Prepare to savor the ultimate centerpiece of our All-American dinner with this mouthwatering Fried Turkey recipe, courtesy of The Fearless Frying Cookbook. This culinary masterpiece takes the traditional turkey to a whole new level of crispy perfection, creating a succulent and flavorful dish that will have your guests lining up for seconds. With a crispy golden skin and tender, juicy meat, this fried turkey recipe promises to be the star of the gathering, a delightful homage to the rich traditions of American feasting. As you gather with family and friends to celebrate the spirit of togetherness, let this delectable turkey take center stage and set the tone for a memorable All-American dinner filled with heartwarming moments and delightful flavors.

Note: you will need a turkey fryer or an outdoor cooker with a 10 gallon pot.


  • 4 to 5 gallons vegetable oil
  • 1 whole turkey (12 to 15 pounds), at room temperature
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)


Begin heating the oil in a 10-gallon pot over a very hot propane flame outdoors to 390 degrees F. Don’t set the burner to its highest setting, as you may need to increase the heat after you’ve added the turkey. It will take about 20 minutes for the oil to heat.

Meanwhile, rinse the turkey well, pat it dry inside and out, and set it on end in a sink to drain.

When the oil reaches 375 degrees F., pat the turkey dry again, and sprinkle it with cayenne, if desired. If your cooker has a basket insert, place the turkey in the basket and set it over a baking sheet; if not, set an oven rack over a large baking sheet, place the turkey on it, and take them outside to the cooker.

Check the temperature of the oil. When the oil reaches 390 degrees F., carefully and slowly lower the basket with the turkey into the oil; or lower it holding it by its legs or by a long heavy tool such as a clean fireplace poker inserted into its cavity. Be careful! Immediately check the oil temperature and adjust the flame so that the temperature does not dip below 340 degrees F. You want to maintain the temperature at 365 degrees F. As it cooks, occasionally move the bird around in the oil so that it does not scorch (the oil near the heat source will be hotter). Whole turkeys take only 3 to 4 minutes per pound to fry to perfection: small ones, around 12 pounds, will take about 35 minutes; large ones, around 15 pounds, will take about 1 hour. When it is done, the turkey will float to the surface with a perfectly crispy, brown skin. If you are unsure, you can test the meat for doneness at the hip joint or insert a meat thermometer into the breast; it should register 180 degrees F.

Using the basket insert if there is one, or by again inserting a long heavy tool such as a clean fireplace poker into its cavity, carefully remove the turkey from the oil and hold it over the pot for a moment to allow any excess oil to drain back into the pot, then lay the bird on the oven rack.

Allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Yield: 20 servings