An amazing deep fried turkey recipe that turned me from a turkey hater to a TURKEY LOVER… This deep fried turkey turns out tender, juicy, and flavorful EVERY TIME (thanks to an easy fried turkey rub + peanut oil), AND the cooking time is trimmed to under an hour in an electric turkey fryer!
Deep Fried Turkey Recipe
So here’s the thing (and please don’t come at me with pitchforks)… I have to admit that I’ve never really been a fan of turkey. In fact, there have been many years when we opted for a ham — like this SUPER SIMPLE Instant Pot spiral ham — at Thanksgiving instead. Shocking, isn’t it?!
That is until a few years ago. My husband and boys love a good turkey, so we tried this deep fried turkey recipe. And you know what? Now I’m a total convert. My deep fried turkey turns out tender, juicy, and flavorful EVERY TIME, and the cooking time is trimmed to under an hour!
I know you might be envisioning some of the horror stories you may have heard about gas and/or propane turkey fryers right now. No worries — did you know that you can actually purchase an electric turkey fryer?!? Yep, and they’re safe enough that you can fry a whole turkey right on your kitchen countertop!
Deep Fried Turkey In An Electric Turkey Fryer
It appears that the particular electric turkey deep fryer model I have is no longer sold. But there are two newer versions available: one that fries turkeys up to 14 pounds and one that fries turkeys up to 20 pounds. Though I have the smaller capacity model, I’d highly recommend going for the larger one. Finding small turkeys can be a bit difficult, and the price difference is negligible!
An important note: if you’re trying to stay within a budget, deep frying a turkey probably isn’t the most cost effective way to cook a turkey. I prefer to use peanut oil for its rich flavor and high smoke rate. In my opinion, it’s simply best oil for deep frying turkey. The downside? Well, peanut oil doesn’t come cheap, and you’re gonna need about 2 gallons to fill up the turkey fryer…
BUT this method saves a TON of time — and since it takes so little time, a great way to defray the cost of the oil is to have a turkey-frying party after Thanksgiving. Invite friends, family members, and neighbors over to fry up those marked down turkeys and turkey breasts that you can pick up for a steal!
Also, while intended for frying whole turkeys, you can fry just about anything in your electric turkey fryer, including fish, shrimp, onion loaf, and more. Plus it has a steaming feature, as well, making it much more versatile than at first glance.
Fried Turkey Rub
Preparing for Thanksgiving around here starts well before the big day. Even though it really saves minimal time, one of the things I always do early in the week is mix up a batch of this deep fried turkey rub. It’s ideal for seasoning the turkey inside and out!
All you need for this fried turkey seasoning are four simple ingredients: poultry seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and ground black pepper. Just whisk them all together and set aside until you’re ready to rub down and fry up that turkey.
How To Cook A Deep Fried Turkey
Deep fried turkey using an electric turkey fryer is really super simple! I start by rinsing and drying a thawed bird inside and out.Then I rub it all over with the previously prepared deep fried turkey seasoning, making sure to coat bother the outside and inside of the bird. After I complete these two steps, I then turn the turkey fryer on to heat up, allowing the turkey to sit out and come to room temperature in the meantime.
When the peanut oil reaches 375 degrees, gently lower the turkey in (I recommend silicone mitts for this step), making sure it’s fully submerged and that the oil has filled the cavity of the turkey. Sometimes the turkey needs to “burp” to get it to fill with oil. It’s handy to have a pair of rubber-tipped tongs to gently nudge it and tilt it to make sure it’s filled.
Deep fried turkey cook time: you’ll want to calculate the fried turkey cook time based on the weight of the turkey you purchased. Fry the turkey for 3.5-4 minutes per pound, until a meat thermometer inserted into the turkey breast reads 165-170 degrees. Basically, if you were to use a 14-pound turkey for a smaller fryer, you’d fry it for 49-56 minutes. If you’re wondering how long to fry a 20-pound turkey, you’d want to leave it in for 70-80 minutes.
Deep fried turkey temperature: The easiest way to tell if your turkey is truly done is by inserting a meat thermometer into the turkey breast. When it reads 165-170 degrees, you know it’s properly cooked.
When it’s done frying, remove the turkey from the peanut oil (those silicone gloves will come in handy again here) and allow it to drain on some paper towels. It’s best to let it sit for about ten minutes before carving.
Deep Fried Turkey Side Dishes
So what do we serve alongside what I consider to be the best deep fried turkey recipe? EASY side dishes, of course! Basically the rest of our Thanksgiving meal is pretty traditional, as far as side dishes go.
You’ll want to check out my favorite recipes for creamed corn casserole, green bean casserole, make ahead mashed potatoes for a crowd, stuffing muffins, cranberry Jello salad, and of course, pumpkin pie… Each has a unique twist to make it a little new and different and/or to save time in the kitchen!
And who doesn’t want to be able to spend more time with family and friends outside of the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day?!?
Deep Fried Turkey Breast
You can also make a fried turkey breast in your electric turkey fryer! Follow the directions above, and then lower the cooking temperature to 325 degrees after submerging the turkey breast in the oil. Cook for approximately 7 minutes per pound, until a meat thermometer (I like this inexpensive digital one) inserted in the breast reads at least 165 degrees.