Turkey Fryer Oil FAQs

If you're planning to fry a whole turkey for the holidays this year, first pat yourself on the back for trying something new. Then familiarize yourself with cooking oil smoke points so you can get the best results with your fried turkey and stay safe during the process. We'll walk you through some of the most common questions about turkey frying so you can handle your fryer like a pro.

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Why Should You Fry A Whole Turkey?

Using an outdoor fryer kit can be intimidating at first. If you're wondering why you should try it out, let us convince you. An oven-roasted turkey requires careful planning, hours of roasting, and constant attention. With a turkey fryer, you can deep fry a 15 lb. turkey in 50 minutes. That's a huge time savings which is enough reason in itself, but you also get delicious results. Learn more about turkey frying oil below, or check out our turkey frying recipe to get started.

What Is the Best Oil for Frying Turkey?

Pulling a deep-fried turkey out of a turkey fryer.

There are several types of oil that you can use to deep fry a turkey, but we recommend using peanut oil. Many chefs agree that peanut oil produces some of the best results when deep frying. It has a high smoke point, which means it's safe to heat peanut oil to high temperatures. Besides that, peanut oil works well for deep frying because it has a neutral flavor and it adds a crisp texture to fried foods.

Can You Reuse Peanut Oil?

Yes, if you follow safety standards, you can reuse peanut oil. Allow the peanut oil to cool completely before removing it from the pot, then put it back into its original container(s) for storage. You should cover the oil during storage and keep it in a cool, dark area. If you won't be using it within a month, experts recommend storing peanut oil in your refrigerator or freezer.

How Many Times Can You Reuse Peanut Oil?

When cared for and stored properly, you can reuse peanut oil three to five times within six months before you need to toss it out. You'll need to add fresh oil each time you deep fry a turkey to maintain the required oil level. Reusing the same peanut oil can impart a deeper, richer flavor to your turkeys, so the umami goodness will increase as you fry multiple turkeys for a Thanksgiving event.

Do You Have to Use Peanut Oil to Fry a Turkey?

No, you don't have to stick with peanut oil when you fry a turkey. Any frying oil with a smoke point over 425 degrees Fahrenheit is suitable. Try these oils for deep frying:

  • Refined Avocado Oil for Frying Turkey - smoke point 520 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Safflower Oil for Frying Turkey - smoke point 510 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Refined Soybean Oil for Frying Turkey - smoke point 450 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Sunflower Oil for Frying Turkey - smoke point 450 degrees Fahrenheit

Can You Use Vegetable Oil to Fry a Turkey?

Yes, but it depends on the specific product. Vegetable oil is a general label that can be used to market soybean, canola, or grapeseed oils. Some vegetable oils have a high smoke point that is suitable for deep frying, and some may not. Look for vegetable oil that is specifically meant for deep frying.

How Much Oil to Fry a Turkey?

Man pouring peanut oil into a turkey fryer

There's an easy trick to figure out exactly how much cooking oil you need to deep fry your turkey. First, place the uncooked bird inside your fryer pot. Then, fill the pot with water until it covers the turkey or meets the maximum fill line on the inside of the pot. Pull out the turkey and make a note of the water level. Now, pour out the water and replace it with cooking oil, making sure to fill it to the same level.

You'll need enough oil to cover your entire turkey, but not so much that it spills over. A general guideline is to use 3 gallons of oil for a 30 qt. pot and 3 1/3 gallons of oil for a 32 qt. pot. Check out this list of turkey weights and oil quantities to approximate how much oil you’ll need to fry your turkey:

  • 9 Pound Turkey - Use 3 to 4 gallons of oil and cook for 32 minutes.
  • 13 Pound Turkey - Use 4 to 5 gallons of oil and cook for 44 minutes.
  • 14 Pound Turkey - Use 5 gallons of oil and cook for 47 minutes.
  • 15 Pound Turkey - Use 5 gallons of oil and cook for 50 minutes.
  • 20 Pound Turkey * - Use 5 to 6 gallons of oil and cook for 3 minutes per pound.
  • 22 Pound Turkey * - Use 5 to 6 gallons of oil and cook for 3 minutes per pound.

*Note: For turkeys over 15 pounds, separate the white and dark meat before frying.

How Big of a Turkey Can You Deep Fry?

Turkey on a hook, partially submerged in boiling oil inside a deep fryer

You can fry a turkey as big as 22 pounds, but you may have to portion it into pieces. Stick with a turkey that's between 9 and 14 pounds so you can keep it intact. Presenting the whole bird on Thanksgiving Day makes a greater visual impact than pre-portioned cuts of meat. Also, the larger the turkey, the greater the chance that it will dry out while it fries.

How Long Does It Take to Deep Fry a Turkey?

In general, you can calculate deep-fried turkey cook times at a rate of three minutes per pound plus five minutes. For example, if you're deep frying a 15 lb. turkey, cook it for 50 minutes.

Keep in mind that larger turkeys take longer to cook, which can overcook the outside and leave the inside undercooked. If you're frying a large turkey, we recommend portioning the bird into smaller sections and frying them separately.

Can You Fry a Turkey Without Oil?

Yes, you can "fry" a turkey with a convenient piece of equipment called an oil-less fryer. These oil-less turkey fryers are designed for outdoor use and are powered by liquid propane tanks. Instead of hot oil and a large pot, oil-less fryers use infrared heat and a cylindrical cooking chamber to produce similar results to deep frying. The process takes much less time than roasting and yields a turkey with tender meat and crispy, brown skin. A benefit of using an oil-less turkey fryer is that you don't have to deal with hot oil, which can be messy and dangerous when mishandled.

How to Cook Turkey in an Oil-Less Fryer

Place the turkey inside the included cooking basket and lower it into the cooking chamber. Turn the unit on to fill the chamber with high-intensity infrared heat. The turkey cooks fast, which locks its juices in and produces crispy skin.

Oil-Less Turkey Fryer Cook Times

Oil-less turkey fryers cook turkeys at a rate of approximately 10 to 15 minutes per pound. This is much quicker than roasting, but it isn't as fast as a traditional fryer kit. With any type of cooking, it's important to check the internal temperature of your turkey. The bird must cook to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the breast to ensure it's safe for consumption.

Deep frying your turkey is a great way to put an innovative spin on a classic recipe. While the process may be simpler than cooking your bird in the oven, factors such as the type of oil you use, the cooking time, and the amount of oil can affect results, so use this guide to deliver premium quality fried turkey.

Posted in: Kitchen & Cooking Tips|Seasonal|By Michale LeRoy
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