How Long to Deep Fry a Turkey Per Pound

Turkey in a deep fryer

Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up and that means turkey time. It’s a tradition, it’s a staple, and it tastes absolutely amazing. Turkeys are so delicious that most people will choose to cook one at other times of the year as well, regardless of the occasion. The traditional way of making a turkey is by roasting it in the oven.

Yeah, it’s doable, but boy does it take a long time. If you’re roasting a turkey in the oven, chances are you’ll have to put that bad boy in there well before the sun comes up that morning. However, this is not the case when you’re deep frying a turkey.

It takes much less time to deep fry a turkey than to roast it. How long to deep fry a turkey per pound, plus other little tips and tidbits, are what we are going to be discussing.

The Size of the Turkey Will Dictate the Heat of the Oil

Something that is important to note, before we talk about how long to deep fry a turkey per pound, is how hot the oil in the turkey fryer needs to be. The reason for this is because the size of the turkey will dictate how hot that oil needs to be.

You might think that the larger the turkey, the hotter the oil, but this is actually the opposite. The smaller the turkey is, the hotter the oil should be.

This is because turkeys cook very fast in hot oil, which means that if the bird is large, it is going to take longer for the meat on the inside to cook. But if the oil is too hot, the outside is going to cook faster and burn by the time the inside is cooked.

So, larger turkeys require the oil to be a little cooler than smaller turkeys, to give the big guys enough time to cook all the way through.

  • Turkeys that are between 10 and 13 pounds in size require the oil to be at 350° Fahrenheit
  • Turkeys that are between 14 and 20 pounds in size require the oil to be at 325° Fahrenheit
  • Turkeys that are between 20 and 25 pounds in size require the oil to be at 310° Fahrenheit
How Long to Deep Fry a Turkey Per Pound

How Long to Deep Fry a Turkey Per Pound

As we mentioned before, deep frying a turkey is a very quick process, much faster than roasting it in the oven. When the oil in the turkey fryer has reached the proper temperature, you want to carefully submerge the turkey in that hot oil.

Now, how long it takes is of course going to depend on how heavy the bird in question is. What you need to know is that the heavier your turkey is, the longer per pound it is going to take to deep fry it.

If you have a turkey that is 10 pounds, it will take around 3 minutes per pound to totally deep fry. A 10 pound bird should take roughly 30 minutes to deep fry. This is also true for turkeys up to 13 pounds. Therefore, a 13-pound turkey would take roughly 39 to 40 minutes to thoroughly cook in the oil.

If you have a turkey that is anywhere between 14 and 20 pounds, you will want to give it around 3.5 minutes per pound in the hot oil. Therefore, a 14-pound turkey is going to take around 50 minutes to fry, and a 20-pound bird will take roughly 1 hour and 10 minutes to deep fry.

Although it is not recommended to use turkeys over 20 pounds, it is technically possible to fry turkeys up to 25 pounds. For a bird of this size, you will want to give it between 3.75 and 4 minutes per pound.

An Important Note – Stuffing

Something that you may not know about deep frying turkeys is that you don’t put stuffing inside of them to cook. Normally when you roast a turkey, you put stuffing inside of it, and of course, it’s delicious.

However, due to the fact that turkeys cook so fast in the hot oil, especially on the outside the stuffing inside the body cavity would never get a chance to properly cook before the outside of the turkey is done.

You would end up with a burned turkey if you left it in the oil long enough for the stuffing to fully cook.

Conclusion

There you have it — exactly how hot you need to have the oil for frying turkeys of varying sizes, and how long they need to deep fry per pound. Keep in mind that turkeys cook real fast in that oil, so you need to pay close attention to the time to prevent an overcooked or undercooked bird.