Deep frying your turkey has become a preferred alternative to baking or roasting. By deep-frying your turkey, much of the natural fat dissolves in the frying oil, leaving your meat crispier, moist, and tender without the grease that ladens other methods of cooking your turkey. But, How much oil to deep fry a turkey?
Usually, it depends on the size of your turkey. Typically, turkeys weighing 9-12 pounds require 4 gallons of oil, while turkeys weighing 14 pounds and above require 5-6 gallons for deep frying.
The process is also less time-consuming than baking your turkey, as both prep time and fry time can take less than 2 hours, depending on the size of your turkey.
In addition to these, deep-frying your turkey can come with questions like what oil is best for use and why. Here’s the ultimate guide you’ve been waiting for.
Ideal Oil Volume to Deep Fry Your Turkey
The volume of oil required to deep fry a turkey typically depends on the size of the turkey and the pot. A pro tip is to use 4-5 gallons of oil to deep fry a 9–12-pound turkey in a 30-quart pot.
Most oil fryers come with marked oil levels, so you can tell the volume needed to fry your turkey based on its size.
Generally, the oil should cover the turkey by at least an inch or two but without spilling over during the frying process.
Different Sizes of Turkey and the Volume of Oil to Deep Fry
The size of a turkey can determine the volume of the oil used in deep frying the turkey whole. Larger and heavier turkeys will require more oil for deep frying than a small bird.
A common recommendation is that:
- Small turkeys weighing about 14 pounds or less require 4-5 gallons of oil.
- Larger turkeys weighing 15 pounds and above need between 5-6 gallons of oil to deep fry them.
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Technique to Measure the Oil to Deep Fry Turkey
An alternative to gauging the volume of oil needed to deep fry your turkey based on its size, which you’ve already gone through. Now, Here’s the technique to measure the oil:
- Place the turkey in your pot.
- Cover the turkey in water up to an inch or two.
- Remove the turkey from the pot (don’t forget to drain water from the turkey cavity).
- Mark the water level in the pot or use a measuring stick to measure the depth of the water in the pot. The water level serves as the oil volume needed to deep fry your turkey.
How Much Oil Does a Turkey Fryer Take?
The volume of oil your turkey fryer takes will vary based on your fryer’s product description and capacity. If your fryer is a 30-quart pot, your fryer would have a MAX-line to which you can only fill the fryer with oil.
Filling above the max line puts you at the risk of coming in contact with the scalding oil.
Electric deep fryers use way lesser oil volume than turkey fryer pots. They typically feature their oil level and size on the body part of the appliance. This oil level guides you in the volume of oil needed for deep frying your turkey.
For instance, a 14-pound turkey can take up to ¾ of a gallon or 1 gallon when deep frying. It all depends on your type of oil fryer.
Types of Oil to Deep Fry a Turkey
- Peanut oil: Turkeys should be deep-fried between 325°F-375°F in oils with a smoke point above 425°F. This is why peanut oil is perfect for deep frying your turkey unless you cannot ingest peanut oil due to a medical condition. Peanut oil has a flashpoint and doesn’t catch fire easily, unlike other oils that begin to burn at some point. However, this does not exempt you from closely monitoring your turkey while frying.
- Corn Oil: Corn oil is another excellent option for deep frying your turkey. Unlike peanut oil which can be pretty expensive, corn oil is more widely available. Corn oil is perfect for frying your turkey because it doesn’t smoke until 440°F, guaranteeing crispiness without trans-fat.
- Canola (vegetable oil): Canola oil doesn’t have such a high smoke point as peanut and corn oils. However, getting a large container of high stability canola oil guarantees you a higher smoke point than the regular canola oil. Like peanut oil, you can reuse canola oil 4-5 times unless it starts to turn bad. Store your used oil in a cool, dry place.
- Avocado oil: Another oil we would recommend you use when deep-frying your turkey is avocado oil. It not only has a high flash point-up of 520 degrees Fahrenheit-it also provides vitamin E and antioxidants like lutein, making it a very healthy choice for frying.
- Soybean oil: Soybean oil is another top oil choice for deep-frying due to its high heat tolerance-up to 450°F, which is higher than your turkey deep-frying needs. Compared to its counterparts, soybean oil is low in saturated fat and relatively inexpensive. This makes it an ideal substitute for more expensive oils like avocado oil and peanut oil.
- Coconut oil: When it comes down to excellent choices in deep frying your turkey, coconut oil takes its place among other oils. Coconut oil has not only proven to have a high resistance to heat, but it is also highly rated for its consistency in quality over several hours of deep-frying.
Like avocado oil, coconut oil has some benefits that make it a healthy option. For instance, coconut oil contains only 2% polyunsaturated fats making it one of the most beneficial oils to fry food in.
The volume of oil required for deep frying your turkey rarely varies by oil type since the gallons and measurements are usually the same. You can just stick with our recommendation on the volume of oil and turkey sizes explained in the previous section.
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How much oil is needed when deep-frying a turkey is a significant determinant of the success of the deep-frying method.
By following our recommendation on the sizes of the turkey and the volume of oil necessary, deep frying your turkey for Thanksgiving or any other function will no longer be a hassle.