Main Dish | November 14, 2018

The Best Fried Turkey

I may be dramatic sometimes, but I am NOT being dramatic when I say this fried turkey recipe is LIFE CHANGING. I can say that because it seriously changed mine. I had never in my life had a turkey so juicy, flavorful and delicious until we fried a turkey. No worries folks, I’m going to tell you step-by-step how to make the best fried turkey IN THE WORLD and included is easy but damn delicious rub and injection marinades.

turkey on platter with garnish

How to Deep-Fry a Turkey

Frying turkey does come with a few cautions, but if you follow directions you will have no problems! We have fried turkey for several years in a row now, and have a few pro tips.

1. Follow directions. (wait, did I already say that?)
3. INJECT and RUB that baby!

We have tried only injecting, the next year we tried only marinating the turkey in a rub but year 3 was our magical year. That year we RUBBED and INJECTED and we can honestly say this is the only way to do it.

How to make an injection marinade

I love to make my own injection marinade for the turkey. It’s quick, easy and I know what ingredients are going into the turkey! Here is what you need.

Make sure you turkey is completely thawed, rinsed and pat dry. Mix all ingredients together and inject with this amazing syringe. I grabbed mine off of amazon, here is the link.

ingredients for injection sauce

How to inject a turkey for frying

You want to make as little holes in your turkey as possible while injecting as much marinade into the turkey as possible. How you do this? By sticking the needle in and moving it in different directions through one hole. See pictures below.

photos of how to inject your turkey

Rub for fried turkey

For the rub you want to use quality ingredients! You also use a lot of salts to help keep moisture in and deeply flavor the meat. My favorite salts are Redmond RealSalt. Their salts are bursting with the best flavor. I use them all the time for basically every recipe. They really do make a difference. For the rub you will use:

turkey breast seasonings for rub

 How to rub a turkey

Because we are frying the turkey you want to it be a dry rub. Do not apply butter to the skin before the rub. Mix the seasonings together and sprinkle on the bird.

Start by gently spreading the rub on all the surfaces, You want it in every nook and cranny!

gently rubbing a turkey with spices

Yes even make sure you coat the cavity of the turkey

hand coating the cavity of the turkey

Last wrap the turkey in cling wrap and let the rub and injection marinade do it’s work! Let it set for 24 hours. ok, ok, if you are running out of time you can let it marinate for less than that. For the best results let marinate for 24 hours prior to frying,

turkey marinating in cling wrap


OK! Today’s the day you are going to deep fry the best turkey! IT’s been marinated and rubbed and the turkey is ready for the oil.

You will need-

  1. A {marinated} Turkey (1.5 lbs x # of people you are feeding= size of turkey to buy) HOWEVER, make sure it will fit in your pot. Different fryers have different sized pots. Ours will not hold more than an 18lb turkey.
  2.  a turkey fryer, WE LOVE this one called LOCO. it is great quality and so much safer than other friers we have purchased. This Loco deep fryer is 100% worth the investment.
  3. 3 gallons of Peanut oil (we price matched and walmart it the cheapest) Peanut oil is the best to fry your turkey in. It has a mild flavor and a very high smoke temp.
  4. Probe thermometer (we have found thermoworks chef alarm to be the most accurate and best thermometer)I also used this extra long, 12 inch, thermometer for it.
  5. Propane tank

loco turkey fryer and peanut oil

How much oil do I use to fry my turkey

The most common reason there are accidents with deep frying turkeys is because there is too much oil displacement when the turkey is lowered into boiling oil. To make sure you have enough, but not too little oil in your pot this is what you can do:

  1. fill your pot to the fill line with water:

water being poured into turkey pot

2. Wrap your turkey in an air tight bag, place into basket and dunk in water so it is completely submerged. Add or remove water to the appropriate fill line. Mark the water line.

turkey in bag being dunked into water

3. Dry out the pan and fill pot with oil to your marked line. Preheat peanut oil to 275 Degrees.

oil coming to a boil

Place turkey in basket and using the hook (gloves are highly recommended against any splatter) slowly lower the turkey into the oil.
These gloves are also from the same company as the fryer. 
turkey in basket going into fryer
Bring peanut oil temperature up to 325 degrees and cook the turkey at that temp.
bubbling oil with turkey inside
TIP: The beautiful thing about the loco fryer is it has a hole in the lid. So I can insert my thermoworks chef alarm with the extra long probe into the hold and set a timer on the chef alarm. When the turkey reached the perfect temperature I knew immediately! aka NO OVERCOOKING. great products can really make a difference. 

How long do I fry a turkey?

