Electric Turkey Fryer vs Propane Turkey Fryer – Pros And Cons

Electric Turkey Fryer Vs Propane Turkey FryerDeep frying your own Thanksgiving turkeys and sharing with loved ones is a wonderful experience for many families.

Knowing that you’re in control from start to finish is indeed gratifying.

The marinade used, quality food ingredients, trying out new flavors – you are in total control.

This brings us to the question of electric turkey fryer vs propane turkey fryer. Pros and cons? Read on!

At the end of this article, you’ll be able to decide whether to go electric, oil free or propane.

If you love the aroma and taste of fried turkey, then you will be inspired to master the art of deep frying turkey at home.

It is indeed a delicious tradition to follow.

Electric Turkey Fryer vs Propane – Pros and Cons

Turkey fryers come in oil free models as well as the traditional deep fat fryers using oil.

Both the electric or propane turkey fryers have either the oil or oil free options too.

Disclosure: I may be compensated through the links in the post below but at no extra cost to you. The opinions are my own

Propane Turkey Fryer

Outdoor Propane Turkey Fryer Using Oil

30 qt Turkey Fryer with Spout

30 qt Turkey Fryer with Spout

The outdoor propane turkey fryer kit offers you a convenient outdoor frying experience that help make wonderful memories. (Provided you follow all the safety rules for outdoor turkey frying)

There are 2 types of outdoor propane turkey fryer, those using oil and those that cook without oil.

Hanging out in the backyard (with buddies) while keeping an eye on the turkey frying inside the hot oil in the pot can be a fun, joyful and relaxing experience for many people.

If you buy the complete outdoor turkey deep fat fryer kit, it comes with everything you’ll need to deep fry your turkey.

The basic turkey fryer kit that uses oil consists of a 30 – 40 fryer pot (aluminum or stainless steel) with lid, frying basket, lifting hook  for lowering and raising turkey, as well as a burner with gauge for regulating the flame.

If you’re looking for an extra large pot, check out the Bayou Classic 82 qt stockpot boiler.

Some fryer pots come with integrated drain valve for easy removal of the used oil.

You’ll need to get your own propane gas tank, clip on thermometer to check oil temperature, instant read meat thermometer, heat resistant long thick gloves, well insulated potholders, injector for marinades, timer, fire extinguisher and don’t forget your peanut oil.

Safety googles to protect your eyes from oil splatters are recommended.

Normally, you’ll need about 3-5 gallons of oil with high smoke point.

Estimate 3-4 minutes per pound for whole turkey

Related post : Turkey Fryer Ideas


  • Can cook extra large turkey with 30 – 42 quart inner pot
  • Awesome crispy skin, tender juicy meat, heavenly aroma
  • Cooks fast compared to the oil less turkey fryer


  • With no automatic temperature control feature, oil can overheat to the point of causing a fire (Deep fat clip-on thermometer is necessary to keep track of oil temperature)
  • Sides of fryer pot, lid and handles get extremely hot
  • Danger of fryer pot tripping over resulting in hot oil spreading over a large area
  • Expensive cooking oil
  • Danger of fire
  • Greasy mess to clean up
  • Affected by the weather

Tips On Using A Propane Turkey Fryer That Uses Oil

  • The propane cylinder should be positioned upright and never on its side. It must be placed as far away from the fryer pot as possible
  • Make sure frozen turkey is thoroughly thawed and as dry as possible outside as well as inside before lowering it into the hot oil. Splattered or spilled hot oil can be dangerous.
  • Giblets and neck have to be removed before deep frying. Use them for a tasty gravy.
  • Never overfill the pot with oil. To check for maximum oil level, first put the bird (minus the packaging) into the empty fryer pot, fill it with water until water just barely covered the top of the bird. This water level must be about 4 -5 inches below the top of the pot to prevent oil from boiling over. Then removed the bird and mark the water level. That’s the maximum level of the oil you’ll need to pour in.
  • Use oil with high smoking point. A good example is peanut oil
  • Get a clip-on thermometer for checking oil temperature. Maintain oil temperature at 350°F
  • Get an instant read meat thermometer. Temperature must reach 170-180°F at the thickest part of the thigh and 165-170°F in the breast for turkey to be considered cooked.
  • To prevent fried turkey from sticking to the basket, first dip the empty basket in oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • If you wish to brine your turkey, do it 6-12 hours in advance. Always make sure the bird is thoroughly dried before deep frying.
  • If injecting water based marinade, best to inject deep into the breast and thigh muscles. Injecting just under the skin might result in oil splattering when water mixes with hot oil.
  • If stuffing is used, cook it separately. Deep frying is a fast-cook method and stuffing might not have enough time to get properly cooked. Besides, you need the oil to flow freely around the cavity of the turkey for it to cook evenly.
  • After removing fried turkey from hot oil, let stand for about 20 minutes. This is to allow for the bird to finish cooking, drain out excess oil as well as allow for the juices to set.
  • For best results, get the turkey weighing less than 15 pounds. For safety reasons, it’s easier to handle a smaller size bird. Frying turkey larger than 15 pounds takes a longer time which might result in overcooked skin.
  • Standby UL listed fire extinguisher meant for grease fires

