Digital First: How to Fry Your Turkey for Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete for most families without a turkey. No one wants to have a burnt turkey or no turkey at all. That’s why the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has some tips to keep you and your family safe, if you plan to fry your turkey this year.

Here Are A Few Tips For Frying Your Turkey:

  • The USDA encourages everyone not to buy the turkey too early, if bought fresh: keep in the refrigerator (40 F or less) and cook within 1-2 days. If bought frozen: it takes 4-5 pounds per day to thaw safely in the refrigerator; for a 12 pounder it will take 2.5 to 3 days in the refrigerator to thaw, then cook within 1-2 days.
  • Frying a smaller bird always works better. The turkey should be no larger than 12 pounds – or you can fry parts instead, such as breasts, wings or legs. It should be fresh, completely thawed and not stuffed.

Turkey Bought Frozen:

  • If you bought the frozen turkey and don’t have time to thaw it in the refrigerator before the family dinner, use our quick-thaw, water method: submerge the frozen bagged bird in cold tap water, changing the water every 30 minutes so it continues to thaw. Small packages of meat, poultry or seafood — about a pound — may thaw in an hour or less. For whole turkeys, estimate about 30 minutes per pound. So a 12-pound bird will take approximately 6 hours with this method. Remember, when thawed completely, the food must be cooked immediately. 
  • Allow approximately 3 to 5 minutes of cook time per pound. When reaching approximate time needed, check to see if the turkey is safely cooked by removing the turkey from the oil, draining the oil from the cavity and with a food thermometer, check the internal temperature of bird. DO NOT test the temperature while the turkey is submerged in oil. The turkey is safely cooked when the turkey reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165°F in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. If the turkey has not reached 165°F in all three locations, then return it to the hot oil for additional cooking.

If you’re still nervous about frying your bird this Thanksgiving, several local businesses are offering fried turkey on their menus to help your holiday season a breeze.


Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories