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A whole deep fried turkey on a serving platter with herbs.

Deep Fried Turkey

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!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Brining Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 2 hours
Servings 12 people
Calories 470kcal
Author Sara Welch



  • 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


Calories: 470kcal | Protein: 70g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 232mg | Sodium: 361mg | Potassium: 721mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 3mg