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How to Make Deep Fried Turkey

Updated on February 20, 2013

If you have never tried a deep fried turkey, you don't know what you are missing. I'm from the south, where we fry everything -- even pickles. However, even I have to admit that the first time I heard of deep fried turkey, I found it more than a little strange. As soon as I tasted it, though, I knew right away what all the fuss was about!

Deep fried turkey is very different from traditional baked turkey or smoked turkey. When you deep fry a turkey, it cooks much faster than when you use a different cooking technique. While oven-baked turkeys need to cook 12-18 minutes per pound, the cooking time for a deep fried turkey is only four minutes per pound. You can fry a 12 pound in approximately 48 minutes.

People are often concerned about fried turkey being unhealthy. However, the best way to prepare fried turkey is with peanut oil, which is free of both trans fats and cholesterol. Properly prepared fried turkey uses about one percent of the cooking oil.

People who try deep fried turkey for the first time are usually surprised to learn that the meat is not at all greasy. Because the meat cooks so quickly, the oil does not absorb into the meat, so there is no heavy, greasy taste. The result is tender, succulent meat with crispy skin.

How to Cook a Fried Turkey

Some people prefer to prepare fried turkeys outside, and others like to prepare them inside on their stove. My preference is outside frying, because I have one of the large outdoor cookers that works perfectly for boiling crawfish and frying turkey.

When it comes to the details of how to fry a turkey, I trust the folks at LouAna oils (another southern tradition) to provide great advice and the best recipe ideas. See for detailed turkey frying instructions, including a list of safety tips, supply list, preparation suggestions, and detailed, step-by-step cooking directions.

Overview of Turkey Frying Instructions:

  • Prepare the turkey for cooking
  • Heat oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Carefully lower the turkey into the oil, observing all safety precautions
  • Fry for four minutes per pound
  • Remove the turkey from the oil after the appropriate time
  • Verify that it is completely cooked (internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)
  • Cook longer if necessary
  • Wrap in foil and allow to rest for about 20 minutes before carving

When to Serve Fried Turkey

Fried turkey is a delicious treat for any occasion. Many southerners prepare deep friend turkey for tailgating parties, holiday meals (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc.), cookouts, and any other occasion.


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