All About Turkey Fryers

Many people say that a turkey fryer is the only way to make the best tasting turkey!

Frying Turkey
photo by Jinx!

Pictured above is a wonderful turkey cooked in a turkey fryer.

All About Turkey Fryers

Everybody wants great tasting turkey, and a turkey fryer will do that! Why a turkey fryer? Many of those who have tasted deep-fried turkey will attest that they are a lot tastier and juicier. In fact, these same people are convinced that deep-frying is simply the best way to cook a turkey. This is because the process is able to make the turkey skin crunchy and crispy while sealing the juices and flavors inside the meat thus making it, well, incredibly juicy.


Turkey Fryers are New

Back in the days when turkey fryers were not yet available, people cooked their turkey by either smoking it or roasting it in an open fire. When the oven came around, turkeys were then cooked in a oven for anywhere between 3 to 5 hours. Still cooking a turkey in an oven is still the most popular, but there is a new choice.

Turkey in Oven

(photo by CJ Sorg)

The turkey fryer have recently become the apparatus of choice for cooking turkeys. Although deep-frying it had been commonly used in the southern part of the United States, it is only lately that people in other states have taken notice and started cooking their turkeys in turkey fryers.


How a Turkey Fryer Works

It can be a tricky to answer this question because there are different type of turkey fryers. Basically, a turkey is placed in a basket or on a holder and placed in a confined heat source. Because the heat source is confined, the turkey is cooked faster than an oven. To cook a turkey in an oven, it takes around 20 minutes a pound. Here are possible cooking times (depending on heat source) for cooking a turkey in a turkey fryer:

  • oil heated by electric is around 3.5 minutes/pound.
  • oil heated by propane is around 3.5 minutes/pound
  • air heated by electric around 10 minutes/pound
  • air heated by propane is around 10 minutes/pound

This means that cooking a turkey in a turkey fryer is a lot faster than cooking a turkey in a tradition oven!!! Next, the four types of turkey fryers will be explored in more depth.


Types of Turkey Fryers

Several companies have come out with their own models of electric and propane turkey fryers. Some electric turkey fryer models have been incorporated with technological enhancements that include digital timer and digital thermometer, and light indicators. Others have come up with turkey fryers that make use of radiant heat for cooking thus doing away with cooking oil.

Basically, there are four types of turkey fryers and each type of turkey fryer will produce excellent tasting turkey. The chart below shows the advantages, disadvantages and cost of four types of turkey fryers.

Types of Fryers



Oil Heated by Electric

Pictured Masterbuilt Butterball Turkey Fryer

  • Cooks turkey at 3.5 minuts/pound.

  • Can easily cook inside.

  • Easily clean most parts in diswasher.

  • Fryer can fry, steam, or boil food.

  • Spilled oil on heating elements create smoke

  • Most fryers cannot cook larger turkeys

  • Should clean fryer after each fry.

Oil Heated by Propane

Pictured Bayou Classic Turkey Fryer

  • Cooks turkey at 3.5 minuts/pound.

  • If oil accedently burns, smoke will not be a problem

  • Can cook larger turkeys

  • Fryer can fry, steam, or boil food.

  • Most oil flyers are a little tipsy.

  • Uses a lot of oil

  • Need to make sure propane is working properly.

Air Heated by Electric

Pictured Masterbuilt Butterball Oil-Free Electric Turkey Fryer

  • Don't need to worry about an oil fire

  • Can use inside the home.

  • More child save than oil fryers

  • Will have turkey drippings for gravey.

  • Does not produce a cruchy turkey skin like an oil fryer.

  • Proper tempature hard to maintain in cold temperature.

  • Turkey drippings can be very messy

Air Heated by Propane

Pictured Char-Broil The Big Easy Oil-Less Infrared Turkey Fryer

  • Don't need to worry about an oil fire

  • Crispy Turkey Skin

  • Will have turkey drippings for gravey.

  • Easy to clean

  • Need to cook turkey outside.

  • A little challenging to adjust propane

  • Need to keep children away form hot fryer.

As you can see from the chart, the type of turkey fryer a person will choose is based on their preferences and needs.

Note: a turkey fryer that uses oil not only greatly reduces cooking time (a 15-pound turkey can be cooked in a turkey fryer in under an hour), but it can also be used for frying or boiling other foods. Other fried foods include chickens, fish, french fries, doughnuts, onion rings etc. Broiled or steamed foods include king crag legs, lobsters, corn, crayfish, shrimp, etc.


Turkey Fryer Safety

One of the things about almost all turkey fryers is safety. This is especially the case for turkey fryers that use oil. It is really important to follow the manual that comes with the fryer. Not reading the manual is not an option for turkey fryer owners!


Choosing a Turkey Fryer

Choosing the best turkey fryer is a personal decision. Each person has a different needs. Only you know what is best for you!!! Here are two steps to help you see which turkey fryer is best for you.


Step 1: Determine what are you desire and need.

The following questions will help you see your desires and needs.

Q. How large of turkey do you plan to cook?

Q. How much time do you want to spend making sure your fryers heat is maintained?

Q. What heat source do you want to use?


Step 2: Pick a turkey fryer that meets your needs.

Look at the table above and at the reviews listed on the right, then pick a turkey fryer that best meets your needs.

Following these two steps should help you make a good choose in choosing a turkey fryer.

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