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How To Determine How Much Oil Is Needed To Deep Fry A Turkey

Updated on December 20, 2013

The amount of oil needed to deep fry a turkey will depend upon both the size of your bird, and the model of your turkey fryer. Please use the simple method below to calculate precisely how much oil you will need.


  1. Put your unwrapped turkey into your empty fryer pot.
  2. Add enough water to the pot to cover the turkey plus one inch.
  3. Now, take the turkey out of the pot, and mark the waterline on the pot. This line represents the amount of oil needed to deep fry your turkey.


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Important Notes:

  • After submerging the turkey by 1 inch of water ( as instructed in step 2 above), be sure that there is at least 5 inches of space between the top of the water and the top of the fryer pot. This space is needed to allow the oil to bubble up while the turkey is cooking, without the risk of overflow. If you do not have 5 inches of space, you will need to fry a smaller bird. Most turkey fryers will accommodate an 8-12 pound turkey. Unless you have an extra large turkey fryer, consider frying two small birds when catering to a large crowd.
  • Never take a shortcut when it comes to safety while deep frying a turkey. Always use your fryer according to the manufacturers instructions, and please take a minute to read these Important Turkey Frying Safety Tips.


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    • Barkley Rosehill profile image

      Barkley Rosehill 4 years ago from Philadelphia

      Yes Rea, I do season the outside of my turkey before frying it. You can use your favorite dry-rub style seasoning.

    • profile image

      REA MOSLEY 4 years ago

      do you season the outside of the turkey

    • Barkley Rosehill profile image

      Barkley Rosehill 7 years ago from Philadelphia

      Duce, while peanut oil is popularly used for turkey fryer recipes, some other less expensive options exist and will not jeopardize safety. Recommended oils for use in a turkey fryer include: safflower oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, peanut oil and soybean oil.

    • Duce Arendell profile image

      Duce Arendell 7 years ago

      Most of the deep-fried turkey recipes I've come across call for peanut oil, and about 3-5 gallons of it. Peanut oil is quite expensive, I was wondering if I could substitute some other cooking oil without jeopardizing safety?