Serves a Crowd

Our Family Fried Turkey

October 16, 2012
2 Ratings
Photo by inpatskitchen
  • Makes one 12 to 15 pound turkey
Author Notes

About 15 years ago when I was still retailing seafood and we were helping customers make gumbos, jambalayas and etouffees, a customer walked in and bought about 6 containers of a Cajun seasoning that we sold. I asked him if he was stocking up and he replied, "No I'm frying a boatload of turkeys for Thanksgiving". Of course i asked all sorts of questions about process and methods and brought the information home to Tom. We talked about it for almost a year and then went out to buy a turkey fryer. We experimented with rubs, brines and injections and determined that simplest was best. The next Thanksgiving we decided to roast one and fry one and see what the family's reaction would be. Fried turkey won hands down! So now on Thanksgiving day we fry two and since the oil will do five or six, the next day we do three or four more, cool them and then wrap them tight and freeze for turkey dinners later in the winter. Crispy skin and juicy meat make for the best turkeys ever. Please note that you do need some special equipment for this but the fryer can double as a seafood boiler and what's to stop you from frying whole chickens, turkey breasts or even fish?
Note: The photo is of son Matt getting a carving lesson from his "Papa" —inpatskitchen

What You'll Need
  • For the rub
  • 6 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed between your fingers
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed between your fingers
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • For the turkey
  • 1 12 to 15 pound turkey (NO bigger than 15 pounds)
  • 35 pounds peanut oil or a peanut/vegetable blend (about 5 gallons)
  • 1 Turkey fryer with about a 30 quart capacity (preferably one with a handled basket as opposed to a hook)
  • 1 frying thermometer
  • Safety glasses
  • Heavy duty gloves (welding gloves are great!)
  • Water to figure out how much of that oil you'll need
  • A propane tank to hook to your fryer
  • The turkey rub
  1. For the rub
  2. Combine all ingredients and store covered until ready to use.
  1. For the turkey
  2. All right...let's get started. First you need to figure out how much of that 35 pounds of oil you'll need. To do this place the raw turkey in the basket of the fryer legs up and then place the basket in the fryer. Fill the fryer with enough water to cover the whole turkey.(you want to wash the turkey anyway, don't you?) Pull the turkey and basket out and take a mental image of how far up the fryer the water level is. This will be the amount of oil you'll need. Dry the fryer and fill with the oil. Oh and don't forget...this is an outdoor project away from decks and anything else that might catch fire!
  3. Bring the turkey indoors, dry it with paper toweling inside and out and rub it thoroughly, inside and out with the rub. Let that turkey rest for about an hour. You probably won't need all of the rub, but better to be safe than sorry.
  4. Now hook up your fryer to the propane tank, turn on the tank and wait until the oil reaches a temperature of 360F. Depending on the weather, this could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Once that's done place your rubbed turkey back into the basket, legs up, and wearing gloves and glasses SLOWLY lower the basket into the hot oil.
  5. Now set a timer. Standard frying time is 3.5 minutes per pound, so a 15 pound turkey will take between 52 and 53 minutes to cook.
  6. After cooking time is done, slowly lift the turkey filled basket out of the oil and let drain for a few minutes. Let rest for about 15 minutes before carving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • PattiinMS
  • drbabs
  • inpatskitchen
  • Emazingrace

Recipe by: inpatskitchen

I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining. My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!

12 Reviews

Emazingrace November 30, 2015
I used this recipe with my new Waring Pro Rotisserie Turkey Fryer/Steamer, TF200B and everyone LOVED the turkey. It's official - we're converts! We were peeling off the wonderfully flavored crispy skin before it was carved. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I plan to use it on roast chicken and fish...all deep-fried, of course!
inpatskitchen November 30, 2015
I'm so happy you enjoyed! We did 2 of them on Thanksgiving and then 3 more Saturday for the freezer. We were able to use the propane outside this year but have bought an electric indoor fryer (which we'll use in the garage) and have done chickens but haven't tried a turkey yet. Thanks so much for trying and becoming converts!!
jph November 5, 2015
WOW! Thank you for this recipe...I bought one of those fryer/boiler thingies too and this is the first recipe of spices that makes sense. Now all I need is a open field to make it.
inpatskitchen November 5, 2015
Oh I hope you're able to find that open field!! Thanks and please let me know how it turns out! Our whole family just LOVES fried turkey!
Christene November 14, 2012
I'm so excited to see this recipe. I was kind of embarrassed when we bought a turkey frier last year. (We got one of those electric ones from Costco.) But then we tried it and oh, my, gosh! It was awesome! We fried another turkey a few weeks later for Christmas and this year I'm not even considering anything else. While it felt kind of wrong to not be pull a gorgeous turkey that took lots of work out of the oven, the turkey was great and it was so practical. I have a "condo sized" single oven and years before were a nightmare to try to coordinate other dishes. Anyway -- this year I was going to do a dry brine. I'm wondering - could this rub be applied earlier in the day or the night before? Looks like the amount of salt is similar to what the brine suggests (4-6 tablespoons). But maybe this much seasoning shouldn't be applied too far in advance? And for those anxious about the tools in the article, we bought the Masterbuilt Butterball Turkey Fryer. I don't know how it compares to the equipment in the article but I like that it is used indoor, uses a lot less of oil (2-3 gallons) and seems a lot safer. However, while it says max 14" lb turkey, I thought that was pushing it. I'm getting 12 lbs this year and love the idea of doing a second so leftovers can be sent home!
inpatskitchen November 14, 2012
Hi Christine! I'm so glad you're a fried turkey lover many people don't know what they're missing! And I feel your pain with oven space..we always did two turkeys when roasting so I invested in two electric turkey roasters until we bought the fryer. We've been researching the electric fryer that you use. Does the skin get nice and crispy? I'd love to cut down on the cost of oil and propane.
I don't know if you want to rub the turkeys the night before but certainly early in the day would be fine. Thanks for your lovely comment and all the info .
Christene November 16, 2012
I thought the turkeys turned out nice and crispy, but I did tent them too tightly so they steamed a bit before I served them and softened up. The electric fryer does not get as hot as some recipes call for but we thought it was great. Having only a condo balcony as "outdoor space" made this our only real option but the safety and convenience has been wonderful. I thought more about the rub... now I'm thinking I'll still do the dry brine with just the salt, and then an hour or two before frying apply the rest of the ingredients in the recipe. =)
inpatskitchen November 16, 2012
Thanks Christene!
PattiinMS October 26, 2012
We have a neighborhood Thanksgiving and fry 5 or 6 turkeys for those coming or a friend or two. We usually brine ours and then inject with an Italian Salad Dressing that has been blended so it doesn't plug the needle. I have tried both salt brine and another with oranges and cinnamon that was really good. Fried turkey is the best.
inpatskitchen October 26, 2012
It is the best isn't it? Now the turkey goes faster than the sides and even though we're usually a smallish group of 9 adults and 4 young kids I have to make 2 plus a ham so that everyone (including us!) gets leftovers. Love your block party Thanksgiving!
drbabs October 16, 2012
This is so cool. My stepson is frying a turkey this year; I'll make sure he sees your recipe. Thanks!
inpatskitchen October 17, 2012
Oh I do hope you enjoy as much as we do! And everyone (even the little ones) love seeing that bird come out of the fryer! I'd love to hear your stepson's method.