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Deep Fried Turkey (Still the best guide on the net!)

4.24 average, 177 votes
by David Lauterbach
2008 November 1


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Last updated November, 2014.

How many times have you sliced into a tasteless, bone-dry turkey on Thanksgiving wishing your fowl had not run afoul in the oven? This year, try frying your bird instead.

Why fry? There is no other way I can think of to cook that will give you a moist, delicious turkey in such a short period of time. The skin will be crispy and the meat will be juicy and–depending on how you marinade it–spicy.

The Author with the Bird of the Day

Deep frying a turkey is not a horribly difficult thing to do, but it requires some preparation and effort to do it right, especially the first time.

There are plenty of variations from this recipe that can be done, and if you know what you’re doing then by all means go ahead and variate. But if you’ve never done this before then pay attention, I’d hate to hear that you had deep fried arm for dinner.

A word of caution right from the start- this whole process must be done outside. Keep in mind that you will be working with bubbling, spitting oil heated to 350° Fahrenheit. There are plenty of stories that circulate on the web about people who have burned their house down attempting to do this inside.

Don’t just take our word for it:

Consumer Reports has issued a caution on turkey fryers stating that Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has refused to certify any turkey fryer as safe! UL said all of six cookers examined could overheat oil to the point of combustion and goes on to use words like “scalding,” “flames.” “engulfed” and “fire.” Don’t say we didn’t warn you to do this outside. For more info, check out Consumer Reports. If you insist on doing this in your kitchen, CU has recently (In their Nov 2010 mag) reviewed a small electric fryer, which may not burn your house down as often.

Aside from the regular ingredient list, first time fryer’s are going to need the right utensils. Only a few years ago, I would have told you to start with a big pot and a wire hangar and scrounge up the rest of what you’ll be needing. But today there are quite a few companies that make all-in-one kits. A basic kit includes a large pot, turkey stand, lift hook & fry thermometer. Spend a little more and get one that includes an injector and a burner if you don’t already own one. The addition of a smaller fry pot and a basket will turn that one-hit kit into a frying multi-tasker. Make sure the pot is at least a 26qt… you can get a 30qt. or more, but consider this: you’ll have more room to breathe, but if you’re going to only be cooking 10 pound birds, that larger pot will just waste oil.

mo' moneyEastman Outdoors has a prominent history building and supplying outdoor cooking appliances, and many of them are readily available through the Brian’s Belly Amazon Deep Fryer Store store. Eastman makes many kits with aluminum and stainless steel pots. If you are one of those people that likes shiny new toys, go for the stainless steel 30-quart professional kit.

If stainless is a little too costly, try one of Eastman’s aluminum combos.

Check out the Amazon Fryer Store at Brian’s Belly for more hardware.

Then there is Bayou Classic, another brand we highly recommend, who makes several size kits- a 28qt., a 30qt. and a 34qt. aluminum pot kit- the burner can be cranked up to 185,000 BTU’s. It has a 14″ wide welded steel frame (that is quite rugged) and a turkey stand & hook. The only thing we don’t like about this kit is the plastic injector. The Bayou Classic brand is sold online (extensively) and nationally at Home Depot, and can be found for as low as $60, or as much as $200 for a full-out stainless kit.

Chef William’s (of QVC fame) may or may not still sell kits, but it’s just as well. The original fryer we had for review was poorly made and used a basket to fry the turkey instead of a stand. But his Cajun Injector is still available, and is still the best injector you can buy.

Other brands we don’t know too much about are King Kooker which we’ve seen at Dick’s Sporting Goods & Sam’s Club and Morrone which we’ve seen at Lowe’s.

Overall, our recommendation would be the Eastman or Bayou Classic brands for a kit and then stop by Chef Williams site (or Walmart) to pick up a gift marinade pack (that comes with an injector).

As we mentioned in eye-catching blockquotes above, at this time NO turkey fry kits are UL listed, so cook with caution. There are a few so-called “safer” alternatives that have come on the market in the past few years such as the North American Outdoor Saf-T-Cooker(currently unavailable), the Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-Less Infrared Turkey Fryer and the Masterbuilt Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer. Although all three are highly rated on Amazon, we have not used them.

It seems each comes with it’s own tradeoffs for each advantage: the Saf-T-Cooker has a reservoir to help control oil overflow, but requires you to “tickle the pot” so-to-speak by hitting a button every 15 minutes to let it know that you are still steadfast and sober. The infrared model may be safe because it uses no oil, but hey… it uses no oil, so that’s not much of a fryer… and it takes 10 minutes per pound to cook. The electric Masterbuilt has eliminated our main complaint and no longer has a 14lb limit… a newer X-tra freakin’ large version can handle birds up to 20lbs and can be used indoors with less oil. It also has a thermostat. The real tradeoff comes with the lack of the outdoor bonding experience with the beer-drinking men if you choose to use it inside… you may end up in the kitchen with the ladies, and you can’t wear a Real Men Fry Turkeys fry guard and Gauntlet Gloves in there… it’s an apron and oven mitts for you.

Before creating an actual ingredient list, let me tell you a bit about why you’re going to need the things on the list.

A 15-17 pound turkey is about the maximum size to deep fry. Aside from being unwieldy, larger birds need to cook much longer. Your Birdzilla would take over an hour and most likely the skin and tasty appendages would be overcooked. That said, you can cook larger birds (up to 20 pounds, or whatever fits in your pot) but removal of the wings and legs may be necessary.

An injector is used to infuse the bird with liquid seasoning. When the oil sears the skin of the turkey on contact, the natural juices and the marinade are sealed in- meanwhile, the oil is sealed out. I’ll explain how to do this later on when we inject the bird. The dry seasoning is used as a dry rub on the skin of the turkey (and inside if you’d like). I love Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning (the one in the green shaker) so that’s what we’re going to use. If you don’t have this, or want to substitute your own favorite brand, go right ahead. Belly Buddy Scott Stout uses nothing but Zatarain’s and insists on adding bourbon to the marinade.

The oil you use is up to you but most prefer peanut oil for this type of cooking. It is healthier, tastes great and has a very high flash point- meaning that it is the least likely to smoke or flame up and start a fire. It’s also the “Cajun” way to do this. Now that turkey frying is so popular, 2 to 3 gallon jugs are easy to find at Sam’s, BJ’s & Costco as well as Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Just like it’s cousins–heating oil and fossil fuels–cooking oils are getting more and more expensive. Gone are the days of $19 jugs. Peanut oil has gone up so much that last year (2013) at Lowe’s I found and purchased (and returned!) a 3 gallon jug of Crisco Frying Oil Blend… a mix of soybean and peanut oils for $35. With a little further research on the product, I discovered that blend was 80% soybean and 20% peanut. Over the years, I’ve personally settled on LouAna 100% peanut oil. This year (2014) I found LouAna for about $29 for a 3 gallon jug at my local Wal-Mart. Please, don’t bother with oils like cottonseed from brands like Turkey Gold… oh, unless you like pesticides in you non-traditional fry.

You should also have meat and fry thermometers on hand. One of the biggest fail points I have seen in doing this is the fry thermometer. I have more than one so I can check them against each other… you’d be surprised by the temperature differences. Last year, I bought a Maverick Digital Oil Thermometer thinking this would solve all my problems. Well, it certainly helped reassure me of the oil temp, but I still kept an analog thermometer next to it to compare. My biggest complaint was that the clip does not attach well to the pot, such that the angle of the probe is right in the way. I solved this by reversing the clip, but fashioning a new one prior to having a hot pot will be this year’s priority.

So to recap, here’s what you’re going to need:

  • One 10-15 pound turkey
  • 3 gallons of peanut oil
  • 8-16 ounces of liquid seasoning (marinade)
  • Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 26 quart (at least) pot
  • Burner & propane tank
  • Oil thermometer
  • Meat thermometer
  • Turkey stand
  • Lengthy hook
  • Oven mitts, or the considerably more manly asbestos gloves

Every pot is different. There is a clever trick to figure out how much oil you need… prior to adding any marinade or dry rub, place the bird in the pot and fill it with water until it is completely submerged–then remove the bird. The amount of water you are left with in the pot is your oil level- make a note of it with a felt tip marker or by scoring the pot. I would fill with oil to about 1 inch below that line because the oil can bubble very rapidly and expand. Since I usually use about a 15 lb bird I have permanent etchings in my pot. I’ve also learned that it’s easier to add a cup of oil than remove it when it’s over-flowing :)

The marinade is up to you–you can season to taste. If you have a favorite that you have used with fowl, or you like to create your own, then give it a try. I’ve tried a few, but I always return to Tony Chachere’s Injectable Marinade (their garlic and butter marinade is very popular, and very traditional). It can be found at Amazon and Wal-mart, among others. If you have a favorite marinade, post it below.

Marinated and Dry-Rubbed TurkeysPrep the turkey. Make sure that the bird is completely defrosted. Remove the junk from the cavity of the bird and any plastic pop-up device–it won’t work here. Load the injector with your marinade. Carefully lift the skin from the meat and insert the needle into the meat rather than puncturing the skin. This keeps the marinade and natural juices from leaking from the turkey when you fry it. Do this in several locations, including the breast, thigh and drumstick (if your bird HAD a pop-up thermometer, you may as well use that hole also). As you retract the injector, press down on the plunger. Inject the breast in several different directions in several different locations. The more you use, the more flavorful the meat will be.

Try to do this the night before you plan on cooking the bird. This way it has several hours to marinate. The injection process definitely shortens the amount of time needed, so if you can’t do it the night before then a few hours before will have to do.

Using the dry seasoning, rub the bird all over… gently around the breasts and the thighs, then up and down the legs… yeah, you know you like it. Rubbing and massaging the bird will help the marinade to mingle with the meat.

If you don't monitor this simple to understand gauge, the temperature can easily reach over 400°F and your oil could flash.

When you are ready to get cooking, put the oil into the pot and fire up the burner. It will take you somewhere around 20 minutes to get the oil to 350° Fahrenheit depending on your burner and your elevation.

Make sure that the bird is dry. Water and oil do not mix very well–this would be pretty obvious if you threw an ice cube in the pot, but don’t do that. Instead, towel off the bird if you have to. Hold it up and make sure no water is in the chest cavity.

Place the bird on the turkey stand drumsticks up and head down (well, if he still had a head) and pull his arms back behind his shoulders if possible. I have recently began to hog-tie the leg stems together with wire to keep the legs from splaying open and laying on the side of the pot for the duration of the fry.

When the oil has reached 350° (375° max), use the hook to lower the bird slowly into the oil–and I do mean slowly–this will keep the oil from boiling over. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough… do it SLOWLY. Wear oven mitts, heavy-duty construction or asbestos gloves, or the ultra-cool Gauntlet Gloves and a long sleeve shirt. Chef hat or “the South Will Rise Again” cap is optional.

Into the potThe oil temperature will drop because you are putting a cold–or preferably room temperature–bird into the pot. There are all kinds of scientific thermal transfer issues going on here that only Alton Brown could understand, but all we need to know is that something hot plus something cold equals something warm. Raise the burner a bit to get the temperature back up but don’t put the lid on in an attempt to speed this up- the oil will get way too hot. As mentioned earlier, a dangerous situation can occur when the oil gets too hot… 450ºF to be exact. That is the temperature at which peanut oil could flash or smoke. When it’s back at 350°, lower the burner. Also, try not to let the temperature drop well below 330º or your bird may start to soak up the oil.

Commenter BillC (below) has an excellent idea: “I’ve found that it’s wise to turn off the burner when lowering the turkey into the oil and when removing the turkey from the oil. This will remove the risk of igniting any oil that may spill over the top of the pot while you’re lowering or removing the turkey.” We think this is a great idea… a missing flame for a minute or so will probably do very little to the oil temp and will make the process a lot safer… Thanks Bill!

The cooking time varies and depends on the size of the bird. Since this is Brian’s Belly, we’ll put it in a table for you. This is assuming 350°. If for some reason you can’t get your flame hot enough, it’s time for a better burner. THIS IS JUST A GUIDE! YOU HAVE TO USE A MEAT THERMOMETER AND CHECK FOR 160°F!

Temperature 350°F
Weight Minutes Per Pound Total Time
10 pounds 3 30:00 minutes
11 pounds 3 33:00 minutes
12 pounds 3 36:00 minutes
13 pounds 3 1/2 45:30 minutes
14 pounds 3 1/2 49:00 minutes
15 pounds 3 1/2 52:30 minutes
16 pounds 3 1/2 56:00 minutes
17 pounds 3 1/2 59:30 minutes
18 pounds 3 1/2 63:00 minutes
19 pounds 3 1/2 66:30 minutes
20 pounds 3 1/2 70:00 minutes


As we then say in all of our Brian’s Belly recipes… now would be a good time to grab a beer.

TestingWhen time is up, don your mitts and using the hook, carefully lift the bird from the pot. Holding it over the oil, let it drip a while. Insert the meat thermometer into the breast. The temperature should be around 160° Fahrenheit. If it’s not, you may have to put it back it for a few more minutes- do not remove it too early or eat it undercooked.

Place it on a cutting board and cover it with aluminum foil for 20 minutes or so. The bird will continue to cook, even while sitting on your kitchen counter (this is called “carry-over” cooking) and will reach the optimal 170° that is recommended by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

If you are done frying, turn the burner off! Consider removing the pot from the fry stand to a firm, level, heat-resilient surface out of harms way–three gallons of 350° oil can be deadly to dogs, small children and even careless (read: drunk) adults.

Deep Fried TurkeyWhen you’re ready, carve it up (watch for squirting juices) and serve it up (watch for smiling faces).

When all is done, there is no reason to dump those three gallons (and about $35-40) worth of oil right back into the environment. Peanut oil is a high quality oil that can withstand several fry cycles. After the oil has cooled and the junk has settled (perhaps overnight) you can filter the oil and pump it back into the plastic container it came in. Stored in a cool, dry place, peanut oil should not spoil and will remain usable for six months. If you “smoked” the oil by accident, you’ll have to toss it. We feel obliged to tell you to check with your local regulations on proper disposal, but most of the time oil must be accepted at your neighborhood auto-mechanic shop.

I hope after you try your turkey this way, you will never go back to the oven. Got questions? Try posting in the comments below. Like this article? Let your friends know on Facebook or Twitter. Bird appétit.

Thanksgiving Day Announcement: This year, we’re going to try to help you with your last minute holiday mayhem on Twitter while we live tweet (gobble?) our own turkey fry. We’ll post some live pics of our own event and hope you’ll do the same. You can get us at @BriansBelly and we’ll be using #deepfriedturkey to try to keep track of it all.

I’m always looking to supplement our deep fried Thanksgiving turkey with the proper Cajun accoutrement… whether it’s an appetizer or side dish. I’ve been toying around with a recipe for Fried Cajun Stuffing Balls and I decided to finally get it down in digital form to share for this T-Day.

Belly Buddy Scott Stout has a recipe for Hush Puppies that will also go great with your Deep Fried Turkey.

And Belly Buddy Fatty Matty has sent us the mix for a proper Turkey Rub for your bird if you don’t want to use a packaged seasoning.

268 Comments from the Chuckle Patch leave one →
2008 November 12
Kimberly permalink

I used this guide two years ago and it was extremely helpful. It was my first time deep frying a turkey, and I did it entirely by myself.
Thanks Brian’s Belly!

2008 November 16

[…] recipe is meant to compliment our Deep Fried Turkey but can be used on anything.  It was submitted by Belly Buddy Fatty […]

2008 November 16

[…] recipe is meant to compliment our Deep Fried Turkey but can be enjoyed […]

2008 November 16
Bob J permalink

Have deep fried my turkey for 3or4 years now with great raves… But this year I must fry it at home and take it to the in laws about 40mi. away… Now question ? how do i re heat… HELP PLEASE…

2008 November 16

40 miles… 40 minutes. I bet if you pull it from the oil and wrap it in aluminum foil, it will stay warm that long. In fact, it will continue to do something called “carry-over cook.” Maybe you can put it in one of those insulated carry bags too. Just carve it when you get there (and don’t forget to turn off the burner!)

2008 November 17
Nick permalink

Wrap the bird in foil – if you have an old ice chest that can be closed, it will work to insulate the bird as it travels. If you find you need to rewarm at your destination (if the internal temperature falls below 130 degrees F) then put it in a pan with a rack or root vegetables under it and add some chicken broth. Cover the pan with foil and re warm in the oven. Re warm to 165 degreees F internal temperature.

When time does not permit carrying the hot bird home,
we do fried turkey at our restaurant and have found that we can cool it, debone and slice breast and thigh meat on a slicer. Place in a steam table pan with a little chicken broth cover with foil or a lid and steam back to serving temperature. This works great for buffets.

2008 November 17
Angie permalink

Thanks Brian’s Belly for all of the great info! I will be frying a turkey for the first time this year and I found your guide extremely helpful after browsing through many others.

I was on the fence about how many minutes per lb and what temperature because so many recipes all say different things. Needless to say, your chart was very helpful.

Now I have a solid game plan for a (hopefully) successful Thanksgiving Day Turkey!

2008 November 18
Dolores permalink

I live in Los Angeles, is there a specific brand of turkey; i.e. butterball, etc. that I should purchase for deep frying?

2008 November 18
Cheryl permalink

This will be my first time frying a turkey. Any particular brand (frozen) that you would recommend? I was thinking a Jennie-O, Butterball, or Honeysuckle. Also, I have about 12 people coming for Thanksgiving and want left-overs. Sounds like I will need to do 2 turkeys. Would the first dry out if I wrapped it in foil and just stuck it in the oven (NOT ON) while I cooked the other? My family is so apprehensive about a “fried turkey”. I want to prove them wrong and blow them away! Please help!!

2008 November 18
john quimby permalink

what about deep frying chiskens ?

2008 November 18
john quimby permalink

Thats chickens!

2008 November 18
john quimby permalink

Those chickens?

2008 November 18

@ Cheryl & Dolores: Name brand roasting turkeys are fine, the only caveat is that durn pop-up thermometer that might be inserted in the breast… try to avoid purchasing one like that if possible… otherwise you have to tear it out and you end up with a hole in the skin. Cheryl, sounds like you’ll need more than one. That’s not really too much of a problem… I have ALWAYS done at least two. I usually allow about 15-20 minutes of resting time before I carve, and then carve time… by the time everyone is sitting down the second one is practically coming out. If not, I just excuse myself and go and get it.

The first time we deep fried, my mother *insisted* on also roasting a turkey because she *knew* she would hate it the new way. Turns out everyone–including her–loved it!.. so prove ’em all wrong!

@ John Quimby: sorry I couldn’t get back to you on your chicken question within the three minutes of your first post… of course you can do chickens! Chickens take way longer per pound for some reason… almost twice as long… has to do with the cavity size. I would not be afraid to go 7 minutes a pound, but check it with a meat thermometer somewhere around 5 or 6 minutes.

2008 November 24
derek permalink

Turn off the burner when dropping the bird in and when removing. Fire it back up once the bird is completely submerced.

Peanut oil is made from peanuts. It’s environmentally friendly. I dump mine along the fence to kill the weeds.

Chickens work great too. In fact, we fry chickens (whole & parts) for chef samples while we’re frying turkeys for the neighbors & friends at our fry party. This keeps the chefs from stealing a turkey wing :-)

2008 November 24
Ken permalink

Have you ever fried a smoked turkey? I purchased a frozen, smoked bird, about 10 pounds and thought I might heat it up for Thanksgiving by frying it for 10-15 minutes. What are your thoughts?

2008 November 24
david permalink

Aside from just tucking the arms behind the shoulders, any other recommendations on tying the legs and the wings together? What about removing the wings altogether? Worried about the extremities over-cooking and possibly burning.


2008 November 25
brock permalink

Amount of oil – Cover the turkey by how many inches? one to two? But how close to the top should the oil be so it will not boil over? If the top of the oil before cooking is less then 2 inches form the top (26 qt pot) how likely is it that it may boil over? I need to buy more beer and don’t want to buy another pot. Thanks ,Brock

2008 November 25
brock permalink

How much propane? Seems like my tanks are always half full/empty. I guess they are the 20 pound tanks.

2008 November 25
Natalie permalink

Could I get away with only using three gallons of oil?

2008 November 26

Lots of questions…

@Ken… assuming that smoked bird is already fully cooked, I don’t advise heating it in oil.

@David… I have never had any problems with the extremities over-cooking or burning… after all, you don’t remove them when you roast a turkey.

@Brock… you really don’t need to add an inch or two “extra” to cover the bird… heat will make the oil expand. I’d leave more than two inches of clearance if you can… I have seen oil rapidly bubble that much. If you put too much oil, you’ll know it as soon as you lower the turkey. If so, stop and back the turkey out and using a soup ladle or pot with a handle *carefully* scoop out the excess oil. How much propane? I have no idea really… about the same amount it takes to run your grill for an hour. I always have two tanks… one runs out, you just swap ’em and refill the empty one on your next trip out.

@Natalie… perhaps a small bird and a small pot will only require three gallons.

2008 November 26
Mark Sparkdog Kohlrusch permalink

Hi,and Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks for your tips on this years festivities. I will be brining my 2, 12 and 13 pounders in a traditional brining solution for 48 hrs. prior to frying. My wife does not like me to inject( no sexual comments please!) so brining seemed to be the logical choice for additional flavor throughout. I will be using Deep frying cooking oil from SAMS club 35lb container ran me $29. Same size container for peanut oil was $40 too much. I have plenty of cold adult libations on hand. Usually it takes 3 libations and the turkey is done. Approx. 35-36 mins for a 12 pounder. Good luck to you out there my fellow friers!!!! ps: and drinkers of the fine adult libations!!!

2008 November 27

can you use canola oil for deep frying turket

2008 November 27
Brian permalink

You can use just about any kind of oil. The problem with Canola oil is that its flash point is lower than Peanut oil. So if your going to use a different oil be sure to check what the new oils flash/smoke point is. Be Safe!! and Happy Thanksgiving. I would also add a fire extinguisher to the list.

2008 November 27
Brian permalink

Just a reference for those entertaining frying in alternate oils.

2008 November 27
Ben permalink

I don’t need articles, just directions. Cut the crap, get to the point.

2008 December 1
David Lin permalink

Thanks Brian! (one small question though)

I did 5 turkeys my first time, and everything went perfectly as I followed this guide. 3 for myself, 2 for lucky friends!

Now onto the question! I drained out all the oil back into the original container, and the oil is very dark. I’m pretty sure I did not “smoke” the oil, as it never got over 375 ever. I left it in the container and left it outside for a day, then brought it inside to a cool dark place. Either case, it’s probably 50-60 degrees at best here in Northern California so I would say it was in a cool place even when outside.

Can I re-use this? It smells great, like a nutty turkey, and I’d hate to have to waste it. Some say drain it through a cheese cloth to get the particles out.


2008 December 3

@ David Lin: I’m sure the oil is still good… and yes, it will be much darker. The pump I have has the little filter on it so that you don’t save it with the junk, but next time you can just not put the pump directly on the bottom of the fryer so that you don’t suck the particles up after everything settles.

@ Ben: Thanks for such an honest comment on the article… here is a shortened version just for you:

1. Uninformed, go to Walmart and buy a small, crappy fry pot, flimsy stand and weak burner.
2. Drop frozen turkey into boiling oil.
3. Burn down your mobile home.

2008 December 4
George permalink

Thanks for all the info.. gonna try it this week-end and looking forward to it..
P.S. Love your responce to Ben… Good on ya.

2008 December 10
Tom Farrow permalink

I have fried over 350 turkeys over the last 6 years, (68 this year), for customers. The vast majority want to pick up the bird the day before Thankgiving,(we are closed Thanksgiving Day), but I can’t possibly fry 68 birds in one day, so I fry turkeys as much as 3 or 4 days ahead and place them in my cooler. The most frequent question I get is how to rewarm the bird. We give the bird to the customer in a foil pan covered with foil. I always reccomend the bird to be placed in an oven preheated to 200 degrees, just as it is, covered, for about an hour for a 10-12lb. bird, longer for larger birds. I remind the customer that the bird is already fully cooked and they only need to get it warm. I have warmed fried turkeys this way myself with excellent results. Do you reccomend anything different?

2008 December 12
Mike permalink

My in-laws got a very large turkey, 26.5 lbs, 14 inches long and 12 inches across. Does anybody know if there is a pot big enough for this or how long I’d have to cook it for? Believe it or not, this was the SMALLEST turkey they could get at the time.

I’d really like to fry this but I want to do it right.

2008 December 13
Tom Farrow permalink

If I had a bird that big, I’d cut it up,(cut off legs, wings,cut out the breast and thighs. I’d toss the back.), prior to frying. To do this you must have a fryer set up with a basket to put the parts in to fry. Good luck.

2008 December 24
Tom permalink

have a great idea for getting oil levels right put in more than needed and when you are ready to drop in bird get a 4 quart pan and scoop about 3 quarts out drop bird yes slowly then dump oil back in until the bird is covered never had a problem yet

2009 February 9

I’ve read many articles indicating the amount of time to cook the bird but how long does it take to heat the oil for a 10-13 lb bird?
Thank you

2009 May 20
Lynn Hoops permalink

We fried a turkey for the first time last fall. We saved the oil and was wondering how long will this last. We live in NW Ohio and have it in our garage. Of course it was fine for the winter. Will this last all summer? How many times can you cook with the same oil?

Thank you for your answer

2009 May 20

@Kate P: heating the oil could easily take 20-30 minutes depending on the burner, the outside temperature and the starting temp of the oil.

@Lynn: I’ve heard you can store the oil in a cool place for 6 months after it’s first use, but I’ve never stored it that long (well actually, stored it that long and then disposed of it, er, properly). It’s hard for me to attach a number to how many fry cycles you’d get. I know it’s expensive stuff, but even with filtering I don’t think I’d use it more than three times in as many weeks… especially with all the dry rub “dirt” that is left behind when you fry a turkey. Also, if the oil gets too hot, it’s life span shortens… if it starts to smoke (like it’s burning) then don’t use it again.

2009 September 7
Bryan permalink

Hi, I was hoping you could give a suggestion for a peanut oil substitute as my daughter is allergic to peanuts. I understand any oil will do but will it still produce as flavorful a bird??

2009 October 20
Bill permalink

Brining vs Injecting? Does it turn out the same??? Thanks for any info!

2009 October 28
Andy permalink

thanks for all the hints and direction. Will be trying this frying option Saturday as a test run before Thanksgiving…Hopefully I will not burn down my fiance’s parents house!!!!

2009 October 30
Jefferson permalink

I’d recommend trying an indoor Digital Electric Turkey Fryer! It’s safe and soooo easy. Love mine. Here is my model.

2009 November 2
Ken permalink

I have been frying turkeys for 5 years now only way I will eat them I always use original creole butter for injectable marinade I inject them three times over the course of five days and soak the turkeys in a ice water salt brine during this time and then rub them down with tonys cajun seasoning I find that only peanut oil gives the best results. I usually have two fryers going on thanksgiving day as more and more people ask me to fry one for them and they make great gifts.

2009 November 3

This is an awesome guide on deep frying a turkey. It is what got me motivated to fry my very first one.

