Deep Fried Turkey With Creole Spices

This recipe from Chef Chris Shepherd uses Creole spices to add extra flavor to a fried turkey.

Deep Fried Turkey with Creole Spices
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Active Time:
30 mins
Chill Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
10 servings
1 turkey

Every holiday season brings the same dilemma: How do you roast your turkey in the oven and still have room to bake all the family-favorite casseroles, such as green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, and sweet potato casserole? Which one goes in first, and how do you keep everything hot?

Your slow cooker can certainly help when it comes to preparing the sides, but, for a whole turkey, you need to think big. Unless you happen to have a double oven in the kitchen, this year take the turkey outside and fry it for a hot, juicy bird with a crispy skin.

Before frying, be sure and thoroughly defrost the turkey. Even a semi-frozen bird will cook unevenly and cause splattering.

Catch oil spills by placing a large piece of cardboard under the fryer; weigh down the edges of the cardboard with bricks. Keep children and pets away from the cooking area at all times, and never leave the fryer unattended, which means someone will have to keep you supplied with coffee, cold drinks, and holiday appetizers as you tend to the dinner's main course!


  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon ground bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (from 1 orange)

  • 1 (10- to 12-lb.) frozen whole turkey, completely thawed, neck and giblets removed

  • 3 gallons canola oil, for frying

  • 3 tablespoons Creole seasoning (such as Zatarain's)


  1. Combine 1 1/4 cups of water, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, pepper, ground bay leaves, garlic powder, and orange zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-high; simmer, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat, and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids.

  2. Pat turkey dry. Fill a meat injector with marinade mixture, and inject in turkey breasts, legs, and thighs. Repeat until the injector is empty. Place turkey on a large parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Chill, uncovered, at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, pour oil in a deep propane turkey fryer. (The 3-gallon amount is below the recommended fill line, about 10 to 12 inches from top of fryer, which will help prevent hot oil from bubbling over once frying begins.) Heat oil to 350°F over a medium-low flame according to manufacturer's instructions. Using the turkey rod attachment, carefully lower turkey, neck down and legs up, into hot oil. (Hot oil may bubble over the rim of the pot, so pay close attention!) Fry turkey about 3 minutes per pound, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh registers 155°F, about 30 minutes. Carefully lift turkey out of oil; transfer to a carving board.

  4. Sprinkle hot turkey all over with Creole seasoning. Rest until thermometer registers 165°F, about 30 minutes. Carve turkey, and serve.

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