How to Deep Fry a Turkey

A deep fried turkey is one of the most delicious ways to enjoy your Thanksgiving feast. However, most of us have a lot of questions about how to deep fry a turkey. How can you safely deep fry a turkey? How long does it take to deep fry a turkey? And what’s a good deep fried turkey recipe once you’ve decided to tackle the method? Here at Ginny’s, we love a good deep fried Thanksgiving bird, and we wanted to share the lessons we’ve learned about how to deep fry a turkey with you.

How do I safely deep fry a turkey?

 Follow these deep-fried turkey instructions, and you’ll be all set:

  1. The first rule in deep frying a turkey: Do it outside, ideally on an area of land that you don’t mind getting splattered with hot oil. Keep it away from your house or any other object. If you deep fry safely, you won’t have to worry about the worst-case scenario. However, being savvy about where you fry will prevent further damage if the deep frying gets a little out of control.
  2. Get your hands on a long-pronged candy thermometer. Keep it in the oil so you know what temperature it’s at while it’s cooking.
  3. Wear shoes!
  4. Make sure your turkey is completely thawed and dried before you put it in the oil. Water or melting ice doesn’t react well with hot oil. Pat it off with paper towels before you put the turkey in the oil, and make sure the pot you’re using is dry as well.
  5. Be smart about how much oil you need in the pot. We love this handy trick: put the turkey in your fryer pot when it’s empty, and fill the pot with oil until it’s just covered. Take out the turkey and thoroughly dry it off (see the above step!). Then, take a marker or a piece of tape and mark the water level on the outside of the pot. That’s exactly how much oil you’ll need when it comes to frying the turkey.

How long does it take to deep fry a turkey?

Remember this rule of thumb when learning how to deep fry a turkey: each pound of turkey needs about 3 to 4 minutes to cook. That means a 12 pound turkey can take about 45 minutes, and a 16 pound turkey can take almost an hour! Despite the long time it takes to fry, never leave a deep frying turkey unattended. Stay on hand with a bag of baking soda in case you need to put an oil fire out. And remember, it’s not a good idea to mix alcohol with deep frying; save the beers for after the turkey is carved and on the table!

Can I deep fry a turkey indoors?

Yes—with the right equipment. If you decide to fry indoors, use a deep fryer specifically made for frying turkeys, like this indoor electric turkey fryer. Many of the same rules for outdoor deep frying apply to indoor deep frying: keep the turkey dry, don’t exceed the maximum fill line on the fryer, and give each pound of turkey 3 to 4 minutes to cook. The only difference? You’ll want to preheat your oil to 400 degrees instead of the 375 degrees we recommend for outdoor frying, and you may find that the top part of your turkey won’t be totally submerged. That’s fine! As long as the temperature of the turkey is high enough, you don’t have to worry if some of the turkey is a different color than the rest.

 What’s a good deep fried turkey recipe?  


1 12 to 14 pound turkey (thawed, and with no giblets or neck)
3 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (optional)
1 5 gallon container of peanut oil

  1. Rub the turkey on the outside and inside with the salt, pepper, and cayenne (if you want a little added heat to the turkey).
  2. Fill fryer or pot with peanut oil to the water level mark. Put your extra long candy thermometer in the pot. Heat over an outdoor propane hob until you’ve reached 375 degrees.
  3. Once the oil has reached 375 degrees, turn off the burner and SLOWLY lower the turkey into the hot oil. Turn the burner back on.
  4. Cook for about 3 ½ minutes per pound. You’ll know when the meat is done when the dark meat is around 175 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and the white meat is around 165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from oil, let the oil drain off the turkey, and let the turkey sit in a pan for about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the turkey from the pan, and carve!