The Terrified Beginner's Guide to Deep-Frying a Thanksgiving Turkey

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Deep-Fried Turkey Recipe

Because turkeys navigator doubly arsenic accelerated arsenic deep-fried (than erstwhile traditionally roasted), you will ne'er eat juicier, tender nutrient wrapped pinch delicous crackling skin.

Serves10 to 12

Prep1 hr 10 minutes

Cook35 minutes to 55 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Brian Splawn, Food Styling: Meghan Splawn

Deep-fried turkey is simply a delicious, celebratory measurement to navigator your Thanksgiving meal. Other pluses: Fried turkeys navigator doubly arsenic accelerated arsenic traditional roasted turkeys and besides free up nan oven for essential broadside dishes. And pinch frying, you get to beryllium extracurricular and bask nan brisk autumn aerial while nan turkey cooks.

If nan thought of a vat of basking lipid has you a small nervous, you’re not alone. Maybe you’ve moreover heard a scary communicative astir your friend’s relative (it’s ever nan cousin, right?) who tried to fry a turkey and burned down nan family vessel house. But interest not! Together we will locomotion done each nan basal steps for safely deep-frying a turkey astatine home.

Yes, You Can Deep-Fry a Turkey!

With nan correct equipment; a thawed, brined, and super-dry turkey; and a information scheme successful place, you tin make nan tastiest, fastest-cooking turkey you’ve ever had. Still emotion nervous? Just retrieve nan 3 P’s to a successful deep-fried turkey: Be prepared, enactment present, and don’t panic.

Here’s what you’ll study successful this guide:

Credit: Photo: Brian Splawn, Food Styling: Meghan Splawn

First, Here’s Where to Set Up Your Deep-Fryer

Frying a feast-size turkey (for this recipe, a 12- to 15-pounder) requires that you person some a very ample cookware and fryer burner, arsenic good arsenic plentifulness of abstraction to safely fry outside. Choose a generous extracurricular abstraction connected level pavement aliases asphalt astatine slightest 10 feet distant from vehicles, decks, trees, and structures. Do not deep-fry nether a carport aliases canopy, moreover if it’s rainy aliases snowy. In fact, ne'er deep-fry if rainfall aliases snowfall is expected successful nan forecast.

Credit: Amazon, Home Depot, Ace Hardware

Once you’ve wished wherever to fry your turkey, you’ll besides request to stitchery nan pursuing equipment. Most tin beryllium recovered astatine home-improvement stores for illustration Ace, Home Depot, aliases Lowes.

You tin bid astir of nan essential fried turkey equipment online. Be judge to unpack your instrumentality arsenic soon arsenic you can. You don’t want to observe a dented cookware aliases missing instrumentality connected Thanksgiving morning. In summation to nan essentials, you’ll usage a fewer things you already person successful your kitchen.

  • Probe thermometer
  • Long-stemmed lighter
  • Baking sheets aliases roasting pans
  • Paper towels
  • Heavy-duty aluminum roasting pans (for transporting nan earthy and vanished turkey wrong and out) 

Credit: Photo: Brian Splawn, Food Styling: Meghan Splawn

Safety Tips for Deep-Frying a Turkey

In summation to having capable abstraction and nan correct instrumentality for frying, location are a fewer different watch-outs erstwhile deep-frying a turkey.

Don’t overfill nan cookware pinch oil.

A 30- to 34-quart deep-fry cookware is perfectly sized for a 12- to 15-pound turkey. Too mini a cookware aliases excessively ample turkey and you consequence basking lipid spilling complete nan sides of nan cookware and catching occurrence — this is nan primary origin of astir deep-fried turkey disasters.

To find really overmuch lipid your circumstantial cookware and turkey need, erstwhile you return your turkey retired of nan freezer to thaw, drawback nan deep-fryer cookware and do a small experiment.

  • Set nan turkey successful nan cookware and screen it pinch water, keeping way of really overmuch h2o you’re adding. (A quart-sized measuring cup is cleanable for this.) If nan turkey floats a bit, property it nether nan h2o and make judge that nan vertebrate is covered by an inch of h2o and that you person 3 to 4 inches from nan apical of nan h2o to nan apical of nan pot.
  • After you region nan turkey from nan water, usage a Sharpie to people nan tallness of nan h2o (this will beryllium nan lipid capable line) and statement nan full magnitude of h2o you needed, which will thief you fig retired really overmuch lipid to buy.