2009 November 13
Seth permalink

Getting the oil level right – I have fried a number of turkey over the past 10 years, and they are fantastic. The way i determine how much oil i need is simple. Put the uncooked turkey in the pot and fill it with water to about 1 or 2 inches over the bird. I then pull out the bird, mark the water level (without the bird in it). I then fill the pot with the oil to that point. It is important to make sure the bird is out of the wrapper when adding the water to make sure the cavity gets filled with water as well.
Good luck, can’t wait ’till turkey day

2009 November 16

I’ve found that it’s wise to turn off the burner when lowering the turkey into the oil and when removing the turkey from the oil. This will remove the risk of igniting any oil that may spill over the top of the pot while you’re lowering or removing the turkey.

2009 November 17

last year i fried my 2nd turkey and the skin was pretty burnt. i’m very detailed, so i know that i got the pounds vs. cooking time correct. anyone have any good ideas to prevent that?

2009 November 17

@Seth: I mention that in the article, but what I don’t mention is that what I’ve noticed is that the mark is always too high. It’s because the mark is made cold and the heat expands everything. So between the heat and the bubbling oil, I really don’t think that extra 1 or 2 inches is necessary.

@BillC: Now that’s an interesting (and simple) idea. I can’t see how having the burner off for a minute would really effect the temp THAT much (it’s already dropping because of the cold turkey, but what’s another degree or two?). Maybe some food scientists can chime in on that one.

@BJ: By burnt do you simply mean blackened? Because after a good dry rub, my turkeys come out pretty dark. If you mean hard, black skin that is inedible or really dry, then buy a new oil thermometer. I had one that I found practically spun in a circle like a cartoon it was broke so bad… found that one out the hard way.

2009 November 17
Andy permalink

Hey I did everything I was supposed to for my turkey and am trying it again this weekend. My first attempt the entire outside of the turkey was black!!! It was a 14lb turkey and when we put it in the oil the temp dropped to like 270 and it took me 25 minutes to get the heat back up to 325…Is this normal?? And why did the marinade not dispurse into the meat???? I had people biting into pieces and getting explosions of juice everywhere and other dryer than the desert pieces!!!! I have to get this right for Thanksgiving please help!!!

2009 November 18
Angie permalink

I have to feed 20 people for Thanksgiving this year and my boyfriend is insisting we fry our turkey (which we have never done). My questions is this – I need to fry a turkey that is 20lb. Is it better for me to do 2- 10lb turkeys or 1- 20lb turkey? And if I do 2 turkeys – can I do them in the same fryer? Also, what are your thoughts on oil-less fryers? They don’t make much sense to me??? Thanks so much!!!

2009 November 21
Yolonda permalink

I’ve ordered 2 fried turkeys from a local company. They told me after purchasing that it’s flash frozen when I pick them up and needs to thaw for 2 days in the fridge (they are 10-12 pound turkeys). How should I reheat the turkey for Thanksgiving and will the skin still be crispy? This is our first time purchasing fried turkey and I want to get it right for our Thanksgiving guests.

2009 November 22

@Andy: Your burner may be dirty, weak or blocked if you can’t get it hot enough. Also, you may not be marinading right if you are getting these so called juicy explosions. Read above, or try this.

@Angie: I would do two… around 15lbs each, one after the other. I do this all the time. 20lbs is too big… the skin will burn before the meat is done, and it’s typically dangerous since the pot could be too small to do it safely.

@Yolanda: Um, ask the guys you buy it from. I suspect they’ll know.

2009 November 22
Norman permalink

I was told that you could take a potato or two cut them in half and drop them into the oil this will keep the oil from burning do you know if this works please advise

2009 November 24
Joe permalink

I tried to deep fry my turkey last year but had trouble having the rub stick to the turkey. How can you make a dry rub stick on a turkey so it could stick to it while you fry it?
I also lost the dipping stick to lower the turkey into the fryer. Any ideas on how to make a make-shift dipping stick to put the turkey on?

2009 November 25
Aaron Widcamp permalink

Hey Joe, grap some olive oil, either extra virgin (thats all i use) or regular virgin. Sprinkle the e.v.o.o on the turkey and rub it around with your hands. Then add the rub you are wanting. Here in Louisiana we have some stuff called Southern BBQ Sauce. They have Cajun Basting spray bottles and this is what i may try. Ill let yall know how it comes out.

2009 November 25

@Norman: I seriously doubt a potato will keep 3 gallons of oil that gets way too hot from burning if the flame is too high.

@Aaron: Nice idea. I’m going to try that this year. I’ll have to update this article with a few gems that the comments have provided.

@Joe: To answer the second part of your question, you could use a bunch of wire coat hangars… but I do mean a bunch. It must be able hold the weight of the bird, the stand, and then some.

2009 November 25
Frank permalink

Great tips. Here’s some that I’ve done over the years that have worked well for me:

Marinade – I just do chicken broth and garlic powder (to taste). I got too many whines from those that didn’t like all my other stuff (lemon/pepper etc), so this works out great. Then I add a rub too.

Rub – salt, black pepper & mostly paprika.

The best for last: I have been deep-frying a ham for a couple of years too. IT comes out great and I highly recommend it! Emmeril has a great glaze made of bourbon, coke, brown sugar, and spices. Deep fry, slice and glaze it an hour before hand. Let stay warm in the oven, covered in tin foil.

2009 November 25

I have been deep frying turkeys for several years for the family. Now the word has spread and other people are wanting me to deep fry there turkeys for Thanksgiving. My question is: How many turkeys will a 20lb propane tank fry? Average size turkeys are around 12-15 lbs Thanks.

2009 November 25
Frank permalink

Hey Joe, I’ll let the experts answer your question, but I think you should be concerned with the longevity of your oil too. I like Corn oil better than Peanut, but they all break down and burn off a certain amount. Peanut will last longer, but be careful that you aren’t using the same oil too long (look for it smoking).

2009 November 25

Frank, I am only deep frying 4 turkeys. Thanks.

2009 November 25

@Joe/Frank: I Googled around and the best I could come up with is math, and then a guess:

1 lb of propane = 21,500 BTUs

So a 20 lb tank of propane can produce 430,000 BTUs

Now you’d have to take your burner output (average is about 55,000 BTUs per hour) and divide: 430,000 / 55,000 = 7.8 hours

Have I tested this? Nope. I’m just doing math, which I was never good at. I ask anyone in the propane industry (Hank Hill?) or any mathimagicians that are stopping by to please confirm… I’m sure that variables like outdoor temperature play a very large role.

2009 November 25
Lance permalink

Thank you so much. I cooked one a long time ago, your site brought it all back.

2009 November 25
Chris permalink

I have fried turkeys for several years now with great results. I have a question concerning the storing of the oil once done, I plan on putting it into a freezer and don’t know how long it will stay good for. Any idea?

2009 November 25
Bryan B permalink

I like things to be easy so I use Italian Dressing for the injecable marinade.

2009 November 25
Angela Gobble permalink

David, My husband and I deep fried a smoked turkey last year and it was fine. You just keep checking the temperature until it’s at 170 farenheit, same as you would for a regular one. It doesn’t take very long so be careful and PAY ATTENTION! Thought I’d tell you so you could tell Ken. Good Luck

2009 November 25

great suggestions on doing this for begginners,i done this 4 or 5 times and works like a charm.I ususally just dry rub salt,pepper,paprika and a touch of poutry seasoning.12lb bird 36 min and 15 min rest time and enjoy.Nothing better then the traditional dried out oven ones lol.once again thanks 4 all the advice greatly appreciated next yr think i will try the injectable marinate.
Scott aka fried turkey king lol

2009 November 25

I have used peanut oil up to a yr but like stated once it smokes time to throw out havent had this problem yet but think after this yr will get some new stuff for next yr.I only use peanut oil taste better and doesnt have such a high flash point like others, and will last a long time.
scott aka deep fried turkey king

2009 November 26
Lisa permalink

HELP! My bird is too big for the deep fryer (it’s my first time…), and I’m wondering if I can cut it up and throw it in if there is no basket.

2009 November 26
Wayne permalink

Great site! Been frying turkeys for years now. Picked up some good ideas and info from the answer and question section.

2009 November 26
Phung permalink

This is our first year to fry a turkey. We are going to use this article and fry the perfect(fingers crossed) turkey. We are going to use a dry rub almost like the ones others are using. We are using one bought at Saltgrass Steakhouse. It’s called Seven Seasonings. It has kosher salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, dry mustard, and ground thyme.

2009 November 26

[…] especially the safety recommendations. Learn how to safely use your specific model of turkey fryer. Brian’s Belly, Deep Fried Turkey (Still the best guide on the net!) in your instructions on deep frying a turkey. it is safer to turn off gas when lowering turkey in […]

2009 November 26
michael permalink

This was the first year that I have ever deep fried a turkey. I read your website from the first page to include all the comments. THANK YOU… I impressed my girlfriend’s entire family. With your advice to people it was easy and safe. I acutely did 2 turkeys. One in a BBQ flavor and one in Garlic and Herbs. I will be doing this a lot more.

2009 November 27
Dennis permalink

I fried my first turkey yesterday and would like some feedback. Despite following the directions I ended up over cooking the bird. The good news is that it still tasted delicious, but I’d like to learn what I did wrong so as not to repeat.

I rubbed the bird held it in the fridge over night. A couple of hours prior to cooking, I rerubbed the bird and set in on the counter to continue to dry and come to room temperature. The bird weighed 14 pounds so I was going to cook for 49 minutes (14 x 3.5).

Weather conditions were cool (40 degrees) with moderate winds. I preheated the peanut oil to 350 and put in the bird. The temperature dropped immediately as expected to 295. Maybe because of the weather, I don’t know, but it took approximately 30 minutes for the temperature to get back to 350. I thought the depressed temperature would lengthen the cooking time, but to be safe I checked the bird after the planned 49 minutes. Much to my surprise, the reading was 205 in the breast.

I had checked the thermometer prior to cooking by placing it in boiling water and it read very close to 212. Any feedback on what I may have done wrong? I’d appreciate any help. Thanks.

2009 November 27
Frank permalink


One of the things you need to be cognizant of is that meat will continue to cook for awhile after removing it from the heat source.

I try to do about 2.5 mins per pound, as I precook and cover in foil and let sit for an hour plus in the oven at 150 degrees, just to keep warm. It seems to work for me, as I need to move on to deep frying hams and sweet potatoes.

Don’t feel bad – nothing is easy the first time and I’m sure crispy tastes great too!

2009 November 27
Frank permalink

Also, the advice another made about preheating the oil to 375 before emersing the turkey is a great one!

2009 November 27
CARSON permalink


2009 November 27
Erika permalink

The skin on the turkey ripped in a couple of spots when the hubby was injecting it. We are deep frying the turkey in about an hour. The hubby is concerned that the ripped skin will cause the breast to burn and/or dry up. Dont have a clue about how to fix the ripped areas. Any advice?

2009 November 27

might sound stupid but i cut the wings off seems to sit better for me in basket,just an idea always works well for me.I ususally only cook 10 or 12 lb birds and lay them done in basket yea no u r suppose to stand up but i dont and they always turn out perfect.And rest with foil on top for aleast 15-20 min.Hope everybody had a great turkey day an no 1 burnt there house down or was injured trying this lol,can get alittle intimidating for 1st timers so always be careful,lower very slwly in pot and enjoy .Hope all 1st timers had there bird turn out great and u continue to try this, only gets better the more u do it and easier.
Scott aka deep fried turkey king

2009 November 28
John Deere permalink

Hey David, I love yer site, every year I come to see i anyone has new ideas and every year I find at least one. We’ve been frying two a year for 6 years, and we still have questions. So, all you newbies out there, do not fear, it’s a learning process. Last year we did an injection for the first time, and now we’re hooked. We even talked 3 or 4 couples into trying it this year. I always say, the slower you drop it, the safer it is. We’re two days behind because we had a high wind on thurs. and fri. So here we are today, and I’m about to go do the big drop!!!! Thanks to all!!!

2009 December 2
Grace permalink

Hi – we tried a deep fried turkey this year but it came out black on the outside and way under cooked on the inside. We followed all the instructions on this site. Any ideas how this happened? COuld our thermometer have been off the oil too hot?


2009 December 15
Emily permalink

I completely agree that peanut oil is the best. It gives a nice flavor not to mention it really keeps the fat in check. A site for great information is I had not leftovers! And that’s a first.

2009 December 21
Brad permalink

I’ve tried the whole spice rub/injection thing a few times but the skin always comes out burnt.
Not blackened. Burnt like charcoal. Tastes like it too. (The skin, not the meat. The meat always tastes great.)

The injection obviously doesn’t stand a chance in the hot oil.
I’ve been frying turkeys for close to a decade now and use a high tech digital thermometer to make sure the temp. always stays at 350F.

I’ve tried many different injections and try to avoid any recipe that calls for sugar/honey etc. as you can see the skin blacken within minutes of dunking the bird. I just put the bird in as is with no rubs or injections to get that deep golden brown on the skin.

This is a great site with lots of useful information. Does anybody have any advice for an injection/rub/brine that doesn’t kill the skin?

2009 December 30
Carla Haney permalink

I was wondering if you know how long to deep fry a pork tenderloin. We’ve fried Turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas for the past four or five years, and thought about trying a loin…Just not sure about the time..
Thanks in advance for your help

2010 January 2
susan permalink

I can’t help it, I have to say: I made my first deep fried turkey yesterday, and it was the best turkey I’ve EVER had! I did a simple injection with lemon juice & butter, and used a cajun dry rub. By accident my husband left the burner on low, so it stayed at 250 while the bird was cooking – then I remembered reading somewhere that by keeping the oil temp a little lower after you put the bird in you prevent the skin from charring – well, that totally worked for us! This was the moistest, tastiest bird ever. I will never waste – i mean roast – a bird again.

