How to Fry a Turkey
Deep Frying your Thanksgiving turkey is a great alternative to traditional oven-baked cooking and can really spice up your holiday meal.
|PREP 15 minutes||REST 2-8 hours||READY IN 2-8 hours|
- Whole turkey, 10-12 lbs.
- Peanut or Canola Oil, 3-5 gallons
- Poultry seasoning, 2-3 cups
- Olive Oil, ½-¾ cup
- Injection Marinade, 2 ½ cups (store bought or follow the recipe below)
- Turkey frying kit
- Instant read thermometer
- Fire extinguisher
- Leather cooking gloves
- Cooking apron
- High pressure burner or outdoor fryer
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before starting, please read How to Safely Fry a Turkey.
Thoroughly thaw your turkey.
Be sure that your turkey is completely defrosted including the chunk of ice that will be inside its cavity. Ice and hot oil do not mix! You can use the chart below to see an estimate of how long thawing will take. Once completely thawed, dry your turkey further by patting with several dry paper towels inside and out.
- 8-12 pounds.......1-2 days
- 12-16 pounds......2-3 days
- 16-20 pounds......3-4 days
- 20-24 pounds......4-5 days
- 8-12 pounds.......4-6 hours
- 12-16 pounds......6-8 hours
- 16-20 pounds......8-10 hours
- 20-24 pounds......10-12 hours
Inject, brine, or marinate your turkey to your liking. In this recipe we will be injecting a turkey. For minimal headache with this task I definitely recommend using a quality flavor injector. If using a pre bought injection marinade you can skip to the next section.
In the video, we use a Mediterranean turkey marinade made for this recipe.
Place the needle of your food injector syringe into the marinade mixture and slowly pull back on the plunger, careful not to get too much air into your mixture.
Begin injecting around the center of one of the breasts, and slowly push down on the plunger to release pull the needle out of the meat most of the way then inject the breast at a different angle. Repeat at several different angles on this first breast. When you are finished on one side, repeat this process on the other side. Next inject the legs, thighs, and wings again at several different angles for each piece. Use 1 1/2-2 ounces of marinade for each breast, thigh, leg and wing. When fully injected, place the turkey on a pan, wrap with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for 2-8 hours.
Remove from refrigerator 45 minutes prior to frying. Pat with paper towels inside and out one last time ensuring to remove any excess water. Coat the turkey generously with olive oil and poultry seasoning inside and out as well as under the skin and it’s ready for deep frying.
Set up your burner
Make sure you set up your burner far away from anything flammable! The burner unit for your turkey fry kit should be set up as far from the propane tank as possible. The burner unit will provide an open flame to heat the oil inside the turkey fry pot. To prevent fire, you should never set the burner up on a wooden deck, inside the garage or under any other covered area. The burner unit should only be set up outside and away from all flammable materials. Shop our selection ofturkey fryer burners here.
Make sure to add the right amount of oil to the fryer. The size of the turkey you are frying will determine how much oil you will need in your turkey fryer. If you have too much oil, this could result in overflowing when you put your turkey in the fry pot. The easiest way to measure the amount of oil you will need when cooking is to place the turkey into the pot while the fry pot is empty and add water until your turkey is just covered. If this amount is not 5 to 6 inches from the top of your pot then you will need to get a bigger pot. Take the turkey out and make a note of the water level inside the pot. This is how much oil you will need to fry your turkey. Before adding oil make sure that the fry pot is completely dry. Remove ALL of the water and wipe the pot dry with a clean, dry towel.
After determining the amount of oil you will need to use and drying the pot, place your pot on your unlit burner and add your oil to the pot. Add your thermometer to the oil then turn on your burner and heat the oil to 375°F degrees. Note that although you will be frying your turkey at 350°F, we begin by heating the oil to 375°F to compensate for the temperature drop that occurs when first adding the raw turkey. (Keep an eye on your oil as it heats. Due to different variables, such as ambient temperature, altitude and humidity, 375°F may be too hot. If your oil begins to smoke, turn your burner down. *Never allow the oil temperature to exceed 375°F*) After your oil reaches 375°F, you are ready to deep fry your turkey. Remember safety is a key ingredient to frying your turkey and at a minimum it is recommended to keep a dry chemical extinguisher nearby at all times.
Place your turkey in the pot
Make sure that all the stuffings have been removed from the inside of your turkey and that it is completely dry inside and out, with no water remaining. Turn the burner off just before you put your turkey in the pot. Use protective gloves and an apron to protect yourself from any oil that might splash out. Holding the fry basket with the metal hook that comes with the fry kit, slowly and gently lower your turkey into the pot. Do not be alarmed by the intense sounds of the turkey meeting the oil, this is normal. Continue to slowly lower the bird into the oil until fully submerged. Remove the lowering hook accessory and turn your burner back on to heat the oil to 350°F, maintaining a temperature of 350°F throughout the rest of the cooking process. If you see the temperature rising or falling, adjust your burner to keep the temperature at or slightly below 350°F.
Fry your turkey
Allow 3-4 minutes of frying time for every pound of turkey. As your turkey gets close to being done, it will begin to float in the oil. Once you have reached the calculated cooking time, turn your burner off and remove the entire fry basket setting the turkey on a baking pan or large carving board. Test the internal temperature of your turkey in several locations with an instant read meat thermometer. The internal temperature should read at least 165°F. (If you have not reached this temperature, put the basket back in the fryer and turn your burner back on). Fry for 5-10 more minutes, depending on how far off the mark your temperature was then repeat the steps above again. When you have hit the mark at or slightly above an internal temperature of 165°F, let your turkey rest on the pan or carving board for 30 minutes before carving.
Serve, and enjoy!
Refrigerator Thawing Times:
(Allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds)
Cold Water Thawing Times:
(Allow 30 minutes per pound)
Read more articles by Chef Tony Matassa, ShoppersChoice.com, LLC.