If you've just finished cooking your Thanksgiving turkey and been less than overwhelmed by the result, may we suggest you invest in one of our best turkey fryers in time for Christmas. If you've not tasted a deep fried turkey, you're missing out on a real treat – in fact you may never bake another bird again! Crisp on the outside, moist and juicy in the middle, this Cajun-inspired cooking method is as delicious as it is timesaving.
There are two main types of turkey fryer – electric or the more traditional 'deep fryer'. Both can deliver your turkey centerpiece in less time than a traditional oven – most cooking sites recommend cooking your turkey for 3-4 minutes per lb, which for a 12lb bird would take a maximum of 48 minutes. That compares with hours in a standard oven.
At around $200 on average, it's also good to know that a turkey fryer isn't just for Christmas (and Thanksgiving). They can be surprisingly versatile, dealing with with dishes such as seafood and stews. You don't always have to spend big, either. It's possible to buy a turkey fryer for as little as $30.
So what to consider before you buy your turkey fryer? The first big factor is who you're cooking for. If you like to put on a big spread, you should invest in an outdoor fryer that's able to accommodate a much bigger turkey than an indoor fryer. The downside of an outdoor fryer is that it required more storage, whereas an indoor fryer can be easily stashed in a cupboard.
Indoor fryers tend to cost less and use a lot less oil, too, so if you're looking for a relatively healthy option, they're the ones to go for. Regardless of whether you choose a propane or electric turkey fryer, look out for models that come with accessories such as lifting hooks and gloves.
Best turkey fryers 2023
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The Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-less Liquid Propane Turkey Fryer is a great pick if you want an option that is a bit lighter and doesn’t require you to submerge your turkey in masses of hot oil. Its powerful TRU Infrared technology generates infrared heat that circles the cylindrical chamber and ensures juicy and crisp results each time. Best of all, there is no hot oil to burn, splash or spill making this a much safer and hassle-free turkey fryer.
Features include a lifter to safely drop and remove your food, and meat thermometer to give you precise temperatures. It also comes with a handy front-access grease tray to collect any meat drippings. This makes it much easier to clean with a simple wipe down.
It’s more compact than other fryers though, with a capacity of up to 16lbs. So, this fryer is probably more suited for smaller households or those frequently cooking quick dishes like fish or chicken wings.
Another thing to note is the Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-less Liquid Propane Turkey Fryer does come at a premium price, considering there are much cheaper fryers on the market. However, this offers the health benefits that the others cannot, which makes it well worth your money.
If you're concerned about versatility, the Cuisinart CDF-500 is the model to buy. Yes, it can fry a turkey in under an hour (hurrah!) but it's also so much more. You can use it to fry potatoes, onion rings or seafood, or steam vegetables, dumpling or clambake. It can even make donuts!
Use the rotisserie function and you'll need a lot less oil than a traditional turkey fryer, meaning you’ll end up with crisp results without all the fat and high calories.
Onboard you'll find a 120-minute timer, an adjustable temperature control, and a large stainless mesh basket with cool-touch handle. It's easy to switch between the fry and steam cooking settings. Designed to be compact and user-friendly, this fryer can fit into any space or countertop without the hassle, and the stainless-steel finish is both smart and robust.
The only potential downside when compared with other turkey fryers, is its smaller capacity. The maximum turkey size it can accommodate is 14lb, so you'll need to think carefully about whether that's big enough. That said, the cooking results are impressive and the amount of versatility it offers means it's likely to be in regular use, making it a worthwhile purchase in our eyes.
If you are a serious outdoor cook and enjoy frying up a feast, you would certainly benefit from the King Kooker 1265BF3 Turkey Fryer. Equipped with a 29-qt capacity, it can handle turkeys up to 20lbs, and even comes with another 11-qt fry pan and basket.
With 33,000BTU of power, it provides evenly-cooked and golden-brown results in less time, keeping its high temperature inside. It also has a handy fill line inside the pot to prevent any oil overspills, a thermometer and a safety timer with automatic shut-off function.
One downside to this is the timer needs to be activated every 15 minutes, meaning you’ll be unable to leave the fryer unattended for long periods. However, the timer is optional to use and many users had decided not to. Other drawbacks include the aluminum being prone to wear and tear if not maintained correctly, and its expensive price.
But if you’re simply looking for power, capacity, and great results, the King Kooker Turkey Fryer has everything you would need to do the job.
The Barton 99905-H Turkey Fryer is the best propane turkey fryer around. The Barton 99905-H Turkey Fryer kit comes with a powerful 100,000 BTU gas stove, burner stand, and an extra large 52-qt. pot. This turkey fryer is also equipped with a regulator, temperature thermometer, hanger, and marinade sauce syringe.
The Barton 99905-H Turkey Fryer’s most impressive feature is its versatility for cooking just about anything. Not only does it cook a crisp and succulent turkey, it can be used as a steamer, burner barbecue or boiler. It’s also designed to hold high temperatures, resulting in even better cooking results.
Minor drawbacks include not having a timer or any additional useful accessories. However, these can easily be overlooked by its power, capacity and top performance, which are all you need from a propane turkey fryer.
- Read our Barton 99905-H Turkey Fryer review
If you're looking for the best large turkey fryer money can buy, you can't go wrong with the Bayou Classic 4225. There is a reason it's called the ‘Grand Gobbler’ – open it up and it will happily house extra-large turkeys of up to 25lbs. In the 42-quart cavity, you could even cook two turkeys at one time if needed.
Like many of our best pick turkey fryers, the Grand Gobbler is versatile to use all year. Take out the rack and hook and you can use it as a stockpot to cook up a tasty stew or clam chowder.
A patented poultry rack, lift hook, vented lid and heavy-duty handles are all designed with safety in mind. And there are lots of extras not seen on budget fryers – there's a fry thermometer so you know your oil is up to temperature, a 'seasoning injector' – a stainless steel needle that lets you infuse your meat with a marinade, and a handy leather glove to protect from hot oil.
Perhaps the only downside is it uses up a lot of oil, so can be costly to buy gallons in the long-run. Also, it can take a little longer to wait for the oil to heat up. But for those who regularly cook up a turkey feast or enjoy big family meals, this makes an ideal versatile fryer.
If you're after a reasonably sized fryer but don't want a propane fryer, this electric model will give you space to fry a 20lb turkey indoors. Because not all of us will want to be popping outside to fry a turkey (or cook anything else for that matter) once the temperature really drops.
Another of its big advantages are its easy-to-clean features – many of its parts are dishwasher safe, and the lid comes off you you can give it a good scrub after a particularly messy cooking session. The only downside of the lid is that it's not vented. This can result in a big blast of heat when you open it while cooking, so you'll need to take care.
- Read our Masterbuilt Butterball XL review
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.
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.
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 much does a turkey fryer cost?
A good turkey fryer will cost you between $50 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 turkey 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.