How Long Does It Take to Fry a Turkey?

What is the amount of time required to fry a turkey? Consideration is given to set-up and preparation as part of the time needed for frying a turkey.

Turkey frying is gaining popularity because of taste and time. With most families being somewhat smaller than a few decades ago, the amount of turkey needed for a holiday meal is not as much today as back then. Most families can be well-fed with a twelve to fourteen pound turkey. This size bird is just the right size for easy frying.

If you count the time needed to find and buy a turkey fryer, it takes a ridiculously long time to fry a turkey. However, the actual amount of time required to fry a turkey is small compared to the time required to roast one. The turkey will not taste precisely the same, but frying is a nice, easy, and quick way to prepare a turkey.

Setting up the fryer and propane burner requires about ten or fifteen minutes after the first time. Obviously, the first time that you do anything it takes longer. You will need to put the turkey in the frying pot and fill it with water until the turkey is submerged. Mark the level of the water. For future turkeys you can use the same mark if the bird is about the same size. A ten pound bird and a twelve pounder will be about the same as far as their displacement in the pot.

Empty the water and thoroughly dry the pot. Fill it with a good high temperature oil to the mark. Light the burner and place the pot on the stand to start the oil heating. It will require about forty-five minutes or an hour for the oil to reach the cooking temperature of 300 to 325 degrees.

While the oil is heating, you can dry the turkey inside and out. It needs to be fairly free from water before it hits the hot oil. If you put it in too wet, it will be a bad day for you. Once the turkey is dry, it is time to add the seasonings. This can be a rub or injections or both. If you choose, just use salt and pepper. This will require about 20 to 30 minutes.

When you are done with the preparation of the turkey, insert the frame that holds the turkey upright in the oil during cooking. If the bird is completely thawed, this is an easy operation. The turkey should be thawed before frying. You will need to do this in advance.

By the time the turkey is ready for the oil, the oil should be about ready for the turkey. Use the hook that comes with the fryer and lower the bird slowly into the hot oil. I usually lower it about an inch every ten or fifteen seconds until the bird is resting with the frame on the bottom of the fryer. The oil should be boiling.

Monitor the temperature to keep it at 300 to 325 degrees throughout the cooking process. If it goes below 275 degrees, turn up the fire until it heats back up. If it rises to near 350 degrees, lower the fire until it begins to cool down. Temperatures above 350 degrees are considered unsafe for the cooking oil.

By keeping the oil in the right temperature range, the cooking time will be easier to judge. Cook the turkey for about four minutes per pound at the low end of the range. Lower the time to about three and a half minutes for the upper end of the temperature range. To be safe, plan to have the turkey finished frying about 30 minutes early. You can keep it warm in a low temperature oven if necessary.

Slice off a portion of the breast and a thigh immediately. If it is not completely cooked, replace the turkey into the oil and fry it for about fifteen more minutes. This should be more than adequate in most cases.

To summarize, fry a twelve pound fully thawed turkey for about 45 minutes. To make sure that the bird is ready at meal time, allow one hour for the oil to heat and one hour for the cooking time. Together, this should give you about a 30 minute window between the time the turkey finishes frying and the meal begins. This window will give you a chance to finish cooking a turkey that fried a little slowly.

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