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How long to fry turkey in Butterball fryer?

Fried turkey is a delicious alternative to roasting a turkey in the oven for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many people use outdoor propane turkey fryers, but indoor electric fryers like the Butterball fryer are a convenient and safe option for frying a turkey indoors. When using a Butterball electric turkey fryer, how long you fry the turkey depends on the size of the turkey. Here is a quick overview of fry times for Butterball turkeys in the Butterball electric fryer:

  • 8-10 lb turkey – 3 to 3 1/2 hours
  • 10-12 lb turkey – 3 1/2 to 4 hours
  • 12-14 lb turkey – 4 to 4 1/2 hours
  • 14-16 lb turkey – 4 1/2 to 5 hours
  • 16-18 lb turkey – 5 to 5 1/2 hours
  • 18-20 lb turkey – 5 1/2 to 6 hours
  • 20-22 lb turkey – 6 to 6 1/2 hours

Why Fry a Turkey?

There are several advantages to frying a turkey rather than roasting it:

  • Faster cooking time – A fried turkey cooks much faster than roasting, taking only about 3-6 hours depending on size vs. 4-6 hours for roasting.
  • Juicy, moist meat – The hot oil helps seal in juices and moisture.
  • Crispy skin – The hot oil helps crisp up the skin nicely.
  • New texture and flavors – Frying gives the turkey a unique texture and infuses great flavor into the meat from the hot oil.
  • Convenient – An electric fryer like the Butterball fryer lets you fry up a turkey indoors without having to monitor an outdoor fryer.
  • Large bird capacity – Most electric fryers can handle up to a 20 lb turkey.

If you want a faster cooking time, juicier meat, crispier skin and new flavors, frying your turkey is a great option over roasting.

How Does the Butterball Electric Turkey Fryer Work?

The Butterball electric turkey fryer is a countertop appliance that uses radiant heat to fry the turkey in oil safely indoors. Here are some key features and how it works:

  • 33% less oil than outdoor fryers – Uses less oil for safety and convenience.
  • Patented round design – Oval pot maximizes oil contact with turkey for even cooking.
  • Tight fitting lid – Traps heat and moisture for perfect frying.
  • 1500 watts of power – Generates high heat needed to properly fry.
  • Temp probe and thermostat – Lets you monitor oil temp and adjust as needed.
  • Breakaway cord – Disconnects if pulled to prevent tipping.
  • Built-in filtration – Filters oil after cooking for easy cleanup.

To use the Butterball fryer, you:

  1. Fill pot with oil to fill line.
  2. Attach thermometer and set thermostat to 350°F.
  3. Heat oil to temperature.
  4. Carefully lower thawed turkey into hot oil.
  5. Put lid on tightly to seal in heat and moisture.
  6. Fry turkey for recommended time based on weight.
  7. Check internal temp with meat thermometer.
  8. Remove turkey when fully cooked.
  9. Filter oil through built-in filter.

The Butterball fryer uses radiant heat, less oil, and perfectly fitting lid to fry turkeys thoroughly, quickly and conveniently indoors.

Proper Thawing and Preparing the Turkey

Before frying your turkey, it’s important to properly thaw and prepare it:

  • Completely thaw turkey in fridge 1-2 days before frying. Do not fry frozen or partially frozen turkey.
  • Remove giblets from cavity before thawing.
  • Pat turkey dry inside and out with paper towels before frying.
  • Do not stuff turkey or truss before frying.
  • Cut out pop-up timer if turkey has one.
  • Be very careful lowering turkey slowly into hot oil to prevent splashing.

Thawing the turkey completely, patting it dry and not stuffing it allows the heat of the oil to transfer efficiently for proper frying and safety.

