The best turkey fryers can transform a festive dinner into a meal to remember. A turkey dinner is a longtime staple of American family life: it's virtually mandatory on Thanksgiving; and remains a firm favorite at Christmas, on Superbowl Sunday, for BBQs – the list goes on.
However, many ovens simply aren't big enough to handle a full-size turkey, and sometimes time constraints mean you don't have the three-plus hours it can take to oven-cook a large turkey.
That's the reason a lot of people go for turkey fryers. These can fit much larger turkeys – and can cook the centerpiece of your family feast much faster than an oven.
We researched a host of options to find the best turkey fryers out there. We think the best turkey fryer you can buy for outdoor cooking is the Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-less Turkey Fryer with TRU-Infrared technology, which can cook up to a up to 16lb turkey; and the best indoor turkey fryer is the Masterbuilt Butterball XL Electric Fryer. But the right turkey fryer for you will depend on your budget, space requirements, and how many people you need to feed. Here's our pick of the best turkey fryers for all budgets...
We think the Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-less Turkey Fryer (model 17102065) is the best turkey fryer for outdoor use you can buy. Billed as a stress-free way to fry your turkey, roast, or other cut of meat, it uses TRU Infrared technology instead of cooking oil, so there's no mess or splatter. There are also no tricky substances to dispose of afterwards – and it's a healthy alternative to oil, so you don’t need to worry as much about piling on the pounds.
You can safely cook a turkey (up to 16lbs) at a rate of 8 to 10 minutes per pound with the Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-less Turkey Fryer. Fully enclosed 16,000 BTU propane burners sit inside the double-wall cylindrical cooking chamber, which generate infrared heat. This circles inside the cooker to penetrate and cook the meat evenly, sealing in juices, and resulting in a turkey (or other meat) that's moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. Cooking with infrared eliminates hot and cold spots in food, so you know that you’re delivering juicy, crisp, and flavorful results every time, with zero worries.
Another function that we particularly liked with The Big Easy was that you can prepare your bird or meat with seasoned rubs or injectable marinades – both of which are not an option with traditional fryers. A removable drip tray is also a nice touch, catching flavorful juices so you can make excellent stock and gravy.
The Masterbuilt Butterball XL Electric Fryer (MB23010618) is a great indoor turkey fryer. The fryer does most of the work for you – including keeping time – and this Masterbuilt model also uses a third less oil than most turkey fryers, so even if you tend to reuse oil, you’ll still spend less over time.
You can fry a 20-pound turkey in the Masterbuilt Butterball XL Electric Fryer, which is plenty big enough for a crowd. It has a 5,630 BTU capacity (1,650 watts), so it's much less powerful than an outdoor propane turkey fryer, but it’s high for an electric indoor model.
Unfortunately, this turkey fryer doesn't have a vented lid, which would allow steam to escape so the appliance doesn’t overheat. It would also reduce the risk of steam burns when you open the lid. But the Masterbuilt Butterball XL Electric Fryer does include several excellent safety features, chief among them an auto shut-off, a lifter and a cooking basket. The auto shut-off ensures the machine doesn’t get too hot, while the lifter helps you safely remove the turkey from the basin and oil when it finishes cooking. Similarly, the cooking basket allows you to safely lower the turkey into the basin and keeps the bird securely in place.
In addition, the Masterbuilt Butterball XL Fryer MB23010618 includes a lot of features that make it convenient to use. There's a built-in timer and a thermostat, as well as an orange indicator light that shows when the electrical power is on and a green light to signal when the oil is hot enough to begin cooking. When you use the lifter to pull the cooked turkey up, you can simply hook it onto the interior rim of the pot so excess oil can drain off the turkey before you take the bird out completely.
It’s easy to clean this turkey fryer. You can remove cooled oil through a drain valve instead of having to tip the pot to pour oil into another container, which can make a greasy mess if you spill. The machine also comes with a removable spout to help guide the oil as it comes out, and there’s a place to store the spout inside the fryer so you don’t lose it. In addition, you can lift the porcelain-coated pot out of the machine to clean it. For indoor use, we think the Masterbuilt Butterball XL Fryer is the best you can buy.