2010 January 2
Brad permalink

That’s good to know. Thanks.

Here’s my turkey frying in action.

2010 March 23

You can roast a turkey in the oven – crispy skin, moist meat.
I don’t understand the deep fry thing; you are just adding a bunch of calories

2010 March 25
Brad permalink

Not unless you do it properly. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

2010 March 25
Michael permalink

I really do not see too much difference between these instructions others I have followed but for some reason this is the first time the turkey has ever came out perfect. I did buy a new thermometer so that may have been the trick but in any case I consider this my good luck fried turkey instructions.

A couple of things that I finally figured out this time around. Do not sweat the drop in temperature when inserting the bird then trying to compensate on the back end. This is what was causing charred skin for me. The only thing worse than burnt skinned turkey which can be salvaged by taking off the skin is undercooked turkey which would put you in the Thanksgiving Hall of Shame. But I found that keeping with the minute chart above worked out fine even with a fair portion of the cook time being below 350.

Also one of the best (and why didn’t I think of that) tips I have come across is to shut down the flame while lowering the turkey thus eliminating the most dangerous part of the whole process. Thanks for the article.

2010 April 5
Ray4a permalink

After another “disaster” with a PORK LOIN yesterday for Easter Dinner I decided to put in my “two cents”. I cooked a 6 pound whole pork loin for 4 minutes per pound at 350 degrees and took it out of the oil with an internal temp of 140 degrees. I cut it after 15 minutes and found it to be dry and ALMOST inedible. I would recommend cooking a pork loin 3 minutes per pound, as for the internal temperature I would have to experiment some more on that. My other “disaster was cooked to an internal temp of 150 degrees and sat for 15 minutes, and BOY WAS IT DRY AND TOUGH. We like our pork done “pink” and juicy inside. The “crust was great and the “Tonys” seasoning cannot be beat for flavor. So if you do a pork loin try 3 to 3 min 15 seconds per pound (start with it at room temp) and “graduate from there”
Good luck with yours.

2010 July 21
Lou permalink

Does anyone know how much cooked turkey meat from a 13 pound turkey?

2010 August 8
Trevor permalink

Hey I had quick question for you guys…

Can you fry 2 turkey’s in the same cooking peanut oil batch? I saw a couple videos where people fried up some small side dishes but what about frying multiple turkeys in the same batch of oil?

thanks again

nice website by the way

2010 September 23
Frank permalink

Hey Trevor; for Thanksgiving, for example, I always deep fry a turkey, then a ham, then a couple of batches of sweet potato wedges. Same oil.

I am thinking of reversing the order next year, as the sweet potatoes always take on the flavor of the ham, a little. Also, I think I’d prefer the ham tast on the turkey (it tastes like bacon!)!

I hope this answers your question.

2010 September 29
Danny permalink

I have deep fried a few turkeys, but not in about 3 years. Thanksgiving is at my house this year and im doing two of em. I usually make my own injection…italian dressing, whiskey, coke and seasonings. then i coat the outside of the bird with spicy brown mustard and sprinkle tony c’s on it. they turn out great. my question is, is that i forgot when to start timing it, so i start the time as soon as i put the bird in the hot oil, or once it gets back to 350*.

2010 October 8
Gerry permalink

I am frying a 17.5 pound turkey tomorrow. How long should I fry for? Your chart only goes up to 15 pounds.

2010 October 9

@Gerry: Whoa, that’s a big bird. Does he have yellow feathers and a friend named Snuffleupagus!?

How big is your fry pot? I would first make sure the bird fits without being pinned up against the sides AND has some clearance on top… once the whole thing starts bubbling, oil can spill from the sides if it’s too full.

Then, if you’re still going to try it, just start poking a thermometer into the breast at around a hour until the gauge reads 160 F.

@Danny: I’m digging the whiskey marinade… start the timing from when it first goes in. Timing may be everything, but really the chart above is a GUIDE so that you get an idea of how long it will take. You really want to go by the temperature of the thermometer.

2010 October 22
Jwaldman permalink

My family makes deep fried turkey every year, which we all LOVE! However, my husband and I are hosting Thanksgiving this year in our home state. We have never deep fried a turkey, but I feel confident that with your instructions, we will succeed! What I have yet to find is a perfect marinade and rub for an individual who does not like ANY spicy seasonings… ergo, no cajun turkey for this chick. Ideas??

2010 October 24
Greg permalink

I am feeding a lot of people and want to deep fry 2 12lb turkeys. My question is, after I finish the first turkey, is it okay to immediately use the same oil to deepfry the second bird?

2010 October 25

@Greg: Yep, that’s perfectly fine… I do that practically every year. I prefer two medium sized birds to one…. you get twice the amount of delicious appendages!

2010 October 25
Don Meadors permalink

Every year for five years I have been coming to your site this time of year and reading up on what is and isn’t new for this special time of year when us southerners get ready to deep fry turkey. I follow you directions to the “T” and ever deviate. A 12-14 lb marinated overnight bird, which I cook to perfection thanks to you and the use of a digital meat thermometer that has my family hooked.

However, this year we wanted to do a couple of breasts instead of a whole bird because the dark meat is never eaten at all. I have been searching for tips but I’m coming up empty handed. Do you have any suggestion for a novice of “turkey breast only”? Thanks!

2010 October 25

@Don: Thanks for the praise! Unfortunately, I don’t know how long it would take, but if I were to do that I would use a fry basket and check it with a meat thermometer frequently. Luckily, we have white and dark meat lovers in my family, so it’s never been a problem.

Maybe some “part” lovers could chime in.

2010 October 31
John permalink

first off, this site rules. question – I’m a first-timer and keep reading reviews about electric fryers/infrared fryers/”oil-less”/ etc… Dave what’s your honest opinon on what I should do?

Also, do you really recommend injecting a marinade? From all the great stories I’ve heard from friends about frying a turkey, I never thought this was necessary but would love to get your take….


2010 November 1

@John: I have not tried any other type of fryer (specifically for a Turkey) so unfortunately I haven’t formulated a solid opinion yet. Reviews I’ve seen for “oil-less” fryers seem bad overall. As for the marinade, I think it might be a taste preference. I personally think that it adds so much extra flavor that you’d be crazy not to do it… but there are plenty of people who cook their food with few seasonings and then add them afterward “to taste.”

@Jwaldman: Perhaps if you want to stay away from the same “Cajun” aspects of the bird, you could take a play from John’s book and try it with no injectable marinade.

2010 November 4
Kirk Johnson permalink

The Dept. of Energy says 91,330 BTUs per gallon of propane. If your burner is doing 180,000 BTUs (that’s pretty high)and you have a five gallon tank, you should have approximately two and a half hours of burn time. There are other varibles to consider, but this is a good guesstimate. KJ

2010 November 7
dave permalink

Have fried more than 75 turkeys in my day. I have read all the “how to’s” but never came across this bit of advice. The guide says to put the oil in, but does not tell how much. Most other guides say to fill with water first to determine the level. DO NOT DO THAT. Instead put the bird in the pot then put the oil in (fill to about 1 or 2 inches below the top of bird-it will expand and bubble up a bit) Take the bird out and keep it on a platter until the oil is hot. The only downside is an oily pan. The upside is a bird that goes into the oil nice and easy and you dont have to worry about water on the bird.

2010 November 10

[…] from Cajun Grocer of Lafayette, LA, for about three years now and cooking it alongside the deep fried turkey that has become a staple of my family Thanksgiving […]

2010 November 20
Chris permalink can cover the bird with water in the pot while it is still in the package it comes in from the store. Then mark your pot and defrost the bird or start marinating it. Does brining work with frying a bird or is it better to inject and rub?

2010 November 20

@Chris: I’m sure you could do that, but depending on whether the package lets water into it may give you a false fill line. Someone above recommends using cold oil–not water–so that you don’t have to worry about the spitting that happens when water meets oil, but I think water is OK because you’re most likely checking it either the night before or sometime before you marinade.

And remember, you want to fill oil one to two inches BELOW that fill line that you create. So I guess it’s more of an overfill line.

As for brining instead of marinading before frying… I think I tried that once… I don’t see a problem as long as you let the bird dry off REALLY GOOD before placing it in the oil.

2010 November 21
Gina permalink

Oil ~ How many times do you reuse your oil and how long do you keep it?

2010 November 21
KJ Filo permalink

Gina: When all is done, there is no reason to dump those four gallons (and about $50) worth of oil right back into the environment. Peanut oil is a high quality oil that can withstand several fry cycles. After the oil has cooled and the junk has settled (perhaps overnight) you can filter the oil and pump it back into the plastic container it came in. Stored in a cool, dry place, peanut oil should not spoil and will remain usable for six months. If you “smoked” the oil by accident, you’ll have to toss it.

2010 November 22
Kas permalink

Great article…lots of good information and positive feedback from the readers. Seems like there are so many turkey brands to choose from…which ones have you found to be best for frying…major name brands or local “organic” birds? Should a person consider the amount of water already injected into the bird, (some are 2%, some are 4%, those that don’t have any water added…etc). Also, your recipe calls for injecting the bird the night before, but you don’t mention anything about brining…do you consider brining worthwhile or just over kill?

2010 November 22
pat c permalink

i have 6 turkeys = all are 20 pound turkeys, i heard not to deep fry over 20 pound turkeys

what should i do ?


2010 November 22
Dana permalink

can you also deep fry the 6 to 7 pound turkey brests or does it have to be the whole turkey.

2010 November 23

We love deep fried turkey, but it seems we lose the wings every year. (12 lb turkey – 30-40 min @350F = burnt wings)
Can we remove the wings and add to the oil for the last 10-12 minutes?
Can we add additional drumsticks for the folks that prefer dark meat?

2010 November 23
Chels permalink

Great site with lots of good tips. This is our fifth time frying a turkey for thanksgiving and the last couple times we tried something new. Before frying, we smothered the whole turkey in Miracle Whip. I know this doesn’t really sound appetizing, but it is so good. Of course my mother thought it would be awful but once we all tried it,it was delicious. It also makes the skin even more crispy and always comes out golden brown.

2010 November 23
Jamie permalink

I am doing this for the 3rd year now and I have a question. I used a dry rub the first year and injected marinade the second. I am going back to a dry rub this year and I can’t figure out if I should wipe off the dry rub before I fry the bird or leave it on. The first year I wiped it all off, and it was still very good, but this year I thought about leaving it on.
What does everyone think?

2010 November 24

Lots of good questions, others should feel free to chime in with answers…

@Kas: I’ll be honest, I never knew that Turkeys had water percentages injected. If memory serves however, I think I have brined and fried. I see no reason not to try it… in fact, since I’m doing a few turkeys over a few days this year (different company) I may try it myself (er, again).

@pat c: I prefer 15lb birds, but people have posted that they successfully fry larger ones… it’s OK as long as you pot is large enough to do it safely. If a 20lb bird barely fits, don’t try it. And don’t cook all 6 at once… that’s like… um, 100 lbs.

@Dana: parts are ok… EXCEPT that if the breast doesn’t have skin you may get a strange texture on the outside.

@Richard: I suppose you could add the wings a little later… but I’ve never quite had that issue… or at least not to the point where the wings were inedible. Make sure your thermometer is good and you are actually cooking at 350 and not higher by accident. I had a thermometer once that I realized the gauge was spinning on the probe… and I didn’t realize it until the oil started to smoke a bit.

@Chels: It’s a miracle! Who even thought of that!?

@Jamie: I use both injection and rub ALWAYS, and leave the dry rub on. Why wipe it off? Even if it fails to “stick” it’s seasoned the oil for the next bird, LOL!

2010 November 24
brenda permalink

hi,love this site..we ae deep frying out turkey now and tomorrow i will stuff it and reheat in the oven how hot should the oven be and about how long to leave it in.i know the breast should be 160-165 15lb turkey

2010 November 24
Jason permalink

hey I’m about to pop my turkey frying cherry tomorrow. I Feel pretty confident about doing so, but I have a question. I will be hosting at my house this year and have a couple of sissy LaLa’s coming over. by Sissy LaLa I mean even cracked black pepper is nearly to spicy for them.

im looking for a delicious recipe that doesn’t involve anything spicy sooner than later would be great so I can marinate tonight.



2010 November 24
Eddie permalink

How long will the fried turkey stay moist after carving it?

2010 November 24
cathy permalink

hi I have always wanted to try a fried turkey..the local church was offering them so I signed up for one… it yesterday….with no instructions on how to reheat it tomorrow HELP

2010 November 24
Ariel permalink

David… Great article on frying turkeys…Read “almost” all of you comments and noticed the amount of times you actually respond to the many, many questions. I actually don’t have one, but just wanted to tell ya thank, on behalf of many, for taking the time to “do what you do.” Happy Gobble Gobble day to all… and to all a goodnight… (wait, that’s Christmas).

2010 November 24
jason permalink

Cathy if you read all the comments there is one comment on doing such a thing.

Tom Farrow Dec 10th 2008 writes.
“I have fried over 350 turkeys over the last 6 years, (68 this year), for customers. The vast majority want to pick up the bird the day before Thankgiving,(we are closed Thanksgiving Day), but I can’t possibly fry 68 birds in one day, so I fry turkeys as much as 3 or 4 days ahead and place them in my cooler. The most frequent question I get is how to rewarm the bird. We give the bird to the customer in a foil pan covered with foil. I always reccomend the bird to be placed in an oven preheated to 200 degrees, just as it is, covered, for about an hour for a 10-12lb. bird, longer for larger birds. I remind the customer that the bird is already fully cooked and they only need to get it warm. I have warmed fried turkeys this way myself with excellent results. Do you reccomend anything different?”

