The Best Deep Fried Turkey Recipe & Deep Frying Tips

Deep-frying a turkey is a favorite method to produce an irresistible bird with delicious flavor and the crispiest skin possible.

But, with a lot of boiling oil and very high cooking temperatures, make sure to take the right precautions and follow the prep and cooking instructions carefully.

deep fryed turkey served with salad tomatoes and olives

The Best Deep Fried Turkey Recipe: 11-Step Guide

Here are 11 steps to help achieve the best possible results when deep frying turkey at home:

Step One: Preparation

Step 1: Fresh turkey prepared for deep frying

1. Use a fresh turkey, or leave enough time for a frozen turkey to fully thaw. A small sized turkey (8-10 pounds) is usually the preferred option for frying, while 12-14 pounds is generally regarded as the maximum size to deep fry a turkey.

However, there are deep fryers that can cook bigger birds and this is discussed at the end of the article.

2. Remove the wrapper, label, or other materials from the turkey, and take out and dispose of the neck and giblets.

Keep the label to one side because this includes the turkey weight, which can be used to calculate the total frying time.

3. Add the preferred type of oil to the fryer and make sure to avoid exceeding the maximum fill line. Prepare the fryer by preheating the oil to 400° F.

4. While you are waiting for the oil to heat, use paper towels or similar to pat the turkey dry.

Step Two: Marination

step 5 turkey rubbed with spicies before deep frying

5. Also, this is a good time to marinade the turkey. If planning to add flavors, marinades, or seasonings, you may want to puree the ingredients to make it easier to pass through the injector. Inject the marinade into several different areas of the turkey for the most widespread and delicious flavor.

Ideally, you want to inject about 60% of the flavor into the breast muscles, about 30% into the thighs and legs, and about 10% into the wing sections.

6. Once the preferred seasonings or flavors have been injected, avoid leaving the turkey sitting on the counter-top or roasting pan for longer than 30-45 minutes.

Plus, by leaving the turkey for the 30-45 minutes it makes it possible for the flavorings to fully infuse with the turkey. Plus, this waiting time helps to slightly increase the internal temperature of the bird which will mean less splatter throughout the cooking process.

Step Three: Deep Frying

step 9 using food thermometer to check readiness of deep fired turkey

7. When the oil has reached the right temperature, it is possible to carefully lower the turkey into the deep fryer. Even though the full-size turkey might not be fully immersed in all fryer models, this shouldn’t cause any issue with the cooking process.

The area that isn’t fully covered in oil might be lighter in color but is still able to reach the proper cooking temperature.

8. Set the timer to the proper cooking time in relation to the size/weight of the turkey. Refer back to the label that was previously removed from the bird. The proper time to deep fry a turkey is 3-4 minutes per pound of weight.

9. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey. Cook white meat (breast and wing muscles) to a temperature in the region of 165-170° F.

Step Four: Dry & Serve

step 10 deep fried turkey on paper towels
Step 10: Fully cooked deep fried turkey laying on paper towels

10. Once the turkey has completed its cooking cycle and reached the right internal temperature, carefully remove it from the deep fryer and place it on paper towels, a basket, or a rack to give it time to fully drain.

11. When the turkey has had 15-20 minutes to stand, it is generally ready to start to carve. Turkey should be eaten straight away and any leftovers placed in the fridge within about 2-hours of cooking.

Deep Frying Tips

1. Avoid injecting the water-based marinade just beneath the outer layer of skin because this will soon heat up and cause a lot of splattering and popping.

2. Deep-fried turkey should not be stuffed. If you want any stuffing, make sure to prepare this separately.

3. Any excess fat should be removed before cooking.

4. Before placing the turkey in the deep fryer, make certain it is 100% thawed.

5. A turkey up to 14 pounds can be deep-fried whole, while those in excess of this weight should be fried in separate pieces with the thighs and legs removed.

What Is the Best Deep Frying Oil to Make a Deep Fried Turkey?

The best cooking oils for deep frying include those with a high smoke point while are also being stable and less likely to react with oxygen when heated. High smoke point oils include sunflower, rice oil, corn oil, refined canola, peanut and coconut oil.

Overall, coconut is rated as the best deep-frying oil for a variety of reasons, such as its ability to deep fry for several hours without experiencing any deterioration in quality and is very resistant to heat. Plus, it provides health benefits like destroying harmful viruses and bacteria.

Read more about the other choices for the best deep frying oil in our oil guide.

List of Tools or Supplies Needed

1. A food probe thermometer designed for deep frying to help check the internal temperature of the turkey

2. A high-quality injector to help marinate the meat

3. Other items include: pot holder, paper towels, oven mitts, and fire extinguisher

What Are the Best Electrical Deep Fryers to Fry a Turkey at Home?

In order to produce the crispy, juicy, and delicious deep-fried turkey it is essential to invest in a high-quality turkey fryer. While there are several options in the market it is important to choose the right deep fryer to match the families’ frying needs.

Check out our ultimate best deep fryer buying guide to find top products available.