How to Deep Fry a Turkey Instructions

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and many people have started to realize the greatest way to cook a turkey, is to Deep Fry a Turkey! Surprisingly, and beyond the normal beliefs, Deep Fried Turkey contains almost no grease and oils that you normally associate with deep fried food.

Combine a naturally low fat food like Turkey, with a method that instantly sears the juices inside the bird itself, and you end up with the most popular trends in food preparation for the Thanksgiving Holiday Feast!

One thing for sure, frying your first turkey is not cheap, due to the initial cost of the right equipment. After you have it and you eat your first fried turkey though, you will find a reason to cook one every month!

What you Need to Deep Fry a Turkey

  • Large Stock Pot – Generally 30-45 Quarts
  • Basket to raise and lower Turkey into Pot
    (You can use 2 wire coat hangars to do this as well)
  • Burner with a Propane Tank
  • Temperature Probe
  • 3-5 Gallons of Peanut Oil with a High Smoke Point!
  • 12-15 Pound Turkey (The smaller Turkeys cook the best, get 2 if you need more!)
  • Choice of Spices to rub into the turkey, as well as optional marinades to inject.
  • Fire Extinguisher! <Required for Safety!>

There are several popular turkey frying kits (Listed below) available on the market, and if you plan a week in advance, you can order everything from one place (Except the turkey of course) to be sure you have everything you need.

Where to Fry your Turkey for Thanksgiving

Now that you have everything together and you are ready to get started, you MUST consider where to fry your turkey! As a general safety rule, DO NOT do this inside your home or garage! The ONLY safe place to fry a turkey, is in the middle of your driveway, yard, or anywhere else that is more than 10 feet away from any part of your house!

I’m not kidding here… your cooking oil is going to be around 350 degrees and whenever you have 4 gallons of 350 degree oil, you have everything in place for a great fire! That fire extinguisher you have handy… will NOT put out 4 gallons of burning oil once it hits your curtains!

Safety Warning: Fry Your Turkey Outside, Away from your House!

How to Fry a Turkey Instructions

Make sure your turkey is completely thawed out. A partially frozen turkey, hitting boiling oil is not good!

1 - Determine How Much oil to Use

Setup your Cooking Pot onto the burner and place your thawed turkey into the pot. Fill the pot with water, until the water level is 3-4 inches ABOVE the height of the turkey, and slowly lift the turkey out of the water. Using a marker, make a small line on the outside of the pot, even with the water line inside, and completely empty the pot and dry it back out.

What you now have, is the perfect amount of oil, taking into consideration how much displacement will occur when the turkey is placed back into the pot!

2 - Heat the Peanut Oil to 340-360 Degrees

Fill your pot with peanut oil, up to the line you created in step 1. Place your thermometer onto the edge of your pot and turn the burner on high! The optimal cooking temp is 350 degrees, but you want to heat the oil to approximately 360 degrees, in order to account for the immediate drop that will occur when you put the turkey in.

you can expect this heat-up process to take 25-35 minutes!

3 - Prepare your Turkey with Rubs and Flavor Injection

While the pot of oil is warming up, you have a bit of time to rub some flavor onto the outer skin of your bird! Before you start, completely DRY YOUR TURKEY and remove all innards packed inside. If your turkey has a pop-up temp sensor, remove it as well.

At this point, you can also use a flavor injector to mix up your own custom taste or use a premixed spice, and shoot it directly into the Turkey!

4 - Time to Fry the Turkey

Now that everything is ready to go, MAKE SURE you have long pants and shoes on your feet (No Sandals) and place you prepared and dry turkey onto your pot basket, breast side DOWN, so it enters the oil first. Grab a pair of oven mitts that cover your whole hand and very slowly, lower the basket into the hot oil.

Make sure you do this step nice and easily, or you will risk the oil boiling over in one swift move, that is likely to scare the heck out of you, and possibly make you drop the entire bird into the oil!

Cooking time is generally 3-4 minutes per pound, and you want to watch it very closely so it does not overcook! Ex: a 10 pound turkey takes 30-40 minutes to cook. At the 3 minute/pound mark, you need to open the lid and look at your turkey! You can lift it out slightly to get a good look at the top and sides and see if there is any scorching of the skin. If it very dark… chances are good that your fried turkey is done!

The only true way to know when the frying is complete, is to take a temperature probe and probe the breast and thigh areas. In the breast, you should see at least 165-170 degrees. In the thigh area, 175-180 degrees.

5 - Remove the Fried Turkey and Let Stand for 20-30 Minutes

After you remove the turkey from the fryer, you want to immediately cover it with tin foil, or put it into a large roasting pan with a cover and draining rack, and let it sit for at least 20-30 minutes. I know you will be tempted to cut it open and start eating, but this time period will allow the bird to fully cook!

Once the time passes… get out your knife, carve your fried turkey and enjoy!

Turkey Frying Kits

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Flavor Injectors Kits

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More informational reading:

Frying a Turkey Video with Mahalo on YouTube


Submit your Fried Turkey Recipes!

If you have a Turkey Frying Recipe, please share it in the comments below, or visit our contact page and submit it for publishing on the website!


4 Responses to “How to Deep Fry a Turkey Instructions”
  1. o jordan says:

    I have been thinking the past couple of years about deep frying my turkey. I have eaten deep fried turkey and chicken and loved it. Perhaps I will do my own this year

  2. Hansen Mark says:

    Thanks for the comment Otis!

    I have eaten a few fried turkeys man, they truly dont compare to a baked bird!! MUCH Juicier!


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