Turkey Tips: Deep-Fried Turkey Article - Allrecipes.com
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How to Deep-Fry Turkey

This Cajun method cooks fast, produces juicy meat and crispy skin, and frees your oven for other dishes!

The Tools

Deep-frying a whole turkey can be messy and presents some unique hazards. For these reasons, it should always be done outdoors on a flat, non-flammable surface--not on the deck, and not in the garage. We also recommend that you don't attempt this without the right equipment:

  • Heavy-duty portable propane burner.
  • Large stockpot (26- to 40-quart capacity) or a custom-made turkey-frying pot.
  • A heavy-duty cooking thermometer
  • A tool that will allow you to safely lower the turkey into a vat of boiling oil, and remove it once the turkey is done.

There are many online resources for buying turkey-frying equipment, if you can't find it at your local hardware or kitchen store.

Prepping the Bird

Size: Choose a turkey between 10 and 15 pounds. If you have a lot of people to feed, prepare two turkeys rather than a single huge one. (If you make more than one turkey, be sure to prepare them separately.) The turkey should either be fresh or completely thawed before cooking.

Oil: To determine the amount of oil you will need, place the bird in the pot you intend to use for frying. Pour in cold water until the turkey is covered by a couple of inches. There should still be several inches between the surface of the water and the top of the pot. Measure the water: this is how much oil you'll need. Note: before placing the turkey in hot oil, be sure it is patted dry with paper towels to cut down on splattering. 

For a traditional Cajun turkey, use peanut oil for frying the bird. Peanut oil gives the best flavor and has a high smoke point. You can also use half peanut, half vegetable oil.

Seasoning Cajun-style turkeys are traditionally injected with a liquid seasoning blend (marinade), then rubbed with a dry seasoning blend (dry rub).

To properly season your turkey, place it in a pan and load your marinade into a hypodermic meat injector (available at kitchen supply stores and some supermarkets).

  • Inject the marinade into the meat in several places on the turkey by carefully lifting up the skin, rather than poking the needle through the skin.
  • Gently loosen the membrane under the turkey skin. Apply a dry rub under the skin of the bird and all around the cavity.
  • This can be done as much as 36 hours in advance, but you should allow at least 12 hours to give the flavors time to penetrate the meat while it's kept in the refrigerator.

