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How long do you deep fry a Butterball turkey?

Deep frying a turkey is a popular cooking method for Thanksgiving and other holidays because it results in a tender, juicy, and flavorful bird in a much shorter time than traditional oven roasting. However, getting the timing right is important for safety and properly cooked meat. Here’s a look at how long you should deep fry a Butterball turkey.

Butterball Turkey Fry Times

Butterball provides recommended deep fry times for their whole frozen turkeys based on the turkey’s weight:

Turkey Weight Recommended Fry Time
8 – 12 lbs 3 – 4 minutes per lb
12 – 14 lbs 4 minutes per lb
14 – 18 lbs 4 – 4.25 minutes per lb
18 – 20 lbs 4.25 minutes per lb
20 – 24 lbs 4.25 – 4.5 minutes per lb

So for example, if you have a 14 lb frozen Butterball turkey, you would fry it for approximately 56 minutes (14 lbs x 4 minutes per lb).

Thawing Guidelines

It’s important that turkey is fully thawed before frying for food safety and to ensure even cooking. Butterball offers these thawing guidelines:

  • Thaw breast side up in the refrigerator allowing 24 hours for every 4-5 lbs.
  • Submerge wrapped turkey in cold water, allowing 30 minutes per pound. Change water every 30 minutes.

You’ll need to factor thawing time into your preparation schedule. Never fry a frozen or partially frozen turkey!

Reaching the Proper Internal Temperature

When deep frying turkey, it’s critical to cook the meat to the proper internal temperature to destroy potentially harmful bacteria. According to Butterball, you should cook turkeys to an internal temperature of 165°F as measured in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

Use a food thermometer to verify temperature. The turkey should be golden brown when fully cooked.

Frying Oil Temperature

Heating the oil to the proper cooking temperature is also essential for proper frying. Butterball states the oil should be heated to 350-375°F before carefully lowering the turkey into the pot.

Maintaining the oil at the optimum temperature will ensure the turkey cooks thoroughly without burning the outside. Monitor the temperature periodically with a cooking thermometer and adjust the burner accordingly.

Letting the Turkey Drain and Rest

Once the Butterball turkey has fried for the recommended time to reach 165°F internal temperature, carefully remove it from the oil and let it drain and rest before carving. Draining allows excess oil to drip off the turkey.

Resting for 15-30 minutes allows juices to redistribute through the meat for moistness. The internal temperature will rise several degrees during this time – be sure to check it has reached 165°F after resting.

Turkey Frying Safety Tips

While deep fried turkey can be delicious, proper precautions are necessary as boiling oil can cause serious burns. Follow these safety tips:

  • Use a turkey fryer pot outdoors only on a flat, stable surface away from structures.
  • Never overfill the fryer – oil expands when heated.
  • Slowly lower and raise the turkey to prevent hot oil splattering.
  • Turn off gas while lowering and raising turkey.
  • Completely thaw turkey before cooking.
  • Keep children and pets away.
  • Have a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Wear gloves and long sleeves while cooking.


For optimal taste and safety when deep frying a whole Butterball turkey, carefully follow the recommended thawing, frying, temperature, and resting times provided. With the right technique, you can enjoy tender, golden brown fried turkey on your next holiday!