Thanksgiving spread with turkey

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.

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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!

deep-frying a turkey outdoors

No holiday gathering is complete without having the right home insurance. Learn how you can help protect yourself and your family against liability and more this holiday season by getting a fast, free quote on homeowners or renters insurance at

Read next: 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

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    Leave a comment

  1. KEVIN says,

    This article is pretty generic. Always check how much oil you will need to cover the bird before firing anything up. I put the bird in the pot and then add water to see how much it takes to cover the bird. Once I have measured the amount of water I dump it out, dry pot and bring bird back inside to prep. Now you are set to add your peanut oil to the dry pot and light your burner. It is important to do this first step because you don’t want oil over flowing the pot when you add the bird, causing fire. Since I’ve placed my cooker 20 feet away from every thing I go back inside and inject the bird with a garlic/butter sauce. I them use paper towels to dry up any moisture. Some cookers come with a timer like 15 or 20 min. so you have to keep resetting it or your fire will go out. Once you have the oil up to temp between 375 and 400 degrees you are all set to lower the bird very slowly into the oil, make sure you wear over mitts. Rule of thumb cooking time is about 3.5 minutes per pound. Always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Once out of pot allow the bird to rest for 20 to 30 min. before carving.

  2. noel carreaga says,

    On the the article on how to deep fry a turkey, you forgot one step, you forgot to say that after you turn off the burner to lower the turkey into hot oil, you need to turn the burner back on ! to reach the desired temperature I am an experienced turkey fryer and know that this is an important step, but omitting this step could confuse a “newbie” or a person trying to do this for the first time, also I have found that a good injectionable marinade injected into the bird before frying improves the flavor immensley.