Which turkey fryer is best?
Turkey is the centerpiece of many festive meals, but it can be more complicated to cook than it seems at first glance. To save space in a busy oven and to speed up the cooking process, many home cooks are turning to turkey fryers for help. These stand-alone cooking vessels produce a crispy-skinned, juicy bird in a fraction of the time it takes to roast.
If you are looking for the taste and ease of frying a turkey but worry about the safety of a large vat of heated oil, the Char-Broil Big Easy Turkey Fryer is a good solution. It features infrared, oil-free frying for delicious turkey every time.
What to know before you buy a turkey fryer
Turkey fryer type
A turkey fryer comes in three basic types.
- Propane: This is the most affordable and largest capacity type of fryer. These are only used outside, and the temperature can be difficult to control.
- Electric: Electric fryers are safe to use inside, but they are generally smaller than propane. Temperature controls are more precise, but these can’t usually fit birds over 12 pounds.
- Oil-free: Oil-free fryers use the same infrared technology as commercial roasters. These also use propane as the power source, heating the air between the outside of the container and the inside wall next to the turkey.
Turkey fryer size
Size matters when it comes to choosing your fryer. If you typically roast smaller turkeys, you’ll be able to get away with a smaller fryer. These are also good for homes where storage is scarce.
Of course, if you routinely host Thanksgiving or other large family gatherings, you’ll want a larger fryer to accommodate a bigger bird.
What to look for in a quality turkey fryer
Many people are concerned about safety when it comes to turkey fryers — and with good reason. The last thing you want is the oil to overheat and catch fire or a large vat of boiling liquid to spill.
The best turkey fryer has a stable base and an auto shut-off that prevents oil from getting too hot. Oil-free turkey fryers are another option — this eliminates the worry of spilling and doesn’t leave you with gallons of used cooking oil to dispose of.
Accessories make cooking a turkey in a fryer much easier. These include things like hooks for lifting the turkey out of the fryer as well as thermometers, steamer baskets, heavy-duty mitts and recipe books.
As with every kitchen appliance, look for quality construction. The base should be firmly attached to the bottom of the fryer, and the walls themselves should feel substantial and sturdy.
How much you can expect to spend on a turkey fryer
The price depends on the type of turkey fryer you purchase as well as any included accessories. Expect to spend $100-$300.
Turkey fryer FAQ
Are there any tricks to frying turkey?
A. There are a few tricks to make frying a turkey safer, easier and virtually foolproof.
- Fill the fryer with oil to the maximum fill line.
- Use your fryer on concrete or other stone surfaces at a safe distance from your home.
- Make sure your turkey is completely thawed and totally dry before frying.
- Peanut oil has a high smoke point that’s optimal for deep frying, but vegetable oil also works.
- If your fryer does not come with a deep-fry thermometer, purchase one to ensure proper temperature.
- Stay with the fryer as your turkey cooks.
- Never attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Use a hook to gently lower the turkey into the oil, and consider wearing protective eyewear in case it splashes or splatters.
- Cook until the interior temperature reaches 175-180 degrees for dark meat 165-170 degrees for dark meat.
- Once it reaches a safe temperature, allow your turkey to rest 20 minutes before serving.
What else can a turkey fryer be used for?
A. You can use your turkey fryer to fry other foods such as onion rings, wings and french fries. If you prefer to go the healthier route and your fryer comes with a steamer basket, you can also use it to steam large quantities of vegetables.
What’s the best turkey fryer to buy?
Top turkey fryer
What you need to know: This oil-free turkey fryer is great for those worried about the safety of traditional deep frying.
What you’ll love: Infrared heat delivers a turkey that is consistently juicy, delicious and crispy-skinned. It starts with the twist of a knob and cooks turkeys up to 16 pounds.
What you should consider: Assembly can be tricky, and this can only be used outside.
Top turkey fryer for the money
What you need to know: This is a simple and effective fryer that produces consistent results.
What you’ll love: The 30-quart pot is stainless and the burner is cast iron for even heating and efficient cooking. It can fry turkeys up to 18 pounds and comes with both a turkey hanger hook and a wide handle lifting hook.
What you should consider: One safety feature requires a person to be present every 15 minutes to push a button for continuous cooking. This is designed to prevent fires and overcooking, but some users found it inconvenient.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: If you need a large-capacity fryer, this is the one for you.
What you’ll love: This 44-quart fryer is one of the largest on the market. It sits on a sturdy four-legged stand and comes with a regulator for easy propane hookup. It comes with plenty of accessories: an insulated glove, aluminum perforated rack and grab hook, skewers, seasoning injector, 12-inch thermometer and vented stainless steel lid
What you should consider: Heating up this much oil can take a long time, and some users report that heat is not consistent.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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