Oil Options for Frying Turkey

Choosing the right type of oil is important for optimal flavor and avoiding smoking points:

Oil Smoke Point Flavor
Peanut Oil 450°F Mild, nutty
Corn Oil 450°F Neutral
Canola Oil 400°F Mild, neutral
Vegetable Oil 450°F Neutral

Peanut, corn, canola, and vegetable oil all have suitably high smoke points for frying turkey around 350°F. Peanut oil provides the best flavor, while the others are more neutral. Use about 1 gallon of oil per 3-4 lbs of turkey.

Monitoring Temperature and Cook Times

It’s crucial to closely monitor oil temperature and cook times when frying a turkey:

  • Keep oil temp steady at 350-375°F for optimal frying.
  • Overheating oil leads to burning/smoking.
  • Underheating oil produces greasy turkey.
  • Use Butterball thermometer to monitor oil temp.
  • Adjust thermostat to maintain proper temperature.
  • Fry turkey for estimated time based on weight.
  • Test internal temp of thigh meat with meat thermometer.
  • Turkey is done when thigh temp reaches 165°F-175°F.
  • Total fry time is roughly 3-5 minutes per pound.

The Butterball fryer’s thermostat and thermometer make it easy to maintain ideal oil temp. Track fry times closely and test internal temp to ensure turkey is fully cooked.

Safety Tips

Frying turkey comes with some safety considerations. Follow these tips for safe deep frying:

  • Use electric fryer designed for indoor use.
  • Do not overfill oil beyond recommended fill line.
  • Keep fryer on stable, level surface away from water.
  • Do not leave fryer unattended during cooking.
  • Keep children and pets away from fryer.
  • Properly thaw turkey before frying.
  • Slowly lower turkey into oil to prevent splashing.
  • Wear long sleeves and closed toe shoes in case of splashing.
  • Turn fryer off immediately if oil starts smoking.

Using the right appliance and precautions are key to staying safe while frying indoors.

Serving Fried Turkey

Fried turkey is delicious on its own, but here are some tasty ways to serve it:

  • Slice white and dark meat and serve pieces on a platter.
  • Serve with traditional side dishes like mashed potatoes, stuffing, and veggies.
  • Make sandwiches with fried turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and mayo.
  • Dice and add fried turkey pieces to salads, pasta, rice bowls, etc.
  • Shred turkey and use it to top pizzas, nachos, tacos, etc.
  • Use leftover turkey in casseroles, soups, turkey tetrazzini, turkey pot pie, etc.

The crispy fried turkey meat is very versatile. Feel free to get creative with how you use it!

Clean Up and Reusing Oil

Butterball fryers make cleanup easy with a built-in filtration system:

  • Allow oil to cool completely before handling.
  • Pour cooled oil through filter to remove food particles.
  • Store filtered oil in sealed container in cool place.
  • Reuse oil 2-3 times if filtered after each use.
  • Discard old oil properly once excessively dark or viscous.
  • Wash fryer pot, lid, thermometer, etc. in hot soapy water.
  • Dry all parts fully before storing.

Proper filtering, storage and reuse of oil makes frying turkey more economical and environmentally friendly.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Here are some common frying issues and how to troubleshoot them:

Issue Cause Solution
Smoking oil Oil overheated Lower temp, allow to cool before frying
Burned exterior Oil too hot Lower oil temp to 350°F
Undercooked interior Oil too cool Raise oil temp to 350-375°F
Very oily turkey Oil too cool Increase oil temp to 350°F minimum
Uneven cooking Oil temp fluctuation Maintain steady temp at 350°F

Monitoring oil temp closely and making adjustments as needed prevents most common frying issues.


Frying turkey in the Butterball indoor electric fryer is a convenient, fast and delicious cooking method for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Use 1 gallon of peanut or vegetable oil per 3-4 lbs of turkey and fry at 350-375°F for roughly 3-6 hours depending on turkey size. Monitor oil temp closely, fry undisturbed with the lid on, and test internal temperature to ensure the turkey fully cooks. With proper preparation, monitoring and safety, you can enjoy moist, crispy and flavorful fried turkey easily in your own home.