How to Deep Fry a Turkey without setting your house on FIRE

how to deep fry a turkey Thanksgiving recipes Sweet Savant America's best food blog Atlanta food blogger

Learn How to Deep Fry a Turkey without setting your house on FIRE. Once you try a deep fried turkey you won’t go back to roasted turkey!

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Learn How to Deep Fry a Turkey, I’ve got the information you need right here but do this at your own risk! Deep frying a turkey can be dangerous but it yields fantastic results. Deep fried turkey cooks so quickly and it’s always moist, perfect for Thanksgiving or any Sunday dinner. Here’s how to do it right in just a few easy steps.

FIRST, buy a deep fryer

I use an outdoor fryer set up like the one pictured below when I deep fry a turkey. These are made of stainless steel or aluminum and should come with a stand and a lifter to raise and lower the turkey into the hot oil. It also should have a thermometer to gauge the oil temperature. A 30-quart frying pot is great for frying a 15-pound bird.

The propane tank needed is sold separately, you can find it at most grocery or home improvement stores.

There are indoor countertop, electric deep fryers available but I haven’t used one yet. Once I try a few I’ll update this post and let you know what I think.

Read and follow all of the instructions that come with your turkey fryer.

Long, heat-resistant silicone oven mitts are also a good idea for safety purposes. I prefer silicone oven mitts because they don’t absorb hot oil. Hot oil can pop and splatter so you really need to be careful when frying a turkey. It doesn’t have to be modeled after Darth Vader’s costume like the one pictured below, but if you want to encourage the nerds in your life to cook this will definitely help.

NEXT, buy a turkey

When shopping for a turkey, look for birds that have not been injected with broth/salt solutions. You don’t want extra salt added to your recipes if you can avoid it, so be sure to read labels carefully. If you buy a frozen turkey let it thaw in your refrigerator for about 4 days or so. Place the turkey in a rimmed pan to catch any leaks.

Not to state the obvious but this needs to be said, be sure your turkey can fit into your fryer. For my 30 quart fryer, I usually buy a 15-pound bird.

Remove the giblets and turkey neck (those will be in a bag inside the turkey, check both the large main cavity as well as the neck cavity) before seasoning or brining the turkey.  Use the giblets for turkey stock to make gravy. The liver isn’t the best for stock but it tasted great seasoned and cooked in butter.

Get a fire extinguisher that works on grease fires

Please don’t ever use water or flour on a grease fire, that will make things mush worse. You should have a fire extinguisher in your house at all times and keep it with you when you head out to fry that turkey. Don’t keep it to close to the fryer, though. If the fryer catches fire you want to be able to get to the fire extinguisher.



I rub my turkey well with a salty combination of spices, fancy chefs call it a dry brine but your grandma called it seasoning. I use 1/4 cup of kosher salt, 2 tablespoons of paprika, 2 tablespoons granulated (or powdered) garlic, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Rub the seasoning all over the skin, inside the cavity and under the skin. I find this gives you the most flavorful turkey. Let the turkey sit in the fridge covered with plastic wrap for 1-2 days, 2 days will give you the best flavor

A brine (or wet brine) is a solution of water, salt, and sometimes sugar, and herbs that you submerge a turkey in. You need a very large container to do this and it has to be refrigerated. It can be challenging to find enough space in your refrigerator for such a large container. Some people will brine the turkey in a brining bag placed in a cooler full of ice. That may be a good solution if you don’t have a gigantic refrigerator. Just be sure to keep it below 37 degrees Fahrenheit at all times and keep the cooler in a cool place. Wet brine the turkey for 1 day for best flavor.

Use 1 cup of kosher salt for every gallon of water, stir well to dissolve. Use enough water to cover the turkey completely. You can add 1 cup of sugar per gallon of water if you like, some bay leaves, peppercorns, and orange slices for more flavor.

I don’t choose to wet brine my turkeys mostly for space reasons and I feel the turkey gets a bit waterlogged. This can prevent the turkey skin from getting as crispy as I like.

Whether you choose a dry brine or a wet brine be sure to dry the turkey well before frying. Use paper towels to dry the turkey skin as well as inside the cavity.

What kind of oil should I use and how much will I need?

I use vegetable/ soybean oil or canola oil to fry turkey because they have neutral flavors. Look for oils with smoke points above 400 degrees. These oils are also among the most affordable.

Many people like to use peanut oil to fry a turkey because of peanut oil’s high smoke point about 450 degrees. I avoid peanut oil for two reasons. So many people have peanut allergies. I would hate to forget to mention to my guests that I used peanut oil, they would have no idea that their food contained a peanut product. Also, peanut oil has a distinctive taste. I find it a fairly strong flavor that I don’t like with turkey.

Serious Eats website has a great article about cooking fats. Check it out here for more information.

To find out how much oil you will need, put the wrapped turkey in the pot of the turkey fryer and fill it with water until the turkey is covered by about half an inch. I do this as soon as I bring the turkey home. Remove the turkey from the water then measure how much water is left. That’s how much oil you will need. Be sure not to fill the fryer with oil past the maximum fill line when you cook the turkey. Also, be sure to dry the pot thoroughly before adding oil for frying.

how to deep fry a turkey Thanksgiving recipes Sweet Savant America's best food blog Atlanta food blogger

How to Deep Fry a Turkey

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator (remove it from the wet brine if using) about 30 minutes before cooking and dry it off. This brings the temperature up and will give you a more evenly cooked bird.

Wear long pants, long sleeves, and closed toe shoes, safety first! Grab those silicone oven mitts I showed you earlier.


Set your turkey fryer up on a level, stable surface at least 6 feet away from your house. Pour in the oil, be sure not to go past the maximum fill line on the fryer pot. Bring the oil to 325 degrees Farenheight. TURN OFF THE FIRE (I stole this tip from Serious Eats. It’s a great precaution to take just in case the oil spews out of the pan there is no open flame to ignite)  and very slowly lower the turkey into the oil. Turn the flame back on and watch the frying turkey closely, be sure to keep the oil temperature around 325 degrees. Fry the turkey for 3 minutes per pound, until the turkey reaches 165 degrees in the thigh.

Let the turkey rest for 15 minutes before carving and serve it with my delicious cornbread and giblet dressing. Get the recipe for that HERE

Thanksgiving cornbread, giblet and sausage stuffing America's best food blog

Also, serve these Church Basement Collard Greens. The recipe for that is HERE

how to cook collard greens church basement collard greens America's best food blog

how to deep fry a turkey Thanksgiving recipes Sweet Savant America's best food blog Atlanta food blogger



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