How to deep-fry a turkey

Turkey frying made easy

While most people roast their Thanksgiving turkeys, many would argue that a deep-fried turkey is the way to go. Why? It creates a juicy, perfectly browned turkey that oozes with deliciousness. Plus, it’s a heck of a lot more fun than roasting — and, dare we say, more delicious — if you’re brave enough to try it!

We had Chef Cullen Campbell fry up several turkeys for us at the booth during the 2017 Food and Wine Experience. Here, you can see what a perfectly deep-fried Thanksgiving turkey looks like, and get a step-by-step guide to the whole process from start to delicious finish!

Preparing the Thanskgiving turkey before frying

How to deep-fry a perfect Thanksgiving turkey

Step 1: Get the equipment

To deep-fry a turkey, you first, of course, need a turkey — plus a turkey fryer and lots of oil (peanut oil is usually recommended). Get a list of other items to pick up and some deep-fried turkey preparation tips here.

Turkey deep fryerIngredients and equipment to deep fry a turkey

Step 2: Prep the turkey

Just as when you’re roasting, completely thaw your turkey before frying. You can thaw it in the fridge for a few days, or submerge it in cold water until thawed, changing the water every 30 minutes.

Preparing to season the turkey

Once it’s thawed, pat the turkey dry, and remove the neck and giblets from the cavity. Sprinkle the turkey with your choice of seasonings, such as salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and paprika. Allow the turkey to sit at room temperature for an hour or two before frying.

Making the Cajun spice seasoning mix

Step 3: Preheat the fryer

Slowly pour the oil into the deep fryer, making sure not to fill the oil higher than the maximum fill line. While any vegetable oil will work, peanut oil is best for frying turkeys. Preheat the oil to 375 F.

Tip: Use your deep fryer outside only and on non-combustible surfaces, such as concrete or brick. Never fry over wood or plastic.

Pouring the peanut oil into the fryer

Step 4: Lower the turkey into the oil and fry

Very slowly and carefully, lower the turkey into the preheated oil so it’s submerged. (If parts of the turkey aren’t submerged, that’s OK. It will still cook properly.)

Your turkey will probably need 3 to 4 minutes of frying time per pound, so have your timer handy. Once the dark meat reaches 180 F and the white meat reaches 170 F, your bird is done.

Preparing the raw turkey to be fried

Lowering the turkey into the hot oil

Turkey frying in bubbling oil

Close up of deep fried turkey in hot oil

Step 5: Remove the deep-fried turkey and let cool

As soon as the internal temperatures have been reached, turn the burner off. Carefully raise your turkey out from the oil and place onto paper towels to drain.

Keeping a safe distance from the turkey fryer

Removing turkey from the fryer

Step 6: Let the turkey rest, then carve it

Allow the turkey to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

MORE: Video: How to carve a Thanksgiving turkey

Starting to carve the deep fried Thanksgiving turkey

Step 7: Enjoy!

Savor the moist, succulent meat along with your other favorite Thanksgiving sides.

Tender meat from carved fried turkey

All ready to fry!