Deep Fried Turkey Recipe and Tips

Turkey Frying
Turkey Frying. jkbowers / Getty Images
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 8 Servings

This is a basic recipe and tips for frying a whole turkey. Whether you use an indoor fryer or outdoor fryer, be sure to read and follow the fryer manufacturer's directions carefully.

Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before you begin. 

What You'll Need

  • 1 whole turkey (thawed, brined, if desired)
  • 4 tablespoons seasoned rub (or amount desired) 
  • 2 to 3 gallons peanut oil (or amount needed, see instructions)

How to Make It

Put the thawed turkey in a large stockpot and add water to completely cover the turkey. Measure the amount of water added. This will be how much oil you will need. Remove the turkey from the water and dry it inside and out.

Fill the pot with as much peanut oil as you need — it will take at least 2 to 3 gallons. The oil should be at least an inch over the fully submerged turkey.  Heat the oil to about 375 F to 400 F.

The smoke point for refined peanut oil is 450 F. The oil should not be smoking. 

While the oil is heating, prepare the turkey with a seasoning rub or injection flavors.

Turn off the burner — this is to keep grease splatters from hitting the open flame — and add the turkey, lowering it very slowly. Use caution, the oil will splatter. See the manufacturer's directions and the tips below. Once the splattering has stopped, turn the burner back on.

The temperature of the oil will drop once the turkey is in it, but it should be maintained 350 F for the best results.

Cook the turkey for about 3 1/2 minutes per pound. A 12-pound turkey will take about 45 minutes.

Carefully raise the turkey and check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer. It should read 175 F to 180 F in the inside of the thigh, or about 165 F in the breast (not touching bone).

Place the turkey on paper towels to drain.

Visitor Tips

  • ... you need to place your turkey in the pot and then add water until the bird is covered by about 1 inch of water. Drain the water, measure it, and dry off the turkey. This is the amount of oil you place in the cooking pot. Splattering is part of the fun... as they say... I just do it outside, and place a piece of old carpet or cardboard under the boiling pot. I also keep a dry chemical fire extinguisher handy. Don't use water to put out grease fires. -Rex
  • Always dry your turkey inside and out as well as possible. The moisture (water) that is in and on the turkey is what, for the most part, causes the boiling over and the extreme splattering of oil. Hook the turkey with a hanger, either purchased where turkey deep fry equipment is sold or make your own. My son made me a hanger out of a 3-foot piece of aluminum dowel (I recommend steel as the aluminum gets soft when it heats up from the oil). You can get metal dowel rods from Lowe's or Home Depot. Place hanger on 4 to 6 ft. 2x4, hook turkey securely to the hanger and slowly lower it into the hot peanut oil (350-375 degrees) a little at a time. Raise the turkey slightly to let some water evaporate — that's not smoke; it is steam. Continue lowering and raising until turkey is completely submerged. You shouldn't have any boilover problems although there will still be some splattering. Put the pot lid on to limit this. -V.Riggs

See Also

Three Ways to Safely Thaw a Whole Turkey

Butterball: Deep Fried Turkey

Alton Brown's Deep Fried Turkey