Deep-Fried Turkey

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Deep-frying a turkey might seem daunting, but if you follow the instructions and safety tips carefully, it can be a lot of fun and you can free up the stove and oven for all of those tasty Thanksgiving sides. If you’re buying a turkey fryer to make this, look for a kit with a pot that has a spigot at the bottom to drain out the oil — a small but important detail that will make your clean up much easier and faster.



  1. To determine how much oil you will need for frying, set your turkey (still in the plastic) in your frying pot, legs up. Measure and add enough water just to cover the turkey. (There should be at least 6 inches between the water line and the top of the pot to fry safely.) Remove the turkey and water and dry the pot very well.
  2. Combine the butter, broth, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over very low heat and cook until the garlic softens, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and let cool completely. Strain; reserve the liquid and discard the solids.
  3. One hour before you are ready to cook, take the turkey out of the refrigerator and remove the neck and giblets. Pat the turkey very dry, inside and out. If there is a pop-up timer, remove and discard. Use an injector syringe to inject the butter mixture into the turkey, 4 or 5 places in each breast and 2 or 3 in each leg and thigh. (Inject as deep into the flesh as you can.) Pat dry if any of the mixture leaks out. Season the turkey inside and out with 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper and rub it in well. 
  4. Add the oil to the frying pot and heat to 350˚ F (if using a propane fryer, heat over medium). It should take 45 minutes to 1 hour to heat the oil. Once the oil reaches 350˚ F, using protective gloves, slowly lower the turkey into the fryer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. The oil temperature will drop 30˚ F to 40˚ F almost immediately. Adjust the heat so the temperature stays between 300˚ F and 325˚ F the whole time you are frying. Fry 3 minutes per pound. When the turkey is done, turn off the fryer. Using the gloves and the lifting rack, carefully remove the turkey from the oil to a rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh; it should register 155˚ F. Let the turkey rest 20 to 30 minutes before removing from the rack and carving (the internal temperature will increase about 10˚ F). Make sure the frying oil cools completely before discarding, at least 4 hours.

Cook’s Note

You’ll need a 30-quart fryer and an injector syringe for this recipe. Set up the fryer on a sturdy, nonflammable surface far from the house. Make sure your turkey is very dry before frying. Pat with paper towels both inside and out to absorb any excess moisture. Turn the flame off before lowering the turkey into the oil or removing it, and wear protective gloves. If the oil starts to splatter, wait a few seconds before continuing.