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Deep-frying has become popular as one of the most delicious ways to cook a turkey—the results are flavorful with crispy skin on the outside and juicy meat on the inside.
If you already have a propane burner, the Bayou Classic 32-Quart Turkey Fryer is our top choice due to its durable design and versatility—it can be used for boiling, frying or steaming. For a complete kit, the King Kooker 29-Quart Turkey Frying Kit makes the process simple and can handle a 20-pound turkey.
For anyone who doesn't like keeping watch over a turkey in the oven for hours, deep frying will cook a turkey much faster than traditional roasting. Since you can't deep-fry a turkey on the stovetop, this method might be a good solution if you don't have a lot of kitchen or oven space to spare, especially when it comes to making holiday meals.
Of course, there's a lot to consider before frying up a turkey feast for Thanksgiving, tailgate, or another event, including the precautions you need to take and the products you need to purchase in order to pull it off safely. We've all heard horror stories about turkeys catching on fire in the fryer, but with the right gear and information, you can fry with minimal risk.
First, you'll need to gather the proper frying supplies, including a gas cooker, stockpot, grab hook, thermometer, and gloves. You have the option to buy everything you need individually or as a complete kit.
Here are the best turkey fryers on the market.
Best Overall: Bayou Classic 32-Quart Turkey Fryer
Versatile accessories included
Easy to keep clean
Burner not included
If you already have a heat source that’s sufficient for heating oil to fry a turkey, there’s no need to spend extra money—just buy the pot and accessories to fit that turkey.
This fryer includes a 32-quart stainless steel pot that is very durable, non-reactive, and easy to keep clean. When you’re not using the pot for frying, it can be used as a very large stockpot for cooking soup, chili, or tomato sauce, or for boiling vegetables or seafood.
The perforated basket can be used for steaming (and could handle a huge batch of tamales), and the lid is vented. The pot has heavy-duty handles, so you can move it even when it’s full. This also includes a skewer set for frying up to three chickens at once. There’s an indent at the bottom of the pot that raises the basket 1 3/4 inches above the bottom of the pot for steaming.
Maximum Turkey Size: 18 pounds | Power Source: Propane Burner (sold separately) | Power: N/A | Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 17.5 inches | Weight: 14 pounds | Warranty: 1 year
Best Propane Cooker: Bayou Classic High-Pressure Propane Burner
Wide, sturdy legs
Windscreen doesn't always work
If you already have an extra-large pot, this propane gas cooker can save you money over kits that include both a pot and accessories. It has a 14-inch diameter cooking surface and a low center of gravity to handle your largest stockpots, and wide-set legs for stability.
The burner can handle the weight of cooking pots of up to 100 quarts—more than you’ll need for your average turkey. This cooker has a 360-degree windscreen and operates at a maximum 59,000 BTUs.
Power Source: Propane | Power: 59,000 BTUs | Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 13 inches | Weight: 13 pounds | Warranty: 1 year
Best Extra-Large Capacity Kit: Bayou Classic 44-Quart "Big Bird" Kit
Useful for boils, homebrewing, canning
Oversized for smaller birds
Poultry rack bends
This model has a 44-quart pot made from 20-gauge commercial stainless steel that can hold a turkey over 25 pounds, so you can feed the whole family and have enough leftovers for lunch. When you’re done making turkey, you can use this for boiling, steaming, frying, and home brewing.
Since the pot is non-reactive stainless steel, you can use it for cooking acidic foods like that giant batch of tomatoes you’ll be canning, and stainless steel is easy to sterilize, which home brewers will appreciate. While the pot is dishwasher safe, it’s unlikely to fit in your home dishwasher.
This fryer includes a vented stainless steel lid, a perforated aluminum poultry rack, an aluminum grab hook, a 12-inch thermometer that reads from 50-750 degrees, a stainless steel seasoning injector, and an insulated glove.
The included burner is the SS30, with a low profile (just 12 inches from ground level) for safety and for ease in adding and removing items from the large pot. This includes a high-pressure regulator to control the propane flow and a 48-inch hose so you can position the tank conveniently.
