How-To Guide to Deep Frying Turkey

One of the things I love about roasting a turkey is how simple it is; the other thing is how little mess it makes. So when Butterball asked me to fry a turkey, I said sure, why not! But I have to admit that I was nervous about the whole process, because if anything was going to be both difficult and messy, it would certainly be frying a turkey.

I was wrong on both counts.

This year, Butterball has partnered with Masterbuilt to create the Butterball Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer. It’s about the size of a bread machine (remember those?) and is designed to sit on your kitchen counter.

And fry a turkey. I am entirely serious.

If you’ve never had a fried turkey, you have no idea what you are missing; fried turkey is delicious– tender and juicy and flavorful. I’m not a big fan of fried food, but I tasted fried turkey at last year’s Butterball University session, and was completely won over. But I wasn’t about to fry one myself. Because that would be complicated! And messy! And dangerous!

It wasn’t any of those things, honestly. Although I will admit that I triple checked our fire extinguishers before we turned the fryer on, just in case.

Preparing a turkey for frying is essentially the same as preparing a turkey for roasting; defrost the turkey completely in the fridge or a cold water bath (our turkey was still slightly frozen on the morning of our planned dinner, so I tossed it in a big cooler full of cold water and left it to finish defrosting there). To guarantee that there are no ice crystals in the inside cavities, rinse with tepid or slightly warm water. Season with salt and pepper, place in the fryer basket, and you’re all set. For best results, the turkey should be at room temperature when you put it in the oil; if you start preparing the bird while the oil preheats, that’s plenty of time to take the chill off.

The Butterball fryer is designed to handle up to a fourteen pound turkey; ours was just slightly under thirteen pounds. The turkey needs to fry for 3.5 – 4 minutes per pound; this meant that our bird took 45 minutes to cook, which is nothing, really. Roasting a similar size Butterball in the oven would have taken over four hours. That 45 minutes was just enough time for me to make sweet potatoes and for my neighbor to whip up a green bean casserole. Perfect.

The best part, though, may have been the clean up, which was a breeze. Both the fryer basket and the internal drum that holds the oil are dishwasher safe, but since my dishwasher was full of dishes from dinner for eight, I hand washed both of those pieces — and they both came clean without any extra effort. The part we were dreading was draining the oil out of the fryer, but this was simple too; the fryer is equipped with a nifty little spout that is the perfect size to fit into the neck of the original peanut oil container. My husband drained the oil out and wiped the fryer down with a damp cloth and we were done.

So easy, and so delicious. We’re already planning to fry another turkey, soon.

The Butterball Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer retails for $119.00 – $159.00. Get yours today.



  1. Posted November 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This looks great. I have an outdoor turkey fryer, and this seems much safer and easier.

  2. sheila
    Posted December 13, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I love my turkey fryer. I am frying my third turkey since Thanksgiving.

  3. doug peters
    Posted November 20, 2012 at 6:06 am | Permalink | Reply

    love my butterball fryer also use it to fry other things Wings corn dogs fried chicken use it to fry anything

  4. Nancy
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink | Reply

    I bought a butterball deep fryer. What kind of butterball turkey do I need to buy and do I need to brine it?

    • Posted November 17, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Nancy, thanks for the question. If your turkey is 14 lbs. or less, you can deep-fry it whole. If it’s 15 lbs. or more, separate the legs and thighs from the breast and fry them separately; or use a Butterball XL Turkey Fryer. Please find more tips for deep frying on here:

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