Comparing air fryers and turkey fryers
There’s no denying fried food is delicious, but dipping your food into batter and oil usually comes at a cost to your health. If you’re looking to take the healthier route and still be able to enjoy your favorite fried foods, an air fryer is the perfect appliance to get your french fry or fried chicken fix.
But there’s also another option for cooking fried foods — one that can help you for the big family get-togethers. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve or a summer cookout, if you’re looking to cook your main course quickly, turkey fryers are the solution. While turkey fryers only cook turkey, air fryers cook practically any food you can imagine, but both are a great source that cooks tasty food in an efficient manner.
What does a turkey fryer do?
There’s nothing like a golden, crispy turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. However, preparation can be a bit of a doozy, especially if you’re in a rush. Turkey fryers are great if you’re cooking for a large group or if you’re in a time crunch. With the variety of fryers on the market, there are a few things to consider to ensure you’re purchasing one that is best for you.
Turkey fryer pros
Turkey fryers take significantly less time to cook than conventional ovens. Rather than drying out the meat, they retain the moisture so your meal will be delicious all the way to the bone. Adding onto that juicy goodness, turkey fryers cook the meat from all sides, making it nice and crispy. They come in different styles and heat sources so they can work in anyone’s food prep process.
- Propane: Usually the largest size of fryer because it offers more capacity and can be used outdoors. A propane tank is required.
- Fryer pots: Perfect if you're looking to cook an extra large bird. This fryer can steam, fry and boil food.
- Electric: Can be used indoors and is generally considered the safest.
Turkey fryer cons
While frying a turkey may sound fun (and delicious), there are many precautions one must take for each style of turkey fryer.
- Propane: Often doesn't provide automatic temperature controls, so it's easy to overcook, overheat and potentially cause a fire. If you don't have a propane tank, you'll have to purchase one.
- Fryer pots: Required to be used outdoors because of their large size, oil intake and need for additional heating sources. The lid, handles and pot itself can become extremely hot, so oven mitts are a must. Fryer pots are also weather-dependent, so you'll have to plan in advance.
- Electric: While they can steam and boil food, electric turkey fryers may not provide the same capacity as other fryers. They also take a longer time to cook compared to propane and fryer pots.
If you plan on using a propane or electric fryer, keep a fire extinguisher nearby and wear safety goggles for oil splatters that may occur.
Best turkey fryers
If you don’t like taking the extra time to clean, this 30-quart turkey fryer pot is great. It heats up quickly due to its lightweight aluminum build and the built-in spigot makes draining oil easy. Additional materials include a lifting hook, rack and lid for easy use.
This propane turkey fryer doesn’t use a lot of oil compared to other fryers, so this model is perfect if you’re looking for a healthier option. It uses infrared technology to cook up to a 16-pound turkey, so there’s no need to wear goggles and worry about oil splashing.
This extra-durable stainless steel turkey fryer is required to be used outdoors and can be used for boiling, frying and steaming up to a 20-pound turkey. The grab hook makes it easy to remove from the fryer and the 12-inch thermometer makes sure you get an accurate reading.
What does an air fryer do?
Air fryers give you the same tasty satisfaction from your favorite fried foods but in a healthier manner, so items like fried chicken and french fries will still have that perfect crunch. Made in all different shapes and sizes, air fryers tailor to each consumer’s needs. Before you purchase one, make sure your kitchen outlet can support between 800-1,200 watts.
Air fryer pros
No deep fryer is needed when this appliance is on your counter. You still enjoy the crispiness of your favorite foods without the guilt and in minutes. For those wanting to go green or simply save energy, air fryers are energy efficient because of their compact build. Cleaning up is a breeze because air fryers don’t have a container of hot oil to drain and the baskets are dishwasher-safe.
Air fryer cons
Food is normally cooked between 300-400 degrees, so letting anything cook even one minute longer than needed in an air fryer can burn it. Due to their relatively small size, air fryers typically cook portions for one to four people. If you’re cooking for a large group, you’ll have to cook in batches or use a standard oven.
Best air fryers
Instant Vortex 4-in-1 Basket Air Fryer: available at Amazon
Eat healthier versions of your favorite foods with this air fryer that uses 95% less oil than traditional deep fryers. Air fry, roast, bake and reheat all with the touch of a button.
The Ninja AF101 is equipped with four settings: air fry, roast, reheat and rehydrate. The temperature ranges from 105-400 degrees, so you’ll be able to cook a wide variety of dishes.
COSORI Air Fryer Max XL: available at Amazon
This air fryer is all about efficiency. Popular air fryer foods are represented by 11 preset buttons, but you can also customize temperature and time settings for your own recipes.
Should I get a turkey fryer or an air fryer?
It all comes down to your personal preference and needs. Turkey fryers are great for large gatherings and holiday dinners, while air fryers are perfect for everyday use. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy fried food quickly at home.
Tessa Schaal is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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