This deep fried turkey is brined in a mixture of herbs and citrus, then fried to golden brown perfection. Fried turkey is crispy on the outside, and juicy and tender on the inside. The best way to prepare your holiday meal when you’re short on oven space!
Looking for something a little different to serve at Thanksgiving this year? Try a fried turkey, along with sweet potato casserole, corn pudding and green beans almondine, for a memorable meal that will earn you rave reviews.
I always find myself running out of oven space when I’m making a big meal. I decided to try frying my turkey instead of roasting it, and the results were fantastic. Deep fried turkey cooks in a fraction of the time, and the flavor just can’t be beat!
How do you make deep fried turkey?
Remember to read all the instructions and safety tips in this post. The first step to make a delicious fried turkey is to make a good brine that will infuse the turkey with flavor before it cooks. Make my favorite turkey brine which is savory, sweet and flavored with herbs and citrus notes. Place a thawed 12-15 pound turkey in the brine for 18-24 hours.
Rinse then dry the brined bird. Remove any ties on the drumsticks; the turkey should be bare. Heat up cooking oil to 325 degrees F in your frying pot. Make sure to have the proper amount of oil that covers the bird without spilling over. Place the turkey carefully in the oil and let it cook until golden brown. Pull the turkey out and check the temperature of the turkey to make sure it’s cooked through. After the oil has dripped off the bird and it rests for a few minutes, the turkey is ready to carve and serve.
How long do you fry a turkey?
Cook a turkey until it reaches 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast and the turkey is golden brown. To calculate about how long a turkey will take to cook, calculate 3 minutes per pound of meat and then add another 5 minutes. For a 12 pound turkey, it should take about 40 minutes to cook.
How much oil do you need to fry a turkey?
For a 12-15 pound turkey you will need about 3 gallons of oil suitable for cooking at a high temperature. I like to use peanut oil. You may want to have a little extra oil on hand just in case.
Safety Guidelines for deep fried turkey
- Follow all the steps in the instructions to make sure you cook your turkey safely.
- Make sure the turkey is completely dry when you place it in the oil.
- Lower the turkey slowly in the oil to avoid splashes. If the oil looks like it is going to overflow when you are lowering the turkey, be ready to pull the turkey back out of the oil.
- Any time you place the turkey in the oil or remove the turkey from the oil, turn off the heat to make sure that spilled oil doesn’t catch on fire.
- Only fry a turkey outside on a flat surface. Do not fry a turkey on a deck or in a garage.
- Make sure that you fry the turkey at least 10 feet away from any structures and that there are no plants nearby that could catch on fire.
- Never try to fry a frozen turkey.
- Keep an eye on the temperature of the oil. Don’t let it get over 400 degrees F.
Tips and Tricks for a successful turkey
- Fry the turkey neck side down and make sure to drain the oil from the interior cavity of the turkey when you remove it from the oil.
- If you have breast skin that looks tight, short or that might pull back during cooking, insert 2 or 3 wooden toothpicks into the bottom of the breast to hold the skin in place before frying the bird.
- If you don’t want to brine the turkey, you can make a tasty bird by putting a dry rub under the skin of the turkey. The turkey should sit for at least an hour with the rub on it. If you put a rub under the skin, use the toothpick trick above to keep the breast skin in place during frying.
- When you put the turkey in the fryer, the temperature of the oil will drop. Don’t worry, the temperature will rise again when the heat is turned on.
Deep frying turkey is a way to cook tender, delicious turkey in lightning fast speed. Everyone will be impressed by the golden brown color of the turkey and the savory taste. Get a turkey fryer and give it a try!
Side Dishes to go with your turkey
- Turkey Stuffing
- Squash Casserole
- Instant Pot Mash Potatoes
- Southern Cornbread Dressing
- Cranberry Salad
Deep Fried Turkey
- 1 recipe turkey brine
- 12 pound turkey
- 3 gallons peanut oil
- Select a turkey that is between 12 and 15 pounds.
- Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator if it is frozen.
- Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey.
- Follow the brine recipe for the turkey, and brine as directed for 18-24 hours.
- Rinse off the turkey and pat it dry. Make sure there are no peppercorns or herbs from the brine on the turkey.
- Select an outdoor cooking location at least 10 feet away from any structures and away from any plants that could catch on fire. Choose a level surface. Do not fry on a deck or in a garage.
- Remove any plastic ties holding the drumsticks together. The turkey should be bare.
- Cut off excess neck skin making the cut about 2 inches above the neckline. Cut into neck skin only.
- Put your turkey (and frying basket if you plan to use a basket) in your cold empty frying pot. Fill the pot with water until it is about 1/2 inch to 1 inch above your turkey. Remove the turkey and mark the water level.
- Completely dry the turkey and the frying pot.
- Place the pot on your outdoor burner and carefully fill your frying pot with oil to the line with the heat off. When you place the turkey in the pot later after the oil heats up, it should reach the same height as when the turkey was covered with water.
- Put a frying thermometer in the oil and attach it to the side of the oil bucket. Keep an eye on the oil to make sure it doesn't go over 400 degrees F.
- Heat the oil to 325 degrees F.
- Let your turkey sit at room temperature while the oil is heating.
- Turn the heat off and very carefully using a hook and heat proof gloves, lower the turkey SLOWLY into the oil. Don't let the oil splash or overflow. If the oil goes too high, pull the turkey out.
- When the turkey is fully submerged in the oil and stable, turn the burner back on.
- Cook the turkey uncovered for 3 minutes a pound plus an extra 5 minutes. A twelve pound bird will take about 41 minutes to cook.
- Cook the turkey until the skin is golden brown.
- Turn off the heat, remove the turkey from the oil and measure the internal temperature of the breast meat to make sure that the turkey has reached 165 degrees F. As you remove the turkey, make sure to let the oil drip from the bird back into the pot of oil.
- Let the turkey rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Carve and serve the bird.