Deep Fry Turkey the Easy Way

by Alli

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My Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without a deep-fried turkey. At one time, it was a southern thing, then it took the country by storm.

My mom and dad deep fried their Thanksgiving bird for years before the world caught on. When you deep fry your turkey, it’s so moist and tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

How to Deep Fry Your Turkey

I have to admit that at first, I was a little hesitant to deep fry my own. I mean, that’s mom and dad’s job.

Also, the six o’clock news was full of stories about people setting their decks on fire because they didn’t know how to properly deep fry a turkey. It can be downright scary if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Then it happened. I found an electric fryer made specifically for deep frying turkeys inside. Yes!  You no longer have to head to the deck to deep fry your turkey. Let’s all do a happy dance.

I use the Butterball Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer. It’s da bomb! I’ve been using this electric fryer for years and it hasn’t let me down! 

Edited to add (10/27/21): My turkey fryer seems to be discontinued and there is now a newer model. They also come in two sizes now and the x-large turkey fryer holds a 20-pound turkey!

Deep Fry Your Turkey The Easy Way

Why deep fry a turkey?

  • It’s easy.
  • It doesn’t take as long as roasting a turkey.
  • It frees up oven space. I have double ovens and I still don’t have room to be roasting a turkey all morning.
  • Your turkey will be moist (no more dry, chewy turkey).
  • It will be crunchy.
  • Oh, so tender.
  • It’s delicious!

Let’s get started!

How to Deep Fry A Turkey

I usually choose a Honeysuckle White Fresh Turkey. They’re available at my local Kroger store.

Make sure your turkey is completely thawed. Here’s how to do it. (I always use a 12 lb. turkey. It fits perfectly in my turkey fryer.)

Remove the giblets. (I won’t take the time to tell you about the first time I cooked a turkey in the oven and forgot to remove the giblets from one end) Blush Blush.

I use the giblets to make giblet gravy, but you can do with them as you please. Just don’t leave them in the turkey. Check both ends!

Pour peanut oil into the deep fryer. There’s a slash on the inside of my fryer for a guide. Actually, there are two. Fill up the oil until it’s even with the top slash – not the top of the fryer. Turn the fryer to 375º F.

An orange light will come on when you plug in the deep fryer. A green light will come on when the fryer is ready (if you use the same fryer I use). 

Meanwhile, pat that bird completely dry.

Rub the turkey with mom’s deep-fried dry turkey rub. Don’t skip this step unless you just want salt and pepper, but that’s kinda boring.

How to Deep Fry Your Turkey

Spray the basket with cooking spray and place the turkey inside the basket.

Using the lifter, slowly lower the turkey into the hot oil. Be careful! I always get my husband to do this part and he uses heat-resistant gloves in case the oil splatters.

Deep Fry Your Turkey the easy way.

Lay the lifter over on its side and set the timer. I always deep-fry my turkey for 4 minutes per pound. For a 12-lb. turkey, it takes 48 minutes.

Deep Fry Your Turkey

Helpful Hint: I always use Peanut Oil When Deep Frying a Turkey

Deep Fry Your Turkey with Peanut Oil

Yes, it’s a little pricey, but it’s the best oil for deep frying. Period.

Peanut Oil has a high smoke point and neutral taste. It’s also low in saturated fats and high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.  

I buy the big jug from Walmart. You’ll use most of it in your deep fryer.

Yield: 12-14 servings

Deep Fried Turkey

Giblet Gravy, Chicken and Dumplings, Southern Fried Chicken - Deep Fried Turkey

Deep-fried turkey is tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 48 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 43 minutes


  • 1 12-pound turkey, thaw completely and pat dry
  • Peanut Oil for deep frying

Dry Rub:

  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Seasoned Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Creole Seasoning


  1. Thaw turkey completely. Check the cavities at both ends and remove giblets. Pat dry.
  2. Combine the dry rub ingredients and pat all over the turkey. You may not use it all. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil to 375º F. This can take up to 45 minutes! Note: There are two slashes on the inside of my deep fryer showing the fill lines for the oil. Fill to the top line (not the top of the fryer). It's important to follow the directions on your deep fryer. Keep the top closed during preheating.
  4. If you're using the Butterball Deep Fryer like mine, wait for the green light to come on indicating that the oil is properly heated. Spray the basket that will hold the turkey with cooking spray and place the turkey inside the basket. Using the lifter, slowly lower the turkey into the hot oil. Lay the lifter over on its side as per directions and close the top.
  5. Fry for 4 minutes per pound. When the turkey is done, lift and hook the drain clip on the basket into the drain clip mounting hole. Let sit for 10 minutes before removing from the basket and carving the turkey.


These are instructions for using the Masterbuild Electric Indoor Turkey Fryer. Please follow the instructions for your turkey fryer!

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Have you ever deep-fried a turkey? Once you do it one time, you’ll find that it’s really easy.

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Grab Mom’s Deep Fried Turkey Rub recipe by clicking here!

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Shirley Wood November 4, 2016 - 7:46 am

Deep Fried Turkeys are always tender, juicy and delicious. For many years we had both roasted and deep fried for Thanksgiving. We’ve had roasted and smoked for the last several years but I think it would be great to go back to the deep fried. We also use only peanut oil, it’s the best!

Sarah Bailey November 4, 2016 - 9:24 am

I totally would never have thought of frying turkey but what an interesting idea and I bet it tastes delicious as well as been quicker than cooking in the oven.

Jenn @ EngineerMommy November 4, 2016 - 9:34 am

Frying a turkey sounds a bit intimidating but you make it seem totally doable. It sounds like this is a great way to ensure that the turkey stays moist and tender inside.

