How To Deep Fry A Turkey

Irresistibly tender and quick to cook, the allure of the deep-fried turkey has increased in popularity in recent years. Note that safety is a critical component, especially with pets, curious kids and other small fry around.

Ingredients for success

First, decide: indoors or out? Indoor electric fryers are convenient and include built-in safety features; however, know that your home will smell like fried turkey for a few days afterward.

An outdoor-only, propane-fueled fryer creates a real outdoor event, but also requires careful supervision. Both methods will require plenty of oil, a deep-fry thermometer, a basket or turkey stand, and a hook to safely get the turkey into and out of the oil. Foodies swear by peanut oil, but anything with a high smoke point will do.

Safety tips

Because hot oil and fuel are hazardous, be sure to place the fryer on a flat, noncombustible surface, well away from the house. Ideal locations include a driveway, dirt or cement patio, with at least 10 feet of clear space in every direction. Do not leave the fryer unattended while oil is heating or hot. And be sure to thaw the turkey ahead of time! Placing a frozen turkey into hot oil will cause the oil to splatter, increasing the risk of fire, explosion or injury. And while the excitement of the deep-fry will surely draw a crowd, it’s best that everyone keep a safe distance, especially children and pets. It only takes about 45 minutes to fry a medium-sized bird; the perfect amount of time for relatives to walk the dog or organize the kids around a game or craft.


Instructions will vary depending on the type of fry kit you’re using, but as a general rule, turkeys 14 lbs or less can be deep-fried whole; larger birds need their legs and thighs fried separately. Do not stuff the turkey, but seasonings, marinates or rubs are a-okay. Pat the turkey dry, preheat the oil and place the turkey on the frying rack legs up. The burner should be turned off before you lower the turkey gently into the hot oil. Dark meat should reach 175°F and white meat 165°F. Turn off the burner, slowly lift the fried turkey and place on paper towels to drain. Let it stand for about 20 minutes and enjoy!

One of the best parts of Thanksgiving dinner is the result: leftovers! Here’s how to use your turkey leftovers to craft the Ultimate Turkey Sandwich.

By Allison Ellis