How to Deep Fry a Turkey

Fried turkeys are very tasty and very juicy. One might think that frying a turkey would dry it out but it just is not so. Unless you have ever had a fried turkey you cannot understand just how tasty, juicy, and surprisingly not greasy they are. Unfortunately many amateurs end up making very unfortunate mistakes when they attempt to fry a turkey for the first time. Very strict safety guides must be followed in order to insure that your fried turkey does not end up frying your house or someone in the nearby vicinity. Here are instructions on how to deep fry a turkey and some strict guidelines on what you should do to insure the safety of your property and others.

What You Will Need

A small turkey (15 pounds or less): Larger turkeys may cook to quickly on the outside while not cooking the inside as well. The turkey should be completely defrosted. Placing a frozen turkey in hot oil can cause real problems and could start a fire or burn someone because the oil will rise rapidly, This is very dangerous never put a frozen turkey in hot oil.

A 40 or 60 quart pot with a basket, they have ones specifically for frying turkeys. The best one to get is one with a basket. Or you will need some turkey frying hardware if you don’t have a basket this will be a strong hanger and hook attachment.

A Propane gas tank and burner

You may want to go to one of the club stores like Sam’s for this as you will need a lot. Pay close attention and only use one of the following oils: Corn, peanut, or canola. Using any other oils could cause too much pressure and start a fire. Plan on using around 4 to 5 gallons.

A candy thermometer or one especially for frying that can withstand high heat.

A meat thermometer, this is for later do not put this in the fryer.

A fire extinguisher, just in case

Items to protect your hands (pot holders) good thick ones.


Since any seasoning you would apply to the outside would just be removed by the oil if you want to flavor the turkey the best way is to inject the flavor in to It. However, fried turkeys are very flavorful on their own with no additional seasoning needed. You can also of course put salt and pepper on the turkey after you pull it out of the oil. You can also use a dry rub if you wish but you should rub it in under the skin before you fry the turkey. If you are planning on injecting the turkey you will do that after it is cooked.

Setting Up

The safest place to deep fry a turkey is of course outside, and on a level dirt surface. If you don’t have a level dirt surface you can do it on a level grass surface, but be sure the grass is not to high or too dry. You can do it on concrete if you like but be aware that there is a good chance that some oil will get on the concrete and that it can and will stain the concrete. You should also set up far away from anything that can catch fire. Do not set up near trees, your house, your garage, your shed, or any other thing that could catch on fire. Try to stay 12 feet away on all sides from any structure. Do not try to deep fry on any other surface other than the ones mentioned above, especially wood.

Read the instructions that came with your turkey frying kit very carfully.

After setting up the turkey pot you will need to determine how much oil you will be using. Place the turkey in the basket or on the hook and lower it in to the empty pot. Now measure two inches above where the turkey is and mark on the outside of the pot with a Sharpie marker. Remove the turkey and wipe the pot out really well and add the oil up to your Sharpie mark. Apply the heat and allow the oil to heat up for about a half out then measure the temperature with the candy or deep frying thermometer. When the oil reaches 325 it is ready. Place the turkey on the hook or in the basket and carefully lower it in to the hot oil. The motion should be very slow and very steady.

Frying the Turkey

Since frying is a quicker method of cooking then roasting, you should estimate the frying time to be about 3 minutes per pound. When your turkey has fried for the appropriate amount of time gently pull it out and test the temperature with your meat thermometer in the breast. It should be at about 170 degrees. If the turkey has not reached that temperature carefully lower it back in and try frying for another 3 minutes then pull it out and check the temperature again, repeat if necessary. Just be very careful and make sure your hands are protected at all times.

Your turkey is now ready. Allow the oil to cool before disposing of it.

Note: This is just common sense but don’t allow kids, pets, or anyone playing any sort of game any where near the turkey frying area. Also of course never leave the hot oil unattended. Keep your fire extinguisher close by just in case. Do not attempt to fry a a turkey without having one on hand. You can get a small one for $15.00 which is a worthwhile investment.

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