Three Important Considerations When Buying A Turkey Fryer

Turkey fryers make delicious turkey dinners easy. Here’s what to know before you buy one.

Robust turkey in the wild
It's hard to beat the test of a freshly fried wild turkey.Randy Fath via Unsplash

Whether you shot a wary wild one or bought a Butterball at the grocery store, a fried turkey is a real treat. But you have to cook it properly, and you can’t just order any old turkey fryer and expect to be pleased with the outcome. To pick the perfect turkey fryer, you need to consider what power source you’ll be using, where you’ll be cooking your turkey and the size of the bird you will be preparing.

Power Source

Gas One turkey fryer
This simple gas fryer is made for outdoor use only.Amazon

Turkey fryers are powered by propane or electricity, and both do a fine job for cooking. If you plan to cook your bird outdoors, a propane fryer is generally the best bet. Gas just seems to offer a little more consistency when frying, and that's important to making the perfect turkey. Plus, gas fryers can be purchased with or without a cooking pot. If you plan to cook in the house, choose an electric fryer since it is dangerous to use propane indoors.

Oil Or No Oil?

Ninja turkey fryer
While most people prefer models that fry the bird in oil, air models like this one offer a somewhat healthier option and are gaining in popularity.Amazon

Typical turkey fryers cook the bird in scalding hot oil, leaving your turkey with a nice, crispy skin when done. Different cooks prefer different oils, and the type of oil you use can make a difference on how your finished meat tastes. A more recent introduction, which uses air instead of oil, is becoming popular in some circles since removing oil from the equation makes the end product a little healthier. However, these air fryers typically don't result in the tasty, crispy skin you'll get with a good oil fryer.

Size Of Your Bird

Chard standing turkey fryer
A large fryer like this one will handle just about any task you throw at it.Amazon

If you typically cook wild turkeys, which run a little smaller in size than domesticated birds, you won't need to go for a fryer with a super-sized cook pot. But if you like to fry jumbo-sized birds, you'll need to get the biggest pot you can find. This typically means a propane fryer, since most are simply bases that you can use a variety of pots to cook over. Many electric fryers just aren't big enough to hold a plus-size bird.