Make judge your turkey is completely thawed and very dry.

Moisture, particularly crystal crystals, is your number-one force erstwhile deep-frying a turkey. Be judge to thaw your turkey respective days successful advance — astatine slightest a time successful nan fridge for each 4 to 5 pounds of turkey, adding an further time for barren brining. After thawing and astatine slightest 1 time earlier frying, region nan turkey from its packaging and cheque for crystal crystals. Be judge to cheque nan turkey’s cavity. If nan turkey cavity is still icy, this is nan only clip you could rinse retired crystal safely. After unwrapping, pat nan turkey very barren pinch insubstantial towels wrong and out. Season nan turkey pinch kosher brackish and past fto it sorb nan brackish for astatine slightest 24 hours successful nan fridge. If abstraction allows, time off nan turkey uncovered, which helps barren nan turkey moreover further. Pat nan turkey barren again conscionable earlier frying. 

Turn disconnected nan burner and little nan turkey into nan lipid very slowly.

On nan large day, erstwhile your lipid is basking capable for frying (and you’ve taken nan chill disconnected nan turkey), you’ll want to beryllium prepared to little nan turkey into nan lipid (wearing your heat-resistant gloves) pinch control. As an other precaution you tin move disconnected nan fryer burner while you little nan turkey in.

Lowering nan turkey into nan lipid is going to beryllium a spot nerve-wracking if you’ve ne'er done it earlier — nan lipid originates to bubble and emergence arsenic soon arsenic nan turkey is lowered in. It is important to return your clip and not panic. If thing seems incorrect (oil is spilling complete nan sides, etc.), don’t driblet nan turkey and dream for nan champion — alternatively propulsion nan turkey out, locomotion away, and stitchery yourself. Dropping nan turkey tin consequence successful splashed lipid burns (at best) aliases fires (at worst). 

Always beryllium coming and person a occurrence extinguisher nearby.

An under-appreciated use of frying nan turkey is hanging retired extracurricular from nan clip you power nan lipid until nan turkey is done cooking. (This is simply a bully measurement to get a break from nan basking room aliases to debar your family if nan holidays are stressful!) If you request to tally inside, inquire different big to support an oculus connected nan fryer. And ever make judge your occurrence extinguisher is adjacent and that you cognize really to usage it. Avoid drinking until nan frying is done, too. A brew aft nan turkey is done frying is well-deserved.

Credit: Photo: Brian Splawn, Food Styling: Meghan Splawn

The Best Oil for Deep-Frying a Turkey 

Outside of nan equipment, nan frying lipid is going to beryllium your biggest expense, truthful you want to beryllium assured that you’ve sewage nan correct lipid for nan job. For deep-frying, peanut aliases canola lipid are nan champion choices. Both person a precocious flash point, which intends they are little apt to drawback occurrence if they boil over. These oils besides person precocious fume points, which is adjuvant if your lipid goes supra 400°F.

Bonus: Both peanut and canola lipid tin beryllium recovered successful five-gallon containers for easy pouring. Both oils are easy to find astatine astir market stores and moreover immoderate location betterment stores and costs betwixt $15 and $20 a gallon depending connected nan brand. 

Why You Should Dry Brine a Deep-Fried Turkey

Remember: Moisture is our force erstwhile deep-frying a full turkey. Therefore, dry brining is cleanable for deep-fried turkeys because it helps barren nan tegument and fastener successful moisture. The result? Safer frying, super-crispy skin, and ultra-juicy meat.

Our fried turkey’s barren brine calls for a afloat quarter-cup of salt, which mightiness look for illustration a lot. However, this magnitude of brackish is needed to thief trim done nan lipid and thief nan turkey sensation well-seasoned. 

Credit: Photo: Brian Splawn, Food Styling: Meghan Splawn

How Long to Deep-Fry a Whole Turkey 

This is nan champion portion of deep-frying a turkey. Instead of nan accustomed 13 to 15 minutes, fried turkey takes conscionable 3 and a half minutes per pound. A ten-pound turkey will return 35 minutes; a 12-pound turkey astir 42 minutes.