- Read the full review: Masterbuilt Butterball XL (MB23010618)
Bayou is a well-renowned name in the outdoor cooking equipment industry, and we think this particular model, the Bayou Classic 4225 42Qt Aluminum Grand Gobbler, is the best budget turkey fryer you can buy. The 42 quatre grand gobbler is also specifically designed to fry large turkeys – up to 25 lbs – and it has everything an outdoor chef needs to deliver a lip-smackingly crispy turkey, including a patented poultry rack and lift hook, stainless 12-inch fry thermometer and 2-oz seasoning injector. The aluminum pot with lid and riveted handles also makes for a great stockpot at any time: it's good for soup, shrimp, crabs, corn, peanuts, jambalaya, low country boil or gumbo.
The star here is really the method of cooking: the circular flow of oil up through and around the cavity of the bird during the frying process results in golden brown crispiness on the outside and white, juicy meat on the inside. It may be cheap, but when it comes to value, the Bayou Classic 4225 42Qt Aluminum Grand Gobbler is one of the best turkey fryers there is – and it comes with a (right-handed) protective glove – so you can get cooking straight away.
The Cuisinart CDF-500 extra-large rotisserie fryer is a multitasking marvel that can fry a 14lb turkey in an hour – but it's also capable of much more. Want to cook appetizers, entrées and sumptuous side dishes like your favourite restaurant does? Breakfast treats, vegetable and desserts too? You can...
You can use the Cuisinart with or without oil because of its restaurant-style multi-functions. The rotisserie option uses less oil than a traditional turkey fryer, while a handy steam function means you can also create dumplings, fancy shrimp and even an entire clambake in your kitchen.
There's a 20-minute timer, adjustable temperature control, and large stainless mesh basket with cool-touch handle, all of which make for a comfortable and stress-free cooking experience. It costs a bit more than some of the other turkey fryers in this list, but the Cuisinart CDF-500 Extra-Large Rotisserie gives you the functionality of more than one kitchen appliance – while saving you work space as well.
- Read the review: Cuisinart CDF-500 Extra-Large Rotisserie Fryer and Steamer
The King Kooker 1265BF3 Portable Propane Outdoor Deep Frying and Boiling package is a great option for when you want to deep fry anything – from fresh juicy fillets through to a 20 pound turkey – in the great outdoors.
This propane turkey fryer comes with a 33,000 BTU cast burner, which is considerably lower than some outdoor propane fryers, but still powerful enough to cook a 20-pound turkey so it's tender and moist. It can hold two pots: a 29-quart aluminum pot with a cooking basket and an 11-quart fry pan with its own, smaller basket and heat resistant handle.
In addition, it includes a turkey rack, and hook to lower the bird into and out of the hot oil. Meanwhile, a deep fry thermometer allows you to monitor the temperature of your oil, so it’s at the perfect cooking point – and you can adjust the flame with the regulator on a battery operated timer.
One drawback is the fryer is made of aluminum, which isn’t nearly as durable as stainless steel. This model also doesn’t have an oil-ready or a power indicator light, but that isn’t unusual for a propane fryer. However, the stand is steady and not inclined to tip over. And with its many accessories, you can easily take this fryer outside to deep-fry a holiday turkey or to boil shrimp, crab, potatoes, corn on the cob, fish and more.
- Read the review: King Kooker 1265BF3
The Bayou Classic 32-Quart Stainless Steel Fryer Pot turkey fryer has a powerful burner with a high heating capacity, and it can cook a turkey up to 18lb in under an hour. This turkey fryer also includes a handful of safety features, although it lacks a vital one: it doesn’t have an auto shut-off function, which would automatically turn it off if it were to overheat.
However, it includes a few other safety features. For instance, it has a vented lid, a poultry rack and a lifting hook. The lifter and poultry rack work similarly to a cooking basket, helping you place the turkey into the pot and remove it after cooking.
The burner has a heat capacity of 55,000 Btu, so it can heat the oil and pot very quickly. It uses a maximum of 3 gallons of oil, which is slightly less than most outdoor propane turkey fryers can handle.
The Bayou Classic 32-Quart Stainless Steel turkey fryer doesn’t include many convenience features, but it does have a thermometer to help ensure the oil doesn’t get too hot and that the turkey is cooked throughout.
- Read the full review: Bayou Classic 32 Qt
Masterbuilt doesn't make the Butterball XXL Electric Fryer anymore – but you can still buy this very good turkey fryer at Amazon, so for now it keeps its place in our best turkey fryer round-up. Superseded by the newer Butterball XL Electric Fryer model above, we still like the XXL because it can cook up to a 22lb turkey in less than an hour – that's 2lb bigger than the XL can manage.