2010 November 24
cathy permalink

thanks Jason…..I just skimmed the comments guess I should have read them all…sorry. but thank-you for taking the time to give me the answers I needed have a good one Cathy

2010 November 25

Thanks to Jason for answering Cathy… I think the same answer would apply to Brenda. Remember… when you re-heat, the food is already cooked and all the nasty things that could get you sick are kilt already :) You just need to heat it so that it is warm enough to eat.

Along the same lines (and this will also help answer Eddie’s question a bit) I watched a video earlier with Bobby Flay where he recommended that if you’re getting everything ready earlier than dinner time, you can pour a little hot chicken stock across the meat to get it nice and moist again.

Jason, even the Tony Chachere’s marinade that I love to use comes in a fairly basic butter variety. I’ve had family members fretting (even as they watched me do this just a few hours ago tonight) that I’ve using too much spice or went crazy with the full bottle of marinade… but honestly, the bird is actually pretty tasty without going overboard. If they truly are hyper-sensitive to spices–even pepper, like my mom–you could try using no marinade or something you make yourself that only uses butter and maybe some pepper. Think about how most people roast a turkey… a lot of them use nothing but turkey drippings to “season.” So because of science involved with deep frying, I would imagine that even an unseasoned bird would taste moister and more flavorful than a roasted one (but that’s just my opinion).

And to Ariel and anyone else who finds this guide helpful… thanks, and happy thanksgiving! I’ll try to keep an eye on the site through the day if anyone runs into problems!

2010 November 25
Karl permalink

How can I tell if the turkey is done if I don’t know the weight?

2010 November 25

[…] Deep Frying Turkey.  A step-by-step guide to frying a perfection.  Includes recipe, photo’s and cooking details. […]

2010 November 25

[…] Deep Frying Turkey.  A step-by-step guide to frying a perfection.  Includes recipe, photo’s and cooking details. […]

2010 November 25

Karl, are you seriously asking me that? Try this Google link.

2010 November 26
Chuck permalink

Two question, please.
I have been frying turketys for about four years with gret success….almost. We put a rub on the turkey and the skin comes out black. I cook at 325-350. The skin could not be blacker if you had painted it with spray paint. Is it the rub, oil, temperature or the pumpkin ale that I made for the holiday?
Where does everyone dispose of thier oil? I may have missed it earlier in the posts, but I have about 10 gallons from previous years.

2010 November 26
sparkygalca permalink

can you make turkey broth with deep fried turkey bones? Thx for a comprehensive post on deep frying turkeys Brian & David!!!

2010 November 26
sparkygalca permalink

@chuck – i give my used cooking oil to a guy i found on i drop off at his house this time very year! he drives a biodiesel car. Does your city have cl? if not may be another options. if this helps, here are some other options near me in San Francisco Bay Area:, I just prefer to give directly to someone who’s definitely going to use it to drive his car!

2010 November 28
Kyle permalink

I’ve let my peanut oil sit in the pot after cooking for three days now. It’s been in the garage being keep at about 30 degrees. Is it safe to reuse the oil now? The oil has conjeeled a bit…..

2010 November 28

I fried my 2nd turkey this year, & I’ll probably never get my family to eat another roasted one, even though they’ve always loved my roasted turkey. The first turkey I fried was several years ago. I used a traditional gas-fired, outside fryer, didn’t inject or marinate, although I did brine for several days. No one was impressed; it wasn’t worth the time & effort so I went back to roasting. This year, I decided to try it again; I bought an electric in-door fryer, injected Tony Chachere’s Creole Butter marinade & there was nothing left of a 12 lb. turkey. Fortunately, I had roasted a 14 lb-er as a back-up, so no one left hungry, but, the fried went first & FAST. Thanks for having such a great website.

2010 December 1

@sparkygalca: Yes! I have made stock from the bones… but I have to say, I’ve never been a fan of doing that. Call me lazy, I’d rather buy a can of broth or stock.

@Chuck: I’ve seen a few posts with people saying it comes out black, I’ve never had that issue. Double check that your thermometer is accurate… it may be registering low, and your beer consumption may be registering high.

@Kyle: The oil is probably fine, congealing because of the cold. Filter it for longer term storage.

2011 January 1
Artman permalink

I got a King Kooker turkey fryer for Christmas and started searching the web for some tips. I found your site and the information was spot on. I had a chicken in the freezer so I decided to try frying that. I rubbed it and fried it for @ 6 minutes a pound. My wife and kids were a bit skeptical, until they took the first bite. The meat was so juicy and tasty no gravy was used. Happy New Year and a sincere thanks for a great site!

2011 May 17

[…] Brian's Belly | Deep Fried Turkey (Still the best guide on the net!) Nov 1, 2008 … The marinade is up to you- you can season to taste. If you have a favorite that you have used …. recipe is meant to compliment our Deep Fried Turkey but can be used on anything. … […]

2011 May 26
David in Texas permalink

Have read thru all the comments,and will add some of my own tips.
Having lived in New Orleans , 30 years ago, I have learned a few tips in my time for frying turkeys.
I have always used Peanut oil,sometimes for 6-8 frys over 2 year plus period,with no problem. My equipment is homemade, stainless steel from a scrap yd. @ $1.00 a Lb.
I wrap the bird with a 3 ft-4ft pc of st. st. wire.(wire feed welding wire,approx .030 dia.) This tucks the wings and drumsticks tight and prevents overcooking them. I leave several loops of excess wire at the tail for lifting.Throw away plastic insert and pop up timer that comes with bird. My lifting assembly is a perferated pizza plate that keeps turkey off bottom of fryer. I use a 1/4 inch diameter smooth alum rod with a hook on top & bottom. The hook at bottom goes tru perf. in plate. Hook at top is used to hang on tree,clothsline etc, after cooking.This lets excess oil drip out.
Another tip go with initial 375 on oil temp, start with bird close to room temp, and return to 350 asap. Bird will start to float when it’s almost cooked.
I have brined and injected. Both work well. Forget the small needle injector that comes free with some injector liquids Go to vet /medical supply get a big hypedermic syringe and a horse /cow needle . Better yet ,get a stainless meat pump (Cabellas) which has a needle that sprays in multi directions.Have tried many store bought and homemade injector liquids. I have graduated to only using cooked giblet water with chopped giblet meat and added chicken bullion powder and spices.If you don t like spices, use a bullion broth only. Butter(melted),olive oil & Broth from chicken noodle soup is also good. Remember, the injection juice needs to be saltier and spicier than it will be after cooking .I inject multiple times 2-3 days before cooking. Any juice that escapes in pan, in refrig. can be & is reinjected. Also do a rub with Tony’s or similar cajun spice.
One last bit of advise, I use an adjustable gas regulator, 0-to 30 psi. I can easily adjust from simmer flame to a Jet engine sound. Just do not walk away from the process!!! Normally go some whole,uncut up chickens,after the turkey. Inject the same & wrap them in wire. They will float when ready too. Good luck.

2011 May 30
Tom Farrow permalink

Love all the comments and new ideas here. David in Texas has it figured out. People should use caution if trying to fry just the breast bought in a store. Many times they are very large, (7 – 9lbs.), so they must come off of a gigantic bird. I have always had trouble getting a breast that large done all the way in the fryer. It begins to burn on the edges but done in the middle. Now when I do a breast, I cook it about 20 – 25 minutes in the fryer then finish it, (160 degree internal temp), in a 350 degree oven, (sometimes up to an hour). The breast will retain the flavor just as if it was fried to completion and I am confident it is done all the way through.

2011 September 14

[…] as a marinade for fish, poultry or vegetables.  I recommend injecting it into a turkey prior to deep-frying.  I’m also a big fan of dunking Feast sandwiches directly into a giant pool of Crane Crest in […]

2011 September 23
matt permalink

i love chicken

2011 September 23
matt permalink

wait….this is a turkey website….awwwwwwwwwwwwwww :( chicken is still boss

2011 November 1
Avery permalink

I plan on frying a few turkeys for the upcoming holidays. Which is better to store them until they are picked up? Large Freezer or just Refrigerated. Any ideas and tips would be appreciated .

2011 November 12
Andre Sanford permalink

I have been deep frying turkeys several times, so far. I love the flavor and spoiled so deep frying is my prefered method. Peanut oil does work best, and can be reused several times. I found the fryer on Clearence and paid $15.00 for a 30 qt kit, had everything but the turkey and oil. Injecting is awesome for flavor. I highly recomend deep frying that turkey. Make sure the turkey is fully thawed! Ice in the turkey will cause a explosion if dropped into the hot oil, the water thaws quickly all at once. I use a fresh turkey to be safe, and still had ice in one, I found it before cooking. Pat turkey dry with paper towels before cooking. Be safe and enjoy!

2011 November 14
David permalink

I jsut got a Masterbuilt XL indoor fryer. Great invension. Ran a test to make sure I am ready for turkey day. Bought a 6 lb turkey breast. I did nto do enough research and only cooked it for 4 mi per pound. Turkey was half cooked. Found out later that a breast needs 7 min per pound. Don’t know why but ok. Have a 19# turkey for thanksgiving. How long should I plan for cooking time? You recommend nothing bigger than 15# at 3 1/2 min per pund

2011 November 14
Steve permalink

Quick question: Do you ever cover the pot (i.e., put the lid on) while the turkey is cooking?

2011 November 15
Darrin permalink

Very interesting read. over the last 10 years we have done around 18-24 birds a year, many times as many as 3 at a time. Thaw rinse inject rub and set in a cooler to warm and dry overnight. Run the temp to 400, cut the fire drop the bird , relight and grap a brew. 3 min a lb @ 350 and check the bird temp.For multi birds pull the first, run your oil temp back up to 400 and drop the next bird…Almost always cook something after,Taters,sweet taters, also great is deep fried corn on the cob.Want a treat? inject cornish game hens and drop in at 350 till they float. As for a large bird,we have cooked one 22 lb , and it turned out fine but HIGHLY recommend 2 smaller birds. For Travelers, boil some water, pour in a cooler, drain before placing the bird in.with the cooler heated up, the turkey wrapped in a foil pan with a towel on top will stay warm for HOURS. We use soy cooking oil now over peanut oil, several friends always had to pass due to allergies and looked at us drooling as we ate, but then again there was more for us!!!! Wild turkey, the bird not the drink can be done but due to leaner meat injecting is a must and just a few minutes to long can toughen it up. and if the bird was skinned and not plucked DONT deepfry.

2011 November 15
Mike permalink

I have fried a few turkeys before, being from the south it’s almost a requirement 😉 I am working overseas right now and I have the fryer, injector and everything I need to fry one for Thanksgiving, EXCEPT the peanut oil. I simply can’t find it over here. I know peanut oil is the best and I have always used it but since I can’t get it here what would be my best option for another oil. I can get corn oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil and olive oil very easily. Which one of these would be the closest to using peanut oil?

2011 November 15

@David: The chart is a general guide. Just start checking the internal temperature at about 1 hour. You’re looking for 160F, then remove it from the oil and let it carry-over cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

@Steve: Never cover the pot when cooking. Very dangerous. The steam has to go somewhere. I cover the pot after everything is off for overnight storage while the gunk settles before I filter it.

@Mike: Peanut oil is used for deep-frying because of it’s high smoke point and tolerance for many fry-cycles. Corn or sunflower oil will work as an alternative. I have added corn oil when I didn’t have enough peanut oil. I’ve never really used olive oil in vat-size quantities, it has a low smoke point, and it’s pricier.

2011 November 16

[…] do some research on what you need to get the job done and buy your fry rigs. Consider our excellent Deep Fried Turkey Guide as the easiest way to learn how if you are thinking of fowl-frying… don’t let the […]

2011 November 16
Chris permalink

Has anyone ever tried infusing the oil with sage? What are the thoughts?

2011 November 17
Sam permalink

Does anyone cut off legs/thighs and wings from bird and cook separately? More and more “professional” recipes I read advocate the cutting up of the bird beforehand so everything gets done evenly. I’ve done it this way in the oven. Anyone do it in the fryer?

And…to brine or not to brine, that is the question…

2011 November 18
Leslie permalink

Brians Belly Love your site! We have been doing turkeys for about 10 years now. Last year we had trouble with the thermometer. Any ideas how to know for sure it is working correctly? Also, can I do at the same time some of your onion rings with the hush puppies and turkey? Thanks, can’t wait til turkey day.

2011 November 18

@Leslie: Uggh, I have the same kind of history with thermometers. One year I had one that after LOTS of confusion I realized the face was spinning on the probe and I could essentially “set” the temperature like a clock! So now I am never with just one thermometer.

Most oil/candy thermometers don’t go down to 32F so you can’t check freezing water, but you can test a thermometer with boiling water (it will read 212F at sea level) and you can check multiple thermometers against each other at any temp. I have three and the two closest matching ones win.

Also, there is no reason you can’t throw a few hush puppies in at the same time for snacking, they are small. But anything larger or beer battered will be obtrusive and messy.

2011 November 18
Kandi permalink

GREAT article! We will be frying our first turkey this Thanksgiving and as your article has helped with most details I do have a few questions…. Is canola oil ok? Will injecting it cause splatting in fryer? whats the best injected marinate homemade or store bought? Is it really this simple lol? Thanks so much :)

2011 November 18
Quentin permalink

David, I read in a post above that a gentleman suggested wrapping the appendages to the turkey to keep them close and preventing them from burning. Any thoughts on that?

2011 November 19
Betsy permalink

I used your guide in Sept for Deep Frying a Turkey in September and it was fantastic. I must be crazy, as I am thinking about doing something a little different from before for Thanksgiving. What I am wondering about is the old argument brining and/or injecting. I injected the Sept Turkey but am wondering about brining and injecting or just injecting.

Please advise your thoughts as I know you will not steer me wrong.

