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Thanksgiving 101: How to Fry a Turkey

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Frying Turkey

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it is time to brush up on some turkey cooking basics. Today I am going to cover the basics of how to fry a turkey. Doing so isn’t particularly complicated, but the devil is in the details. I often have a lot of people ask me how you know when a fried turkey is cooked through, or the best way to lower it into the oil. Well, here is everything you need to know. This slideshow covers the basic procedure for a traditionally fried and flavored bird. Once you get more comfortable with the frying technique, you should feel free to add any new flavors you want. Happy Thanksgiving!


  • Prep the turkey 1 of 8
    Prep the turkey
    Begin with a clean, dry turkey, with the giblets and neck removed. The turkey should be room temperature before proceeding.
    Photo: iStock
  • Season the turkey 2 of 8
    Season the turkey
    Rub the turkey with your preferred dried seasoning. Be sure to season the turkey thoroughly, both outside and inside the cavity, to ensure deep flavor.
    Photo: iStock
  • Commence frying 3 of 8
    Commence frying
    Fill the fryer no more than 3/4 full with peanut oil. Too much oil can cause a fire — do not overfill! Heat the oil to 350F and carefully lower the turkey into the fryer, wearing an oven mitt to protect your hands.
    Photo: iStock
  • Cook the turkey 4 of 8
    Cook the turkey
    Calculate the cooking time at 3 minutes per pound plus 5 minutes, per bird. (So a 20-pound bird would require 65 minutes of frying time.) Make sure the turkey remains fully submerged while it cooks and keep the temperature at 350F while frying.
    Photo: iStock
  • Safe frying practices 5 of 8
    Safe frying practices
    Be sure no children are near the frying pot at any time during frying. Put on oven mitts and an apron before removing the turkey.
    Photo: iStock
  • Remove the cooked turkey 6 of 8
    Remove the cooked turkey
    Once the turkey has cooked for the allotted time and reaches 151F at the breast, carefully remove it with tongs or through the rack. Have a platter lined with paper towels nearby. Pat the turkey dry with more clean paper towels, wearing oven mitts to protect your hands.
    Photo: iStock
  • Allow the turkey to rest 7 of 8
    Allow the turkey to rest
    Rest the fried turkey on a frying stool for 30 minutes before carving. This helps the juices reabsorb and adds a great depth of flavor.
    Photo: iStock
  • Carve the turkey! 8 of 8
    Carve the turkey!
    After 30 minutes of rest, place the turkey on a platter and carve it for dinner!
    Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

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