Maximum Turkey Size: 25+ pounds | Power Source: Propane Burner | Power: 50,000 BTUs | Dimensions: 16 x 16 x 21 inches | Weight: 35 pounds | Warranty: 1 year
"This turkey fryer produced reliably tender and moist birds with cracker-crisp skin when we followed the helpful preparation and cooking instructions included." — Justin Park, Product Tester
Best Aluminum: Bayou Classic 30-Quart Aluminum Turkey Fryer Pot
Includes frying accessories
18-pound turkey limit
If you’ve already got a propane burner or other method for heating a large pot of oil, all you need to fry your turkey is a pot that’s large enough. This 30-quart pot is made from sturdy 18-gauge commercial-grade aluminum that’s lighter and less expensive than stainless steel.
The Bayou Classic Turkey Fryer Pot is also versatile. When you’re done with turkey frying, the pot will come in handy for boiling, steaming, or cooking large quantities of food. However, since aluminum is a reactive metal, this shouldn’t be used for cooking acidic foods.
This kit includes a 12-inch stainless steel thermometer that reads from 50-750 degrees, a vented lid, a perforated poultry rack, a grab hook, and a one-ounce trial seasoning injector.
Maximum Turkey Size: 18 pounds | Power Source: Propane Burner (sold separately) | Power: N/A | Dimensions: 12.75 x 15.75 inches | Weight: 7 pounds | Warranty: 1 year
Best Complete Kit: King Kooker 29-Quart Aluminum Turkey Frying Cooker Package
Includes a battery-operated timer
Pot is prone to dents
This complete set includes everything you need for turkey frying and more. The 12-inch outdoor cooker has a 38,000 BTU cast burner that can handle turkeys up to 20 pounds with ease. The turkey rack and lifting hook will help you slowly lower the turkey into the oil and remove it when cooking is done. Though you won’t need the lid while cooking a turkey, it will come in handy while you’re preheating the oil or cooking other foods.
A thermometer with an extra-long probe lets you monitor the oil temperature while keeping your distance from the hot oil, and the regulator is adjustable so you can set the flame to maintain the temperature you need. This cooker also includes a battery-operated timer (which requires 2 AAA batteries, not included), so it will remind you when it’s time to check the food.
Maximum Turkey Size: 20 pounds | Power Source: Propane Burner | Power: 38,000 BTUs | Dimensions: 13.75 x 12 x 27.50 inches | Weight: 16 pounds | Warranty: 1 year
Best Electric: Masterbuilt MB20012420 Electric Fryer Boiler Steamer
Can fry, steam, or boil
Easy to clean
No need for propane
Temperature can be inconsistent
The Masterbuilt 10-Liter XL Electric Fryer allows home cooks to enjoy fried turkey without having to go outside. This model can accommodate up to an 18-pound turkey, and since it's electric, it can sit right on your countertop (though it does take up a fair amount of space.) It requires 2.5 gallons of oil for frying, which is the same as or less than most outdoor turkey fryers. The cooking time is relatively quick at 4 minutes per pound, and users rave about how easy the setup and cooking process are. A cooking basket is included to help with handling food.
Deep frying in the house often results in a lot of mess and a kitchen overrun by the smell of hot oil, which is not the case with this fryer. When you aren't using it for frying, this appliance can also be put to work for steaming or boiling—whether you want to host a classic Low Country Seafood Boil or just steam some veggies, you've got options.
Users frequently mention that this fryer is easy to clean. The hinged lid can be removed, and the pot, basket, and lid are all dishwasher safe. The built-in valve allows for easy draining of the oil when you're done.
Maximum Turkey Size: 18 pounds | Power Source: Electric | Dimensions: 16.46 x 18.43 x 14.8 inches | Weight: 20.5 pounds | Warranty: 1 year
Best Oil-Less: Char-Broil The Big Easy Oil-Less Turkey Fryer
Easy to use and clean
If you're craving the crispy exterior of a fried turkey but don't want to deal with the mess or precautions involved with oil frying, you'll appreciate the performance of this oil-less fryer. It should be used outdoors and connected to a propane tank, which you'll need to provide, and uses infrared technology to perfectly cook whole birds, rib roasts, pork tenderloins, and more.
It can hold up to a 16-pound turkey and since there's no oil to dissolve seasoning, you can coat your bird with a rub for unique flavor. There are also lots of accessories, such as two-tier cooking baskets, available for separate purchase.
Customers say this fryer cooked their turkeys with excellent results: delectably crisp skin and juicy meat, just like turkeys fried traditionally in oil.