Nov. 17, 2009 1:56 pm
I fry a turkey for my family for Thanksgiving & Christmas every year. That is the one thing that they ALL ask me to make. They are fantastic and not at all greasy as one might expect.
Nov. 22, 2009 9:02 pm
First time I had to ask for advice. I geuss I'm getting old.
Nov. 24, 2009 8:18 am
I've been deep frying a turkey for every holiday the last three years. Now i was told from my uncle to fill the cavity with stuffing then deep frying it. Please give me some fead back on this. Thanks
Nov. 24, 2009 4:02 pm
Has anyone ever brined a turkey they were also deep frying?
Nov. 24, 2009 5:27 pm
I fry anywhere between 4 and 8 turkeys a year. Don't stuff a bird that is to be deep fried, it does not allow the bird to fry properly, also the stuffing would probably absord way to much oil. Just Inject the bird with the marinade you like and let it stand overnight in the fridge if possible before frying. I like the Creole Butter Marinade the best!
Nov. 24, 2009 5:29 pm
I brine my turkey every year for 24 hours before deep frying. I really like the Williams Sonoma Turkey Brine and it has never failed me.
Nov. 24, 2009 6:01 pm
I have been deep frying Turkeys and Chicken both for 6 years now. I have never heard that that it was safe to stuff the turkey before deep frying. Just the oposite is true, there is a higher risk of sominilla.
Nov. 24, 2009 6:07 pm
I guess that I am old fashined about my turkey. Yes I have tried deep fried turkey done with differnt seasonings and yes they were delicious, but there are two major problems with deep frying a turkey. 1) There are no drippings from which you can make a gravey for the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and most importantly hot turkey sandwiches. 2)Try boiling the deepfried turkey carcass for turkey and dumplings or delicious turkey soup, the boiled carcass tastes like rancid peanuts. I will do my birds by roasting.
Nov. 24, 2009 10:53 pm
Frying=very fast cooking time and moist, if you eat it right away. If it sits for a short time it gets very dry. My favorite way to cook the turkey is the Ron Popiel Sho-time Rotisserie. It cooks in 2Hrs or so and is very juicy. Next choice would be the regular old oven.
Nov. 24, 2009 11:35 pm
I been frying Turkeys for 5 years and It's always a big hit. I even fry them for my Company party every year now. Don't get me wrong I still like it roasted too. But deep frying is so delicious. I always use Creole butter for my marinade.
Nov. 25, 2009 7:25 am
I have a question for the vertern turkey fryers. I'm doing my first fry this year and was wondering about doing a 23 pounder. I measured out the pot with water and marked it, all of the turkey will be covered except for the bones on the legs, is this ok
Nov. 25, 2009 4:20 pm
we love frying turkey and do it for parties and large gatherings. The frying becomes the party! Question- we just finished frying our thanksgiving turkeys...shoud we refrigerate whole and slice tomorrow or slice tonight and keep moist and reheat with stock tomorrow? thanks!
Nov. 26, 2009 6:21 am
Marge--I have brined my bird every year I have deep fried it. It is delicious. Along with the Salt water, we add some orange juice, slices of lime (from our tree), as well as jalapeño, serrano, and chipotle peppers. The flavor is excellent.
Nov. 26, 2009 11:54 am
try a Jalapeno,garlic honey butter for your injection marinade. homemade of course.
Nov. 26, 2009 1:19 pm
From my own experience I would not cook a turkey larger than 18 lbs, which I think is a little big. 13-16 is a better size.When you put your bird in the hot oil it will erupt like a volcano so put it in slow and make sure your flame is OFF. I take notes on every bird I fry so I rember what I have learned throught the years.
Nov. 27, 2009 4:28 pm
I have a fried turkey in my oven. How do I keep it moist? Preparing for the next fried turkey.
Dec. 20, 2009 4:33 pm
How long can I keep the oil or how many times can I fry a bird with it? Should I keep it cold or put it in the freezer after it cools down? Does anyone know of a site I can go to that will give me all the info and more?
Jan. 28, 2010 1:06 pm
can u deep fry a whole chicken
Nov. 10, 2010 3:02 pm
laurie, after i finish deep frying my turkey, i allow enough time for oil 2 cool, then strain back into original containers and place them into a 48 qt. cooler till next time 2 cook. i use pnut oil 4 long life.
Nov. 17, 2010 8:25 am
I have a 21 pound turkey,do you think it's too big to fry?
Nov. 20, 2010 6:30 pm
Jena, it recommended that oyu not fry a turkey over 14 pounds
Nov. 21, 2010 6:57 am
How many days before serving can you deep fry turkey?
Nov. 22, 2010 10:48 am
I've been frying our Thanksgiving turkey for over five years. I do usually try and stick to a bird thats 16-17 pounds but I have done a 21 pound bird successfully. (I do have the 40 quart pot, however). Just take the usual precautions: Make sure you measure your oil as directed above so you don't overflow and use a meat thermometer to check doneness. Alton Brown recommends you pull the bird once the breast reaches 151 degrees F, gently remove from the oil and allow to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to carving. The bird will reach an internal temperature of 161 degrees F due to carry over cooking.