2011 November 20
John permalink

I just deep fried my first turkey. The breast meat came out great but the legs and wings were too well done. I had an 18 lb turkey that I cooked for 54 minutes. Am I doing something wrong?

2011 November 21

Just to address a few questions that are popping up…

Brining vs. injecting: I have never brined and then fried simply because I enjoy the tasty, buttery spices and the cajun dry rub. I feel that brining and roasting go very well together because typically the extra water that the turkey absorbs from the brine is better utilized for roasting where the extra fluids are needed for the long haul roast.

Overcooked legs & wings: this is a problem once the bird gets too big. The breast needs longer to cook. Someone mentioned wrapping the bird in wire to keep the appendages tight to the body; I have never tried this but it may be worth a shot. In the past, I have removed the legs and wings prior to frying and then cook them for less time. This makes the turkey look less like a turkey, but unless you are doing a photo shoot it makes little difference.

I have never participated in a Thanksgiving dinner like you see in the movies where someone wearing a fancy cardigan sweater and holding a carving knife and fork makes a speech before cutting everyone their favorite part from the turkey that is perched in the middle of the table on a piece of family heirloom china. I cut the whole messy, drippy thing up at a good height counter on a big cutting board in the kitchen and transfer to a serving dish. Then I don my cardigan.

2011 November 21
Rick permalink

I fried my first turkey yesterday following most of your advice. It went outstanding. The best piece of advice I got was to turn off the burner. I also lowered the turkey in the oil using a rope so I was more than 5 feet away when it went in.

Here’s my question: That was a test run for Thursday. The people that ate it yesterday said it was the best turkey they’ve ever had. I only used one thermometer. At 350 degrees, I lowered the bird in. The temp dropped, I turned the flame up and it got back to 350. I turned it down a little, but it kept going up. I kept turning it down. Did this dance for 30 minutes. For that 30 minutes, it remained around 375 degrees. A lot of the rub material floated on top and burned up to a black crisp. The skin on the bird was darker than in the Norman Rockwell paintings, but I am told it was good. The peanut oil is very dark, almost black. I am assuming that what the thermometer told me is accurate and that it never exceeded 375. I am hoping that the dark color is due to burnt rub ingredients and that I haven’t ruined the oil. I want to use it again on Thursday. Do you think I ruined it? How can I tell? My bird was great. Any help from anyone on this subject would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

2011 November 21
Daniel permalink

How much Tony’s seasoning do you rub on? I know that stuff can be strong if you put too much. Any ideas about how much you rub on?

2011 November 21

@Rick: I doubt you ruined the oil, the smoke point for peanut oil is rather high at 450F. The dark color is definitely from the rub, I have had turkey’s look really dark from the rub also… which brings me to…

@Daniel: I never really thought about that one since I use a shaker, but if I had to guestimate… probably about 2-3 oz. for a 15 pounder. I’ll try to measure Wednesday when I’m prepping, I can’t seem to find a pic of a well-seasoned bird.

2011 November 21
Val permalink

After you lower the turkey and bring the oil temperature up to 350 degrees. When does the timing start? When the bird is first in the oil or after the turkey is in the oil AND the oil temperature returns to 350 degrees.

2011 November 22
Tracy permalink

When frying a turkey do I have to remove the buck shot?

2011 November 22
Matt Lanphear permalink

Our Turkey Fryer came with a perforated basket. My question is…. Does this basket need to be used while deep frying a turkey?

2011 November 22

@Val: start the clock from when the turkey goes in because depending on how good your burner is it may take many minutes to get back up to temperature. You can also start by getting the oil hotter than 350F to compensate.

@Matt: If the fryer also came with a turkey stand and hook, then just use the stand. If it only came with the basket, then use the basket… Otherwise the basket is typically used for other smaller items, like hush puppies, onion rings and (gasp) vegetables.

@Tracy: Definitely not! Try to make a game of it with the family at dinner… see who can find the most buck shot in their food!

2011 November 22
Bill permalink

I read this EVERY year before I get ready to fry my turkey. I’ve been frying turkeys for 7 years, and it is the best I have seen. There may be some better flavors and things you can add, but for the overall process, and safety concerns it is perfect. I burned my foot with grease frying chicken (before I read this article) and had to have a skin graft. Outdoor frying is not to be taken lightly, and this article does it justice (with a little humor).

It is the best way to cook a turkey – no doubt – just be careful everybody.

Happy Thanksgiving!

2011 November 22
David Burrill permalink

Do you think you could replace oysters in place of sausage for your stuffing balls?

2011 November 22
Jason permalink

Question concerning marinade… When I deep fried a couple years ago, the turkey turned out great, but I was not very successful with injecting the creole butter marinade because it kept clogging the needle. This year, I was thinking about using extra virgin olive oil in place of butter. Is e.v. olive oil safe as part of the marinade or will it deteriorate during the frying process because of the high temperature? If it’s not safe, is there a different oil I can use as a flavorful butter substitute in the marinade that is safe as the turkey is deep fried?

Thanks in advance!

2011 November 23
Juan permalink

Is a 20 pound turkey too big to fry? If it is can it be cut in half to fry?

2011 November 23
Eric permalink

How much propane do you need for 1 hour of cooking? Is one full tank enough?

2011 November 23

@Jason: I would try a better injector rather than pump the bird full of oil.

@Juan: You will probably need at least a 30QT pot. I wouldn’t cut the bird in half, I’d remove the legs and wings.

@Eric: The short answer is about the same amount it takes to run your grill for an hour, but I did some math on this a few years back in this comment above.

2011 November 23
Jason permalink

“I would try a better injector rather than pump the bird full of oil.”

Next year I’ll plan it better and get a better injector, but it looks like this year I’ll have to work with what I got (i.e. typical injectors sold by Target, walmart, etc…)

I’ll probably use creole seasoning with a turkey stock base on one side and extra virgin olive oil base on the other side. It appears the smoking and boiling points of extra virgin olive oil are 374F and 572F, respectively. I’ll try to keep the heat in the 350F range, so it should be ok. I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

BTW, this is the bird I’m experimenting on. The 2nd turkey I’m frying will use an off the shelf commercial marinade.

2011 November 23
Matt permalink

I’ve done a few birds but its been a few years. I always placed the birds on the hook/rack with the legs down and neck up. It would seem like it would fill with oil and take a minute(seconds?) to drain when removing and I’d rather not hang out over the pot of hot oil longer than needed. Is there a reason to have the legs up?

2011 November 23

[…] Matt: I've done a few birds but its been a few years. I always placed the birds on the hook/rack with the… From: Deep Fried Turkey (Still the best guide on the net!) READ MORE » […]

2011 November 23
Derek Goodson permalink

I noticed in earlier post that you said try to buy turkeys witout popup timers. I had a 13.5 bird gived to me and was going to fry it it. It has a popup timer in it. Whats the best way to get this stupid thing out without damaging the bird too much. Thanking you in advance. Derek

2011 November 23
D Roberts permalink

David, this is an excellent resource – I plan to fry my first turkey tomorrow!

2011 November 24

[…] always looking to supplement our deep fried Thanksgiving turkey with the proper Cajun accoutrement… whether it’s an appetizer or side dish. I’ve […]

2011 November 24

i’ve done a lot of reading here , lots of good tips but nobody mentioned fire extinguishers , i always keep 2 near by

2011 December 17
Agiyo permalink

I see a number of folks suggesting that the amount of oil required should be measured by covering the turkey with water. That adds danger to the crucial moment when the turkey is lowered into the hot oil, because a lot of the frothing and potential boiling over is due to hot oil coming into contact with the water left on, and inside, the turkey.
Instead, I suggest putting the bird in the pot and just covering it with oil before the heat is turned on. Your correct amount is automatically measured. Then, return the turkey to the fridge, or to preparation, while bringing the oil up to temperature. Oil-coated turkeys cause a LOT less commotion as they’re lowered into the pot than water-covered ones (even those that have been patted “dry”) do. But then, I’m the CEO and crash test dummy at the Institute of Empirical Blunders! Be safe, folks.

2011 December 25
Les permalink

Thank you very much for posting all this useful information. Is the weight shown on the cooking time chart for the frozen turkey out of the wrapping (including the neck and giblets)? Or is it the weight of the bird ready to fry?

2011 December 26
Brian permalink

Thanks for the guidance over the last two years. I have officially gotten out of the kitchen for all holidays and am responsible for the Turkey! Feeling confident after such success I wanted to know if there was any guidance on using my turkey fryer to deep fry pork chops? We have pork chops as part of our New Years feast and i wanted to try and deep fry them this year. Anyone have any ideas, tips or recipies?


2012 January 1
Karl permalink

What kind of home remedy can I use to filter my oil? I just did some chicken for the first time last night. I don’t have a pump. I thought I could just pour this through a coffee filter back into the bottle. It’s taking forever and the particles clog up the bottom of the filter. Help/Suggestions please.

2012 January 2

@Brian: How did those deep fried pork chops turn out?

@Karl: After all the junk settles in the oil, maybe try pouring through a colander? I often use a stainless funnel that has a little perforated insert.

2012 January 2
Agiyo permalink

To strain the oil, I make large-capacity funnels by cutting the tops from 2-liter soft drink bottles, then lay a couple layers of cheese cloth inside, as a filter. Cutting a couple of inches below the tapered top of the bottle lets you pour more into the funnel at one time, so the weight of the oil on top helps force liquid through the filter. You may need to change or clean the filter from time to time, if it becomes clogged, and they aren’t very stable, so you may have to hold it to prevent spilling.

2012 January 2
Brian permalink

David, Thanks for asking. They turned out so good my Father & I considered eating them ourselves and not bringing them into the house! We cooked 3/4″ pork chops (self cut from a pork loin) 16 of them for 9 minutes at 350 degrees. They were doubled breaded with 4C Seasoned breadcrumbs. We placed them all into the basket standing on their sides then slowly lowered into the fryer. I think we might try to place the basket in, then each chop into the hot oil next time. Like floating them? When they came out the internal temperature was well over 200 but we waited a few seconds for the effect of the oil to stop and the temp held at 160 to 165 with a meat thermometer. Enjoy trying it.

Question: If you strain the oil like you’ve advised how long can you store it and how many times can you reuse it?

2012 January 2
Karl permalink


Funny you mentioned the 2 liter bottle. That’s exactly what I said to my wife. For this time around I just kept pouring little by little, over the course of all day yesterday, through a large funnel with a paper towel in it. To speed things up a little, I used a sewing needle and poked a hole in the bottom of the towel to help it drain through. It did the trick and filtered out ALL of the visible particulate. I will need to pick up some cheese cloth for next time however.

2012 February 27

Nice information on Deep fried turkeys.The popularity of deep fried turkey is growing more and more each year.

2012 May 14
Josh Litwiller permalink

This really is the best guide on the net, and has been the reason for our success with about 5 birds. Here’s my last experience: We inadvertently bought a turkey breast with the backbone and rib cage attached, instead of a boneless breast. We decided to fry it. This bird had the drumsticks and thighs removed. I used butcher’s twine to tie the bird to the stand, since it did not have a closed cavity like a whole bird. It weighed 8 pounds, and took close to 40 minutes to fry. (NOTE: if you’re frying a partial bird like I did, figure approximately 5 minutes per pound, and be sure to check temps in the center of the thickest part of the meat. Pushing the temp probe all the way to the backbone will give you a inaccurately high temp. Probe a few places, and look for the lowest temp.) We put the fried bird in an ice chest full of bagged ice to quickly chill it, and put it in the fridge overnight. We took the meat off the bone Sunday morning, and put it in a crockpot on the ‘keep warm’ setting, and covered the meat in a turkey gravy with about a half cup of marinade that was left over from injecting added to the gravy. Best Sunday dinner ever. My sincere thanks to the author, other commentators, my wife, and my restaurant-owning brother for all the much-needed advice.

2012 October 19
Gary Slavin permalink

I’ve deep fried a number of turkeys the only one that came out bad was the first one. It’s really pretty fool proof almost like using a smoker. I’ve done up to twenty-two pound birds and never really had any problems except lifting them out. One year I did three in a row, and was amazed that I didn’t burn myself taking one off and putting the other one on and so forth. Wash the bird well, Inject, I usually just use butter, dry the outside of the bird, I coat the outside with butter. Then coat the outside with Santa Maria style seasoning. I usually start heating the oil about an half hour before I’ll put the bird in. I heat the oil to 350-375 max. The temp. will go down as you slowly lower the bird in, sometimes I’ll screw with the temp. but unless it drops drastically I wouldn’t screw with it because if you get the oil too hot, your in trouble. You might just have to cook the bird longer. I cook it at three and a half minutes per pound. When I take the bird out I check the internal temp if it’s 160-180 you okay. I let it rest for at least a half an hour before I start carving. If you cut in to it too quickly you’ll lose a lot of the moisture out of the bird. I hope this helps anyone with any questions.

2012 November 1

[…] 3. Herb Roasted Turkey 4. Pecan Pie 5. Pumpkin Dump Cake 6. Ham With Orange Apricot Glaze 7. Deep Fried Turkey 8. Cranberry Salad 9. Sweet Potato Delight 10. White Cheddar and Garlic Mashed Potatoes […]

2012 November 10
Jeff permalink

To drain peanut oil, I bought 3 large funnels, cut the spout off of two of them, and then I put the funnel with the spout in the top of the jug, put a paint strainer in the funnel, lay a funnell without a spout on top of the filter, add another paint strainer, and then the last funnel without a spout and pour through those. Paint strainers can be found at most hardware stores.

