Deep Frying a Turkey: How Much Oil Do You Need?

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It makes sense that the thought of immersing a whole turkey in a pot of bubbling oil would excite cooks with a bold spirit of adventure. There are benefits to deep-frying a Thanksgiving turkey, too: the process takes less than two hours and yields a juicy, flavorful bird with crispy, golden brown skin. Additionally, since everything takes place outside, you can free up oven space for all the holiday side dishes you intend to make.

However, there’s no better way to ruin Thanksgiving than to light your house and the bird on fire. If this is your first time frying a turkey, don’t just wing it. Our comprehensive guide on turkey frying offers detailed instructions along with several crucial safety precautions to ensure a successful deep-fried Thanksgiving meal.

So go ahead and prepare the sweet potatoes, green beans, and pecan pie in the oven, then head outside to cook your Thanksgiving turkey quickly and simply.

Ah, the allure of a deep-fried turkey. Crispy skin, juicy meat, and a Thanksgiving feast that’ll leave your guests raving. But before you dive headfirst into this culinary adventure, there’s one crucial question: how much oil do you need to fry a 15-pound turkey?

Fear not, fellow turkey enthusiasts! This guide will not only answer that burning question but also equip you with the knowledge and tips to ensure a safe and successful deep-frying experience.

So, how much oil do you need for a 15-pound turkey?

5 gallons.

That’s right, a whopping 5 gallons of oil will be your magic potion for achieving that golden-brown perfection. But hold your horses, there’s a bit more to it than just pouring oil into your fryer.

The Water Test: Your Secret Weapon

Before you start splashing oil like a culinary Jackson Pollock, let’s perform a simple yet crucial test: the water test. This little trick will ensure you have the exact amount of oil needed, preventing messy overflows and potential safety hazards

Here’s how it works:

  1. Place your turkey in the empty fryer pot.
  2. Fill the pot with water until the turkey is completely submerged, with about 2 inches of water above the bird.
  3. Mark the water level on the outside of the pot with a waterproof marker.
  4. Remove the turkey and discard the water.
  5. Dry the pot thoroughly.

The Golden Rule: Fill to the Mark, Not the Brim

That water mark you just made? That’s your golden rule. Fill your pot with oil up to that mark, and you’re good to go. Remember, the oil level will rise when you submerge the turkey, so filling to the brim is a recipe for disaster (and a potential grease fire).

Safety First: Deep Frying with Caution

Deep frying a turkey is an exciting culinary endeavor, but safety should always be your top priority. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Fry outdoors in an open space, away from flammable structures.
  • Never fry in inclement weather.
  • Keep children and pets a safe distance from the fryer.
  • Wear heavy-duty gloves and an apron.
  • Allow the oil to cool completely before moving or disposing of it.
  • Have a fire extinguisher readily available.

Beyond the Oil: Your Deep-Frying Toolkit

Now that you know how much oil to use, let’s talk about the other essential tools for your deep-frying adventure:

  • Turkey fryer: A 30-quart or larger aluminum pot with a propane burner and a poultry rack is your go-to setup.
  • Thermometer: A deep-fry thermometer is crucial for monitoring the oil temperature, ensuring a perfectly cooked turkey.
  • Instant-read thermometer: This will help you check the internal temperature of the turkey, ensuring it reaches a safe 165°F.
  • Heavy-duty gloves and apron: Protect yourself from hot oil splatters.
  • Fire extinguisher: Be prepared for any emergencies.

The Deep-Frying Journey: From Prep to Perfection

With your toolkit assembled and safety measures in place, it’s time to embark on the deep-frying journey:

  1. Prepare your turkey: Dry-brine your turkey for optimal flavor and seasoning. Remove the giblets and dry the turkey inside and out.
  2. Set up your fryer: Place the fryer outdoors on a flat surface, away from flammable structures. Add the oil up to the water mark you made earlier.
  3. Heat the oil: Turn on the burner and adjust the heat to medium-high. Monitor the oil temperature until it reaches 375°F.
  4. Lower the turkey slowly: Once the oil is hot, turn off the burner. Use the poultry rack to slowly lower the turkey into the oil, using a stop-and-go method to prevent overflowing.
  5. Maintain the temperature: Turn the burner back on and adjust the heat as needed to maintain an oil temperature of 350°F.
  6. Fry until done: Fry the turkey for 3½ minutes per pound, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh and breast registers 165°F.
  7. Rest and carve: Once cooked, remove the turkey from the oil and let it rest for 20-30 minutes before carving.

The Aftermath: Cleaning Up Your Deep-Frying Fiesta

Wait for the oil to cool completely before cleaning up your fryer. Dispose of the oil responsibly according to local regulations. Wash the pot and store your deep-frying supplies for your next culinary adventure.

Deep-Frying: A Thanksgiving Tradition Worth Trying

Deep-frying a turkey may seem daunting, but with the right knowledge, tools, and safety precautions, it can be a rewarding and delicious Thanksgiving tradition. So, gather your friends and family, crank up the tunes, and get ready to experience the magic of deep-fried turkey.

Bonus Tips for Deep-Frying Success:

  • Use a high-smoke point oil like peanut oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil.
  • Avoid using wet brines or marinades, as excess moisture can lead to splattering and potential burns.
  • Don’t stuff your turkey before deep-frying.
  • Make sure the neck cavity is wide open and cut a small slit through the skin where the legs meet the breast to ensure good oil flow.
  • Let the turkey rest before carving to allow the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful bird.

