You’re going to want the best turkey fryer now because before you know it, it’ll be Thanksgiving and you don’t want to be paying a premium.
To fry a turkey, you’re going to need three things: the turkey fryer, a propane burner and a tank of propane. We figure you know where to get some propane, so we’ll be focusing on the fryer and the propane burner.
First, any fryer worth its salt will be made from aluminum or stainless steel. If you’re not planning on heavy use, aluminum will likely be fine as it conducts heat more easily. If you’re planning on using the fryer more often and for more things, you might want to go for stainless steel.
The best turkey fryers will also come with a few essential tools. Aside from the actual fryer pot itself, the essentials typically include a poultry rack and/or a perforated basket with a lifting hook so you can safely move the turkey in and out of the fryer, a vented lid so steam doesn’t get trapped in the fryer and a stainless steel thermometer so you can check the bird’s internal temperature to make sure it’s cooked all the way through.
But before you go loading up a fryer with a ton of oil and a giant bird, keep these important tips in mind:
- Read about how to fry a turkey properly – If you’ve never fried a turkey before, go read up on how to do it. Though we could walk you through it, there’s a lot to know and we’re focused on the tools you’ll need. Here’s a very user-friendly, step-by-step guide on how to fry a turkey with a recipe and lots of safety tips.
- Be careful – Frying a turkey is a delicious, but serious and dangerous business, so safety is paramount. Generally speaking, oil and fire are not meant to go together, especially such a large amount of oil. Not only can an oil spillover cause a fire (and if you don’t get the volume just right, the oil easily could bubble over), but the oil could cause serious burns. That’s why it’s essential to use protective gear like oven mitts (and even goggles for the especially safety conscious).
- Fry that bird outside – For the above reasons, you absolutely must fry the turkey outside away from anything dry and flammable. Be sure to set the fryer up on a stable surface where tipping risk is minimal and never leave the bird unattended. A fire in your home is guaranteed to ruin Thanksgiving, not to mention you won’t have a turkey to eat. Basically, if you’re using propane, you have to be outside.
- Make sure the bird is thawed and completely dry – If it’s still frozen at all, it won’t cook right, and any amount of water on the surface can make the oil splatter.
Those are just the basics, but we don’t want to discourage you too much! If you’re careful and know what you’re doing, a fried turkey is a delicious way to celebrate Thanksgiving, minus the fact you can’t do stuffing. Plus you’ll feel like a badass and your family and friends will be in awe of your cooking skills if you pull it off. So without further ado, let’s check out some of the best turkey fryers below.
1. Bayou Classic 3025 Turkey Fryer
Without a doubt, the Bayou Classic 3025 Turkey Fryer is the best turkey fryer for your money. It’s made of aluminum and holds up to 32 quarts of liquid, though you’ll want to abide by the pot’s max fill line when it comes time to fry.
Speaking of frying, this fryer is designed to cook an 18-pound turkey in 45 minutes, so you won’t be standing outside all day. That’s a bold way to do Thanksgiving, but it is a bit trickier to pull off, so you can always do two 10-pound or 12-pound turkeys instead, and it won’t take you that much longer.
This fryer also includes a number of those essentials we mentioned at the top to make the frying experience safer and easier, including a vented lid, a poultry rack, a grab hook for the rack, a 12-inch turkey fryer thermometer and a one-ounce seasoning injector for some added flavor.
In short, the Bayou Classic has everything you need to get the job done at a reasonable price and is definitely the best turkey fryer we found.
2. Char-Broil Big Easy Oilless Turkey Fryer
BEST OILLESS FRYER
So you want to fry but you’re looking for a healthier, less messy alternative than a traditional fryer and 20 quarts of oil will get you. That’s where an oilless turkey fryer like the Char-Broil Big Easy Oilless Turkey Fryer comes into play. Instead of using oil to cook the bird, this fryer uses infrared heat, the same kind of heat you get from a space heater only cranked up to 16,000 BTUs with propane-powered burners inside the pot. The benefits of this kind of heating are manifold. The heating is more uniform and skipping on the oil is not only healthier but safer too.
But these benefits don’t mean you have to compromise on flavor. You can still inject a marinade if you want and because there’s no oil, you can apply a spice rub to the turkey too.
As for this particular fryer, it’s designed to handle birds up to 16 pounds and features a knob to turn the fryer on, a knob to light the burner and a removable drip tray to catch those precious juices for the beloved turkey gravy. It also comes with a cooking basket with a grab hook, a meat thermometer, a mesh-style lid and even a quick-start cooking guide so you can dive into frying as soon as possible.
But remember, just because this turkey fryer doesn’t use oil doesn’t mean it’s safe for indoor use. It uses propane, so you still have to use it outside.
3. Masterbuilt Butterball XL Electric Fryer
BEST ELECTRIC FRYER
For everyone who isn’t trying to stand outside with a traditional fryer and risk the weather, there’s the Masterbuilt Butterball XL Electric Fryer. Unlike fryers meant to be used with a propane burner, this fryer is all-electric, and the manufacturer actually encourages you to use it inside. Even though it needs to be compact to fit and work inside, it still holds up to 10 liters of oil and is able to fry turkeys up to 20 pounds. Yup, they don’t call this the butterball fryer for nothing.
In terms of other features, this fryer comes with a removable pot, an oil drain valve and an extra-large chrome-wire basket with drain clips, and all of the components are dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup. So if you’re looking for something electric, this is definitely the best turkey fryer for you.
4. Bayou Classic 4225 Turkey Fryer
Big families eat big meals, so if you’re trying to feed 20 people and don’t have all day to cook a few smaller birds, you may want to go big with the Bayou Classic 4225 Turkey Fryer. This beast of a fryer can hold up 42 quarts and is meant to fry turkeys up to 25 pounds. It’s basically the same as the best overall fryer, the Bayou Classic 3025, just with an additional 10 quarts to work with. As an added bonus, it includes the same essential tools as the top pick — a vented lid, a poultry rack, a grab hook, a thermometer and a seasoning injector — as well as a protective right-hand glove. You’re going to need it if you’re handling a big bird!
5. GasOne Square Heavy-Duty Single Burner
BEST PROPANE BURNER
Except for the Masterbuilt fryer, all of these fryers are useless without a great propane burner. The GasOne Square Heavy-Duty Single Burner is just what the Thanksgiving chef ordered.
It boasts a whopping 200,000 BTUs. A BTU is a unit for heat and 1 BTU is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The takeaway is that 200,000 BTUs will heat up your oil a lot faster than lesser burners as well as maintain the heat and the temperature of oil a lot better.
Controlling the heat is so important that this burner comes with a heat-control regulator knob, that way you can control the heat without having to twist the knob on the propane tank. And of course, safety is always paramount when dealing with fire, so the hose that connects from the burner to the tank is steel braided. You won’t be puncturing this thing any time soon.
And perhaps the most important, albeit basic, feature is the actual construction of this burner. It’s made of heavy cast iron for durability and has four legs, making it a lot more difficult to tip or kick over, especially with the weight of the fryer on it.
As long as you don’t leave this out in the rain, this is a burner you’ll only have to buy once and you’ll be using it to fry up turkeys or whatever you want to throw in the fryer for years to come.