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Frying makes everything better, from potatoes to Thanksgiving turkeys. In the summer months, a classic fish fry is always a great reason to get together, and you can get creative and fry squash blossoms, cinnamon rolls, and even Twinkies. And it all tastes even better when fried outdoors. 

Set up an outdoor cooking station, and you won’t heat up the kitchen or fill the house with oil smells. If you do spill oil, better to do it outdoors than in. But whether you’re frying a whole turkey for the holidays or air frying fish filets for a weeknight meal, there are a ton of options for different needs and budgets. Here’s a rundown of the best outdoor deep fryers and how to choose the right one for you.

Air fryers are a great way to make tasty chicken fingers. Cosmo Genova

The Best Outdoor Deep Fryers: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Fish Fryer: Bayou Classic 4-Gallon Fryer

Best Fish Fryer


  • Large capacity
  • Commercial quality
  • Clean frying
  • Propane powered


  • Expensive
  • Takes up a lot of space

The Bayou Classic 4-gallon fryer stands out with its commercial build quality and design. Propane-powered and made with durable, easy-to-clean stainless steel, this frier easily feeds 25-30 people an hour. This Bayou Classic fryer heats up quickly and maintains temperature well. The V-bottom design prevents burning and keeps the oil clean for high-volume cooking. It’s not cheap and takes up a lot of space, but it is the closest thing to a restaurant quality deep frier you will find.

Best Turkey Fryer: Bayou Classic Big Bird Kit


  • High quality
  • Fits up to a 25lb turkey
  • Great for fried and boiled foods
  • Stainless steel


  • Expensive
  • Overkill for smaller meals

The Bayou Classic Big Bird Kit is the best turkey frying setup out there. Avoid the cheaply made outdoor fryer kits that can be dangerous, and step up to this beast. The corrosion-resistant stainless steel burner features a solid base with a sturdy platform that can support a ton of weight. The burner can also accommodate different-sized pots for frying fish or other applications. You can fit up to a 25-pound turkey in the huge 44-quart stainless steel fryer pot. The pot is also well-made and will heat evenly and withstand the direct heat of the burner. In addition to the burner and pot, the kit includes a lid, a perforated poultry rack for turkey frying, a seafood/fryer basket, a lift hook, a stainless steel thermometer, a seasoning injector kit, skewers, and a set of insulated gloves.

Best Electric Turkey Fryer: Cuisinart Extra-Large Rotisserie Fryer

Best Electric Turkey Fryer


  • Uses less oil
  • Clean frying


  • Requires electricity
  • Less versatile
  • Expensive

This electric turkey fryer with a rotisserie design lets you cook using very little oil as the bird rotates in and out of the hot oil. You can use this fryer on a countertop, or take it outside and set it up on a table near an outlet. It features a magnetically attached breakaway cord for safety.

Best Air Fryer: Instant Omni Air Fryer


  • Large capacity
  • Versatile
  • See-through door


  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Needs electricity

While it might look like more of a toaster oven than a fryer, this versatile air fryer can do it all. Although the Instant brand makes many smaller-sized air fryers, going for this large-capacity unit can effectively replace multiple other appliances and lets you cook fried fish, french fries, whole chicken, pizza, and more. It’s not exactly an outdoor fryer, but there’s no reason you couldn’t put it on a cart on the porch so you don’t heat up the house or keep it in the garage to save counter space.

Best Budget: Bass Pro 6.5 Quart Fish Fryer


  • Affordable
  • Comes with everything you need


  • Aluminum pot
  • Requires a lot of oil
Best Budget

Despite its low price tag, this outdoor deep fryer has useful features like a built-in thermometer and a rubber handle on the frying basket to keep it cool. A 58,000 BTU burner heats oil quickly. Made to use with a 20-gallon propane tank, this 8 1⁄2-pound unit is easy to pack along on any weekend adventure.

Best Fish Fryer: Chard FFPA105 Fish and Wing Fryer


  • Perfect for outdoor frying
  • Propane powered 
  • Affordable


  • Hard to cook small amounts
  • Cheaper materials

The Chard 10.5 qt Fish and Wing Fryer is a perfect outdoor fish frying setup that comes with everything you need to get started. It’s extremely affordable, and the 50,00 btu burner provides more than enough heat to get the job done. It also has a rail around the outside of the burner to keep the pot secure and prevent spills and accidents. The Chard Fish and Wing Fryer comes with a 10.5-quart aluminum fry pot, a fryer basket with an insulated handle, and a stick thermometer.

Things to Consider Before Buying an Outdoor Deep Fryer

Considering what you want to fry will help you choose the best outdoor deep fryer for your needs. If you want to fry turkeys, you’ll need a big fryer that’s shaped to hold a bird. Following the general rule of one gallon of oil for every ten quarts of fryer capacity, a fryer big enough to hold a 22-pound turkey might require three gallons of oil. A fryer that size is perfect for a crawfish or Low Country Boil, too, but much larger than you need for a small family meal. A 1.5-quart fryer can cook for a small family of three, while a 3-quart fryer is big enough for larger families.

