How Long Does It Take To Cook A Turkey In A Deep Fryer

Author: Jenny J. Brown
May 25, 2023

Are you tired of the same old roasted turkey and looking to switch things up this holiday season? Deep frying your turkey is a popular option for a delicious and crispy bird. But how long does it take to cook a turkey in a deep fryer?

Timing is crucial when cooking your Thanksgiving turkey, especially when using a deep fryer. Cooking it for too long could result in a dry and overcooked bird, while not cooking it long enough could lead to undercooked and potentially unsafe meat.

In general, turkey needs 35 to 45 minutes to perfectly deep fry. But the timing can vary. 

But don’t worry; you can quickly achieve the perfect deep-fried turkey with the right information and tools.

In this article, we’ll cover all the factors determining how long it takes to cook a turkey in a deep fryer, along with some tips and tricks to ensure a successful and delicious outcome.

The Perfect Timing For Deep Fry Turkey

Deep frying a turkey can be a great way to cook a deliciously golden and juicy bird in much less time than a roast one. But timing is key in deep fry cooking since submerging the turkey in hot oil can cause serious safety hazards if done incorrectly. So how long should you deep fry your turkey?

The recommended cooking time for deep-fried turkey is typically 35 to 45 minutes or three to four minutes per pound. To avoid any guesswork and ensure your turkey is cooked to perfection, it’s best to use a thermometer.

A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit before you remove it from the fryer.

Can Turkey Size Impact the Timing?

Yes, the size of the turkey can impact the cooking time. Larger turkeys typically require more time to cook compared to smaller ones. This is because larger turkeys have more mass and thicker meat, requiring additional heat to penetrate and cook the meat thoroughly.

As a general guideline, it is recommended to calculate approximately 15 minutes of cooking time per pound (450 grams) for an unstuffed turkey and 20 minutes per pound for a stuffed turkey.

However, it’s important to note that these are just rough estimates, and using a meat thermometer is the most reliable way to determine when the turkey is fully cooked.

The size of the turkey affects the cooking time because the larger the bird, the more heat is required to reach the desired internal temperature throughout the meat.

It’s essential to ensure that the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh.

What Size is Turkey Best for Deep Frying?

When deep frying a turkey, the ideal size bird is usually around 12-14 pounds. Larger birds take too long to cook the breast meat and can dry out other turkey parts.

On one occasion, I could only find a larger turkey than recommended, as they had just sold the smaller birds. Although I could make it work, it barely fit in my pot, and I had to keep a close eye on it so that all parts of the bird were cooked properly.

If time is an issue, consider frying one turkey and smoking another like my family often does. This gives us plenty of leftovers for delicious recipes such as Turkey Sliders and Turkey Stroganoff Pot Pie.

Either way, you choose, your guest will thank you for providing them with an unforgettable Thanksgiving meal.

How Long To Cool Turkey Before Carving and Serving?

Resting meat after cooking is essential for optimal taste and moistness. It’s important to note that the internal temperature will continue to increase during the resting period, so removing the meat from heat is recommended once it reaches 165 degrees or slightly lower.

The duration of resting time required for a bird varies according to its weight. A big bird may take up to 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the room temperature.

Covering it with foil, but not too tightly, is recommended so that the skin doesn’t lose its crispness due to moisture.

Tips for Perfectly Deep Fried Turkey:

1. Use a quality deep fryer with a temperature gauge and adjustable heat control to monitor the oil temperature and adjust it as needed.

2. Carefully calculate the amount of oil your turkey needs to avoid spills or accidents when submerging it in the fryer.

3. Ensure your turkey is completely thawed and dry before adding it to the oil.

4. Use a thermometer to check the turkey’s internal temperature and ensure it’s cooked through before serving.

What are The Best Side Dishes to Serve with Deep Fried Turkey?

When it comes to deep-fried turkey, many people focus on the main dish and forget about the side dishes that help bring out the flavors of the main dish. Luckily, plenty of delicious side dish options pair perfectly with this unique form of turkey.

Some classic side dishes that will go well with your deep-fried turkey include potato salad, cornbread stuffing, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and Southern-style green beans.

Other ideas include creamy root vegetable gratin, roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon, twice-baked sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli rabe with garlic butter sauce, and roasted butternut squash.

No matter what side dishes you decide to serve alongside your deep-fried turkey, it’s important to remember that presentation is key. Consider garnishing the plate with fresh herbs or edible flowers for an extra special touch.

If you want something easy yet still delicious, try serving dinner rolls and a selection of mustard and other condiments for guests to choose from. Whatever sides you decide on, make sure they complement the flavors of your fried turkey.

Can I Store My Left Over Turkey?

Storing leftovers from your deep-fried turkey can be done in simple steps. Place the leftover turkey in airtight containers or plastic bags and store them in the refrigerator.

Typically, you can keep your deep-fried turkey leftovers for 3-4 days before it gets too dry or stale.

If you’d like to save your leftovers for a longer period of time, freezing them is a great option. To freeze the leftovers, place the turkey in plastic wrap inside of a freezer bag and put the bag into the freezer.

This way, your leftovers can be kept fresh for 3-6 months without major taste or texture changes. When ready to use them, thaw out the bagged turkey at room temperature and ensure it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. Does The Size Of Turkey Affect Cooking Time?

Yes, the size of the turkey can significantly impact the cooking time. Larger turkeys require more time to cook thoroughly compared to smaller ones.

The weight of the turkey primarily influences the cooking time because it determines the amount of meat that needs to reach a safe internal temperature.

2. How does turkey size affect cooking time?

The larger the turkey, the longer it will take to cook. This is because larger turkeys have more mass and thicker meat, which requires more time for heat to penetrate and cook evenly.

As a general guideline, it is recommended to calculate approximately 15 minutes of cooking time per pound (450 grams) for an unstuffed turkey and 20 minutes per pound for a stuffed turkey.

3. Are There Any Other Factors Besides Size That Can Affect Cooking Time?

 While turkey size is a crucial factor, other variables can influence cooking time. These include the type of oven, the accuracy of the oven temperature, the level of turkey thawing (if frozen), whether the turkey is stuffed or unstuffed, and the altitude at which you are cooking.

Considering these factors and using a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature is important.

4. How Can I Determine The Cooking Time For My Turkey Accurately?

To determine the cooking time accurately, it is recommended to use a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey’s thigh without touching the bone.

The turkey is safe to consume when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Use the cooking time guidelines mentioned earlier as a starting point, but rely on the thermometer reading to ensure doneness.

5. What Should I Do If My Turkey Is Large And Not Cooked In The Recommended Time?

If your turkey is large and not cooked through within the recommended time, you have a few options. First, you can continue cooking the turkey at the same temperature for longer, checking the internal temperature regularly until it reaches 165°F (74°C).

Alternatively, you can tent the turkey with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning while allowing it to cook more evenly. Lastly, if the turkey is browning too quickly, you can lower the oven temperature slightly to slow the cooking process.


The size of the turkey affects cooking time, with larger turkeys requiring more time to cook. Other factors like oven type, temperature accuracy, thawing level, whether it is stuffed or unstuffed, and altitude may also influence cooking time.

The best way to determine if the turkey is cooked through is by using a meat thermometer. If your turkey is large and not cooked in the recommended time, you can continue cooking it, tent it with aluminum foil, or lower the oven temperature.

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