# How much oil does my turkey fryer hold?

Determining how much oil your turkey fryer can hold is an important factor when preparing to deep fry a turkey. The amount of oil needed depends primarily on the size of your turkey fryer and the weight of the turkey you plan to fry. Having the right oil capacity ensures you have enough to safely submerge and cook the turkey, while not overfilling the fryer. This article provides a guide on estimating oil capacity based on fryer size and turkey weight.

## Turkey Fryer Sizes

Turkey fryers come in different shapes and sizes, but the most common capacities are:

• Small turkey fryers – 2 to 3 gallons
• Medium turkey fryers – 4 to 5 gallons
• Large turkey fryers – 6 gallons or more

The small 2-3 gallon fryers are best suited for frying chickens and other small items. A medium 4-5 gallon fryer can handle a 10-14 lb turkey. The large 6+ gallon fryers allow you to cook bigger birds up to 18-20 lbs.

## Calculating Oil Amount by Turkey Weight

A general rule of thumb is to use around 1 quart to 1.5 quarts of oil per pound of turkey meat. This ensures the bird is fully submerged and able to float freely within the hot oil during cooking. Here are some estimates based on turkey weight:

Turkey Weight Oil Needed
10 lb turkey 4-5 quarts (1-1.25 gallons)
12 lb turkey 6 quarts (1.5 gallons)
14 lb turkey 7-8 quarts (1.75-2 gallons)
16 lb turkey 8-10 quarts (2-2.5 gallons)
18 lb turkey 9-12 quarts (2.25-3 gallons)
20 lb turkey 10-15 quarts (2.5-3.75 gallons)

These oil amounts are minimums – having extra oil is fine as long as you don’t exceed the fryer’s capacity. It’s better to have too much versus not enough oil to safely cook the turkey.

## Leaving Space for Oil Expansion

One other factor to account for is oil expansion. As the oil heats up to the target cooking temperature of 350-375°F, it will expand in volume. You’ll want to leave 2-3 inches of space at the top of your turkey fryer to allow for this expansion during heating.

Not leaving enough headspace can lead to dangerous oil spillover once the oil reaches full temperature. Hot oil spilling over the sides of the pot can cause severe burns and injuries.

## Using a Test Run for Accuracy

While the above guidelines help estimate oil amounts, the most foolproof way is to do a test run before cooking your actual turkey:

1. Fill your turkey fryer with water up to the maximum fill line.
2. Place your thawed turkey fully in the pot.
3. The water level will rise as the turkey displaces water. Mark the new water level.
4. Remove the turkey and measure the amount of water between the original and marked levels.
5. This measured volume indicates how much oil you’ll need to fully submerge the turkey.

Doing a test run eliminates any guesswork and gives you an exact oil volume needed for your specific fryer and turkey. This helps prevent overfilling the fryer or having too little oil on cook day.

## Safety Tips When Filling with Oil

Once you know roughly how much oil you need, follow these important safety steps when filling up your turkey fryer:

• Always place the turkey fryer on a flat, level surface outdoors.
• Carefully pour oil into the cool fryer – spilling hot oil can cause severe burns.
• Do not overfill the fryer – leave 2-3 inches of space for oil expansion.
• Use a fryer thermometer to accurately gauge oil temp – do not let it exceed 375°F.
• Wear oil-resistant gloves and long sleeves when handling the hot oil.
• Turn off the propane and allow the fryer to fully cool before handling or moving.

## Conclusion

Determining the right oil amount for your turkey fryer requires knowing your fryer’s capacity and the turkey’s weight. Small fryers hold 2-3 gallons for 10-14 lb birds. Large fryers hold 6+ gallons for 18-20 lb turkeys. Allow 1-1.5 quarts of oil per turkey pound. Leave 2-3 inches of space for expansion. Use a test run to find the precise amount needed. Follow safety precautions when pouring in hot oil. Knowing the proper fill levels will ensure successful deep fried turkey results.