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Turkey Fryers


Published May 28, 2021.

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What You Need To Know

The best turkey fryers are durable and powerful and make great turkey. We prefer outdoor cookers to countertop models, which can be used inside. Our favorite is the Bayou Classic Stainless Steel 32-Quart Turkey Fryer and Gas One High Pressure Burner. This kit produced great crispy-skinned turkey in its large stainless-steel pot, thanks to a powerful burner that heated oil quickly and maintained temperatures well. It comes with a large steamer basket for boiling seafood and steaming tamales.

What You Need to Know

There are three good reasons to fry your turkey. First: the results. At its best, a fried turkey is spectacular, with bronzed, crackling-like skin and tender, juicy meat. Second: It frees up your oven. Without the turkey hogging the oven for hours, you can rotate in your sides and desserts more efficiently. Finally, it’s fast. Budgeting 3 to 4 minutes per pound, a 12-pound bird will be done in 48 minutes, tops. You could fry two turkeys—some folks do—in the time it takes you to finish making your sides. There are two types of fryers: outdoor and countertop. Outdoor cookers are pretty simple—just a large stockpot and a burner that you hook up to a propane tank. Countertop fryers are powered by electricity and are essentially extra-large deep fryers

Regardless of type, turkey fryers usually come with a steamer basket so that you can also do seafood boils or steam tamales. Most outdoor cookers also include a rack for holding the turkey, a hook for lowering the rack, and a thermometer for monitoring oil temperature. 

What to Look For

  • An Outdoor Cooker: Outdoor cookers are more expensive than countertop models, require the additional investment of propane, are a little more work to set up and maintain, and must be used outside (although this can also be a plus—while the weather has to be dry and calm for you to fry, any frying odors dissipate quickly outside). They’re still the best option for home cooks because they make the best fried turkeys. The two we tested had pots that were roomy, safely accommodating birds up to 18 pounds and plenty of oil for frying them. Their powerful propane burners heated the oil quickly and maintained proper frying temperatures, ensuring that the turkey cooked evenly, with crispy skin. 
  • A Stainless-Steel Pot: Outdoor cookers come with either stainless-steel or aluminum pots. Stainless steel takes a touch longer to heat, but it’s far more durable than aluminum. Aluminum will get the job done, too. But it’s also softer and more vulnerable to damage; our aluminum pot dented when we accidentally dropped it while cleaning it, though it was still functional. And as our science rese...

Everything We Tested

Good : 3 stars out of 3.Fair : 2 stars out of 3.Poor : 1 stars out of 3.
*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
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Reviews you can trust

Reviews you can trust

The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.

Miye Bromberg

Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.