You can also choose between electric and propane fryers. Although most people prefer propane deep fryers because they heat up quickly, electric fryers can be used indoors and out, making them a good choice if you want to be able to fry in any weather. 

Look at safety features like break-away cords on electric fryers, too. Spilling hot oil is dangerous, and a cord that pulls out of the fryer when someone trips on it or pulls it, can prevent a fryer full of oil from toppling.  

Oilless fryers, also known as air fryers, don’t truly fry food, but they produce healthier fryer-like results. Essentially it’s a convection oven that circulates dry, hot air. Air fryers are extremely versatile and a great addition to any kitchen.

Frying a Turkey

Fried turkeys are delicious: crisp on the outside and juicy inside. Once you’ve tried fried turkey, you may very well want to buy a fryer of your own. A turkey fryer is also great for boiling crawfish, Low Country Boils, or cooking enough sweet corn for a party You can also use it for home-brewing beer, making maple syrup, DIY Euro mounts, and more. As a general rule, a 24-quart fryer pot will be able to hold a 14-pound turkey, a 26-quart can hold a 16-pound bird, and a 30-quart fryer pot can hold turkeys up to 20 pounds.

Frying Fish

Fish fries, whether at home, church, or social gatherings, are a longstanding American tradition. The right fryer makes the job easier. The best fish fryer heats quickly and maintains temperature well to ensure batch after batch consistency. If you’re only frying one thing, you only need one basket, but if you want to make fish and hushpuppies or fries, a two-basket setup lets you do that with ease. How big a fryer do you need? A fryer will cook 1.5 to 2 times its weight in oil in an hour. A gallon of oil weighs about 7 ½ pounds, so a two-gallon fryer can cook 20-30 pounds of food an hour.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Fryer

If you want a fryer you can use indoors as well as for outdoor cooking, it should be electric. Cooking with propane inside risks carbon monoxide build-ups, and there’s always a danger from the open flame of the burner. Electric fryers take longer to heat than propane, but they are safe indoors, and an easily portable one can be used to cook outside as well.

Healthier Fryers

If you’re trying to reduce your intake of fats, an air fryer is your best choice. It performs many of the functions of a fryer but without oil. Instead, it circulates hot air, achieving the same crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside finish we love in fried food. For maximum crispness, you still need to brush oil on whatever you’re cooking. While you can’t use an air-fryer to cook battered foods, you can bake, roast, broil, and dehydrate food.


If you don’t use a deep fryer often, or if you want a smaller fryer that’s easy to take with you on car camping trips or weekends at the lake, a budget fryer might be all you need. It won’t come with any extras, and you may have to eventually replace a lightweight pot that’s not as durable as more expensive ones, but you can start frying delicious food for very little money.


Q: Can you use an electric fryer outside?

Yes, you can use an electric turkey fryer outdoors. Some people prefer to use electric fryers outdoors because they can be noisy and they do produce cooking odors. For safety reasons, though, you should only use an electric fryer if there is an outlet close by so you don’t have to use an extension cord, which increases the risk of fire. It’s safer, too, to shop for a model with a breakaway cord that pulls off of the cooker if you happen to trip on it.

Q: Can you deep fry in the rain?

Hot oil and water do not mix. Any type of moisture can accelerate an oil fire. Deep frying outdoors in rain or snow is risky because moisture falling into hot grease can create spatters or hot steam, either of which can cause severe burns. For the same reason, you should never put a frozen turkey in a fryer. Be sure it’s thawed and dry. 

It’s also unsafe to move a fryer into a garage or even under a carport or overhang, where a flare-up could start a house fire. Every year on Thanksgiving, there are 900-1000 turkey fryer fires reported across the United States, and many of those wind up causing significant property damage. If you plan to fry a turkey for Thanksgiving, have the oven ready in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Q: What’s the best oil to deep fry a turkey in?

An oil with a high smoke point (the temperature at which oil starts to smoke and burn), like peanut oil, which has a smoke point of 450 degrees, works best in a deep fryer. Most recipes call for frying at 350 degrees so that a high smoke point provides plenty of room for error. Corn oil, although less flavorful than peanut oil, has a high smoke point and is safe for people with peanut allergies. Canola oil can work only if you watch the temperature, as it smokes at 400 degrees. Olive oil, with a 320-degree smoke point, makes a very poor choice.

Best Outdoor Deep Fryers: Final Thoughts

Choosing the best outdoor fryer for you always means thinking about what you’d like to cook and how much of it. A fryer that’s too big for your needs will use too much oil, while one that’s too small means more batches and frustration. A high-quality oil fryer and air fryer should be able to cover the overwhelming majority of meals. It all depends on who’s coming and what’s on the menu. Any of the fryers above will get the job done.

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