With these tips and tricks in your arsenal, you’re well on your way to deep-frying a turkey that’ll have your guests begging for seconds. So, go forth and conquer the world of deep-frying!

How to deep-fry a turkey:

While the ingredients for our deep-fried turkey recipe are fairly straightforward—all you need is a whole turkey, lots of oil, and any additional seasonings you wish to add—the procedure calls for specialized tools. Although it may require an initial investment, once you own the entire setup, you can deep-fry your turkey every Thanksgiving. (You can also repurpose the equipment for a seafood boil come summertime. )Before you get started,.

  • Turkey should always be fried outside, away from any combustible structures such as the house, garage, swing set, backyard patio, etc. When the weather is bad, avoid trying to deep-fry a turkey because it could get messy if snow or rain gets into your fry pot.
  • Place the burner on a level surface and make sure kids and pets are always kept a safe distance away from the fryer.
  • To protect yourself from the hot oil when deep-frying, put on strong gloves and a protective apron.
  • Before moving or discarding the oil, let it cool completely (a few hours is best, but overnight is even better).
  • The supplies:

You don’t need an industrial deep fryer to cook your bird, but you will need a specialized turkey-frying kit. Look for these at most hardware and home-improvement stores, or online retailers (we like this one from Amazon). Most turkey-frying kits use propane gas, though some electric models fitted with fryer baskets claim to be safe to use indoors (avoid these; frying a whole turkey indoors runs a greater risk of a grease fire). Make sure your outdoor frying kit includes the following items:

  • 30-qt. or larger aluminum pot
  • A propane burner featuring a gauge to control the flame and a hose to attach to a propane gas tank
  • A poultry rack featuring a hook to raise and lower the turkey
  • To check the oil temperature, a 12-inch deep-frying thermometer that attaches to the pot’s side

Gas One Turkey Fryer Propane Burner Complete Kit

  • A full propane tank
  • A waterproof marker
  • A heavy-duty apron
  • Extended, robust oven mitts (such as those used for grilling)
  • A meat thermometer with instant read capability for determining the turkey’s internal temperature
  • A fire extinguisher, in case of emergencies

The turkey: Give it plenty of time to thaw if it’s frozen before starting the frying process (see our comprehensive guide on doing so here). If you have a fresh turkey, simply pat it dry with paper towels. In either case, stay away from using a wet marinade or brine because too much moisture can cause the bird to splatter when it’s dipped into the hot frying oil, which could result in dangerous flare-ups.

For most turkey preparations, including frying, we recommend dry-brining for optimal flavor and seasoning. A dry brine can permeate the meat, leading to a juicy, flavorful bird. More significantly, it dries out the skin, which promotes crisping and results in a more regulated frying process. Note that some turkeys—such as Butterball and kosher turkeys—are pre-brined (often in water) and do require additional seasoning. Remember that stuffing should be baked in an oven-safe casserole dish rather than stuffing deep-fried turkeys.

Whichever way you choose, don’t forget to dry the turkey from the inside out and remove the giblets from its cavity. Keep the neck and any other leftover turkey parts aside to make turkey stock (liver can be bitter). ).

The oil: You can use any type of oil that has a high smoke point. Canola oil, vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, and peanut oil all work well. How much oil do you need to fry a turkey? For a 12–14-lb. turkey, you’ll need approximately 4–5 gal. of oil. However, because pots differ in volume, the technique below will assist you in figuring out exactly how much you’ll need to fill your specific pot. Keep in mind that when you lower the turkey, the oil level will rise; this technique accounts for the space needed between the oil’s surface and the pot’s top. Avoid completely filling the pot as this could lead to the hot oil spilling over and igniting the entire thing.

How much oil do I need to deep fry a 15lb turkey?


Can you fry 2 turkeys in the same oil?

A.: You can reuse oil from deep-frying a turkey, provided it was properly stored. According to the National Turkey Federation, after frying, the oil needs to be strained, filtered and cooled. Then put it in a covered container and refrigerate or freeze it so that it won’t go rancid.

Does turkey have to be fully submerged in oil?

For more, see our Big Thaw fact sheet. When working with large amounts of hot oil, select a cooking vessel large enough to completely submerge the turkey without it spilling over. The oil should cover the turkey by 1 to 2 inches.

Is 3 gallons of oil enough to deep fry a turkey?

You’ll need approximately 5 gallons of oil; more for larger turkeys. Turkey can be injected with a marinade, coated with breading or seasoned with a rub before cooking. Approximately 1 cup of marinade is needed for an 8- to 10-pound turkey, 2/3 injected in the breast and 1/3 in the rest of the turkey.

How much oil do you need to fry a Turkey?

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:

Can you deep fry a 15 lb Turkey?

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?

How do you fry a Turkey in a fryer?

Turn on the fryer and preheat the oil to the desired temperature. Most recipes recommend heating the oil to 350°F (175°C), but be sure to follow the instructions for your specific fryer. Using a turkey lifter or other safe method, carefully lower the turkey into the hot oil. Be cautious of any splattering or bubbling that may occur.

How much oil do you need to submerge a Turkey?

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll need enough oil to fully submerge the turkey, with an additional 3-5 inches of oil above the turkey to allow for expansion and to prevent overflow. To calculate the amount of oil needed, you can use the following formula: For example, if you have a 12-pound turkey, the calculation would be:

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