Gabriel Woods
Published by Gabriel Woods
Last Updated On: July 27, 2023

As a seasoned chef and culinary expert with over a decade of experience, I have had the pleasure of exploring various cooking techniques and perfecting recipes that tantalize the taste buds.

Today, I am thrilled to delve into the world of deep-fried turkey and share with you the ultimate recipe, along with all the tips and tricks to ensure a mouthwatering and unforgettable culinary experience.

Deep-Fried Turkey Recipe

Deep fried turkey
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Servings: 10


  • 1 whole turkey, completely thawed  (12-14 lbs)
  • 3-4 gallons of oil (peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil, rice bran oil)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Cooking Equipment

  • Paper towels
  • Meat thermometer
  • Propane tank
  • Turkey fryer
  • Fire extinguisher nearby
  • Heat resistant gloves


Turkey in hot oil
  1. Before you deep-fry a turkey, it must be fully thawed. Allow 24 hours of thawing time for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water, or in the microwave. Do not thaw the turkey on the counter at room temperature [1].
  2. Determine how much oil is needed by placing the turkey in the fryer and filling it with water to cover the turkey by about an inch. Remove the turkey and measure the water. Note the maximum fill line on the fryer and do not overfill.
  3. Remove the giblet bag and neck from the turkey cavity. Pat the turkey dry completely with paper towels inside and out.
  4. Season the turkey inside and out with kosher salt, garlic, and thyme. Be sure to dry the turkey with a paper towel before seasoning to ensure the spices stick to the skin. This acts as a dry brine to lock in moisture.
  5. Preheat oil in the turkey fryer to 350°F. Monitor oil temperature with an oil thermometer. Place the turkey securely in the frying apparatus per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Slowly lower the turkey into the oil using a turkey lifter or other utensil. Do not drop the turkey into the oil. Make sure it's completely covered and securely placed.
  7. Fry the turkey for about 3-4 minutes per pound until the internal temperature of the inner wing, thigh, and breast meat reaches 165°F [2].
  8. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey.
  9. Once fully cooked, slowly lift the turkey out of the oil and place it on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a paper towel. Allow the excess oil to drain off the turkey.
  10. Let the turkey rest for 20 to 30 minutes after the turkey cooks. This allows the juices to redistribute and ensures a moist and flavorful turkey.

Recipe Notes

Turkey in hot oil
  • Use fresh turkey for the best results. It is recommended to buy a whole turkey of about 10-15 pounds. A turkey that is too large may not cook evenly, while a turkey that is too small may dry out during the cooking process.
  • Use an oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut, canola, or even vegetable oil. Avoid choosing oils with low smoke points, such as butter or olive oil.
  • If you want to add flavor to the turkey, you can inject it with a marinade before seasoning the bird.
  • The oil should be heated to 350°F and remain at that temperature throughout cooking. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the hot oil.
  • Although the internal temp of the white meat should not exceed 165°F, it is acceptable for the dark meat to reach 175° F.
  • Leftover turkey can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat the cooked turkey in the oven or microwave before serving.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

  • Calories: 495
  • Total Carbs: 1g
  • Protein: 36g
  • Fat: 39g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Net Carbs: 1g

What to Serve With Deep-Fried Turkey

Deep fried turkey with chips

Here are some ideas for what to serve with deep-fried turkey:

  • Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are a classic side dish that pairs well with deep-fried turkey. The rich and smooth texture of the potatoes complements the crispy and flavorful turkey.
  • Cranberry Sauce: The tangy and sweet flavors of cranberry sauce provide a refreshing contrast to the savory deep-fried turkey. It adds a burst of flavor and helps balance the richness of the fried meat.
  • Green Bean Casserole: The fresh and crisp green beans in a creamy casserole make a great side dish for deep-fried turkey. The combination of textures and flavors adds depth to your meal.
  • Sweet Potato Fries: Swap regular fries for sweet potatoes to add a touch of sweetness to your meal. The crispy exterior and soft interior of the fries complement the juicy turkey.
  • Cornbread: Serve warm cornbread on the side to complement the flavors of the deep-fried turkey. The slightly sweet and crumbly texture of cornbread is a perfect accompaniment.
  • Coleslaw: A refreshing and crunchy coleslaw provides a contrast to the richness of the fried turkey. Its tangy dressing and crisp vegetables add a light and fresh element to the meal.
  • Gravy: A flavorful gravy made from the drippings of the deep-fried turkey enhances the taste and adds moisture to the dish. Drizzle it over the turkey and sides for extra flavor.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables, such as carrots, Brussels sprouts, or butternut squash, provide a healthy and delicious side dish. The caramelized flavors and tender textures complement the fried turkey well.

"Deep-fried turkey is the best thing to happen to my Thanksgiving since I discovered bread stuffing."

- Bobby Flay, American Celebrity Chef & Restaurateur

Related Articles:

9 Safety and Cooking Tips for Deep-Frying a Turkey

Deep fried turkey with a thermometer
  • Before deep-frying turkey, ensure the bird is completely thawed and dry to avoid oil splattering.
  • Always use a deep-fry thermometer to monitor the oil temp to prevent a fire. Heat oil only to 350°F.
  • When using the fryer, follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.
  • Use gloves that can resist heat to protect your hands from the hot oil. Keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergency, and never leave the fryer unattended while it is in use.
  • Do not walk between the propane tank and the burner, as you might trip over the gas line.
  • Consider using indoor turkey fryers as they often use less oil in the air fryer process. Do not fry turkey indoors unless the fryer is designed to be used inside.
  • Ensure the turkey is completely covered with hot oil, but the fryer or pot is not overfilled. This will help to avoid a grease fire.
  • In the event of a fire, it is important to know how to handle the situation safely. Never use water to extinguish grease fires. This can cause the fire to spread. Instead, turn off the heat source and cover the fryer with a lid or a sheet of aluminum foil. If the fire does not go out, use a fire extinguisher to put it out.
  • Dispose of used fryer oil safely. Let the oil cool for a few hours before transferring it to a container with a lid. Wipe down the fryer and cover it with plastic wrap to keep it clean until the next use.


Should You Inject a Turkey Before Deep-Frying?

You can inject the turkey before frying, but this step is not necessary. Injected flavor can also add moisture to a turkey, making it taste more delicious and succulent.

How Many Gallons of Peanut Oil to Fry a Turkey?

To fry a turkey, you will need approximately 3-4 gallons of peanut oil, depending on the size of your turkey and your fryer.

Should I Season My Turkey Before Frying?

Yes, you should season your turkey before frying it. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat and enhance its taste. You can use any combination of herbs and spices according to your taste.

Should You Put Turkey Legs Up or Down in a Deep-Fryer?

You should put the turkey legs up in the basket in a deep fryer. By placing the turkey legs upward, the skin will become crispy and golden brown, making it more visually appealing and delicious.

Embark on a Journey of Deep-fried Turkey Mastery

Deep-frying a turkey is a delicious and visually impressive way to serve your holiday meal.

And fried turkeys cook twice as fast as traditional oven-roasted birds. Just always follow the safety tips when frying turkey and have a fire extinguisher handy.

For those who enjoy a Thanksgiving turkey but don't have time to shop, ButcherBox's delivery service provides high-quality, sustainably sourced meat right to your door.

Choose from a variety of curated boxes or create your own personalized box with premium cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and more.

Visit our homepage to see ButcherBox and learn more information about this meat delivery service.


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