If you're looking for a change of pace from the typical roast turkey, frying is a great way to go. You'll get moist meat, extra-crispy skin and tons of flavor—at least if you use the right fryer. The wrong models will simply leave you with a greasy mess and a soggy bird — or worse, pose a severe fire hazard.
We've reviewed the options available for 2019 and not much has changed since last year. Our top picks remain the same, except that last year's Masterbuilt deep fryer model has been replaced with a new model (model #MB23010618), with the same features and price, and there's a new lower-priced model at just over $100 without the digital timer (#MB23012418). All of these models were available via Amazon Prime at the time of publishing, for quick shipping if you're in a rush.
Best Turkey Fryer: Bayou Classic 30-Quart Aluminum Turkey Fryer Pot & Bayou Classic High-Pressure Outdoor Gas Cooker
This combo from Bayou gives you exactly what you need for proper turkey frying, at a very affordable price. The 30-quart pot is large enough to hold up to a 20lb turkey. It includes the accessories you'll need, including a 12-inch stainless-steel thermometer for maintaining oil temperature and a rack and hook for moving the turkey. The companion Bayou Patio Stove is made from a heavy-duty steel frame and has four legs for extra stability (many burners have a three-leg configuration). Runs on standard propane tanks.
Owners on Amazon love both products, continuing to give each well over 4 stars, year after year. Would work well for a lobster boil in the summer, too!
Best Indoor Turkey Fryer: Masterbuilt Butterball Indoor Electric Fryer
Standing outside in sub-freezing weather is not my idea of fun. And if it's raining on Thanksgiving, an outdoor fryer is completely out of the question. The Masterbuilt Butterball Indoor Electric Fryer with digital timer (#Masterbuilt MB23010618) gives you results that are a step below the Bayou in terms of crispiness, but makes up for that with convenience, including thermostat temperature control and a front drain valve for easily removing the oil. There's also a digital timer, though it only beeps when done, it won't shut off the fryer. The extra large size handles turkeys up to 20lbs. And hey, you can actually talk to your party guests while the turkey is frying!
Consumer Reports was very fond of the older model Butterball Fryer's performance back in 2010, when it last did a turkey fryer review, and Amazon reviewers give it 4.4 stars, as of the time of this writing. The Butterball Fryer can be used as a deep fryer year-round to give your arteries a constant workout.
For those on a budget, there's a new model without the digital timer for about $15 less in stores, though it shares the same MSRP.
Masterbuilt Butterball Indoor Electric Fryer MB23010618 (w/digital timer): $149.99 MSRP (check lowest price on Amazon)
Masterbuilt Butterball Indoor Electric Fryer MB23012418: $149.99 MSRP (check lowest price on Amazon)
Best Oil-less Turkey Fryer: Char-Broil Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker, Roaster & Grill
Okay, I get it. If it's "oil-less" it's not really frying. But the "infrared" heating of the Char-Broil Big Easy, powered by propane, provides a better-than-roasted result in faster time, just like frying. While saving you the calories, cost and mess from gallons of peanut oil. And the 25lb capacity is larger than either of the frying models. It's also the most versatile of the "fryers", doubling as a grill or smoker.
Serious Eats tested the smaller model of the Char-Broil Big Easy (16lb capacity, roasting only, no smoker or grill) with solid results. And Amazon reviewers love the larger model, too, giving the Char-Broil Big Easy 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Char-Broil Big Easy TRU Infrared Smoker, Roaster & Grill: $179.99 MSRP (check lowest price on Amazon)
(Recommendations and pricing updated 11/8/2019)
[Image Credit: Amazon]