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

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!

fried turkey recipe made with fried turkey rub + peanut oil

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 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 in an electric turkey fryer with peanut oil

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.

ingredients for deep fried turkey rub on a marble slab

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.

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 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 on a platter with kale and squash

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, 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 recipe using a simple fried turkey rub

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 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!

Ingredients

for the fried turkey:

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 14-lb. turkey, you would cook it for approximately 49-55 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 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 inserted in the breast reads at least 165 degrees.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16
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 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.

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.