How to Make a Deep-Fried Turkey

deep-fried turkey

Have you ever wanted to deep-fry a turkey but were a little hesitant? Have no fear. From marinating to frying, these step-by-step instructions for deep frying a turkey will guide you through the process. Many people use a store-bought marinade, but this fried turkey recipe has a delicious Italian marinade injected into the meat creating a rich, unique Italian flavor. Peanut oil gives the turkey’s skin an awesome crispiness. The result is a delicious flavorful turkey fried until crispy, moist, and irresistible. It will be a fabulous centerpiece at a holiday meal.


  • 1 12 to 14 lb turkey
  • 3 gallons of peanut oil

Red Wine Italian Marinade

  • 3/4 cup light-tasting olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp ground Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper


1. Remove wrapper, plastic pop-up thermometer and other plastic attachments or inserts. Wash the turkey inside and out.

2. Remove giblets and neck from inside the bird. Dry inside and out with paper towels.

3. Place on a paper towel-lined pan to absorb any additional moisture.

4. For the marinade, mix ingredients in a bowl. Pour into a glass to make it easier for pulling into the syringe. Keep a second glass with olive oil on hand for cleaning the syringe if it becomes clogged.

5. Fill up the syringe with the marinade. It’s best to use a syringe with a good size hole or holes to prevent clogging.

6. Pierce the skin. Insert the syringe and squeeze the plunger part of the way into the breast. Repeat in several places all over the breast to spread out the marinade. Refill the syringe as needed. Continue to inject the turkey on both breasts, thighs, and legs.

7. Wrap the turkey with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

8. Remove turkey from the refrigerator. Pat down, again, with paper towels inside and out. (The marinade is ok moisture, but you don’t want any water.)

9. Set up a frying station outside (a safe distance from any homes or cars) with the burner, propane tank, a trash can and a table for deep-frying tools. You’ll need a digital meat thermometer, deep-fry thermometer, lighter, hook for handle, paper towels, peanut oil, and a heat-resistant glove.

10. Pick your style of pot for frying. There are two typical frying pots. One is a pot with a basket and the other uses a poultry rack; either work great.

11. Place turkey in the basket or on the poultry rack with the feet up. Then, pour peanut oil until it completely covers the turkey (this is for measuring how much oil is needed for frying).

12. Remove the turkey from the pot and place on fresh paper towels placed in the pan to catch drips.

13. Light the burner to a low flame. Then, put the pot with the deep-fry thermometer on the burner and increase the flame. Use the thermometer to monitor the oil. When oil reaches 375 degrees, it’s ready for lowering the turkey.

14. Slowly lower the turkey. The oil will pop and sizzle vigorously. It takes a while for the cavity to fill with oil, so pause as lowering until the oil calms down. Then continue lowering until the turkey is on the bottom. It’s best to use long-length fryer gloves if available.

15. The heat will lower. If the heat doesn’t rise in a few minutes, slightly increase the flame. Keep the oil temp between 325 to 350 degrees. Do not leave the fryer unattended while the turkey is frying.

16. Fry the turkey 3 to 3 ½ minutes per pound. Remove the turkey from the hot oil. Check the temperature with the digital thermometer in the turkey breast away from the bone (should read 165 degrees).

17. Carefully remove the turkey from the basket or rack and place on a cutting board or pan.

18. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before cutting so the juices redistribute.

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