7 Tips for Deep-Frying a Turkey

How to Cook Your Best Bird Yet

Angie Lewis, Writer
Reading Time: 4 minutes
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Tired of the same old roasted turkey every Thanksgiving? Go deep-fried this year! The process takes less time than cooking a bird the traditional way and frees up the oven for sides and desserts. Plus, the deliciously juicy result will have your family and friends gobbling up every last bite.

All you need is a turkey, 3 to 5 gallons of oil, a deep fryer, sufficient propane, a good spice mix — and a bit of courage.

Deep-frying can be dangerous, so always think of safety first: Do the frying outside. Use oven mitts or gloves to handle the fryer, lid and hook (used to lower the turkey into the oil). Make sure the turkey is dry before it goes into the pot. Don’t step away from the fryer for any length of time and don’t let kids or pets get close to it.

How To Fry A Turkey Infographic

Turkey Prep 101

Start with a 12- to 14-pound turkey and a good dry rub like this one:

Simple dry-rub recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

Mix all ingredients and set aside.

Thaw the turkey and remove giblets. Make a 3-inch cut on each side where the leg meets the breast to ensure the oil drains out and the meat cooks evenly. Massage the dry rub mixture on and under the skin and sprinkle some inside the cavity. Place the bird on a tray, cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

To cook the bird:

  • Allow turkey to come to room temperature and blot it with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  • Make sure the fryer is completely dry. Set it on the unlit burner and add oil to the appropriate level.
    How to determine the appropriate level: The day before, place the unseasoned turkey in the empty pot. Fill with water until the bird is covered by about half an inch. Mark the water level. Remove and dry the turkey. Dump out the water and dry the pot.
  • Light the burner and heat oil on high (lid on) until it comes up to 350 F, which may take up to 45 minutes. Monitor the temperature by using the thermometer that comes with the fryer.
  • Tightly tie the turkey’s legs together with twine and place the bird on the poultry rack. Slide the middle rod through the cavity so that the drumsticks point upward.
  • When the oil reaches cooking temp, put on protective mitts or gloves and slowly lower the turkey into the oil until it’s completely submerged.
  • Fry the turkey for 3 minutes per pound. A 14-pound turkey should take 40 to 45 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 155 F. A helper can hold the turkey while you insert the instant-read thermometer, or vice versa.
  • When the turkey is done, slowly raise it from the fryer and let the excess oil drip out, then place the bird on a tray and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Your turkey will be a star, your guests will be stuffed and everyone will be thankful for a wonderful dinner at your house.