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My Favorite Deep Fried Turkey Recipe (And I Don’t Even Like Turkey!)

An amazing deep fried turkey that turned me from a turkey hater to a TURKEY LOVER… This deep fried turkey recipe turns out tender, juicy, and flavorful EVERY TIME (thanks to an easy fried turkey rub), AND the cooking time is trimmed to under an hour!

deep fried turkey on a platter with kale and squash

Deep Fried Turkey Recipe

So here’s the thing (and don’t come at me with pitchforks, please)… 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 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!

fried turkey recipe made with fried turkey rub

Deep Fried Turkey In An Electric Fryer

It appears that the particular electric turkey 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!

If you’re trying to stay within a budget, deep frying 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, and peanut oil doesn’t come cheap…

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, families, 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. And it has a steaming feature, as well, making it much more versatile than at first glance.

simple fried turkey rub made with poultry seasoning, garlic powder, and salt & pepper

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 mix up a simple fried turkey rub using poultry seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and ground black pepper, and rub it all over the outside and inside of the bird. After I complete these two steps, I then turn the 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.

Fry the turkey for 3.5-4 minutes per pound (so a 13-lb. bird like I used would cook for 45-52 minutes), until a meat thermometer inserted into the turkey breast reads 165-170 degrees. When it’s done frying, remove it from the oil 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 recipe using a simple fried turkey rub

Deep Fried Turkey Recipe Side Dishes

So what do we serve alongside this delicious deep fried turkey recipe? 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 cream corn casserole, green bean casserole, make ahead mashed potatoes, stuffing muffins, cranberry 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?!?

best deep fried turkey recipe

Deep Fried Turkey Recipe

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 52 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 22 minutes

An amazing deep fried turkey that turned me from a turkey hater to a TURKEY LOVER… This deep fried turkey recipe turns out tender, juicy, and flavorful EVERY TIME (thanks to an easy fried turkey rub) in under an hour!

Ingredients

for the fried turkey:

  • 1 (12-13 lbs.) whole turkey, frozen or fresh
  • 2 gallons peanut oil

for the fried turkey rub:

Instructions

  1. Prepare the fried turkey rub by mixing together the poultry seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Rinse a thawed turkey inside and out, and allow all of the water to drain out. Then pat it dry inside and out with paper towels. If the turkey has plastic leg ties and/or a pop-up cooking indicator, be sure to remove them before frying!
  3. Rub the turkey all over with the fried turkey seasoning, including the inside, and set aside to come to room temperature.
  4. Turn your electric turkey fryer on, and heat the peanut oil to 375 degrees.
  5. Place the turkey in the included basket. Very slowly lower the turkey into the hot oil, making sure to submerge it completely, and close the lid. I recommend wearing protective silicone gloves for this step. It’s also handy to have a pair of rubber-tipped tongs to gently nudge and tilt the turkey to make sure it’s filled.
  6. Set the timer to the recommended time: 3.5-4 minutes per pound, until a meat thermometer inserted in the breast reads at least 165 degrees. So for a 13-lb. turkey, you would cook it for approximately 45-52 minutes.
  7. When the turkey reaches the recommended cooking temperature, lift the frying basket out of the oil, and clip it on the draining holes.
  8. Allow the turkey to drain and rest for 10 minutes before carving. I also like to transfer it to a platter lined with paper towels for a few minutes before carving to soak up any excess oil.

Notes

Deep Fried Turkey Breast
You can also deep fry a 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 inserted in the breast reads at least 165 degrees.

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Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 603Total Fat: 33.6gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 228mgSodium: 571mgCarbohydrates: 1.5gFiber: .3gSugar: 0gProtein: 68.8g

How much did you LOVE this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #unsophisticook!

Deep Fried Turkey Breast

You can also deep fry a 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.

I’d love to see how your deep fried turkey turns out… Tag me @Unsophisticook on Instagram or use the hashtag #Unsophisticook so I can check it out. Enjoy!

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YVONNE LOPEZ

Monday 3rd of November 2014

WOw believe it or not with this time change i couldn't sleep this morning and I saw the infomercial this morning on this and I thought hmm I wonder if it works and two how it tastes. You have answered both my questions. Thanks Tara.. Enjoy your day..

Tara @ Unsophisticook

Wednesday 5th of November 2014

Awesome! I haven't see the infomercial, but it's definitely the only way I will prepare turkey from now on. I haven't tried doing just a turkey breast yet, but I might give that a shot this year.

Samina

Monday 3rd of November 2014

I love deep fried turkey too! We bought a turkey fryer some years ago after getting nervous about the whole open flame-burn your house down propane cookers. It's churned out some good food over the years.

Tara @ Unsophisticook

Wednesday 5th of November 2014

Ha! We had an open flame propane cooker, too, and I was always so nervous when my husband was using it. The electric fryers are definitely the way to go.