Deep Fried Turkey Recipe

James Patrick
Deep Fried Turkey cooked to perfectionPetrina Tinsley

Over time more people have changed the way they cook their Thanksgiving turkey. Let's look into where it all started and how to do it safely and correctly.

Vogue magazine did an article on the history of deep-fried turkeys. They stated that the popular Cajun chef Justin Wilson was the first to discuss it. He said he saw it first done in the 1930s. Wilson was very popular with audiences of the 1970s, especially with his storytelling and heavy accent. He was one of the only chefs that did this delicacy until it started to spread in the 1980s.
Justin Wilson became the first celebrity chef to deep fry turkeysJustin Wilson's Southern Products Facebook Page

In the 1990’s it took off. Several celebrity chefs including Marth Stewart and Emeril Lagasse promoted it. Several national newspapers shared recipes. As it caught on, many stories of the fires and other things caused by not cooking the turkey correctly and safely also emerged.

Deep-frying turkey is an excellent way to enjoy it. The turkey is put into a brine overnight. If one uses proper safety procedures and techniques, it can be done in a safe manner. Butterball has a great recipe that is easy to do. Enjoy!


3 cups firmly packed brown sugar

  • 1-½ tablespoons mustard
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 gallons of cold water
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 head garlic, separated into cloves and crushed
  • 3 gallons of peanut oil for frying
  • 1 (10 - 12 pounds) BUTTERBALL® Whole Turkey, thawed if frozen


  1. Combine brown sugar, mustard, salt, and cayenne pepper in a large non-metallic container. Gradually whisk in the water, thyme, and garlic.
  2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Discard or refrigerate for another use. You can use the turkey lifter while in the brine mixture only. (Do not use it in the fryer.)
  3. Place turkey in the brine mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Preheat oil to 400°F.
  5. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Place turkey, breast side up, in the basket. Slowly lower the basket into hot oil, being cautious of splattering oil.
  6. Maintain oil temperature at about 350°F. Fry the turkey for 3½ to 4 minutes per pound. Remove from oil to check doneness. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, not touching the bone. The temperature should read 170°F. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching the bone. The temperature should be 180°F.
  7. Remove turkey from hot oil and drain on paper towels. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

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Writer & Host of The Forum Celebrity Podcast with Florence Carmela. We conduct Celebrity Interviews, cover Pop Culture & Trending News Stories! I've been a featured guest on several radio shows & podcasts. Twitter: @realjamespat @FlorenceCarmela

Fairfield, CA

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