2012 November 11

Thanks for the instructions. Very well thought out and presented. I fried my first turkey last night as a test run before Thanksgiving and it came out great. However, there was a weird occurrence which someone else mentioned in the comments: I followed the instructions exactly and after the turkey was in the oil, the temp dropped significantly (250-275 IIRC) and took a while to get back up to 350 – I mean, it took 20 minutes probably. Despite that, cooking time according to the chart was dead on and the turkey was cooked perfectly. I am using a Bayou Classic 32 qt stainless steel turkey fryer kit with a Bayou Classic SQ14 patio stove which has a pretty substantial burner ( After reading up a bit more this morning it appears that I didn’t turn up the flame high enough. It looked pretty solid but apparently I need to put it on “full blast” so it is really loud (like a jet engine as another commenter noted).

Now I am going to try and get the oil back into the jug – that will be a logistical chore as the full pot is pretty heavy (needed 4.5 gal oil in that big pot) – will probably scoop it out with a big pitcher until the weight is manageable.

My question is this: can you confirm when the flame is hottest so that I can adjust the air intake appropriately? I assume the biggest solid blue flame with no orange is best. For Thanksgiving, I will open the regulator all the way and get the biggest flame I can. I also will try starting with a slightly higher temp (375) before dropping the bird in. Thanks!

2012 November 12
Weston permalink

I have fried about 20 turkeys over the last 10 years or so. I found that I like to take a stick of butter, real butter not the fake stuff, and rub it all over the turkey until the entire stick is gone. Then apply Tony C’s very liberally as the excess will all come off during cooking. This makes for the most flavorful and crispiest skin I have ever had.

2012 November 15

[…] Deep-frying a turkey is a popular and highly hazardous undertaking. A solid source for information comes from the blog Brian’s Belly. I advise anyone considering this method to watch this informative video from Underwriter’s […]

2012 November 15
StillTrying permalink

I deep fried 2 turkeys recently and used 3 different thermometers. I have the Bayou Classic setup with a 30qt pot and fried 2 12 pounds turkeys. The first time, I went with the temp at 375 and then it dropped to 325-350. After 30 min (below time), I took the bird out and it was at an internal temp of 180! The skin was pretty dark (no rub used) and the meat ended up being chewy. Now, take 2. I used the 2 good thermometers (matched temps) and went up to 350 and dropped the turkey in. (Turkeys were brined and let dry at room temp for several hours before frying.) The temp dropped to 325 and then I brought it back to a constant 340. After 21 minutes, I removed the turkey and the legs were already 160. The breast was anywhere from 145 to 165, so I left it in another 7 minutes and then the whole breast was at least 160 everywhere (but of course this means that the other pieces must have been overdone). Anyways, the 7 minutes more was probably too much since the turkey was again tough. Should I only cook for 23 minutes? That is almost 10 minutes earlier. What could be going on? Could it be related to brining?
Maybe I should do the breast and legs separately? How much time for breast vs. legs?
Thanks in advance for your help!

2012 November 15
StillTrying permalink

I forgot, my positioned my turkey on the provided “pole” breast side down with legs up. should I try the strainer pot instead?

Both times I used new peanut oil (but I saved the oil the second time because practicing was getting expensive).

2012 November 16
Brian Christopher permalink

My turkeys have turned out wonderful based on your recommendations. I did undercook a chicken but was told that a chicken takes 6-7 min per lb vs a turkey @ 3.5 min. The next time I did 6.5 min and it turned out great. Any idea why? Body cavity type?

2012 November 20
Brian permalink

I bought my deep fryer not long ago, plan to deep fry my 1st turkey. I’ve already fried two chickens, used them as test pieces, they came out great. Now unfortunately the turkey I have, has a pop up timer in it. I understand the timer has to come out. I also understand once that timer is in there, it pierces the skin, is there anyway I could “plug” the hole?

2012 November 21
Hans permalink

HELP -Everyone’s asking about gravy; any suggestions?

2012 November 21
Hans permalink

I thought I’d start w/ the giblets and wing it from there

2012 November 21

@Brian Don’t worry about the pierced skin, in the end it’s not much larger than an injector hole.

@Hans Since there are no drippings, there really is nothing you can use to make “turkey” gravy. I’ve always used canned on the years where we only fry.

@StillTrying A curious case indeed. I have never fried a brined turkey… and I believe you are on to the problem. Perhaps all the extra water the meat is holding is causing the turkey to steam and cook way too fast?

2012 November 21

So I have been marinating my turkey for the past couple of days and the skin is drying out in the fridge. Is this anything to worry about?

Also, as I mentioned in my post above from the trial run, it took a while for the oil temp to come back up when I put the bird in. I assume I just didn’t have the flame high enough – how long should it take for the oil to recover? Full details in my post above – I won’t repeat them for the sake of space.


2012 November 21

@Bags/David I’m guessing you have your turkey in a pan in the fridge covered in foil? I would think a sealed container (like a bag) would keep it moister. That said, when you put the bird in the fryer you want it to be a dry as possible. Dripping, watery marinate and hot oil will not mix very well. I put the bird on the stand a good 30 minutes before it goes in the oil so any liquids run off.

Speaking of hot oil… there are way many variations that change how long it would take you to get back up to temperature after you pot the bird (outside air temp & BTUs to name two) but it usually takes me about 10 mins or less to recover. Despite what we learned in science class, I think the color of the flame has more to do with being a clean flame or an oxygenated flame than purely “how hot it is” (someone correct me please) but I think it’s safe to say the louder or higher it is, the hotter.

And I can’t say this enough… the best tip ever is to TURN OFF THE FLAME for the minute or so that you are potting the bird. It may save your hairy arm or house from catching fire.

2012 November 21

Thanks, David. I do have it exactly as described – in a pan with foil. Next time I will use a bag – good idea!

When I turn the flame back on after lowering the bird into the oil, I will just turn it up full blast – should have plenty of BTU to get it back up quickly (I’m in S Florida so air temp is not an issue).

Happy (and safe) Thanksgiving everyone!

2012 November 21
Rick permalink

For gravy, I’m stopping at Ruth’s Chris and getting a couple of pints to-go on the way home from picking some people up at the airport. I know, it’s cheating. 😉

2012 November 21
Jeff permalink

Gravy is still easy. A day or two before, take the neck and giblets and brown in a large sauce pan with some salt and pepper. Then add a quartered onion, 2-3 celery stalks and a couple of carrots chopped up, cover with water and simmer for an hour. Strain the broth into a bowl, chop up the giblets, shred the meat from the neck, add back to the broth and put in the fridge. After the turkey is done frying and it’s setting, warm up the broth + meat and make a roux to thicken it up. Season and your done!

2012 November 21
Joe Cantrell permalink

Jeff is right on, the only difference in my gravy is that I use grocery store chicken broth instead of water. Probably not necessary, but it adds a little something with minimum effort.

2012 November 21
Debbie permalink

I am a turkey frying virgin but I have read all the instructions and reviews and am hopeful that we will be successful, I do have one question, I have read in one comment to bring the turkey to room temperature, Is this the proper way? And if so about how long can it sit out before bacteria and what not sit’s in? We have it completely thawed, and just injected it and rubbed it down, I was thinking about sitting it up on the stand in a pan tomorrow about an hour before dropping it in the fryer, I figure that will also allow any water to drip out. would this be safe?

2012 November 21
Jeff permalink

Letting the bird sit out for an hour or more to come up to room temperature and dry out is not going to be a problem. Anyplace on the bird where bacteria might want to land and grow on will be exposed to 350 degree oil (which is a darned good anti-bacterial); and any place the oil can’t get to, neither can the bacteria (at least not in an hour or so). Have fun and enjoy your first fried bird!

2012 November 22
shane permalink

how many mins per pound for a turkey breast? some say 3 mins per pound + 5 and others say 7-8 mins per pound. which one is correct?

2012 November 22
Weston Benton permalink

A good general rule is 3 1/2 min per pound, but alwayse check with a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast. You are looking for 160. Hope this helps. Happy Turkey Day

2012 November 22
Brian permalink

What I used: 1 Tablespoon Onion Flakes, 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder, 2 Teaspoons Ground Thyme, 2 Teaspoons Sugar, 2 Teaspoons Dried Chives, 2 Teaspoons Salt, 1 Teaspoon Ground Allspice, 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper, 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg and a 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon. (Jerk Rub)

I took a few Tablespoons of the rub and added Olive Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, a few drops of Liquid Smoke, a few drops of Worcestershire Sauce, whisked it together and injected it into the legs, thighs, meatiest part of the wings, and several places in the breasts.

I have a picture of it all rubbed up, before being tightly wrapps with plastic wrap and foil. Will also take one once it’s finished.

2012 November 22
Erik permalink

dude! recycling the oil is fine, but at least one commenter said to dump it along a fence…! no way man. find your local “greaser,” the guys and gals ( who run their diesels on used oil. give it to them, then drive behind and savor the high-mileage turkey aroma.

2012 November 22
Tim permalink

What should you do if you find out you don’t have enough oil and 1″ to 1.5 of the turkey is still showing? Don’t have any more peanut oil. Add veggie oil? Add some food product for extra displacement?

2012 November 22

@Tim I have found that a little bit above the oil is not so bad… the bubbling and heat take care of the leg tips. That said, you can add a little vegetable oil if it’s REALLY low.


2012 November 22
kevin permalink

ive been doing deep fried turkeys over ten years now the best ideas ive come up with are use a digital (long probe) thermometer put it into the center of the breast put the turkey on the stand breast up heat oil to 350 shut off flame slowly dunk turkey let oil temp drop to 300 and then relight flame retain 300 temp (this temp keeps skin golden when done) when digital thermometer alarm goes off at 160 degrees shut off flame and pull out the turkey and (yes you leave the thermometer probe in the turkey the whole time its cooking) this way you dont have to worry about how long the tukey takes to cook its perfect when the alarm goes off when the oil cools put it back into the original container and put it into your chest freezer you can use it for years this way also i dont use any spices or injections this just boogers up the oil add some spice just after the turkey is pulled from the oil

2012 November 22
Jay permalink

Not a single person in all these website recipes, blogs and whatnot ever gives any information about how long it takes for the oil to reach 350 after the big temp drop from putting the bird into the oil. That means the cooking time is a lot longer than the 45 min everyone seems to throw around. People who have never done this before have no idea what to do when the bird sits in the hot oil for 40 min before it reaches 350 again. Only then does the 45 min begins. Why doesn’t anyone give true cooking times?

2012 November 22
kevin permalink

thats why i use a digital thermometer in the breast while cooking there is absolutly no guess work on cooking times or worry about oil temps when the alarm goes off your turkey is perfect

2012 November 22
The Chef permalink

Jay, Ummm…. David said about 10 minutes and someone else said about 20 minutes. Why don’t you take that thermometer out of your asshole, stick it in your turkey and check for 160 degrees like this recipe says? Oh, and no one is throwing around 45minutes… is your turkey 10 pounds or 20 lbs, because it matters.

If you only cook based on true cooking times you read online, try this: 10 minutes. Enjoy your salmonella.

2012 November 23
Rick permalink

I get the temp to 350, drop the bird in, count 3.5 minutes times the weight of the bird, pull it out and check the temp. I did three birds today. The first one didn’t make it quite back to 350. But after 52 minutes (3.5 minutes X 15 lbs) I checked the temp and it was 160. DONE. Next bird got back to 350 after about 20 minutes but you know what? I didn’t really care. After the 3.5 X weight time, I checked the internal temp and voila! 160. DONE. Third bird? Same. You want rocket science? Contact JPL. You want to fry a turkey? There is more than enough info on this site.

2012 November 23
Steve permalink

I have read several cases where the turkeys came out black. I have fried before and this time it came out black. The meat was perfect but why the black skin? I did put a little marinade on the outside this time to help the rub stick. Kept the temp at 350. 13lb turkey for 50 min. I pulled it out after about 20 and it was already black. Had to throw the oil away also! Thoughts?

2012 November 25
kevin permalink

seems to me all you guys are not the brightest bulbs on the tree you all cant even figure out how to deep fry a turkey, how in the heck do survive in this world how do you all make a living who would hire people like you

2012 November 25
Rick permalink

Says the guy ^^^^^^ that can’t form a grammatically correct sentence.

2012 November 29
Sarah Mayes permalink

I find instead of using water to get depth measurement for oil…I use oil its self! The turkey is very hard to dry after it has been in water.. all the nooks and crannies that it gets into tends to make for an unsure initial lowering into the hot oil

2012 December 9
David permalink

just cooked my first turkey. Loved it and will do it again for sure. Have you tried doing a duck? I have one in the freezer I am wanting to cook in a couple weeks. I think it would be good but would love any input.

2012 December 22
Zack Bourque permalink

Not the healthiest, but my family has always used hog lard to fry our turkeys.
The flavor it gives the bird is just amazing. It’s cheaper than peanut oil too

2012 December 23
Poncho permalink

For those wanting to do a larger bird (16+ lbs), I have deep fried many large turkeys. What I have found is to cut the turkey in half cooking the breast first and doing the legs, thighs and back (turkey eyes) secondly. Remeber to keep the back half of the turkey intact. Also when you cut it try ro keep the skin intact on the breast.

Happy frying

2012 December 26
Jason permalink

This was by far the most helpful and informative guide of all time! I had never done this solo before for my family and friends, and man was it awesome! Thanks so much! The turkey had a nice crispy outside and super moist on the inside! Everyone raved about it the whole night! Thanks again. Jason

2013 January 1
Mike permalink

Your guide could direct anyone to a subberbly fried turkey….my first and awesome Chrsitmas Day bird….Deep Fried Tony Chaeres Style

2013 October 28

Does it matter if the turkey goes in breast first or leg first? It seems I would rather put it in breast first as the larger opening for the oil to drain out is from the leg area.

2013 November 18

[…] fires that erupted from this procedure because someone didn’t carefully read the instructions. Deep Fried Turkey Recipe. Great detailed walk […]

2013 November 18
David permalink

I’m frying two turkeys, but only have one pot, and limited oven space. Do you have any ideas on the best way to proceed? I’m thinking about frying one up a little undercooked and tightly wrapping it in foil for the 40 minutes that the next one is frying. Thoughts?