With a built-in digital timer and variable temperature control, this convenient countertop turkey fryer takes the guesswork out of preparing your bird. It also uses one-third less cooking oil than a conventional turkey fryer, which helps make your meal more cost-effective and healthier, and makes cleaning easier too. A built-in drain valve empties the oil, and the removable inner pot has a great little feature of a porcelain coating for really easy washing.
Plus, it’s not just for the holidays. Because this is an indoor fryer, you can use it in any weather, any time of year. And the extras aren’t bad. As well as your indoor electric turkey fryer and aluminum cooking basket with drain clip, you also get a DVD with 44 recipes; and a $5 mail-in rebate offer when you purchase one Butterball frozen or fresh whole turkey.
- Read the review: Masterbuilt Butterball XXL review
How to buy the best turkey fryer for you
When buying a turkey fryer, the most important question you need to ask yourself is what exactly do you want from the product? Specific turkey fryers, often because of how they have been designed, have the emphasis on the main function of the product, the cooking of the turkey, while others have a focus on being the most convenient to the user of the turkey fryer, with options like being specifically easy to clean – or the best product for portable use.
For example, if you want to use your turkey fryer when you go away with friends or family on a camping trip, you will have different expectations to those who want to have their turkey fryer as an electric plug-in within the home.
Likewise, if you’re looking to watch your weight, your expectations will focus on an oil-free turkey fryer; and how to get that great taste – without the calories!
Obviously, price and convenience are also factors to consider. Here at TopTenReviews we think you should be ideally looking to spend a couple hundred dollars on a turkey fryer if you can, however that doesn’t mean you should discredit models that are cheaper or more expensive, either. Evaluate what you need and what you can spend, do your research, browse the best turkey fryers going, and then you’re set!
We’re confident that you’ll find the perfect air purifier for you based on the research we’ve collated, so that you don’t have to.
What features should I look for in a turkey fryer?
In our research, we checked the overall capacity of each fryer, which is measured in quarts, along with the maximum turkey size, in pounds, that each fryer could handle. We also looked at the amount of oil needed each time you use the fryer and the heating ability, measured in British thermal units.
Turkey frying can be quite dangerous because you’re working with a lot of hot oil, but many turkey fryers are equipped with safety features. We looked to see whether each unit had an auto shutoff, 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 significant safety feature you should seek in a turkey fryer is an auto shutoff function, which keeps it from overheating and potentially causing a fire and injuries.
Many turkey fryers come with some useful features that make cooking a lot easier. Some fryers have built-in extras such as a timer, a thermostat, indicator lights or a drain valve, all of which help either during the cooking process or, in the case of the drain valve, with cleanup.
Which are the best Turkey Fryer Manufacturers
The maker of our all-round best turkey fryer, Char-Broil, makes the list of top makers. However, there are plenty of other great turkey fryers in business today, including: Masterbuilt, Bayou, Chard, King Kooker and Butterball. These turkey fryer makers have both pedigree and heritage, as well as a track record of reliability and quality in terms of product testing here at TopTenReviews.
Why trust us?
When we researched turkey fryers, we read manufacturer websites, along with cookbooks, cooking blogs and a variety of articles related to frying turkeys to see what characteristics fine cooks appreciate in a fryer. Although there are oil-less turkey fryers available, they are less likely to produce the crispy, crunchy exterior and tender interior of oil-fried turkey. As a result, we chose oil fryers for our recommendations, since these seem to be the most popular and preferred models on the market.
We also watched user videos to see how real people work with these devices, which requires a measure of care to avoid accidental burns or fires.
How we researched turkey fryers
We spent 40 hours researching turkey fryers, investigating each model to find the best on the market. We wanted to find excellent machines that offer superb frying capabilities, as well as models with the best safety measures built into the design. We also looked for convenience features that are nice to have but not essential, especially when compared to the importance of safety measures.
We looked at both indoor and outdoor fryers since both types are popular with consumers, although one may be a better choice than the other, depending on your specific circumstances. For example, if you live in a condo complex and have a tiny patio, an outdoor fryer might not work especially well in such a small space. But a countertop turkey fryer takes up little space and can still yield a succulent and well-cooked bird.
We found general information about turkey fryers on manufacturers’ websites and read through product reviews wherever we could find them. We also looked for specific information about different models that set them apart from others, whether that’s an automatic shutoff feature, a lifter to safely remove an already-cooked turkey or lid vents that help release steam.
