How To Deep Fry A Turkey recipe - one of the quickest ways to enjoy turkey during the holidays. Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, injected with herb butter and flavor boosted with a homemade rub.
I've always thought that nothing was better than an oven roasted turkey for Thanksgiving or holidays. However, in Australia Christmas is during our hot summer and a Seafood Feast with Lobster is more commonly served than turkey. Now I'm hooked on deep frying my turkey.
Why Deep Fry a Turkey?
We know that Americans love to fry foods, and turkey is no exception. Everyone needs to try this at least once, it tastes great. When deep frying a turkey, the skin is crispy (obviously because of the oil), the meat flavorful and juicy. The best thing is that is only takes about 45 minutes to deep fry the turkey (for a 12 lb turkey)! What a time saver! The turkey fries at 3-½ minutes per pound (500grams) when the oil is 160°C/325°F. So you’ll need to set a timer depending on the weight of the turkey. It saves time in the kitchen, and also adds some theatre to your holiday feast. There’s only so many dad jokes you can listen to without needing a distraction. 🤣
What Oil To Use For Deep Frying a Turkey?
You need to use an oil with a high smoke point, meaning an oil that can be heated on a high temp before it starts to smoke. Peanut Oil is a favorite, but can be harder to find in larger quantities and can be expensive. Sunflower Oil, Rice Bran Oil or Canola Oil are good turkey frying oils, and they’re easier to find in larger bottles. You’re going to need close to 12 litres of 3 gallons of oil for this recipe.
Can I Reuse the Oil?
The economical and correct answer is yes. Oil is expensive, and can cost as much as your turkey. The oil will need to cool, be strained before using again. That being said, I never reuse my turkey oil. I won’t fry a turkey again til next year and don’t like the flavor of the fried turkey in the used oil. So I don’t use the oil again, I view it as a holiday food expense.
Do You Need To Brine A Turkey?
Brining adds flavor and draws the flavor into the meat. I didn't brine this turkey, because it requires a few extra steps. You need a food safe bucket that is big enough to hold your turkey. You also need to keep the bucket in a fridge, the brine cannot be left out. Check out my brining recipe with video if you want to see how it’s done. Submerge Turkey in the brine for at least 24 hours for an even more tender and juicier meat.
How to Deep Fry a Turkey Safely
There are a few risks with turkey frying. Here is a handy video, brought to you by our friends at State Farm Insurance. Please check it out here.
It's very important not to overfill the turkey fryer with oil, so use the water displacement system to create an oil fill line. You'll see there is a turkey fill line in your pot, but the size of each turkey is different and I always use the water method. I didn't remove the plastic wrap from the turkey, but some people do. This is because when you place the turkey in the water to measure, the cavity of the turkey isn't filled to measure. This also seemed to trigger some youtube viewers.
Place the whole turkey into the turkey fryer pot, and fill with water until the turkey is covered. Remove the turkey from the pot, and mark the water line, which will be the same level of oil that will be needed to deep fry the turkey. This will ensure you don't dangerously over fill with oil, causing a fire. See video above. If you are a seasoned turkey fryer, you might not follow this method.
When lowering the turkey into the hot oil, remember to do it slowly! The hot oil bubbles up, and if you drop it in too fast it can dangerously overflow. In the video, I used a small turkey and probably lowered it too quickly. Go slow and steady. When the turkey is frying, there will be overspray while frying, and it will land and stain the floor with oil drops.
In the video, I am either barefoot or wearing flip flops because it was 35°C/95F° and it’s a very Aussie thing to do. This has triggered people on the internet, so please wear close toed shoes, safety shoes, hip waders, Ugg boots or whatever you like to keep you safe.
Deep Fried Turkey Injection Recipe
How to boost extra juicy flavor? Purchase a marinade injector! The marinade to inject is basically melted butter, oil and herbs and spices of your choice. I grind up my spices using a pestle and mortar before putting it in the melted butter. You could just strain the herbs from the butter before you inject, but that flavor would be weaker. Be careful not to clog the holes with spices.