[alert-announce]NEVER use water to put out a grease fire[/alert-announce]

Oil Free Outdoor Propane Turkey Fryer – How Does The Outdoor Oil Free Propane Turkey Fryer Work?

Big Easy TRU-Infrared Oil-less Turkey Fryer Cooking Chamber

Big Easy TRU-Infrared Oil-less Turkey Fryer Cooking Chamber

Let’s talk about the Charbroil Big and Easy oil free turkey fryer.

The propane oil less infrared turkey fryer uses radiant heat to cook your bird.

It comes with a double wall construction with an internal cylindrical cooking chamber.

It is powered by a 20 pound propane gas tank and has a circular gas burner heating up the space between the double walls.

The gas flames heat up the interior wall. Infrared heat radiates evenly from inner wall to penetrate the bird.

Hot air rises along the inner wall and exits at the exhaust holes. Turkey remains moist and juicy.

Its infrared technology enables faster cooking with less gas needed.

It is able to maintain even heating resulting in food with a crispy exterior and a juicy interior all done without the need for oil.

If you love turkey drippings, then you’ll love the removable drip pan located at the bottom of the fryer that catches the drippings for making your gravy.

Related read : Charbroil Big Easy Turkey Fryer Review

Related read : Masterbuilt Oil Free Electric Turkey Fryer

Electric Turkey Fryer

Butterball XL Electric Fryer, 20 lb. Capacity with Timer

Butterball XL Electric Fryer, 20 lb. Capacity with Timer

As for the electric turkey fryer, you can choose between oil free or using oil.

It can be used indoors and it can be placed on the countertop.

There is no open flame to worry about.

Digital electric turkey fryers come with thermostat control, timer and user-friendly digital controls.

Safety features such as temperature control and auto shut-off make them safe and easy to use.

A green light informs you when the desired temperature is reached.

Besides frying your turkey/chicken, it can be used for low country boils, steam/blanch vegetables, French fries etc.

The heating element has to be submerged in either oil or water – deep frying or steaming/boiling.

Heating up the oil will take about 30 – 45 minutes (less oil compared to outdoor fryer)

Some models come with a divider for the frying basket that allows you to deep fry 2 different food ingredients at the same time.

Are you looking for an electric turkey fryer with spigot or drain valve? This makes it easy to drain off the used oil.

[alert-announce]To thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator, estimate about 24 hours for every 4 pounds[/alert-announce]

How Does The Electric Turkey Fryer Work?

The electric turkey fryer comes with an adjustable electric heating element to cook your bird.

For example, the Butterball oil free electric turkey fryer is powered by a 1650 heating element. It comes with a double-wall construction that uses radiant heat to seal outside of turkey. It takes about 10 minutes per pound of turkey.

The Butterball XL Electric Fryer by Masterbuilt (uses oil to fry) is powered by an adjustable 1650 watt electric heating element. It takes about 30 – 45 minutes to heat up the oil in the pot.

It takes about 4 minutes per pound to cook the bird if using the electric fryer with oil. It comes with a dishwasher safe fryer pot, lid, basket as well as drain valve. Yes, everything goes into the dishwasher except the heating element.

Safety features include thermostat control to maintain a steady temperature up to 375°F and an auto shut-off when temperature of oil gets too high. There’s an in-built timer to let you know when turkey is ready.

The electric fryer uses 33% less oil than the traditional fryer.

The indoor electric turkey fryer uses less oil compared to the outdoor propane deep fat fryer – a little under 3 gallons or 11 quarts compared to 4 – 5 gallons for the outdoor fryer.

