Fried Turkey

Fried Turkey

It’s really hard to beat a fried turkey right out of the fryer

I’ve been frying turkey’s for over 20 years.  It started our when the company I was working for, Archon Group, had an IT Thanksgiving lunch.  We thought it would be cool to have fried turkeys.  That first year, 1998, was not a raving success but I did learn a lot.  We had about 40 people in the department at the time so I decided to cook a 20 lb turkey.  That turned out to be waaaaaay too big.

Now, 20 years later, l’ve learned that 10 – 14 lb is the perfect size bracket.  At that size the turkey is done in less than an hour and the wings and drumsticks aren’t burned up.


Again, over 20 year, I’ve learned a lot about what works and doesn’t work for an injection.  I’ve tried garlic – lemon butter, teriyaki – honey, and Cajun.  I now stick with Cajun.  It’s just the right heat and flavor.

If you follow a couple of easy rules you’ll be good.

Rule #1 – DO NOT USE STORE BOUGHT INJECTIONS – It’s just too easy to make your own and most store bought injections have sugar or high fructose corn syrup.  Any sugar in your injection will burn and turn the bird black.  It may taste ok but it is not, as Alton Brown says “GBD – Golden Brown and Delicious”.  So, just make your own injection.  It’s super easy!

Rule #2 – DO NOT USE SUGAR IN YOUR INJECTION – as above, sugar burns and doesn’t look good in the finished product.  Stick to injections that are savory rather than sweet.



10 – 12 lb turkey – defrost and remove the neck and parts in bag – try and dry as much as possible.  Water and hot oil do not mix well.


This is for each turkey

1 stick of butter
1 cup of water
1/4 cup of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (or your favorite Cajun spice blend)

Put the butter and water in a microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave until the butter is melted.  Try and not get the mixture too hot but just enough for the butter to be melted.  

Mix in the Cajun spices.

Inject throughout the turkey.

I’ve done this minutes before frying the turkey and overnight.  I’m not sure it really makes a difference with how it tastes but for my own turkeys I inject the night before, cover in foil and keep in the refrigerator until an hour or 2 before i cook the turkey.

Hot Peanut Oil

Fryer with hot peanut oil at 325 degrees

Fryer and Oil

This is where caution is called for.  Do let your oil get too hot before you put in your turkey and ALWAYS TURN OFF THE FLAME BEFORE LOWERING TURKEY INTO THE HOT OIL.  If there’s no flame you won’t catch anything on fire if you get some splattering from the hot oil.

Keep your oil below 350 and take your time lowering the turkey and you should be good. I try and keep my oil at 325 and have found this is the perfect temperature to get the turkey golden brown and still cook in under 1 hour.

Peanut Oil – most turkey frying pots have marks on the side to note how much oil to put into the pot for different size birds.  You can also test this beforehand by putting your fully frozen wrapped bird in the pot, fill with water until the bird is covered then remove the bird.  Mark where the water line is so you know when you fry how much oil to put in the pot.  You will need a little more oil but it’s easy to add if needed later.

  • Heat the oil to 325 – 350 degrees
  • Turn off the fire
  • Wear safety gloves that won’t soak up hot oil
  • Slowly lower the turkey into the hot oil
  • Cover with lid
  • Turn on the fire

Watch your oil temp.  I find that it lowers down to just under 300 degrees when the turkey is put in.  It should come back up to around 300 degrees within a few minutes.  Keep it at that temperature!

At 30 minutes in carefully remove the lid and take the temperature of the middle of the breast.  On a 10 – 14 lbs turkey is normally is around 100 degrees at this point.

At 45 minutes take the temperature again.  I find that removing the turkey at 155 to 158 degrees allows for some carryover and gives you a perfectly cooked turkey.

Remove the turkey from the oil, place in aluminum pan and wrap with aluminum foil.

If you are going to eat within the hour then wrap the turkey loosely to allow the steam to escape.  This keeps the skin crispy.

If you are going to keep the turkey for longer, keeping the skin crispy is a challenge and not one I tend to worry about.  If you need to keep the bird for several hours I wrap tightly in the aluminum pan until we are ready to carve.


I hope this works for you.  Here’s links to the equipment and items I use each year.


Thermometer – Thermapen MK4

Tony Cacherie’s Cajun Seasoning

Rubber BBQ Gloves

Peanut Oil – Costco Kirkland Brand

Aluminum Pans

Stainless Steel Marinade Injector

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