How to Fry a Turkey?

Frying a turkey can be done with a whole turkey or a sliced turkey. If you fry turkey slices you can use a shallow level of oil.  However, if you are frying a whole turkey, you will need the deep fry method so each part of the turkey is cooked evenly. 

Most turkeys are cooked using an extra large deep fryer, especially on Thanksgiving. It is much more presentable and is a known symbol of the holiday dinner table if it is whole instead of sliced.

Depending on your taste or preference, dry rub is usually the seasoning used in frying a turkey. It can include salt, black pepper, sage, garlic power, rosemary, and other spices.  But some would choose only to use a mixture of their own herbs and spices with the usual salt and pepper.

Frying a turkey is as easy as learning how to fry a chicken except the size of the turkey means you need larger fryers. Learn how to deep fry a turkey below.

How to Deep Fry a Turkey

Provided that you already washed the turkey inside and out, simply add some dry rub or your own mixture of seasoning and let it sit or marinade.  Also,  be certain to include salt and pepper in the turkey’s cavity. In addition, you can inject your turkey with a marinade before cooking it.

Preheat the fryer and pour a large amount of oil depending on how large your turkey is, to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the amount of oil is enough to sink or submerge all parts of the turkey.  As a result, your turkey will be thoroughly cooked.

You can use peanut oil or any oil you want depending on your preference.

Place the turkey into the deep fryer, fully submerged in hot oil, for about 5 minutes per round.  You can cook it per round or pound.  A round typically means per 455 grams (close to 1 pound).

An average turkey is about 7-kg which means it would take about 45 minutes for the turkey to be fully fried. That would give you the interval of frying the turkey thoroughly.

You might want to have your thermometer with you. The white meat part of the turkey cooks at 170 degrees Fahrenheit and the dark meat cooks at 180 degrees Fahrenheit. That would be your indicator if the bird is thoroughly cooked inside.

Here's a short video of how to use a meat thermometer .  This is one we like and it has a magnet so you will never lose it if it’s stuck to your refrigerator!

How Long to Deep Fry a Turkey

Considering that the fryer is preheated about 350 degrees and the oil is hot or boiling, it's fairly easy to determine how long to deep fry turkey.

It takes just about 5 minutes to cook a turkey per round or pound. Each round weighs about 455 grams. This means if you're cooking a 15 pound turkey, it would be done in about an hour and 15 minutes.

If you're cooking a 14 pound turkey you can leave the fryer going for 70 minutes or 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Also, if your turkey weighs 13 pounds, you can cook it for 1 hour and 5 minutes.

How Long to Deep Fry a 20 Pound Turkey

A 20-pound turkey takes about 1 hour and 35 minutes to cook, more or less.

Cooking a turkey per round takes at least 5 minutes to cook. It is about 455 grams for each round of turkey which will give you a total of an hour and 35 minutes to thoroughly cook a 20-pound turkey.

How Many Minutes Per Pound to Fry a Turkey

It just takes 5 minutes per pound. An average turkey that weighs about 7 kilograms (7 pounds) will take about 35 minutes to cook in a hot fryer at 350 degrees.  As a result, your turkey will be crispy and ready to eat.

How Much Oil for Deep Frying a Turkey

A 9-pound turkey will need about 3 to 4 gallons of oil. You can base the size of your turkey from there. Just add 1 gallon as you increase 2 pounds from your base or depending on your judgment.  Make sure the oil does not spill over and is not too much for the fryer you are using.  

You can use 3 gallons of oil for a 30 quart pot and 3 1/3 gallons for a 32 quart pot.  

Best Oil to Deep Fry Turkey

The best oil to use for frying a turkey would be peanut oil this is because it has a higher smoke point which leads to better flavor.  This peanut oil is great for frying if you need a new option.  However, you need to consider diet preference of some people as it could trigger an allergic reaction.  Also, remember peanut oil has a higher smoke point so it won't burn.

Frying Turkey with Canola Oil

You can use any oil that has a smoke point over 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Also, you could try using other oils such as canola.

Can You Fry a Turkey in Corn Oil

Corn oil is another option as it has a high enough smoke point.  Other oils which can also handle the heat are soybean oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.

Curious what size turkey fits in deep fryer? Get your answer now.


Please note:  You should thoroughly read the instructions specific to your deep fryer.  You want to be comfortable and knowledgeable operating your fryer.  When cooking with hot oil it is important to exercise proper care.  This article isn’t a replacement to the deep fryer manual.  

You may want to test deep frying smaller items and as a result you will be more prepared for larger items like a turkey.  Or you can also enlist the help of a friend who has experience with frying a turkey. Don't forget to use special gloves as well so your skin will be protected.