How to Fry a Turkey

My step-dad has been frying our Thanksgiving turkeys for about 12 years now so this year I finally decided to document the process and thought it would be a good idea to share, since he’s learned some things along the way that they don’t show you in the youtube videos.


  • Turkey
  • Tony Chachere’s Turkey Injection Seasoning (we use Creole Butter flavor)
  • 1 gallon peanut oil
  • 4 gallons canola oil
  • 5 gallon pot with  a lid and fryer basket that fits inside
  • Poultry rack & grab hook (optional)
  • Fryer thermometer that inserts into the lid (if you can’t find a lid with a thermometer hole then just drill one)
  • Propane burner – be sure to have plenty of propane.  We use a 30lb tank, but 20lbs would work as well.  If it is colder outside you will use a lot more propane due to heat loss so be prepared.
  • Welding gloves or other large oven mitts that cover the forearm
  • Newspaper to absorb the oil from the fry basket when you pull it out of the fryer.

You can buy all the turkey frying materials here.


1. It is CRITICAL that your turkey is completely thawed.  If not, when that bird hits the oil it could explode, and no one wants that on Thanksgiving.

2. Set up your frying equipment well away from your house and any pets that you have.  Do NOT put it under a carport or porch even if it’s raining. Fires happen.  We put ours out by our pool just in case anything goes wrong.

3. Pour 1 gallon of peanut oil and 2.5 gallons of canola oil in the 5 gallon pot that’s on the burner.  Put the lid on it with the thermometer and heat the oil to 325-350F.  DO NOT heat the oil over 350F.  It if gets to 375F the oil starts to deteriorate and can create a grease fire.  Once the oil reaches 350F just turn the burner way down low to maintain the heat. Heating to 350F takes about 30 minutes.

3.  While you are waiting for the oil to heat, inject the turkey with seasonings using a large injection needle.  We’ve always used Tony Chachere’s turkey seasoning that comes with its own injector.  We use the whole bottle on the turkey and make sure that we get seasoning or ‘spice deposits’ as we call them in every crevice of the turkey.

3. Place the poultry rack inside the cavity of the bird so that the turkey can sit upright.

4.  Place the bird in the giant fry basket.

5. While wearing welding gloves or other heavy duty gloves, slowly lower the fry basket with the turkey into the hot oil.  Make sure the underbelly of the bird is facing away from you when you lower the bird into the oil because we’ve learned that sometimes the oil will shoot out of the birds neck and you want it angled away from you.  Don’t let this scare you off – it’s fine if you lower it slowly and have the underbelly facing away from you.

6. Top off the pot with oil to just cover the turkey, put the lid on the pot, make sure the thermometer is between the fryer basket and the pot, and turn the burner on high to heat the oil back up to 350F since the addition of the turkey will lower the oil temperature quite a bit.  Once it levels off at 350F again, turn down the burner to keep the temperature at 350F.

7. Cook the turkey for 3 min/ 1lb + another 3 min.  The clock starts when you are finished lowering the turkey into the oil.

8.  Remove the fry basket carefully and set on newspaper to absorb the oil.  pull the turkey out and set on a pan.  Remove the poultry rack from inside the turkey.

9.  Allow to cool before digging in!

We got so excited about frying things that we made french fries and even deep fried ham! We injected the ham with a maple praline sauce and deep fried it for 20 minutes.  It surprisingly turned out really well!  Everyone that tried it said that it made them love ham again! It wasn’t the most attractive – but here’s the shot just out of the fryer:

And here’s what was hiding inside:

Clean up: if this is your first time using the oil, you can actually filter it using a cloth and funnel it back into its original containers.  You can freeze it until ready to be used again, even if that’s not until a year later.  It’s fine to do this, especially since peanut oil is so expensive, but I wouldn’t do it more than once.


2 responses to “How to Fry a Turkey

  1. deep fried ham…sounds deliciously decadent!

  2. Yum!! Maybe I’ll try it next year!

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