Nov. 23, 2010 3:28 am
I am frying a turkey for the first time. I'm using the creole butter recipe.
Nov. 23, 2010 10:01 am
Help. Planning to fry a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Weatherman just predicted rain. Can I fry it the day before? How can I reheat it for family dinner? Will it still be good or should I just roast it instead?
Nov. 24, 2010 7:09 am
cet100, The bird turned out dry when I put in the oven for a reheat. I have deep fried in the rain,snow,sleet,-5* temp, I put the lid on 7/8 covered covered when it rains, etc. never had a problem. enjoy...
Nov. 24, 2010 5:54 pm
Mom got me a turkey fryer for the holidays. I had my first fried turkey last year, and now I have the opportunity to put my foot in it! Try mango salsa and peppercorn medley as an injection, ground and blended well. Mustard, butter, and olive oil work well as an injection base. Good luck, and you can do it!
Nov. 29, 2010 8:05 am
Deep fried Turkeys are the BEST! We have deep fried ours for the last 8 yrs and will never bake one in the oven again. We inject ours the night before with a marinade of italian dressing, Dale's, & beer. It comes out juicy, tasty & we all fight over the skin! If it's your 1st time deep frying, follow all the tips above. Enjoy!
Tamera Kemp 
Dec. 19, 2010 7:14 am
can you deep fry a turkey breast?
Dec. 21, 2010 4:31 pm
Yea you can deep fry a turkey breast. By far the easiest way is if you have a frying basket, just like people do with french frys. Be sure to keep an eye on internal temp, don't want to overcook it.
Jan. 22, 2011 3:02 pm
i am going to attempt to fry a turkey for the 1st time & was wondering what type of weather conditions do you need to successfully fry a turkey. I live in a cold climate that is currently in the below 0 stage of winter and was wondering whether it was safe to fry or should I just roast the bird?
May 18, 2011 8:17 pm
I've been deep frying turkeys for several years and they are the favorite means of preparing the Thanksgiving bird! I use only a 12-14 lb. bird, as the bigger they are, the longer they have to cook and will darken way to much on the skin. Creole butter is best...sugar based injections tend to burn.About 3 min. per lb but you'll have to add some due to the "cool down" period of the oil, as soon as you put the bird in the fryer!
Nov. 12, 2011 7:50 am
Im a first time deep fried Turkey fan and these safety tips on cooking the the Turkey will help out a lot
Nov. 12, 2011 7:52 am
Im a first time Deep Fried Turkey Fan. Thanks for the Safety Tips and the right way to make it right
Nov. 12, 2011 5:35 pm
I am Chef Bob Long, I have been deep frying turkeys for years now. I always brine my tuykeys over night and then follow the above tips. Pat dry inside and out, inject with your marinade. I add Orange Juice or other fruit to my brine and also a cup or two of soy sauce. Mushroom Soy Sauce is awesome. Try it.
Nov. 16, 2011 4:24 pm
We have been deep frying our turkey for several. We now have an electric deep fryer & will try a breast this time. We can fry it in the garage instead of going outdoors. Just hope we don't burn the house down. I'll let you know the outcome.
Nov. 19, 2011 8:50 am
Hi, has anyone tried seasoning the oil only when frying a turkey. We have injected marinade before just wondering about seasoning the oil. Also if you're marinading the bird does that leave flavors in the oil.
Apr. 19, 2012 6:08 pm
Rather than stuffing, infuse the frying oil.
Oct. 3, 2012 4:53 pm
Peanut allergies are an issue! Can I use vegetable or canola oil? Which alternate would be best?
Nov. 3, 2012 8:19 am
I used to fry turkey for 5 consecutive years and they are wonderful every time and would not go back to baking. However, with our economy, spending 50 dollars alone in peanut oil is too much for my budget. Is it okay to save the oil in the freezer for later use?
Nov. 4, 2012 2:07 pm
mya I use at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Just make sure to drain your peanut oil with cheesecloth, and store in fridge.
Nov. 12, 2012 6:21 am
Ok, frying a turkey this weekend for a Pre-Thanksgiving gathering. Need to make gravy. But there is obviously no drippings. Help!!!
Nov. 12, 2012 10:01 am
My question is related to Kristin's above mine. I am planning on deep frying my turkey this year, am very excited to do so, but I also make homemade gravy from the drippings I have traditionally had from an oven-baked bird. Is it possible to pre-cook a turkey prior to deep frying so that I can have some drippings, or is that not recommended due to the moisture created and how that might be a bad idea to then transfer to the fryer? Does anyone have any recommendations or ideas?
Nov. 17, 2012 8:18 am
I have been deep frying turkey for years and think it's the best. I also bake a turkey breast in advance so I have sufficient drippings for my gravy and stuffing++ I can either freeeze the turkey breast or make "to go" packages for my guests.
Nov. 18, 2012 3:26 am
