This Thanksgiving, Deep Fried Turkey is on the menu! Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and oh so delicious!
Forget oven baked turkey it’s time you stepped up your game and had a good old fashion Turkey Fry!
If you have never deep-fried a turkey before, you are in for a treat! Fried turkey is incredibly easy to make, so crispy on the outside and perfectly tender and juicy on the inside.
This deep fried turkey recipe is perfect for Fall meals outside on the deck, tailgating with friends, holidays with the family, or even meal prepping meat for the week!
Looking for other tasty turkey recipes, check out one of my personal favorites Butter Injected Grilled Turkey, Texas Smoked Turkey Breast, Spatchcock Smoked Turkey
Deep Fried Turkey Recipe
I know what you are thinking, and no … deep frying a turkey is not as hard as it may sound. In fact, it is probably one of the easiest ways to prepare a turkey.
With the holidays coming up, and for some, perhaps the first big holiday in a while for the whole family – try something new!
Gone are the days of that baked or oven-roasted dry turkey you break your jaw trying to eat. This year, give everyone the gift of a perfect tender and juicy turkey!
Deep frying turkey is one of my favorite methods; It turns that bland old turkey into something new, flavorful, and enjoyable for the whole family.
Ingredients to Make Deep Fried Turkey
With only three ingredients, your deep-fried turkey recipe will be on the table to impress in no time!
Turkey: I recommend choosing a fresh turkey anywhere in the 12-14 pound range.
Peanut Oil: 20 quarts of peanut oil. If you can’t find peanut oil, canola oil works too.
Salt: 1 tbsp Lawry Season Salt. Kosher salt is acceptable too. Avoid any rubs or seasoning that have sugars or dry herbs that will burn during frying.
Propane burner to cook the turkey.
Large 30 qt. pot with turkey lowering attachments.
Fire extinguisher on hand just in case anything goes wrong.
Cardboard boxes to put on the driveway underneath the burner so I don’t get any oil stains on the driveway. Wooden decks or slabs will also work as a substitute.
Paper towels to help with clean-up.
Turkey frying kit. You can buy the parts separately or as a bundle. Just make sure you have a burner, a pot, and a stand with a hook to lower the turkey safely
Heat-safe gloves to avoid any burns to your hands. I use Cotton gloves with Black Nitrile gloves instead because I have more dexterity.
Instant-read thermometer to gauge the internal temperature of the turkey.
How to Make Deep Fried Turkey
Thaw the turkey. Make sure the turkey is fully thawed and drained. Use a paper towel to pat the turkey dry, inside and out. I like to leave the turkey in a plastic container uncovered overnight with paper towels in the bottom of the container.
Season. Season the turkey with Lawry Season Salt. this is best done the night before. if you cant at least season the bird a few hours ahead of time to act as a dry brine.
Peanut Oil. Fill your pot up to the fill line with peanut oil, and then place it on your propane burner. Light the burner and bring the heat of the oil to about 325 degrees F.
Prep the turkey. Place the turkey lowering attachment through the cavity of the turkey so it sits upright. Then use butcher’s twine to tie the legs together. You may also just tuck the legs underneath the skin at the top of the bird. Next, make a loop around the broadest part of the turkey and tie the wings so that the tips are held against the side of the bird.
How to Cook Deep Fried Turkey
Lower the turkey into the hot oil. Once the temperature of the oil reaches 325 degrees F, cut the flame so that you can safely lower the whole turkey into the peanut oil. Use the turkey lowering attachment and begin slowly lowering the turkey into the oil. As soon as the bottom of the turkey touches the oil, it will begin to sizzle and pop. Continue to lower the turkey about 1 inch at a time. This process should take about 30 seconds, so don’t rush it.
Raise the heat and cook. Once the turkey is fully submerged, you can raise the heat back up to medium-high until the oil temperature reaches 275-300 degrees F. Cook for about 30 minutes before checking the internal temperature of the turkey. The temperature of the oil can drop as much as 70 degrees, so don’t be alarmed by the drop. Slowly bring the oil back up to the ideal cooking temperature.
Check the internal temperature. Check the temperature in the thickest part of the breast as well as the thickest part of the leg. The turkey is done when the breast has reached 160 degrees F. The leg will be much higher, but that’s a good thing because dark meat has a higher fat content.
Remove the turkey from the oil. Once the turkey is fully cooked, remove the bird slowly from the oil and let the excess oil drip off into the pot before transferring to a piece of cardboard to drain. Let the turkey rest for about 15 minutes. The carryover temperature of the turkey will rise to 165 degrees F or slightly higher.
Remove the twine. Remove the butcher’s twine and carefully slide the turkey off of the metal base.
Carving Turkey. Once the turkey has rested, transfer it to a large cutting board. There are lots of ways to carve a deep-fried turkey, but I like to start by removing the leg quarters and then the wings. Once they are removed, I carve off the whole breast in one piece and then slice the breasts individually.
How to Store Deep Fried Turkey Leftovers
Place the leftover turkey in airtight containers or plastic bags. Typically, turkey can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days.
You could also freeze your leftover turkey. Place your leftover turkey in plastic wrap inside of a freezer bag and place it in the freezer.
This leftover turkey should stay good for up to 3-6 months.