However, you can only cook a smaller turkey (up to 14 pounds) using the electric turkey fryer with oil. You can cook a slightly larger bird up to about 18 pounds using the oil free electric model.

You won’t get drippings for making gravy unless using the oil free fryer.

[alert-announce]Frozen turkey must be completely defrosted and wiped dry before dropping into the hot oil. Remember to check and remove ice crystals inside cavity of turkey[/alert-announce]

Oil Less Electric Turkey Fryer

It takes about 10 minutes per pound of bird. So an 18 pound turkey would take about 3 hours.

The greaseless turkey fryer is great for you if you are afraid to deal with a big pot of hot oil and an open flame.

You have a choice of either the outdoor propane oil-less turkey fryer or the outdoor electric oil-free turkey fryer.

Certain models come with the built-in wood chip box for a smoking effect.

 Pros Of Oil Less Fryer

  • With the oil less turkey fryer, you get to collect drippings for gravy.
  • Because no oil is involved, you get to season your turkey with your favorite rub and spices. Make sure the fryer is heated up before putting in your bird so that the skin is instantly seared and the moist juices stayed inside.
  • You get a less greasy cooked bird
  • You get to save on expensive peanut oil
  • You do not have to wait for oil to heat up
  • You do not have to worry about filtering and storing used oil
  • Safe, simple and convenient to use
  • Can be used indoors (certain models only)
  • No hot oil or messy cleanup to deal with
  • You can smoke your turkey (certain propane models only)
  • You can take your electric oil free turkey fryer to tailgate gatherings as no oil is involved and no propane tank to carry around

Cons Of Oil Less Fryer

  • More suitable for smaller birds below 15 pounds. The xxl models can be used for birds just below 20 pounds but a tight squeeze in the frying basket
  • Longer cooking time  – 10 minutes per pound of the bird compared to 4 minutes when deep frying in oil
  • You can’t do a crab boil even if you can fit a pot inside the cooking chamber

Tips On Using Outdoor Oil Free Propane Turkey Fryer

  • Do not cover the cooking chamber with its lid when cooking is in progress. This is to prevent overheating causing dryness.
  • Cover the fryer during last 15-20 minutes for a crispier skin and a more golden color.
  • Certain models such as the Charbroil Big and Easy turkey fryer comes with an optional bunk bed basket for cooking multiple items at once
  • A propane gauge comes in useful for checking the amount of gas left in cylinder.
  • Insert the temperature probe into the thickest part of the thigh or breast and cooked to 165°F-180°F

Electric Turkey Fryer vs Propane Turkey Fryer – Which One Is For You?

If you’re looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle with less fat in your diet, then the oil free electric turkey fryer would be the better option for you.

If for whatever medical reasons you’re advised not to have deep fried food, then the oil less turkey fryer might offer you a solution to having fried turkey for Thanksgiving.

If you do not have a safe place to deep fry using a big pot of oil, then you’ll find the oil free fryer appealing.

If outdoor cooking is not an option for you, then the indoor electric turkey cooker would be your choice. You’ll just have to narrow it down to turkey fryer with oil or without oil.

If you have small kids and pets running around, do consider the indoor turkey fryer.

If you’re reluctant to handle a big pot of hot oil, you can still cook fried turkey at home using the electric turkey fryer with no oil needed. Or you can use the electric indoor turkey fryer that cooks with less oil, comes fitted with safety features, temperature control and is easier to handle than that big pot of oil powered by propane.

One good thing about the outdoor fryer is that your house interior doesn’t smell of oil.

It’s a great appliance to have when cooking for large gatherings of friends and loved ones.

So, think indoor or outdoor, then choose with oil or without.

If you worry about the amount of oil in your fried bird – The modern turkey deep fat fryer with temperature control feature helps maintain oil at the ideal temperature throughout the cooking process.

This helps in minimizing oil absorption into the bird.

Too low a temperature results in greasy food and too high a temperature results in a burnt crust.

If you worry about the taste of the oil free fried turkey – Majority of customers commented that the oil free fried turkey taste delicious with a crispy akin and juicy meat.

How Long Can You Store Cooked Turkey

Cooked turkey cannot be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Keep leftovers in a covered container, plastic bag or aluminum foil for up to 4 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. Read more here

How To Use Propane Turkey Fryer With Timer

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