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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