2013 November 18

@David: You can definitely cook it to 160ºF and wrap it. It will carry-over cook up to 170ºF while it’s sitting wrapped. Trust me, it will not get cold in the proper circumstances… like don’t leave it outside on a cold day, maybe even put it covered in a big broiling pan. If you really need the meat from two bird on the table at once, get a carving helper. Carving always takes way longer than you think.

2013 November 18
Tim permalink

One slight problem with doing two, one after another, be careful with losing the crispy skin on the first bird. If you wrap it or put in a place with high humidity, you may run the risk of losing some if the crispy skin. Maybe put the first in an oven, uncovered, at 170?!!

2013 November 19
Tim permalink

Does anyone have any recommendations for brand/breed of turkey that would be best for deep fried Turkey? I don’t want to shell out a ton of money for a heritage bird if a butterball will be just the same. Anyone have experience with different birds?

2013 November 19
Rick permalink

Doesn’t matter, Tim. I go inexpensive and people swear it’s the best turkey they’ve ever had. I’ve brined, I’ve not brined, I’ve rubbed, I’ve not rubbed. Cheap turkey with nothing fancy done to it is excellent.

2013 November 20
BooneDawg permalink

Char Broil Big Easy OILLESS 10 times better than oil fryer at a fraction of the cost, a million times SAFER…FLAVOR AS GOOD OR BETTER!

2013 November 20
Rick permalink

That’s your opinion, BooneDawg. I did the Charbroil Oilless. My opinion is that they suck. The first one I had was taken back to Costco. The second one was used a couple of times and went in the trash. Too uncontrollable/unreliable. Sure, it is way safer. And riding a bike is safer than riding a motorcycle. Doesn’t make it better. If you follow the safety tips found here, frying in oil is safe enough, tastier, more reliable, faster, and more fun. Plus you can fry appetizers and things while cooking the turkey.

2013 November 21
chili b. permalink

oil heat-this really makes or breaks how the bird turns out.
I suggest heating the oil to 365. the oil will drop about 15 degrees (about). this will put u around the 350 degrees u need to be at. for fellow fryers that will be frying in cold climates this eliminates putting the bird in and seeing your temp drop to 330 and then struggle to get your temp back up.
just my 2 cents

2013 November 24


This is year 3 for me deep drying. I’ve always used peanut oil but am starting to see cottonseed oil more places. Has anyone used it? Good? Bad? Doesn’t matter?

2013 November 24
Ryan Reed permalink

I plan on using the seasoning methods mentioned in your guide. I was just wondering about the marinade. I have found the Tony Chachere’s, but I was wondering if the flavor you mentioned is available (Garlic and Butter), or if it was meant to be Cajun style garlic and herbs or butter. I just don’t want to miss out if it is available. Awesome guide to frying a turkey. Thanks.

2013 November 25

[…] Learn the tricks to a perfect fried turkey at Brian’s Belly. […]

2013 November 26
Alan Young permalink

This will be my second attempt. First was excellent but always looking to improve (character flaw, when it ain’t broke don’t fix it).

Anyway, Can I inject the marinade to Tuesday night for a Tursday noon cook, or is that too l;ong?

2013 November 26
Alan Young permalink

Follow-up question.

I love to brione smoked turkey. Can I brine AND inject for a fried bird?

2013 November 26
Jeff H permalink

Great article! I used this to fry my first turkey last year and it was a huge hit! Thanks Brian’s Belly! I thought I might point out that when you talk about the trick to determine your oil level, you might say to place the bird on the turkey stand and then lower it into the pot and fill it with water. I made the mistake of not using the stand so my oil level was a little low. Thanks again!

2013 November 26

@chili b: Unofficially, I do this too.

@Ryan: There are a few flavors that Tony Chachere’s has. I have found to enjoy the one called “Creole Style Butter.”

@Alan: I guess I see no reason you couldn’t inject it tonight (Tues) for an early fry on Thursday. In fact, someone above wrote: “I inject them three times over the course of five days and soak the turkeys in a ice water salt brine during this time and then rub them down with tonys cajun seasoning.”

That said, if you search this page for the word “brine” you’ll see a few thoughts for and against frying a brined turkey.

2013 November 27

This is my first time leaving a comment. I just waned to say I have had this website I my favorites for the past 3 years now and refer to it every time I get ready to deep-fry a turkey. I have turned my family and friends to this way of cooking. This year I am doing it for my platoon (today) before we take off for the weekend. I am sure my soldiers will love every bite as much as I do. Thank you for all the tips, safety and flavor, you have provided me. Keep up the awesome.

2013 November 27
Brian permalink

This is a great and helpful guide, thank you. I have 2 questions – I am frying a turkey for the first time this year and part of the family is skeptical, so I am looking for a rub and marinade that are not of the traditional BBQ variety (chile powder, cayenne, paprika, etc), so I can ease them into this whole thing. Does anyone have a recipe for some sort of lemon/herb type (or any other non-BBQ type) of marinade and/or rub that has worked well?

Also, I have read there is some risk of a reaction to the oil from injection, say in case some of the marinade pools within the bird but can’t be seen. Anyone have thoughts on this?


2013 November 27
Jag permalink

Hi. Great site. I’ll be frying my first turkey tomorrow. Has anybody installed a spigot on there fry pot? I’ve seen some that come with one but was wondering if installing one would be difficult. If not, I have a pump that should suffice.

2013 November 27
valerie permalink

We are deep frying three turkeys this year. Two are brined and one is “self basting.” I have read multiple views regarding the self basting. Brian; do you have any experience with the self basting?

2013 November 27
Brian permalink

Valerie, the turkey I plan to fry is a Butterball, which sounds like it might be self-basting?

2013 November 27
david wheat permalink

you said you had a problem with your thermometer holder as did I. So I found a great solution for this. As being around Christmas my wife already set the tree up . I used a orniment hanger and a chlothes pin and wired it right to my shaft and bingo it was perfect and cheap.

2013 November 27
david wheat permalink

I have been deep frying turkeys and whole chickens for about 25 years now. And in my experience I have found out that putting a rub on the outside of your bird will only scorch your oil so I only inject. And I only use 100%peanut oil

2013 November 28
John permalink

This was a great article. I fry a turkey every year for thanksgiving and many other things throughout the year. I prefer to inject over brining. I’ve done both many times before but as you stated in the article if done properly the turkey is sealed once it hits the oil so you can make it as juicy as you like.

Try half a good beer (no bud light) I like Sam Adams, 1/4 cup of apple juice or cider, a little cider vinegar, table spoon of honey or agave nector, then add what ever seasonings you like. Stir well, then lift the skin and inject away. I’ve also switched out the beer for tequila or orange juice for the apple juice. Everyone who has had it says it’s the best turkey they’ve ever had. Of course that could just be cause it’s the first time they’ve had a fried turkey.l

2013 November 28
Jim permalink

This is a very good guide. Been frying turkeys on & off (whether or not I’m home and not stationed in some God-forsaken far away place) for 10 years. I always check a few web pages for reference, to confirm cooking times (poor memory here), and I gotta say, this info is the best I’ve found. Its really kinda hard to go wrong when deep frying a turkey if you follow the basics. Drying the bird prior to immersion is MOST important, to avoid possible overflow/fire issues. On last years bird, I only went with a dry rub just to try it. It turned out really good, and I was volunteered to always cook the turkey hence forth, but injecting is really the best, coupled with dry rub. I melt a half stick of butter, add that and a few ounces of GOOD beer to the injection mix, along with a some extra garlic powder and black pepper to really get some good flavor inside. Long story short, turkeys suck in the oven, deep fry is really the best

2013 November 28
Javier permalink

I’ve been referencing this website for years! It’s still the best website around! Thanks to the site, I’ve mastered the deep fry turkey! Lets add more deep fry recipes!

2013 November 28
Tam permalink

Went straight to your websight. Can’t imagine another one being ‘better’ or more informative. Great detailed info, thx. Now, going to check out your Fried Cajun !Stuffing balls. I did share on my fb page. Happy Turkey Day

2013 November 28
Tam permalink

If I could ‘Like’ your comment to Ben on 12-3-08, lol, def would. I appreciate ALL the info… AND, I know how to ‘scroll down’.

2013 November 28
Mike permalink

I tried frying a turkey this year and decided to go au-naturale (e.g. no seasonings, rubs, or injections) — my thought is that good meet doesn’t need dressing to be good meat. Wow, the flavor was amazing; I’m going to have to try a injecting sometime.

Thanks for the guide, Brian’s Belly!

2013 November 29
R.K. Miller permalink

In addition to trussing up the legs, it helps to tie up the wings too — after trussing the legs, tie the two wings together so the ends sit above the legs.

2013 November 29
mpr permalink

Question/recommendation? – I found that using a temperature probe inserted into the breast (that remains in the bird during the frying process) is the best method to gauge cooking time; however, I had to replace the probes and monitors and have not found one that I works reliably well outdoors (monitor in the freezing air temperature while the probe is in the bird and the cable partially submerged in the hot oil).

Any recommendations?

Thank you in advance for any insights –

2013 November 29
John permalink


Thanks so much for all the good info. Followed the instructions to a T and everyone raved about the delicious bird I prepared. Cajun stuffing balls we also a hit.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

2014 February 17

[…] fires that erupted from this procedure because someone didn’t carefully read the instructions. Deep Fried Turkey Recipe. Great detailed walk […]

2014 April 18

Its always better to turn off gas burner at the time of lowering the turkey into the hot oil. This definitely removes the risk of igniting the oil while you’re lowering or removing the turkey.

2014 October 10
Dee permalink

I’ve been frying turkeys for the last seven years. My family won’t have it any other way. Last year I made two turkeys (16 lbs each) and I STILL didn’t have many left overs! I love being outside, hovering around my fryer, eagerly anticipating the “Oooh Mom! That smells so good!” or the “Baby! You did it again!” that I hear from my family. I’m still amazed at how few people fry their turkeys. Your guide is super informative. I use Zatarains and Tony’s in many dishes and I can’t believe I’ve never tried it on my turkey! I usually use McCormick’s Grill Mates Mesquite Rub and the Tony’s Cajun injector from Wal-Mart. Thanks for the ideas!

2014 November 10
Tracir permalink

Thank you so much for these great instructions. One question- do you apply the rub right after injecting and let it stay on tr turkey overnight also?


2014 November 12

@Tracir Yes, I put the rub on right after injecting it.

2014 November 25
Tim permalink

I love your guide and have been using it for the past 3 years. Have you ever pre-dipped your turkey in the peanut oil before heating it up (and you can even use this step to measure the exact amount of oil needed)? I’ve read that it will help with the transition of the bird into the hot oil (less splashing).

2014 November 25

@Tim Thanks for continually coming back to this guide! I can’t see pre-dipping in oil being very much help with a transition… it may just make a drippy, oily mess. I haven’t dipped the bird in water to get a line in many many years either (but I think this comes with experience… I know that 3 to 3.5 gals of oil will not overflow in my pot with up to a 15lb turkey; also, oil expands… so you truly won’t get a good level that way). If I prep the bird the night before, let it sit in the fridge, and then put it on the stand while heating the oil, there is virtually no dripping water or leaky marinade to cause trouble.

2014 November 26
Scott permalink

I just found this site and actually as long as I have been frying turkeys, I didn’t really find much that I haven’t been doing already through lots of trial and error.
You have a great site with so much valuable information for a novice.
I’m no pro by any means, but I’ve fried well over 100 turkeys and I’ve got a few things that I have picked up on over the years.

People sometimes complain about the temp dropping so low when they drop the bird. What I do is on the initial heating is to heat until the oil is about 375°-385° then carefully lower the bird. The oil will drop to just about 325° and in no time be right back to 350°.

Another is timing. You buy a 14# turkey do all your prepping and fry it, but it might be a bit dry…not a lot, but just not quite as juicy as it should be. Well, I got to thinking about it and after you remove the neck, the bag of giblets, a bag of liquid gravy they are now putting in many turkeys and a handfull or two of ice chunks and that 14# is now about 12.5# which translates to about another 5 minutes overcooked.
(Bigger turkeys have bigger necks and giblets…so extra weight)

As far as number of turkeys fried in the oil.
With peanut oil, I have done up to 8.
8 was too many. 7 would be the max and that was with some of the turkeys
cooked consecutively. Also, the 1st turkey is good, but nothing special.
2nd is better, but the 3rd, 4th and 5th are the best, then it starts dropping down afterwards. The oil is actually so flavored you could just about get away with not even injecting them.

I always tie the legs together with wire for a couple of reasons.
One, appearance. It just makes a much better presentation.
Secondly, with the legs spread open it (in my opinion)allows for the legs and thighs to get more cooked and somewhat over cooked. Keeping them tight to the body slows it down and seems to work the best.

Oh, one more thing. I have had to cook ahead of time and travel somewhat short distances. I have used styrofoam coolers. They are a commercial type I have access to and are free. I have layed a thick layer of news paper on the bottom to absorb any juices that might leak. I wrapped the turkey in foil, layed a towell over it and closed the cooler.
5 hours later, It was still steaming and almost too hot to touch and carve. It was also overcooking during this time. The skin was steamed and limp as a noodle. Big mistake. Sure it was hot and safe, but just not what I like in a turkey. I think it would be better to let it rest after frying, then carve it and wrap it up for transport. Just my opinion.

Thanks again for having this site and helping to spread the word and positive benefits fo fried turkey.

2014 November 27
Rolando Whiteman permalink

Great site and instruction! I use this site every Thanksgiving!
This will be my third bird. Thanks!

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