When you slice your deep fried turkey breast, you can see the spice flavors of the marinade in the meat, so good! You can experiment with the herbs you like and add them to the marinade and rub. I have a fantastic Smoked Sea Salt that my sister gave me that I use, but regular salt works great too.
Your turkey skin will look darker than pictured in the main photo. The turkey is so hot, it keeps cooking when you take it out of the turkey fryer. When you cover it with foil, it will keep cooking and it will get more golden brown. For the photo above, I took it out of the fryer and put it on the table right away. Don't undercook your turkey.
Deep Fried Potatoes
I also love to drop some potatoes into the oil when the deep fried turkey is done. I experimented a few times and found that when the potatoes are par-boiled, you get a crispier potato. Peel and cut the potatoes like you would for roast potatoes. Boil in water for no longer than ten minutes, less if the potatoes pieces are cut small. Drain from water, and place into the turkey deep fryer. Cook until golden brown and season.
Turkey Fryer in Australia
Deep Frying Turkey isn't a new idea, it dates back to the 1930's in the American South. They don't sell Turkey Fryers in Australia, but I discovered that BCF Camping Store in Australia sells Crab Cookers that I was going to substitute with. When I bought it, I discovered it was actually an American turkey fryer. It's just packaged differently for Australia. The pot even had a turkey fryer oil fill line stamped on the pot in the manufacturing process. Otherwise Amazon has lots of options.
So Australians, let us all rejoice. If you've always wanted to try deep fried turkey, now you can, easily available in Australia, with a bonus crab cooker. For my American readers, your turkey fryer doubles as a crab cooker too.
My Favorite Turkey Recipes
- Whole Smoked Turkey
- Citrus Roast Turkey
- Butter Basted Turkey
- Leftover Turkey Turnovers
- Creamy Turkey Soup from Leftovers
Holiday Side Dish Recipes
- Easy Stovetop Stuffing
- Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Potato Bake with French Onion Soup
- Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Chorizo
- Russian Potato Salad - Olivier Salad
There are so many holiday traditions all over the world. If you’ve never wanted to know How to Deep Fry a Turkey, now is your chance to make it! An exciting holiday recipe, juicy and crispy, everyone’s going to love it! tried Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- Turkey fryer
- protective gear apron, gloves...
- 1 large 12lb/5.5kg turkey - completely defrosted and patted dry and at leave room temperature for about an hour before frying
- 12 litres 3 gallons of oil - peanut, canola, sunflower or rice bran oil
Dry Turkey Rub Spices
- 2 teaspoon smoked salt
- 2 teaspoons sage
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
Marinade Injection Ingredients
- 1 cup butter
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoons sage
- 1 teaspoons thyme
- 1 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic granules/powder
- Season the turkey by mixing the turkey spice ingredients together and rubbing the Dry Turkey Rub all over the turkey. Rub under the turkey skin where possible, and rub the leftover rub inside the turkey cavity.
- Add the ground dry ingredients of the marinade injection into a pan with butter and oil. Melt them together and allow to cool slightly before injecting into the turkey. *
- Inject the warm marinade by stabbing the turkey deeply, and depressing the plunger of the marinade as you pull out. Inject the breast and thigh meat, and even the drumsticks.
- Fill your turkey fryer pot with oil up to the fill line (see water dispersion method above) and heat the oil to 160°C/325°F. Carefully and slowly, lower the turkey into the oil, feet pointing up. Do not drop the turkey quickly, otherwise the oil will overflow dangerously.
- Set a timer. It takes 3-½ minutes per pound (500 grams) to cook the turkey. For a 12 pound turkey, this will take 42 minutes. Check to see that the turkey is golden brown in color, remove and check that the internal temperature is 165°F-170°F (75°C) in the breast. If the oil begins to smoke, or is higher than 325°F, lower the temperature
- Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow to rest for about 20 minutes, which ensures the turkey will be juicy. The turkey keeps cooking and I find the skin goes even darker when resting. Place on a cutting board and carve.
- During the turkey rest time, drop some sliced potatoes into the oil for an easy tasty side with your turkey.
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