Maximum Turkey Size: 16 pounds | Power Source: Propane | Power: 16,000 BTUs | Dimensions: 16.3 x 20.75 x 23.5 inches | Weight: 30 pounds | Warranty: 1 year
The Bayou Classic 32-Quart Turkey Fryer is our top pick for those who already have a propane burner and only need to fry up to an 18-pound turkey. If a larger bird is on the menu, go with the Bayou Classic 44-Quart Big Bird Kit, which comes with everything you need to prepare a massive turkey feast, including a pot lid, rack, grab hook, thermometer, burner, propane hose and pressure regulator, seasoning injector, and an insulated glove.
What to Look for in a Turkey Fryer
Is a small fried turkey sufficient, or do you want to feed a large family without cooking in batches? While a large fryer will take up more storage space, it may be necessary depending on the size of the bird you want to fry.
Turkey fryers usually include basic necessities, like a turkey lifter to get the bird in and out of the oil. However, there are many more accessories that you might find useful, such as a long thermometer, a fryer basket, or a turkey injector.
The appeal of deep-fried turkey is hard to deny, but cooking with hot oil can be dangerous. When you’re choosing a fryer, it’s wise to consider its safety features, like temperature gauges, easy-to-use turkey lifters, timers, automatic shut-off features, wind guards, and sturdy stands that won’t tip easily.
How much oil do you need for a turkey fryer?
The amount of oil you need depends on the size of your pot and how large of a turkey you're frying. A general rule of thumb is 4 to 5 gallons of oil are needed to fry a 10- to 15-pound turkey.
The turkey should be completely submerged in oil, with a few inches of clearance from the top of the pot. A quick way to "measure" how much oil you'll need is to put your bird in the pot and add water to cover, then remove the turkey and mark the top of the water level on the pot to give you a guideline when you fill the pot with oil.
How do you use a turkey fryer?
Set your turkey fryer up according to the manufacturer's directions on a level surface, then fill the pot with your preferred cooking oil and turn the heat on. Use a frying thermometer to check the oil temperature. When it reaches 325 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, turn the burner off, and use the basket to slowly lower the turkey into the pot.
Turn the burner back on and cook 3 to 4 minutes per pound. Check the internal temperature of the meat for doneness. White meat is cooked when it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit and dark meat is cooked when it reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the turkey and let it drain and rest for about 15-20 minutes before slicing.
How do you strain turkey fryer oil?
Turkey fryers require quite a bit of oil, which can become costly if you use them frequently. Luckily, the cooking oil can be saved and reused to help you save money.
The first step in reusing oil is letting it cool completely. Then, the oil needs to be strained through cheesecloth or a fine meshed sieve to remove bits of food. This can be done carefully by hand, if you're patient, but the easiest and quickest way to transfer large volumes of oil is with an electric oil pump.
The strained oil can be stored in its original packaging and should keep up to 6 months in cool, dry conditions. Oil can go rancid over time, so if the used oil smells or looks off when you go to reuse it, it should be discarded.
When you're ready to dispose of cooking oil, pour it into a disposable container and place in the trash. You can also check with your local waste management for oil disposal programs. Cooking oil should never be poured down the sink, toilet, or any other plumbing since it can clog pipes.
What else can you use a turkey fryer for?
Since turkey fryers are essentially extra-large stockpots, they can also be used to cook large batches of one-pot meals, like soups, stews, chilis, and seafood boils. You can also use them to boil large batches of potatoes or corn on the cob, or to steam large batches of tamales or vegetables,
You can use the fryer to fry other meats, like roasts and whole chickens, as well as traditional deep-fried recipes, like chicken wings and fries.
Can you use a turkey fryer indoors?
Most turkey fryers are designed for outdoor use. Turkey fryers that use propane as their power source—including some oil-free models—must be used outdoors for safety.
Indoor electric fryers are the only exception that may be used indoors or under a covered overhang. Always check the product manual for instructions and safety protocols.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a cookbook author, as well as a writer and product tester for The Spruce Eats, specializing in all the latest kitchen gadgets. She's tested over 90 products for the brand.
This roundup was updated by Katya Weiss-Andersson, a writer and editor who has nearly a decade of experience as a professional chef, and Katrina Munichiello, a writer and editor who specializes in the tea and food industries.