Begin checking nan turkey for doneness astir 30 minutes. Deep-fried turkey is done erstwhile nan thickest portion of nan thigh reaches an soul somesthesia of 165°F. Testing doneness mightiness require an other group of hands — 1 to assistance nan turkey from nan lipid and different to usage a integer probe thermometer to get a somesthesia reading. Be judge nan fryer burner is turned disconnected earlier handling nan turkey. When your turkey is cooked, fto it remainder for 20 minutes before carving.

Credit: Photo: Brian Splawn, Food Styling: Meghan Splawn

Other Foods You Can Deep-Fry (Besides Turkey) 

While nan turkey rests, you tin move disconnected nan burner, screen nan pot, and fto things cool down. Or you tin person a small nosy and fry 1 much thing. Any of these foods would beryllium delicious aft a plunge into your heavy fryer.

  • French fries
  • Okra
  • Corn connected nan cob
  • Onion rings
  • Hush puppies

Having fried dozens of turkeys complete nan years, our favourite point to fry aft are classical gallic fries. Skip homemade fries (you’ve done enough) and usage your favorite stiff fries instead. Just beryllium judge they are besides crystal crystal free by tossing them successful a colander to loosen immoderate crystal aliases mini bits of murphy that mightiness burn. Fry for 8 to 10 minutes and service them alongside your turkey. 

Because turkeys navigator doubly arsenic accelerated arsenic deep-fried (than erstwhile traditionally roasted), you will ne'er eat juicier, tender nutrient wrapped pinch delicous crackling skin.


  • 1

    (12- to 15-pound) stiff full turkey

  • 1/4 cup

    kosher salt

  • 4 to 4 1/2 gallons

    peanut aliases canola oil

  1. 5 to 6 days earlier frying, fig retired really overmuch lipid you’ll need. Before you capable your cookware pinch oil, do a trial tally pinch water. Fill a 30-quart cookware halfway pinch water, measuring pinch a quart size measuring cup if possible. When nan cookware is half filled pinch water, spot nan stiff turkey (still successful its packaging) into nan water. Add much h2o if needed to screen nan turkey. Note nan number of quarts of h2o you utilized to capable nan cookware and screen nan turkey by astir 1 inch — that’s really overmuch lipid you’ll request connected fry time (don’t usage much than 4 1/2 gallons). After you region nan turkey from nan water, you tin besides people nan extracurricular of nan cookware pinch a imperishable marker to statement nan capable statement for frying.

  2. 5 to 6 days earlier frying, thaw nan turkey. Thaw nan turkey successful nan refrigerator successful a cookware aliases lined quiet refrigerator drawer to drawback immoderate moisture. The turkey must beryllium wholly thawed to forestall nan lipid from boiling complete during frying. A stiff turkey needs astir 24 hours thawing clip for each 5 pounds of turkey.

  3. 2 to 3 days earlier frying, barren brine nan turkey. Remove nan turkey from its packaging. Remove nan turkey's cervix and giblets, aliases prevention for different use. Use a brace of room shears to region immoderate excess tegument and nan turkey’s tail nub. Pat nan cavity and nan extracurricular of nan turkey barren pinch insubstantial towels and spot breast-side up connected a cutting committee aliases rimmed baking sheet. Season nan turkey wrong and retired pinch 1/4 cup kosher salt. Gently propulsion up nan tegument covering nan bosom nutrient and play nan bosom and thigh nutrient arsenic good — you whitethorn not usage each nan salt. Refrigerate uncovered 24 to 36 hours.

  4. 1 hr earlier frying, fto nan turkey beryllium astatine room temperature. Let nan turkey beryllium astatine room somesthesia for 1 hr earlier frying. Meanwhile, hole for frying and power nan oil.

  5. Prepare nan fryer cookware and burner. Find a abstraction extracurricular that is level and has plentifulness of abstraction astir it. Concrete is champion if you person a driveway aliases beforehand walk. Set up a 20-gallon propane vessel arsenic acold from an outdoor fry burner arsenic nan hose will allow. Make judge nan hose is connected from nan propane vessel to nan burner and that these are screwed arsenic tightly together arsenic possible. Set nan cookware connected nan burner (make judge it is barren inside) and clip connected a long-stem fry thermometer. Fill nan cookware pinch capable peanut aliases canola lipid to nan antecedently noted level. Make judge you person a probe aliases nutrient thermometer for nan turkey, power resistant gloves, occurrence extinguisher, and cookware for mounting nan fried turkey in.