There is really no need for drippings to make good gravy. I ask the butcher for turkey necks which are plentiful this time of year. I sear them in a hot pan, cover them with stock, add carrots, onions and celery, bay leaf, parsley, peppercorns and garlic. After a few hours the necks release delicious chunks of meat, which I save. I strain the rest, reduce the liquid and when the consistency is right I add the neck meat. Best gravy ever.
Nov. 18, 2012 11:00 am
I reuse my oil for three frys. Then I get rid of it. It is ok to reuse oil but the flash point reduces with each use. I keep mine in the garage fridge. This year I bought a 19lb turkey and the Butterball 20lb fryer. Wish me luck!
Nov. 19, 2012 10:44 pm
My mother in law bought us a 19 lb bird for thanksgiving, this is my first TG with them and I'm cooking the bird, bought a frying set up but all the reviews recommend birds 15 lb or less, is 19 lb too big?
Nov. 20, 2012 9:37 am
hi have a ? how do i keep my fried turkey crispy when i take it to my sisters.
Nov. 20, 2012 11:12 am
Is there an easy or less messy way to get the used oil out of the pot and back in to the bottle? or do you save it in something other than the original container?
Nov. 21, 2012 4:30 am
i just let the oil cool and use a funnel with a screen made into it and put it back min the same container i use it 3 or 4 times over
Nov. 21, 2012 10:07 am
I've been frying my turkey for 8 years now. I just clean my Turkey w Lemon or Lemon Juice to take the game taste out and I drain it the day of about an hour or two before I Fry it. I put Fresh Rosemary in the Oil as it heats up so the Oil take the taste of the Rosemary as it warms up. I then take the Turkey and put in in the Oil and Fry it up. It's Delicious and Easy - Enjoy however you make it :)
Nov. 23, 2012 6:53 am
What have you put down under the fryer to keep absorb oil splatters from staining concrete?
Nov. 23, 2012 9:32 am
My sister recvd a deep fried turkey from a friend yesterday. We are concerned it isn't cooked all the way through. Would heating it(internally to 180 degrees) in the oven be a safe choice?
Dec. 20, 2012 11:32 pm
We have used the Butterball oil free electric turkey fryer, and the bird, was moist and juicy.
Nov. 27, 2013 4:44 am
Man such wonderful information here! I plan on using a setup I bought for a crawfish boil, when I fry my turkey. I was used to brining making all the difference when roasting, but wasnt sure about the brine when frying. According to the comments it can still work. Im thinking this will add to the moisture. Also, as for the "drippings", my mother taught me to use the organ meats to make gravy, which you would normally remove and discard anyways, but when boiled into turkey stock it makes excellent base for the gravy I usually add the gizzard meat, and the neck meat, and then discard the heart and the liver. I see a lot of great info on here concerning saving the oil as well. I believe straining the oil through a funnel with a strainer is an awesome idea. To answer any questions about oil I saw 3gal of peanut oil at walmart lastnight for about 30 dollars. Im not sure of the amount I will need, but corn oil and vegetable oil seems to be a few dollars cheaper. My daughter has peanut allerg
southern cook 
Nov. 27, 2013 12:18 pm
Responding to a much earlier post-we have fried our turkeys for many years, and we always use the fried carcass for soup--the flavor is so much deeper and flavorful than that of an oven baked bird.
Nov. 28, 2013 4:09 am
I saw a show on tv about a restaurant that used the same oil for frying for belive it or not 50 years, the owner of the restaurant said he just keeps straining the oil, and adding to it as necessary. Claims that the longer the oil is the better it is. I wish I could remeber the name of the show and what type of food he was frying. If anyone saw the same show i did and has a better memory than me please post what type of food he was frying. I deep fry my turkey every year, I like about a 10-12 pounder allways turns out great. I'm going to shoot it with CAJUN INJECTOR, CREOLE BUTTER this year, does anyone know how much heat (how spicy) it makes the bird I am afraid that it will be to spicy for my sister, she's not into spicy. If anyone can answer please let me know, if its not to spicy I will do the hole bird, If I dont hear back i guess I will only inject half the bird. Fryed turkey is the only way to go, I love the fast cooking time, gives you time to cook and do other things, plus the
Nov. 28, 2013 4:50 am
I have a Char-Broil "The Big Easy" Infrared Oil-Less fryer. Only used it once, so far. I would like to know if anyone has attempted to stuff their turkey.? As I see it as long as the total weight is considered stuffing and frying should not be a problem. Would appreciate any actual experiences encountered. Have A Sparkling Day! JPMcSR13
Feb. 19, 2014 4:47 pm
I have an electric turkey fryer for in house use. I love it. This is my first year frying turkey's and I use canola oil instead of peanut oil because it can take the high temperature of frying, no peanut allergies, is a better oil to use nutritionally and is cheaper than peanut oil. Have used the same oil 5 times so far. I strain it after every use and use the original container(s).
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