Top 5 Biggest Tips For Deep Fried Turkey
Before you fry, make sure to give this a read 2-3 times. I promise these tips to make a huge difference when frying a turkey.
- Do not heat the oil over 325 degrees F.
- Fully thaw and dry off the turkey before frying.
- SLOWLY lower the turkey into the oil.
- Fry the turkey for 3 minutes per pound and check the internal temperature after about 30 minutes.
- When you’re checking the internal temperature and removing the turkey, TURN OFF THE FLAME!
Fried Turkey Safety Tips
Remember when I said read the tips 2-3 times? Well, read these deep frying safety tips four times. Accidents happen; I find it’s best always to be prepared.
- Have a fire extinguisher on hand, just in case. Make sure to keep a safe distance if you do need to use it.
- For your turkey fryer setup, pick a solid-level surface, such as a driveway. Set up the tank as far away from the pot as the gas line will allow.
- Oil and water don’t mix. So don’t use your turkey fryer in the rain.
What Size Turkey is Best for Deep Frying
The ideal size bird will be around 12-14 pounds. I’ve found that larger birds take too long to cook the breast meat and dry out the other parts of the turkey.
Now, as you can see, I didn’t follow my own advice mainly because when I got this fresh turkey, they had just sold the last of their smaller birds, and this was the smallest one left.
I made it work, but it barely fit in the pot, and we had to keep a close eye on it to make sure we cooked it all the way through.
You can Always fry one turkey and smoke another, as my family often does, to make sure we have plenty of leftovers for Turkey Sliders and my personal favorite Turkey Stroganoff Pot Pie
Best Side Dishes to Serve with Deep Fried Turkey
There is truly nothing better than the perfect side dish.
Disposing of Fryer Oil from fried Turkey
After the oil has cooled, you can strain it out and use it again a few more times.
Once the turkey is cooked and served, put the lid back on the oil and let it cool down for a few hours until it’s below 80 degrees F. before disposing of the oil.
I use a funnel to pour the oil back into the jugs and take them to a place that can adequately recycle the oil. Check your local landfill or recycling center
.Helpful Tip* I always put cardboard down on the driveway underneath the burner, so I dont get oil stains on the driveway.
Big Shoutout to Whispering Breeze Farms in Taneytown, Maryland, for supplying me with this fantastic Turkey!! If you live in the Central Maryland area, be sure to check them out and get yourself a fresh turkey for the holidays.
More Recipes You’ll Love
Grilling a thanksgiving turkey
Grilled turkey breast with a butter injection
Texas smoked turkey breast pellet grill
The Best Deep Fried Turkey Recipe
- Propane Burner
- Large 30 Qt. Pot w/ Turkey Lowerig Attachments
- Fire Extinguisher
- 13 lb Turkey 12-14 Pound Range
- 20 qt Peanut Oil
- 1 tbsp Lawry Season Salt
- Make sure turkey is fully thawed and drained. Use a paper towel to pat the turkey dry inside and out.season the turkey with kosher salt and let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes
- Fill your pot up to the fill line with peanut oil and place on your propane burner. Light the burner and bring the heat of the oil to about 325 degrees F.
- Place the turkey lowering attackment through the cavity of the turkey so it sits upright. Then use butchers twine to tie the legs together. Next make a loop around the wides part of the turkey and tie the wings so that the tips are held against the side of the bird.
- Once the oil has reached 325 degrees F. Cut the flame so that you can safely lower the turkey into the oil
- Use the turkey lowering attachment and begin slowly lowering the turkey into the oil. as soo as the bottom of the turkey touches the oil it will begin to sizzle and pop. Continue to lower the turkey about 1 inch at a time. This process should take about 30 seconds so dont rush it.
- Once the turkey is fully submerged you can raise the heat back up to medium high until the oil temp reaches 275-300 degrees F. Cook for about 20 minutes before checking the internal temperature of the turkey.
- Check the temperature in the thickest part of the breast as well as the thickest part of the leg. The turkey is done when the breast has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. The leg will be much higher but thats a good thing becaause dark meat has a higher fat content.
- Once the turkey is fully cooked remove the bird slowly from the oil and let the excess oil drip off into the pot before tranfering to a sheet pan lined with paper towels. Let the tukey rest for about 15 minutes. the carryover temperatuire of the turkey will rise to 165 degrees F. or slightly higher.
- Remove the butchers twine and carfully slide the tukey off of the metal base. Carve the turkey up and enjoy.
Man, your post helped me a bunch here it is turkey day 2016 in good ol West Virginia and I was flipping out cause the oil temp dropped to 260 roughly but thanks to you i not so worried thank you sir for your time to post this article
Great recipe and great details on deep frying a turkey. Everything I needed to know. Can’t wait to try it again.
So simple, yet tastes anything but that. So juicy and flavorful!!!
thanks a bunch!! happy thanksgiving to you!
sorry, I just saw this but happy thanksgiving to you as well and Im so honored my recipe was part of your feast!!
This will be the perfect recipe for Thanksgiving this year. I am so excited to eat it with my family. Highly highly recommend! Love it
thank you so much!! glad you found this recipe!!
Hey, Just saw this, thank you sooo sooo much!!!
Perfect every time! Nice work!
Thank you!!! Its my favorite way to cook a turkey