You fry the turkey for about 3-5 minutes per pound, however, I highly recommend to not rely on the time rather to invest in a thermometer like chef alarm that can withstand high temps and can remain in the turkey the entire time you fry. (I recommend this if you are smoking or roasting turkey too). Turkey’s are highly temperamental and easily dried out when they are over cooked. Dont take the chance, just get a great thermometer (just bite the bullet and buy this chef alarm already). You want the internal temp to be 165 of the turkey. 

checking turkey temperature with thermometer
Carefully remove the turkey from the fryer, and allow to rest on a platter or cookie sheet for about 20 minutes before carving.
When it comes out of the fryer it should have a golden brown crispy skin. The fall apart meat on the inside will taste so delicious you will never be able to go back to oven baked again.


Placing the bird in the fryer before it reaches cooking temp will help to reduce any blackening that my occur, it also helps to reduce oil splattering during the initial placement. An oil temp around 250° has worked well for this.
You can also pull the bird out at a internal temp of 155 and let rest. The oil carryover will continue to cook the turkey to a internal temp of 165.
turkey on platter with tied legs
If you are looking for some other recipes to serve with your amazing tastebud shocking best fried turkey try these!
side of turkey and platter


Did you fry a turkey? use this recipe?  I love to hear from those who make my recipes.  If you want to keep up with our newest recipes, make sure you follow is on Facebook and Instagram, and make sure to subscribe to our newsletter.


5 from 16 votes
Fried turkey on a platter
The best fried turkey
Prep Time
1 d
resting time
20 mins

​Life-altering, literally THE BEST fried turkey recipe you will ever eat. Step-by-step instructions, delcious rub and injection marinade recipes included!

Course: dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: deep-fried turkey, fried turkey injection, fried turkey rub
Servings: 22
Calories: 211 kcal
Author: Desarae
  • 1 large turkey under 18 lbs
  • 1 injection syringe
  • 3 gallons peanut oil
Turkey Rub
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp onion salt
  • 1 tbsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
Turkey Injection Marinade
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup oil canola or vegetable
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 large lemon fresh, squeezed
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  1. Thaw your turkey completely, rinse and pat dry. Mix your injection marinade ingredients together and fill syringe. Poke 1 hole and move the needle into different positions as you push out marinade into the turkey. Do this in different parts of the birds, making as little holes as possible with getting the marinade in as much of the bird as possible. 

  2. Mix the rub spices together and rub all over bird, in cavity and in under skin also. Wrap turkey in cling wrap so it is completely covered and refrigerate 1 hour -24 hours. The longer the better!

  3. When ready to fry fill pot with water to first fill line, cover turkey in airtight bag and submerse into water to ensure the water will not over flow when placed in the hot oil. Mark water line. You want the turkey completely submerged in oil. 

  4. Dry pot and add peanut oil to marked line. Preheat oil to 275. Remove from plastic wrap and pat dry one more time. When oil reaches temp add turkey to bucket and lower using the hanger/hook. Wear gloves to protect hands and arms from oil splattering. 

  5. Insert thermometer probe and close lid. Allow oil to heat to 325. Cook until Internal temp of turkey reaches 165 degrees. Remove from oil and let rest for about 20-30 minutes before carving. 

Recipe Notes


To calculate how much turkey you will need, plan on 1-1.5 lb's per person. But remember a typical turkey fryer cannot hold a turkey larger than about 18 lb's.

Nutrition Facts
The best fried turkey
Amount Per Serving
Calories 211 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 90mg30%
Potassium 299mg9%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 395IU8%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 19mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

60 thoughts on “The Best Fried Turkey

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  1. 5 stars
    Definitely always frying a turkey every thanksgiving now thanks to this recipe. I love how easy and fresh the ingredients are. e

    1. I put the giblets and turkey neck and some celery tops in a saucepan and bring it to a boil then simmer. Strain the contents into a bowl then return the liquid to the saucepan. Strip the meat from the neck and finely chop it with the heart. Do not use the liver or gizzard. Add the finely chopped meat back to the liquid in the saucepan. Add more water and 1/4 turkey gravy powder (from a jar) and bring to boil. Simmer stirring occasionally. Delicious turkey flavor with a lot less fat.

  2. above you mention:
    I love to make my own injection marinade for the turkey. It’s quick, easy and I know what ingredients are going into the turkey! Here is what you need.

    lemon juice
    oil and water
    melted butter
    spices (thyme and sage)
    Worcestershire sauce
    Realsalt’s garlic salt and Realsalts’s onion salt

    but I don’t see the amount of Worcestershire sauce listed in the recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    Hi there, we’re looking forward to trying this recipe out this year. With the injectable marinade, what kind of oil do we use? Peanut oil? Thanks for your time!!

