Best Deep Fried Turkey Recipe

Best Deep Fried Turkey Recipe

You might be wondering why you would ever deep fry a turkey instead of slowly roasting it in the oven.

After all, doesn’t a fried turkey contain a lot more grease? The answer might actually surprise you. Let’s quickly talk about the benefits of deep frying a turkey vs. roasting it in the oven.

Deep Frying A Turkey Vs. Roasting It In The Oven

Roasting a turkey in the oven, especially without basting or using an oven bag, is a great way to end up with a bone-dry turkey. However, deep frying a turkey usually results in a much juicier bird. All that hot oil seals the outer layer of the turkey so that the moisture stays inside.

If you like crispy fried turkey skin, then obviously a deep fry is the bay to go. You just won’t achieve the same level of crispiness when roasting a turkey in the oven.

Deep frying a turkey is actually much faster than roasting a turkey. In the oven, a turkey can take up to 15 minutes per pound, which is a long time when compared to the 3.5 to 5 minutes per pound it takes to deep fry a turkey.

When you deep fry a turkey, you don’t have to continuously baste it, which is a big advantage if you have a lot of other dishes to prepare on the side.

Best Deep Fried Turkey Recipe

Alright, so let’s go over the best way to deep fry a turkey right now, including the spices you need to use as well as the cooking method too.

What You Will Need – Ingredients and Equipment

  • Large outdoor deep fryer
  • Water
  • Peanut oil (up to 5 gallons, depending on how large the bird is)
  • 12 to 14 pound turkey (giblets removed)
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt (for spicing)
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh cracked pepper
  • 1.5 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1.5 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 1.5 tablespoons paprika
  • 6 quarts hot water (for brine)
  • 1 pound kosher salt (for brine)
  • 1 pound dark brown sugar (for brine)

Deep Frying A Turkey: Step By Step 

The first thing you need to do before deep frying a turkey is to measure how much oil you will need to cover the bird. To do this, place the turkey in the frying pot and fill it with water until the water level reaches about an inch above the turkey.

Remove the turkey and mark this level on the pot, as this is the amount of oil you will need. Keep in mind that most people will use peanut oil to fry turkeys, as the smoking point is high enough so the oil won’t burn, and plus peanut oil provides a great flavor.

Place the ingredients for the brine in a large bucket or container, large enough for the turkey, the 6 quarts of hot water, the pound of kosher salt, and the pound of dark brown sugar. Dissolve the sugar and salt in the water and submerge the turkey in this brine. You can keep the turkey in this brine for up to 24 hours.

You can remove the turkey from the brine after about 18 hours if you like, and now it is time to make the spice rub to give the turkey some extra flavor. Pat the turkey dry with paper towel before applying the rub. Mix together the rub ingredients (salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, paprika), and evenly rub onto the turkey.

It’s time to heat up the oil. Before you do, make sure the deep fryer is on even ground and that you don’t have too many flammable objects nearby.

Now, heat up the oil to 375°. You won’t be frying the turkey quite so hot, but the temperature of the oil will drop when you add the turkey, so it needs to be quite hot to begin with.

Best Deep Fried Turkey Recipe

Once the oil reaches 375°, with the turkey on the poultry rack, very slowly lower the turkey into the hot oil. Be sure to do this very slowly to avoid spilling oil and catching your surroundings on fire.

Also, never deep fry a frozen turkey, as frozen foods plus hot oil equals a massive oil boil over that will send gallons of hot oil flying in the air.

Once the turkey is in the hot oil, turn the burner back on and set it to 350°. For this size turkey, you will need to deep fry it for about 3.5 minutes per pound.

Once the cooking time is up, remove the turkey from the oil and place it on a metal grate, just to let it cool slightly and to let the remaining oil drain away.


Deep frying a turkey results in a delicious, juicy, crispy, and all-around great bird that everybody will love. Follow the above steps for the perfect fried turkey. Just ensure that you take the proper safety measures when deep frying a turkey.