Everybody loves turkey, but no one likes how long it takes to bake a whole turkey in the oven. How would you like juicy, tasty, tender turkey without the long cooking time? I was looking for a way to do that and tried to deep fry a turkey and fell in love with the succulent texture and tenderness of the bird as well as the much faster cooking time.
Learning how to deep fry a turkey means you can get the same great-tasting turkey meat in a fraction of the time. There’s no need to spend half the day cooking a full-size turkey when there is a better, quicker option available.
Now, you will be adding some fat, thanks to the oil you are using to deep fry the turkey in, and not everyone has the setup to deep fry a whole bird like this, but if you are okay with the added fat and you have the right equipment, this is a stellar way to cook a turkey.
How Long to Deep Fry a Turkey
I have mentioned a couple of times already that deep frying is faster, and you would expect that, but what kind of time are you looking at with this method? How long does it take to deep fry a turkey and how does it compare to oven baking?
You don’t want to overcook the turkey and dry it out or make it too oily by having it in the oil for too long. I recommend cooking your turkey for 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You also want to let the oil heat up before adding the turkey in, as that will ensure even cooking and prevent you from leaving the turkey in the oil overly long. You get a less oily, less fatty bird that way.
You will need to determine the cooking time based on the weight of the turkey, however, cooking it for about 3-4 minutes per pound. If you were looking for how many minutes per pound to deep fry a turkey, there is your answer.
That should ensure that the turkey is cooked all the way through. You can check the bird at the deepest part of the thigh for an accurate temperature reading, which should give you an internal temperature reading of 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Much Oil to Deep Fry a Turkey?
Deep frying a turkey means that you’re covering it in oil, so there will need to be enough oil to cover a whole turkey and ensure that it cooks evenly. Turkey fryers are specially designed to cook turkeys and other large animals. That will be big enough to accommodate your bird and the oil you need to cover it with.
It may take about 3-4 gallons of oil to cook a turkey this way, which can seem like a lot, but then, you are getting a lot of bird to eat as well.
You want plenty of oil and a large enough fryer vat to handle all of the turkey and oil. The oil needs to cover the bird fully, and if you are having trouble fitting the turkey into your fryer vat, then you may need to break the bird down.
Cutting it into smaller pieces will make it more manageable, and it also cuts down on the cooking time. For anyone who doesn’t have a dedicated setup to handle deep frying a turkey, deconstructing the bird may be the best way to go. Alternatively, you may be able to rent a turkey fryer for the occasion.
If you are cutting up the turkey to fry it, then you won’t need as much oil. You just require a few cups of cooking oil to fry the turkey in a pot on the stovetop.
How to Deep Fry a Turkey Breast
You should measure how much oil to use before adding the oil. You can put your turkey into the turkey fryer and then add water, gallon by gallon, to determine how much oil to use. Consider the fact that when you start cooking the turkey, the oil may rise.
Measuring the turkey in water gives you a good idea of how high the fill line will be and if your turkey fryer can accommodate the size of turkey you are using. It also tells you how much oil to use so that you aren’t buying more than you need and are not wasting any of it.
Once you have measured the fill line for the turkey fryer, you can start preparing the turkey. You can add your seasonings and pat the bird dry so it cooks better. I recommend using a turkey rub made from spices and seasonings rather than trying to brine the bird.
When you use a brine, you will be adding water to the vat of oil, which is not a good idea. Water and oil don’t go well together. Use a rub instead, made from spices like black pepper, salt, thyme, and paprika.
As you are preparing the turkey, the oil can heat up in the fryer. Pour in only as much as you need based on your measurements earlier and let that heat up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Before you put the turkey into the oil, make sure you are wearing heat resistant gloves.
A lot can go wrong when you are putting a big bird like that into a vat of hot oil. You want to guard against spatters and spills by wearing proper equipment.
Lower the turkey slowly into the vat of oil, and it should be placed into the oil slowly enough that there is no spattering or oil shooting up. If the oil does start to spatter, you may need to dry off the turkey a bit more first or just slow down the pace you are lowering the turkey in.
Set a timer based on the size of the turkey, for 35-35 minutes, cooking for about 3-4 minutes per pound of turkey. Once the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit and it has nicely browned, you can carefully remove it from the oil.
Most turkey fryers come with hooks that can be used to hold onto the turkey and allow for easy handling, even when it is hot. Place the turkey on a baking sheet to allow it to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.