  6. Heat nan oil. Turn connected nan burner by opening nan valve connected nan propane vessel wholly and mounting nan valve connected nan hose aliases burner to its precocious setting. Light nan burner and power nan lipid to 375ºF. This will return astir 1 hr — perchance longer successful acold conditions. Someone should beryllium extracurricular monitoring nan lipid while it heats.

  7. Prepare nan turkey for frying. When nan lipid is almost ready, pat nan turkey very barren again wrong and retired pinch insubstantial towels. Remember immoderate h2o aliases crystal connected nan turkey creates a hazard for frying. Insert nan guidelines of a poultry lifter into nan turkey — spell done nan cervix opening truthful that nan breasts of nan turkey will beryllium lowered into nan lipid first. If you like, you tin necktie nan turkey's legs together pinch room twine.

  8. Turn disconnected nan burner and little nan turkey into nan oil. When fresh to fry, move disconnected some nan burner and nan propane tank. Put connected power impervious gloves and usage nan poultry lifter hook to cautiously and very, very slow little nan turkey into nan basking oil. You want to do this slow to forestall boiling over, it should return 1 to 2 minutes to little nan turkey. When nan turkey is afloat covered successful nan oil, pinch nan lifter rubbing nan bottommost of nan pot, merchandise nan lifter instrumentality from nan base.

  9. SAFETY NOTE: If astatine immoderate constituent nan lipid seems adjacent to nan separator of nan cookware — aliases you spot flames nether nan cookware — don’t driblet nan turkey. Instead, quickly region it from nan lipid and move distant to entree nan situation. If there’s excessively overmuch lipid successful nan pot, usage a mini saucepan to scoop retired immoderate of nan lipid a small astatine a clip to trim nan amount.

  10. Fry nan turkey. Turn nan propane and nan burner backmost connected to high. The lipid somesthesia will person dropped, truthful fto it travel backmost up to astir 350ºF. Adjust nan occurrence arsenic needed astatine nan hose aliases burner arsenic needed, not astatine nan propane tank. Fry nan turkey for 3 1/2 minutes per lb of turkey. A 12-pound turkey will return astir 42 minutes, a 15-pound turkey person to 52 minutes. Again, personification should beryllium coming adjacent nan turkey astatine each times during frying.

  11. Check nan turkey for doneness and region it. When nan estimated frying clip is up, move disconnected nan burner and propane again. Put your power resistant gloves backmost connected and usage nan lifter instrumentality to raise nan turkey retired of nan oil. Have a 2nd personification insert a probe thermometer into nan thickest portion of nan thigh not rubbing bony - nan turkey is fresh erstwhile it registers astatine slightest 165ºF. (If nan turkey is not fresh yet, slow spot nan turkey backmost successful nan oil, move nan burner backmost on, and cheque each 10 minutes.) Place connected a ample disposable aluminum cookware aliases roasting pan. (See Recipe Notes for cleanable up and lipid disposal instructions.)

  12. Rest nan turkey for 20 minutes earlier carving and serving. Loosely screen nan turkey pinch aluminum foil and fto remainder indoors for astir 20 minutes. Carefully region nan turkey lifter arsenic it whitethorn still beryllium warm. Carve arsenic desired aliases by pursuing these directions: How to Carve a Turkey.

Recipe Notes

Cooking further turkeys: If you scheme to fry much than 1 turkey to provender a crowd, you whitethorn request to adhd much lipid to nan cookware earlier you move nan propane past burner backmost connected to power nan lipid earlier each turkey. Keep successful mind that nan lipid will return little clip to power up aft nan first turkey is finished, truthful person your adjacent turkey fresh by staggering its prep clip (sitting astatine room temperature, patting dry).

Clean up and lipid disposal: Before you carve nan turkey, make judge to move disconnected nan propane vessel and burner. Do not effort to move nan cookware of basking oil! Cover nan cookware and let it to cool wholly — this typically takes astir 12 hours. After nan lipid is wholly cooled, you tin select nan lipid done a strainer and return to your oil’s original containers. You tin reuse this lipid aliases find a section recycling programme for it.

Storage: Leftover turkey tin beryllium refrigerated successful an airtight instrumentality for up to 4 days.