This tutorial on deep frying a turkey takes the intimidation out of the process and prepares you to make a delicious, flavorful, juicy, and crispy turkey from start to finish. From brining to deep frying, you will make a turkey that will turn heads on Thanksgiving!
I have smoked a turkey and roasted a turkey, and it only makes sense that I try my effort at deep-frying a turkey. The process of deep-frying turkey has always intimidated me because I always thought you had to fry a turkey using an outdoor propane fryer. That is the one thing I don’t do, which are gas grills and outdoor propane fryers. I don’t know anything about that life, so I would rather not deal with it.
It wasn’t until last year that I learned you could purchase an indoor turkey fryer. I also discovered that my mother had one of these fryers. Of course, I had to give it a shot before determining if it was something I wanted to invest in the long-term.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the day of Thanksgiving last year where I learned that the fryer idea wasn’t going to work due to technical difficulties. I had to resort to roasting the turkey, which was still delicious. At that point, I made it my duty to fry a turkey as I developed this overwhelming curiosity on how to fry it. Welp, this year I did, I conquered it, and I want to share the entire experience with all of you.
Step 1. Process of brining a turkey
Ever since I learned how to brine meat, I have always brined my turkeys. In fact, I don’t make them without this step first. There are two ways you can create a deep impact of flavor in your turkey. You can create a dry rub and coat your turkey with this rub over and under the skin and allow it to sit overnight. Or you can do what I do, which is conduct a wet brine for the turkey.
Typically, I brine a turkey using a simple brine concoction by this brand. However, I have made my own brining solution as well which takes a lot of salt and several other spices and flavors, which is the best turkey brine for deep frying (I think). A simple bringing solution would be:
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. Onion powder
- 2 tbsp. Garlic powder
This is the basic ratio I’ve used in the past but you are encouraged to add additional flavors if you are going for a specific flavor profile such as Bourbon, herbs, and soy sauce. The brining recipe I am going to provide you guys today will be your go-to for life!
When brining a turkey or even a large turkey breast, I fill a large pot with my water and bring it to a slight boil. Then, I add my brining mixture to the pot. If you choose not to use the brining solution I use, that is fine, just add the measurement of seasonings as I have mentioned above. Along with that, I add about 2 medium onions, roughly chopped, a whole head of garlic chopped in half, a bunch of fresh herbs, and an orange rind and allow the brining solution to simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then I let the mixture cool completely. You can strain the bringing liquid if you want, I don’t because I am going to rinse the turkey anyways.
Step 2. Preparing your turkey
Whether you are brining turkey or have decided to use a dry rub, you have to let those flavors sit on that bird for, minimum, 12 hours. No exception. Once your brine has cooled, you put your bird in a large brining bag, placed inside a roasting pan. Please don’t skip this. Do you know how many times I’ve had to clean up brining liquid because it spilled all over the place? Yes, you are going to need something to secure the bag while you pour the liquid over the bird. Once the liquid has been poured, place it in the refrigerator overnight.
Step 3. Let your bird sit at room temperature.
I know this seems a bit odd, but you need to let that bird sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before you place it in the fryer. Before you do that, you need to take the turkey out of the bag and rinse it with cold water. You want that excess salt off the bird so it isn’t too salty. Don’t worry, at this point the turkey is well infused with flavor so you won’t rinse the flavor away. Now, just let it sit out on the counter, pat it dry using paper towels, and get the oil in the fryer and ready to go. Allowing the bird to sit at room temperature will make for crispy skin.
If you are looking for an indoor electric turkey fryer, I highly recommend using this indoor turkey fryer by Masterbuilt. I love this thing! Not only is it a fryer, but it is a steamer and broiler! You better believe I will be using this baby next summer to have a seafood boil. So far, I’ve just been making these Seafood Boil Packets for my fix. This fryer will fry up to a 20-pound turkey. If you’re wondering how much oil you’ll need for a turkey this size in this fryer, you’ll need about 2/12 gallons of peanut oil.
Step 4: Frying your turkey
You are going to want to set your fryer temperature at 300 Degrees. Place the bird in the basket of the fryer and very slowly lower the turkey into the hot oil and close the lid. The turkey will need about 45 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached. Depending on how big your turkey is, will determine how long it will take to fry. Typically, it’s about 3 1/2 minutes per pound or until the temperature of the turkey has reached 170 degrees F taken by a meat thermometer. When it’s done, carefully remove the basket from the deep fryer and allow the turkey to rest for at least 30 minutes. I can’t stress this enough, YOU MUST ALLOW THE TURKEY TO REST! I know how tempting it is to see that delicious golden brown bird and you want to dip right in, but don’t! Allow it to rest, cover in aluminum foil, and then, carve as you wish!
this deep-fried turkey recipe is fool-proof!
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Tips for making the best deep-fried turkey
Aside from brining, here are some additional steps I take to make sure I am serving the best turkey on Thanksgiving:
- I typically inject the turkey with my favorite flavor injector. Or you can inject the turkey with turkey or chicken broth. This really makes the turkey super juicy and really flavorful.
- I also make a simple glaze to cover my turkey. You can get as creative as you want, but I definitely recommend that you try the Hot Pepper Jelly Glaze that I used for this grilled chicken wings recipe if you want to go the extra mile.
- Although I provided a simple brining solution that you can make at home, there is nothing wrong with using a turkey brine kit if you prefer.
Commonly Asked Questions
It’s important that you read the manufactures instructions on your fryer. Whether you using an electric fryer like me or a propane tank fryer, you do not want to fill the fryer past the maximum fill line. As you submerge your turkey in the oil, the oil could overflow from the fryer resulting in damage to your property or a fire. I do recommend that you keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case.