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Southern-Style Deep-Fried Turkey

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Southern-Style Deep-Fried Turkey
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  • Prep 1 hr 15 min
  • Total 10 hr 20 min
  • Servings 20
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You haven't had turkey until you've had our Cajun deep-fried turkey. So let's talk about how to deep-fry a turkey; it's easier than you think, and we're with you every step of the way! We could go on and on about the benefits of deep-fried turkey... the skin is crispy and the meat is beyond juicy, it's super flavorful and it frees up valuable oven space! Do we need to go on? Between the rub and the marinade, our Cajun fried turkey makes dry turkey is a thing of the past. Trust us, you're going to want to make this for Thanksgiving!
Updated Nov 1, 2021


Cajun Spice Rub

  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground chipotle chiles or ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Cajun Marinade

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper


  • 1 whole turkey (10 to 12 lb), thawed if frozen
  • 1 poultry or meat injector
  • 1 turkey deep-fryer, consisting of 40- to 60-quart pot with basket, burner and propane tank
  • 5 gallons peanut, canola or safflower oil


  • 1
    Read the Turkey Deep-Frying Do's and Don'ts (below). In small bowl, mix all spice rub ingredients until blended; set aside. In shallow glass or plastic bowl, mix all marinade ingredients until salt is dissolved; set aside.
  • 2
    Remove giblets and neck from turkey; rinse turkey well with cold water; pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Take extra care to dry both inside cavities, because water added to hot oil can cause excessive bubbling. To allow for good oil circulation through the cavity, do not tie legs together. Cut off wing tips and tail because they can get caught in the fryer basket. Place turkey in large pan.
  • 3
    Rub inside and outside of turkey with spice rub. Inject marinade into turkey, following directions that came with injector. Cover turkey in pan; place in refrigerator at least 8 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
  • 4
    Place outdoor gas burner on level dirt or grassy area. Add oil to cooking pot until about 2/3 full. Clip deep-fry thermometer to edge of pot. At medium-high setting, heat oil to 375°F. (May take 20 to 40 minutes depending on outside temperature, wind and weather conditions.) Place turkey, neck end down, on basket or rack. When deep-fry thermometer reaches 375°F, slowly lower turkey into hot oil. Level of oil will rise due to frothing caused by moisture from turkey but will stabilize in about 1 minute.
  • 5
    Immediately check oil temperature; increase flame so oil temperature is maintained at 350°F. If temperature drops to 340°F or below, oil will begin to seep into turkey.
  • 6
    Fry turkey about 3 to 4 minutes per pound, or about 35 to 42 minutes for 10- to 12-pound turkey. Stay with fryer at all times because heat may need to be regulated throughout frying.
  • 7
    At minimum frying time, carefully remove turkey to check for doneness. A meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast should read 170°F. If inserted into thigh, it should read 180°F. If necessary, return turkey to oil and continue cooking. When turkey is done, let drain a few minutes.
  • 8
    Remove turkey from rack; place on serving platter. Cover with foil; let stand 20 minutes for easier carving.Turkey Deep-Frying Do's and Don'ts: We want your turkey-frying experience to be successful, especially if it's your first time, so we’ve gathered these important reminders. Please take a moment to read them before getting ready for a great-tasting feast. Do's: Follow the use-and-care directions for your deep-fryer when deep-frying turkey, and review all safety tips. Place the fryer on a level dirt or grassy area away from the house or garage. Never fry a turkey indoors, including in a garage or any other structure attached to a building. Use only oils with high smoke points, such as peanut, canola or safflower oil. Wear old shoes that you can slip out of easily and long pants just in case you do spill some oil on you. Immediately wash hands, utensils, equipment and surfaces that have come in contact with the raw turkey. Have a fire extinguisher nearby for added safety. Serve the turkey right after cooking, and store leftovers in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking. Allow the oil to cool completely before disposing of it or storing it. Don'ts: Never fry on wooden decks or other structures that could catch fire, and don’t fry on concrete, which could be stained by the oil. Never leave the hot oil unattended, and do not allow children or pets near the cooking area.

Tips from the Betty Crocker Kitchens

  • tip 1
    For best results use cooking oils that can withstand high temperatures when deep-frying. Peanut, canola and safflower oils are top of our list!
  • tip 2
    To learn more about deep-frying turkeys, visit the National Turkey Federation Web site at
  • tip 3
    For this fried turkey recipe, you will need 2 different types of thermometers. A candy thermometer or deep-frying thermometer should be used to measure the temperature of the oil because of the higher temperature range. For the turkey, an instant-read or meat thermometer should be used to give you an accurate reading of the cooked turkey.


335 Calories, 21 g Total Fat, 36 g Protein, 0g Total Carbohydrate

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
21 g
Saturated Fat
5 g
100 mg
800 mg
300 mg
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
36 g
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
5 Lean Meat; 1 Fat;
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
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