comparison. Indoor units run off electric power while outdoor units run off propane. This makes indoor cookers safer than outdoor ones.
The indoor and outdoor fryers we reviewed use oil to cook. However, once you've prepared the turkey and lowered it into the oil, outdoor units require much more effort to operate. Indoor fryers regulate the temperature of the oil for you, and they have built-in timers. With an outdoor fryer, you have to set your own timer and you are responsible to adjust the burner to keep the oil at the right temperature.
Outdoor propane turkey fryers are substantially more dangerous than indoor electric turkey fryers. Indoor units have many more safety features – most importantly an auto shut-off feature – and they don't cook with an open flame as outdoor fryers do. Additionally, outdoor turkey fryers are generally not UL certified, which means they don’t pass standards for safety. You should also consider that outdoor fryers can only be used when the weather permits because you must use them outdoors at least 10 feet away from any building or items. To learn more, we offer articles on turkey fryers.
Turkey Fryers: What We Evaluated, What We Found
We considered the frying capabilities, safety and convenience of each turkey fryer. The frying capabilities and safety features are weighted heavier than convenience features.
The ability to cook a turkey quickly and correctly is the most important aspect to consider. We looked at the overall capacity of each fryer, which is measured in quarts, as well as the maximum turkey size, in pounds, that each fryer can handle. We also looked at the amount of oil needed each time you use the unit and the heating ability, measured in Btu (British thermal units).
The second most important thing to consider before determining which turkey fryer is for you is its safety features. Turkey frying is dangerous because you’re working with a lot of hot oil, but many turkey fryers are equipped with a handful of features that increase their safety. We considered if the unit has an auto shut-off, a vented lid, a lifter to help remove the turkey after cooking it, a cooking basket and a stand. Most turkey fryers will have some of these features, while the best will have all of them.
The most important safety feature you should look for in a turkey fryer is an auto shut-off function. This function prevents the unit from overheating, which could cause a fire and injury. Other safety features you should look for in a turkey fryer are a vented lid, a lifter, a cooking basket and (only on outdoor units) a stand. The vented lid allows the hot steam inside the unit to escape slowly instead of all at once when you open the lid. The lifter and cooking basket work together to stabilize the turkey while you lower it into the pot and remove it after cooking. The stand, which is only available on outdoor units, gets the open flame on the burner away from the ground. Overall, the more safety features the turkey fryer has, the safer it is to use. However, because indoor units do not cook with an open flame, they are inherently safer than outdoor fryers.
What Else is Important When Selecting a Turkey Fryer?
After you consider the frying capabilities and safety features you want in a turkey fryer, you should also consider a couple other things before determining which turkey fryer is right for you and your situation.
The capacity of a turkey fryer determines the maximum size turkey you can cook. Outdoor units tend to have a capacity of around 30 quarts, which can handle a turkey around 19 pounds. Indoor units, however, tend to be around a 10-quart capacity, so they can cook turkeys up to about 15 pounds.
Many turkey fryers come with a few features that make them easier to use. For instance, some units have a timer, a thermostat, indicator lights and a drain valve. Electric units tend to have more convenience features than outdoor units have, but even some outdoor fryers come equipped with all the bells and whistles.
For the most part, the best turkey fryers come backed with at minimum a one-year warranty. Some turkey fryers may offer up to a five-year warranty, and others may offer as little as a 90-day warranty. You should look for a warranty that at minimum covers the product against defects in material and workmanship. A very good warranty will also cover the product against defects from normal use.
Turkey Fryers: Our Verdict and Recommendations
The top three turkey fryers on our lineup rose to the top due to their frying capabilities and included safety features. Our top turkey fryer, the Waring Pro Rotisserie TF200B, an electric indoor unit, includes a stack of safety features that will give you peace of mind when cooking with a couple gallons of oil, and it can handle a turkey up to 18 pounds.
The Brinkmann 815-4001-S and the Eastman Outdoors 37069, both outdoor propane units, rounded out our top products as the second and third, respectively. These units feature a large capacity stock pot, a powerful Btu capacity and the most important safety features an outdoor turkey fryer should have.
A turkey fryer will give you a crisp, golden fried turkey, and it will give you those results in record time compared to conventional cooking. You can opt for an indoor unit, which will allow you to use it year-round, or an outdoor unit that generally can handle a larger turkey.