Do you fry a turkey at 325 or 350?

When it comes to frying a turkey, there are two common temperature settings that are used – 325°F and 350°F. The optimum oil temperature to fry a turkey depends on a few factors, including the size of the turkey, desired cooking time, and personal preference. Here’s a quick look at the differences between frying at 325 vs 350:

Frying Temperature at 325°F

A frying temperature of 325°F is on the lower end of the recommended oil temperature range for deep frying turkeys. Here are some key points about frying at 325°F:

  • Best for smaller turkeys (12 lbs or less) since the lower heat will allow the inside to cook through before the outside burns.
  • Will take longer cook times – about 3-4 minutes per pound to reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Oil will also take longer to rebound back to 325°F between frying batches.
  • Less likely to burn or overcook the outside of the turkey before the inside cooks through.
  • Allows more leeway if the frying process is started at a higher temperature and the oil drops below 350°F.

The lower 325°F temperature is ideal if you want to ensure the turkey is cooked through without burning and allows some flexibility in cooking times. It results in a juicy, tender turkey.

Frying Temperature at 350°F

Frying at 350°F is at the higher end of the recommended temperature range. Here’s what to expect when frying at 350°F:

  • Best for larger turkeys (over 12 lbs) since the higher heat helps the inside cook faster.
  • Quicker cook times – about 3 minutes per pound to reach 165°F.
  • Oil will rebound back to temperature faster between batches.
  • More likely to burn or overcook the outside if the frying time is too long.
  • Less margin for error if the oil temperature drops below 325°F.

The higher 350°F temperature minimizes total frying time. But it leaves less room for error and may overcook or burn the turkey if left in too long. Close monitoring of cook times is important.

Factors to Consider

Here are some factors to help decide whether to fry at 325°F or 350°F:

  • Turkey size – Lower 325°F for small turkeys, 350°F for large. Aim for 3-4 minutes per pound.
  • Equipment – If using a propane fryer, it may be harder to maintain an exact 325°F temp.
  • Weather – Colder ambient temperatures make it harder to get oil hot enough.
  • Altitude – Higher elevations require slightly higher temps to compensate.
  • Oil amount – Having the right amount of oil is key. Too little overheats faster.
  • Target doneness – If you prefer more well done meat, use a higher temp.

Considering these factors will help determine the best frying temperature for the specific turkey being cooked.

Benefits of Lower 325°F

Here are some benefits of using the lower frying temperature of 325°F:

  • More forgiveness for frying a few minutes too long.
  • Less likely to burn the outside before the inside cooks through.
  • Better for frozen or partially frozen turkeys that require more cooking time.
  • Oil is under less stress and degrades at a slower rate.
  • Less energy required if using propane or electric fryer.
  • Room for oil temperature to naturally fluctuate up and down during cooking.
  • Overall safer method as there is less risk of oil overheating.

The lower heat helps provide a buffer against overcooking mistakes and is gentler on the oil itself. This can result in a juicier turkey with less oil flavor imparted.

Benefits of Higher 350°F

Frying at the higher 350°F temperature also has advantages:

  • Quicker cooking so the turkey is done faster.
  • Best for larger turkeys over 12 pounds.
  • Higher heat crisps the skin better.
  • Oil returns to temperature faster between batches.
  • Doneness can be adjusted by cooking time; longer for more well done.
  • Reaching optimal internal temp faster helps kill bacteria.
  • High heat renders more fat and juices out of turkey.

The hotter oil reduces overall cooking time. This allows multiple turkeys to be fried faster when cooking for a crowd. It also crisps the skin for added texture.

Proper Setup and Safety

No matter which temperature is used, having the proper setup and taking safety precautions is critical for deep frying turkey:

  • Use a thermometer to monitor oil temp and check doneness.
  • Carefully calculate fill level to have right oil amount.
  • Allow at least 2-inches fryer headspace above oil.
  • Keep children and pets away from hot oil.
  • Do not overfill oil past recommended levels.
  • Dry the turkey completely before frying.
  • Slowly lower and raise turkey with frying tools.
  • Wear gloves and long sleeves to avoid burns.
  • Have a fire extinguisher on hand just in case.

Maintaining proper oil temperature, fill levels, and frying time help minimize safety risks like oil fires and burns. Never leave the hot fryer unattended.

Oil Type for Frying

The type of cooking oil used will also impact results:

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

Oils with high smoke points like peanut and vegetable oil are best suited for frying at higher 350°F temperatures. Lower smoke point oils may burn or impart off flavors at higher heats.

Marinades, Rubs and Flavoring

Marinades and rubs can also be used to add flavor to fried turkey:

  • Dry rubs – Coat the turkey skin with Cajun, jerk, barbecue or other dry spice rubs. Allows flavors to penetrate meat.
  • Wet marinades – Soak turkey overnight in a wet marinade like citrus, herbs, wine or buttermilk. Keeps meat juicy.
  • Injectors – Use a flavor injector to infuse marinades deep into the turkey meat.
  • Aromatics – Stuff the cavity with herbs, onions, garlic, oranges, or lemons.

When using wet marinades or brines, be sure to thoroughly pat dry the turkey first before frying. This helps prevent oil spattering from excess moisture.

Post-Frying Tips

After the turkey has fried, follow these tips for best results:

  • Check internal temperature in breast and thigh to confirm 165°F doneness.
  • Let turkey drain and rest 15+ minutes before carving to allow juices to set.
  • Use a meat thermometer to monitor the carryover cooking rise.
  • Cover loosely with foil and keep warm in a 200°F+ oven if not serving immediately.
  • Pour oil through a filter back into storage container once cooled.
  • Discard any oil that has accumulated a lot of turkey drippings or crumbs.
  • Store used oil in a cool, dark place and reuse within 2-3 months.

Proper resting, holding, and oil storage helps ensure perfect results each time you fry a turkey.

Troubleshooting Problems

Some potential problems and how to avoid them when deep frying turkey:

Problem Cause Solution
Undercooked meat Oil not hot enough Increase oil temp to 325-350°F
Burnt outside Fried too long Decrease frying time
Soggy skin Wet turkey surface Pat turkey dry before frying
Heavy oil taste Old or poor quality oil Use fresh high quality oil
Grease overflow Too much oil Reduce oil amount to proper level

Paying attention to oil temp, fry times, and turkey dryness can help avoid common pitfalls.


While both 325°F and 350°F are good frying temperatures, 325°F provides a little more margin for error for beginners. The lower heat helps ensure even cooking without burning. For larger turkeys over 12 lbs, the higher 350°F temp minimizes cook time. No matter which temp is used, having the proper setup, oil amount, turkey dryness and avoiding overfilling the oil are critical safety factors. With the right technique, deep frying turkey can safely deliver moist, juicy meat with crispy skin.

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