Since safety is so important when it comes to turkey fryers, we checked to see what some cooking experts had to say. Daniel Gritzer, in the online publication Serious Eats, says deep frying a turkey “can deliver an incredibly juicy bird with the crispiest skin imaginable.” However, he cautions that you must keep children and pets completely away from the undertaking, read the manufacturer’s instructions first, and even if the weather’s cold, plan to stick by the fryer and enlist the help of others if you need to go indoors. “Responsible turkey fryers do not leave things unattended.”
A blog produced by Plymouth Rock Assurance has the following helpful tips:
Be sure you know how to properly use your fryer and review the safety instructions that came with it. Here’s a helpful list of what you should do:
- Completely defrost your turkey and remove excess liquids before frying it.
- Cook your bird outside, on a flat surface and in an open area away from structures or combustible items.
- Be sure the weather is ideal – no rain or snow.
- Be wary of overfilling your fryer with oil.
- Use extra caution when lowering or raising your turkey from the pot.
- Have a fire extinguisher ready at all times.
How much does a turkey fryer cost?
A good turkey fryer will cost you between $100 and $200 depending on its capacity, as well as the number of extra features and accessories that come with it. There isn’t much price difference between propane and electric heated fryers, though if you choose a propane model you’ll need to continually refill the propane. The price of a propane tank varies depending on where you live, but it’s usually between $5 and $10 and holds enough gas to fry four turkeys.
Can I mix different oils in a turkey fryer?
It is possible to mix different oils together – like peanut oil and vegetable oil – for deep frying any foods, including turkeys. However, you will need to set your turkey fryer to a lower cooking temperature to avoid burning the oil, which will also affect the overall cook time.
It all has to do with the smoke point of each oil, or how hot the oil has to get before it starts to smoke, or burn, and become dangerous. Vegetable oil has a smoke point of 428 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius); peanut oil, however, has a smoke point of 320 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius). Because of the higher smoke point, you cook your turkey at a higher temperature in vegetable oil, which also cuts down on the overall cook time.
If you do combine vegetable and peanut oils, you’ll need to set the fryer at a lower temperature to avoid reaching the peanut oil’s smoke point. You will also want to adjust the cook time a little since it will take longer to fry – about 5 minutes more per pound – at the lower temperature. Most recipes recommend frying your turkey for 3.5 minutes per pound and assume you are using vegetable oil.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Pricing||Frying||Safety||Convenience||Warranty||Capacity (quarts)||Maximum Turkey Size (pounds)||Indoor or Outdoor||Ignition Type||Maximum Oil Needed (gallons)||Watts (electric models)||Btus (propane-fueld models)||Auto Shut-Off||Temperature Control||Vented Lid||Lifter||Cooking Basket||Stand||Timer||Thermostat||Drain Valve||Indicator Lights|
|Masterbuilt Butterball XL Fryer MB23010618||View Deal||4.5/5||3.5||5||5||5||1 Year||11||20||Indoor||Electric||2.75||1650||5360||✓||✓||✖||✓||✓||N/A||✓||X||✓||✓|
|Masterbuilt Butterball Electric Fryer MB23010118||View Deal||4.5/5||4||4||5||4||1 Year||8||14||Indoor||Electric||2||1650||5360||✓||✓||✖||✓||✓||N/A||✖||X||✓||✓|
|Bayou Classic 32 Qt.||View Deal||4/5||5||5||2.5||2||1 Year||32||18||Outdoor||Propane||3||N/A||55000||✖||✓||✓||✓||✓||X||✖||X||✖||✖|
|Cabela’s Ultimate||4/5||5||3||5||4||1 Year||29||20||Outdoor||Propane||3.5||N/A||34000||✓||✓||✖||✓||✓||X||✖||X||✓||✖|
|King Kooker 1265BF3||View Deal||4/5||5||3||5||2||1 Year||29||20||Outdoor||Propane||Three to Five||N/A||33000||✓||✓||✖||✓||✓||X||✓||Thermometer||✖||✖|
|King Kooker SS1267SBSP||View Deal||4/5||4.5||3.5||2.5||5||1 Year||30||20||Outdoor||Propane||3.75||N/A||38000||✖||✓||✓||✓||✓||X||✓||X||✓||✖|
|Bass Pro Shops 1631023||View Deal||3/5||5||3.5||0||4||1 Year||30||18||Outdoor||Propane||N/A||N/A||38000||✓||✓||✖||✓||✓||X||✓||Thermometer||✓||✖|