Jeanette November 4, 2016 - 9:55 am

I have never tried to fry a turkey, I have issues with frying food in my stomach. It is always looked so good to me I would love to try a couple bites of it just so I can taste it. I will give this post over to someone that is interested in trying their turkey.

Silvia November 4, 2016 - 11:16 am

This looks so good! I have never deep fried a turkey but yours look amazing. I will have to try this sometime because many people rave about turkeys being deep fried.


Pam November 4, 2016 - 11:32 am

My father in law tried to deep fry the turkey for Thanksgiving one year. It didn’t go well. He needed to read this post!

Bill S November 4, 2016 - 2:45 pm

I have never had deep fried turkey before!! This sounds amazing, I may have to try this out for Thanksgiving!

Libertad Green November 4, 2016 - 2:59 pm

Ugh, that all looks so delicious! I actually fried a turkey, one time. It was a little scary, and we fried it on the back patio, but it turned out really good ans tasted great!

Heather November 4, 2016 - 10:32 pm

I would love to have deep fried turkey. I don’t think I’ve ever had it, but maybe one year we’ll invest in a deep fryer just for this purpose. It sounds really good.

Amanda November 4, 2016 - 11:11 pm

I am hosting Thanksgiving this year and I would absolutely LOVE to try deep frying a turkey this year. Does it make a huge mess? That’s my biggest concern since we have a brand new house.

Alli November 5, 2016 - 4:44 pm

Nope – no mess at all! The deep fryer we had outside was a pain to clean, but the electric one I use inside is a breeze and it doesn’t make the house smell, either.

Cynthia Nicoletti November 5, 2016 - 8:00 am

I always wanted to fry my turkey. It looks fabulous. This year will give it a try.

Valerie November 5, 2016 - 8:34 am

I’ve had it twice and it’s so good. This year we are talking about how we are going to cook it. This might be a good choice.

Annemarie LeBlanc November 5, 2016 - 9:02 am

That is a great way to have turkey. I’ve never tried that method, but I am now convinced I should. The turkey looks so juicy inside and golden crispy outside.

Kate | My Mommy Brain November 5, 2016 - 1:33 pm

I’ve never tried a deep fried turkey before but they always look delicious. Maybe this year!

Bonnie @wemake7 November 5, 2016 - 9:47 pm

I’ve never had a deep fried turkey and was always scared to make one before thinking it would catch on fire lol. This looks awesome to fry it in.

LaShawn November 6, 2016 - 12:08 am

Every year I say that I am going to deep fry a turkey and I never do! Thanks for the simple instructions!

Mimi Green November 6, 2016 - 2:17 pm

We have friend turkey for Thanksgiving and it is what everyone always wants. They don’t touch the regular turkey until all of the fried turkey is gone. This year we need at least two of them, they are so freaking delicious.

Rebecca Swenor November 7, 2016 - 9:23 am

A deep fried turkey taste so much better than a turkey you cook in the over I believe. It comes out so juicy and it takes less time to cook. This sounds and looks like a great meal. The stuffing looks amazing and so does the stuffed potatoes. The for sharing the information.

lynzy November 7, 2016 - 2:59 pm

We’ve never deep fried our turkey! It seems like it’d be SO yummy though. I’d definitely consider trying it, especially since you made it clear that it’s easier than I thought haha!

Terri Beavers November 7, 2016 - 5:12 pm

Deep fried Turkey’s are the absolute best. I’ve never tried it myself but my son makes them and they are drool worthy.

Maureen @Scoops of Joy November 8, 2016 - 10:11 pm

That looks so delicious. I have never try them before but would definitely love to try one day 🙂

Mommy Levy November 19, 2016 - 8:47 am

this turkey looks delish, now I want a deep fryer. I like to do this.

Jackie @ Love Deep Fried Turkey April 9, 2018 - 6:30 pm

Deep fried turkey is so, so delicious but a lot of people don’t realize how good it is because they’ve never tried it. But, once is all it takes to be thoroughly hooked!

Joseph Parker August 27, 2018 - 12:08 pm

Thanks for sharing this post with us. I am little bit interested to get more information about bbq recipices. I like to share my opinion on bbq recpices .Just take your time to browse via these sites and locate a few good Korean BBQ recipes. Choose some effortless to stick to recipes at initial to get the feel of things.

Robert Love December 8, 2018 - 6:23 pm

I wanted to fry a turkey for Thanksgiving this year. So, I did some research and bought this exact same fryer before I even found your website…kudos to me. I used your mom’s rub (👍🏻) on a 16 lb. turkey. Following your instructions and the instructions that came with the fryer, I planned on 4 minutes per pound for a cook time of 64 minutes. My first time with the fryer so I didn’t really know what to expect (you can always order pizza). After an hour I checked the temperature and it read 204 degrees, which is fine for my smoked brisket, but I thought Thanksgiving was going to be turkeyless. Everything I read said turkey was done at 165 degrees. As it turned out, the turkey was excellent. The family wants one for Christmas. All of this for a couple of questions. Is that normal? What temp should I expect when pulling the turkey? It was so good I would do everything exactly the same. Just want to be sure and hope it’s not beginners luck.

Alli December 8, 2018 - 7:02 pm

I always buy a 12 lb. turkey and it takes about 45 minutes to cook. As a general rule when deep frying a turkey, cook dark meat to an internal temperature of 175º F to 180º. White meat should be 165-170º. Glad you enjoyed the rub and thrilled that your turkey was excellent!


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