Why Is My Deep Fried Turkey Turning Black

Why Is My Deep Fried Turkey Turning Black? Resolved

Last Updated on March 16, 2024 by Shari Mason

Submerging a turkey in heated oil can add a delicious and exciting element to your holiday feast, whether it be Thanksgiving or Christmas.

However, if you’re not careful, you may find that your deep-fried turkey is turning black instead of golden brown.

This can be a startling and unpleasant experience, so it’s important to understand why this happens and how to prevent it. 

Let’s cover the possible causes of a blackened turkey and provide tips for ensuring your meal is perfectly cooked.

Why Deep-Fried Turkey Turns Black

deep fried turkey on a wooden board

Deep-fried turkey turns black when cooked due to the Maillard reaction, caused by the sugar in the rub.

The Maillard reaction is a complex chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars. This reaction gives food a crispy texture, aromatic flavor, and brown color. 

When deep-frying, heat is applied to the turkey at a high temperature. This causes the Maillard reaction to happen more rapidly, thus resulting in black color. 

The black color is not an indicator of the turkey being overcooked. It is simply a result of the Maillard reaction occurring too rapidly. 

As long as the internal temperature of the turkey has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the turkey is safe to eat.

It’s important to keep a close eye on the temperature of the oil when deep-frying, as overheating the oil can cause the turkey to become too dark. 

Additionally, it’s best to use a thermometer to ensure the turkey is cooked thoroughly.

Read: My Turkey Is Done Too Early What Do I Do?

How To Make Deep-Fried Turkey Juicy

To make a deep-fried turkey juicy, you’ll want to brine the turkey for at least 8 hours before frying. Brining helps to keep the turkey moist and juicy and adds flavor.

After the turkey has been brined, you’ll want to pat it dry to remove excess moisture. 

Once the turkey is dry, you’ll want to coat it with a light layer of oil and seasonings before placing it in the hot oil. 

Make sure to monitor the temperature of the oil and allow the turkey to cook for the recommended amount of time. 

When the turkey is done, please remove it from the oil and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving. This will help to keep the turkey juicy.

Read: What To Do If Turkey Is Cooking Too Fast?

How Long To Deep Fry Turkey

The time it takes to deep fry a turkey [1] will vary depending on its size and the oil’s temperature. 

Generally, it will take about 3-4 minutes per pound. A 12-14 pound turkey should take about 45 minutes to cook. It is important to monitor the temperature of the oil, as this will impact the cooking time. 

Additionally, once the turkey is cooked, let it rest for 15-20 minutes before serving to ensure it is cooked through.

Read: How Long Does Sliced Turkey Last In The Fridge?

How To Tell When It Is Done

deep frying a turkey

The best way to tell when a deep-fried turkey is done is to use a meat thermometer and check the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh. The turkey is done when the temperature reaches 165°F. 

“If you eat dead, toasted, fried or frozen food, you will feel dead, toasted, fried and frozen. “

– Dharma Mittra, Author

If you don’t have a thermometer, check to see if the juices run clear when pierced with a fork. The turkey should also be golden brown. 

Additionally, you can test the doneness by moving the legs—if they easily move, the turkey is done.

Read: How Long Can You Keep A Fresh Turkey In The Refrigerator?

Tips On How To Deep Fry Turkey

  1. Start with a thawed turkey – Make sure it is completely thawed before deep frying it. This will ensure that it cooks evenly. 
  2. Dry the turkey – Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. This will help to create a crispier, golden brown exterior. 
  3. Preheat the oil – Before you put the turkey in the pot, preheat the oil to the correct temperature, usually between 350 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  4. Prepare the turkey – Place it in the pot and secure it with a metal rack. Make sure the turkey is completely submerged in the oil. 
  5. Cook – Cook the turkey for 3 to 4 minutes per pound. Monitor the oil temperature, and keep the flame low to avoid flare-ups. 
  6. Check the temperature – Once the turkey is done, insert a meat thermometer into the breast and thigh to check that the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  7. Rest – Once the turkey is done, remove it from the oil and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. This will help the turkey retain its juices.


u003cstrongu003eCan you overcook a fried turkey?u003c/strongu003e

Yes, it is possible to overcook a fried turkey. If the oil is too hot or the turkey is left in it for too long, it can become dry, tough, and burnt.

u003cstrongu003eHow do you stop fried turkey from burning?u003c/strongu003e

To prevent the fried turkey from burning, use an oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut oil or canola oil, and keep the oil temperature between 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eMonitor the temperature of the oil with a thermometer and adjust the heat as necessary to keep it consistent. 

u003cstrongu003eShould I put the lid on when deep frying a turkey?u003c/strongu003e

Yes, it would help if you put the lid on when deep frying a turkey. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eThis will help to keep the oil from splattering and will help to keep the oil temperature consistent while cooking.

What are the dangers of deep frying a turkey?

Deep frying a turkey can be dangerous as it may cause accidental spilling of hot oil or overheating that could lead to burns and fires [u003ca href=u0022].

In Conclusion

Deep frying a turkey can be a delicious and exciting way to cook a holiday meal. 

However, it is important to take extra precautions when deep frying a turkey, such as ensuring the oil temperature is correct and that the turkey is not left in the oil for too long. 

If these precautions are not taken, the turkey could turn black due to the turkey’s proteins and starches reacting to the high temperatures. 

To avoid this, follow the instructions for deep frying a turkey and enjoy your meal.


Shari Mason

1 thought on “Why Is My Deep Fried Turkey Turning Black? Resolved”

  1. Hello,
    Thanks for posting this, but what if there are no sugars in my rub? I injected it instead. Same cause? Also, I did 2 breasts and one had no sugars. Could the black transfer from one to the other?

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