How to Deep-Fry a Turkey

Deep fried turkey originated in the south, the frying capital of the United States, but it is gaining popularity nationwide. The turkey is anything but greasy; the deep-frying process seals the outside and the turkey remains incredibly juicy, while the skin gets wonderfully crispy. So let’s get started with a few tips on deep frying your Turkey.


Do not stuff turkeys you plan on frying, it just doesn’t work.

Be sure to measure for the amount of oil you’ll need BEFORE you marinate or bread the turkey.

Immediately wash hands, utensils, equipment and surfaces that have come in contact with raw turkey to avoid cross contamination.

Keep an eye on the time, fried turkeys cook quickly. It only takes about 3 minutes per pound. Overcooking is one of the biggest mistakes beginners make. We should know, we cooked our first turkey so much the outside was charred completely black. Surprisingly, the meat inside the burnt shell was still delicious, so know that if you make this mistake, all may not be lost.

Consume cooked turkey immediately and store leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking.

Never leave the hot oil unattended.

Don’t allow children or pets near the cooking area.

Allow oil to cool completely before disposing or storing it.In addition to your Turkey there are a few things you’re going to need. A 40 or 60 quart pot with a basket or turkey frying hardware, a propane gas tank & burner, a candy/deep fry thermometer, a meat thermometer and lots of oil. You want to use oils with high smoke points such as corn, peanut or canola oils. Oh..and importantly. a fire extinguisher close by and some heavy duty pot holders. As for the Turkey itself, smaller birds are the best for deep frying so I’d keep your max weight at 15 lbs.

Because so much oil is flammable, you should never fry a turkey indoors. Place the fryer, outdoors, on a level dirt or grassy area. Avoid frying on wood decks, which could catch fire. You will also want to avoid concrete surfaces, unless you don’t mind oil stains. Always keep that fire extinguisher nearby.

Heat your oil to 350-365 degrees — use a deep-fat frying thermometer clipped onto the side of the pot. This usually takes between 20 to 30 minutes. Be VERY careful not to exceed this temperature, as the oil can begin to smoke and actually catch fire. Keep constant watch over the temperature and you’ll be okay.

You can inject your Turkey with a flavor injector prior to cooking with your favorite marinade, if desired. Make sure the outside of the turkey is completely dry (you know what happens when water hits hot oil). When the oil hits 350 degrees slide the Turkey in — gently, or you’ll fry your feet if they happen to be near the oil that will splash out if you throw it in. Cook for about 3-1/2 minutes per pound for a whole turkey, approximately 52 minutes for a 15 pound turkey, only 42 minutes for a 12 pound Turkey! Remove the turkey from the oil carefully, and immediately wrap it with aluminum foil. LET THE TURKEY REST FOR 30 MINUTES before carving. Carry-over cooking will finish cooking the turkey outside the oil, bringing it up to the proper temperature and allowing the juices to circulate back through the meat.

There are a few great sites for purchasing your deep fryer if you don’t already have one. Complete instructions will come with each fryer and should be followed carefully!

One heck of a great recipe from Chef Emeril Lagassel!


�· 2 8-14 lb turkeys

�· 10 gallons peanut oil

�· 1 cup salt

�· 1/2 tbsp cayenne

�· 1/4 tbsp black pepper

Emeril’s Cajun Marinade

�· 2 tablespoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire

�· 1 tablespoon crab boil

�· 1/4 cup apple cider

�· 3/4 cup honey

�· 1 bottled beer

�· 1 tablespoon salt

�· 1 tablespoon allspice

�· 1/2 cup essence or Creole spice

�· 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

�· Pinch of clove


�· 40-60 quart pot with basket, burner and propane tank

�· candy thermometer to measure heat oil

�· meat thermometer to test turkey doneness

�· safety goggles

�· fire-safe gloves and pot holders

�· fire extinguisher

�· seasoning injector


1. Season and cure the turkey with salt, pepper and cayenne. Rub seasoning on skin and let sit overnight.

2. In a blender, add all the wet ingredients and then the dry ingredients to make the marinade. Puree on high for 4-6 minutes. Make sure all ingredients are completely pureed and add to an injector.

3. Heat oil to 350 degrees F. Depending on the amount of oil used, this usually takes between 45 minutes and one hour. (To determine the correct amount of oil, place the turkey in the basket and place in the pot. Add water until it reaches 1 to 2 inches above the turkey. Remove the turkey and note the water level, using a ruler to measure the distance from the top of the pot to the surface of the water. Pour out water and dry the pot thoroughly. Be sure to measure for oil before breading or marinating the turkey.)

4. While the oil is heating, prepare the turkey as desired.

5. Once the oil has come to temperature, place the turkey in the basket and slowly lower into the pot. Whole turkeys require approximately 3 minutes per pound to cook. Remove turkey and check internal temperature with meat thermometer. The temperature should reach 170 degrees F in the breast and 180 degrees F in the thigh. Turkey parts such as breast, wings and thighs require approximately 4 to 5 minutes per pound to come to temperature.

Recipe copyright �© 1998 Emeril Lagasse

Enjoy and Bon Appetite!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four + = 9