  4. Haven’t made it yet but Looking at this recipe for thanksgiving day. I noticed there is chili powder in the rub. Does this result in a little spice in the flavor of the bird?

  5. I ALWAYS deep fry my turkey. This year I’m going to try your recipe, but please tell me your nutrition facts are off. I don’t think there’s any way you could have that much sodium, fat, and cholesterol oer serving.

    1. no, Theres something wrong with the calculator and sodium- i’m having issues with it with other recipes so i just deleted and am contacting the company! Thanks for pointing it out.

  6. Do you let the turkey get to room temperature before putting it in the deep fryer or put it cold from the refrigerator?

  7. I’ve read somewhere that it’s best to leave the bird uncovered for the 24 hours to let the skin dry out a bit. You guys have it wrapped. Just want the skin crispy! Please let me know what the difference is. Thanks!

    1. Our skin has always been really crispy. After letting the seasoning sit on the turkey for 24 hours with the wrapping we still pat it dry one more time before putting it into the oil.

  8. You said 3 to 5 mins per pound but you said 3 hours of cook time for an 18 pound turkey ? I’m thinking 90 mins. That’s 5 mins. Per pound ? Help

    1. Hi Ginger! Thanks for your comment. I’ve updated the recipe card. It used to not have so many options for putting in times (prep/cook/resting) so three hours was the total time for oil to heat up, bird to cook and rest :) definitely go by a internal temp of the bird when actually frying it. But to give you an about cook time it should be 3-5 minutes per pound.

  9. 5 stars
    I have been frying turkeys myself for a few years and eating them for a long time. I definitely got a couple great tips in here that I believe will really improve my bird on Christmas. Thanks!

  10. 5 stars
    Hey Kadee first commenting long time fan. This will be my first time doing a deep fried turkey. I will be trying your recipe on Thanksgiving.

    1. I see all the ingredients for the marinade and rub but it doesn’t show the amount of the ingredients for any of them. Help

  11. 5 stars
    Question, if your thermometer is in the turkey while you fry to make sure the temp gets to the perfect number, how do you know how hot the oil is? Are you using two thermometers or are you only testing the turkey temp once it is close to the time when it should be done? Thanks!

    I can’t wait to try this out this Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Reggie! You can keep a thermometer in the oil to make sure it is consistently at the right temp and not over or under heating. Then remove the turkey periodically to check the temp of the bird.

  12. I dont have dried thyme and couldnt find it anywhere… can I use fresh? If so how much?
    Is the seasoning suppose to be super salty? I used Lawery’s seasoning salt as it was all we could get at the moment and the rub is super salty? Will it stay salty when its fried or should I use less seasoning salt?

  13. 5 stars
    Best Deep Fried Turkey ever! As you suggested I will be getting a better thermometer for my Christmas turkey. I took it out of the pot 10 minutes early to check the internal temp and it was done, Glad I did. It was soo tender and full of flavor their was barley any left of a 21 pound bird for 8 people. Thank you and this is my new Best recipe

  14. 5 stars
    Turned out delicious. I couldn’t find onion salt to save my life so I used garlic and onion powder and a tbs of kosher salt instead. I kept my thermometer in the entire time. Took a little over an hour to fry to temp using my electric turkey fryer . Two days later, the meat is still tender and tasty. Going to use this recipe for Cornish hens.
    Thank you!

  15. 5 stars
    I’ve always did mine the same way as you. However this Thanksgiving a renown Chef that is a close friend suggested that instead of rubbing the out side of the Turkey that I should go under the skin breaking loose the membrane and rub the turkey including the cavity just as you instruct. This traps the seasoning under the fat and infuses the meat much better than just the skin rub does. I did as he said and it was even better that what I thought could not get better. Lol. Food for thought.

  16. Anyone ever brine first and then follow this recipe for injecting and then doing the rub? I’ve always brined for 24-36 hrs then either done the traditional oven or peanut oil fryer. I always get huge compliments on my bird and was curious if it’s necessary to do all that or if it’s overkill and just follow this recipe without brining?


  17. Ok … I’m going on for the plunge! We are preparing Friendsgiving turkey at the outer banks next week. Two guys who haven’t done this before and the fryers wife is chef level and he is an engineer… so with a consultant, engineer and cooking sme… what could go wrong?

    I have faith in your impressive directions to ensure our drive home safety. Let you know how it goes ;-)