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Turkey: Deep Fried or Roasted?

Last year the battle was between two different holiday meats: turkey and ham. Both had their pros and cons, and if your family is like mine, both kinds show up at all the holiday gatherings regardless. This year we’re keeping it to turkey, but debating whether deep fried is better than roasted—or the other way around. Below is a list of pros and cons for each cooking method.

Thanksgiving - Holiday Recipes - Deep Fried TurkeyDeep Fried Turkey


  • If you’re thinking about deep frying your turkey this year, it might be comforting to know that the fat/calorie count of a deep fried turkey is similar nutritionally to a traditional oven roasted bird. When it comes to deep frying, it’s usually done in peanut oil, which isn’t considered to be that unhealthy.
  • In fact, peanut oil is naturally trans-fat free, cholesterol free, and it’s low in saturated fats.
  • Nutrition aside, deep frying a turkey gives the cooking process a little more excitement. You’re cooking over an open flame, and most likely someone will want to watch.
  • A turkey cooks faster if it’s deep fried, so the wait time from fryer to table isn’t as long as roasting it.
  • You’ll also find that deep frying seals in moisture, allowing the turkey to be incredibly juicy on the inside, while having the perfect crispiness on the outside.
  • Clean up is a breeze.


  • While cook time is faster, it’s important to be aware of the possible danger of cooking the turkey this way. You’re working with hot oil, and any spillage on the burner could mean a potential fire.
  • It can be pricy. Gallons of oil are required for this method of cooking turkey, and if you don’t have the necessary cooking equipment, you have to buy that, too.
  • Deep frying is an outdoor experience, so if the weather isn’t great, cooking it this way won’t work.
  • Though cook time is fast, an undercooked turkey can result in food poisoning.

Thanksgiving - Holiday Recipes - Oven Roasted TurkeyOven Roasted Turkey


  • All that’s needed for roasting a turkey is an oven, and that comes in every kitchen!
  • It’s traditional. And when it’s the holiday season, tradition is especially important.
  • It’s also safer. There’s no risk of fire this way, as long as proper equipment is used. Just check on it every now and then and you’re good to go.
  • While the turkey is roasting away in the oven, you’ll have time to do other things. It doesn’t require your full attention. Just a quick peek here and there.


  • There’s a chance the turkey will be dry, especially in the breast meat.
  • The cook time is not as fast. Depending on the size of the turkey will determine the time needed in the oven. An 18lb turkey will need at least five hours.
  • As with a deep fried turkey, there is the potential risk of food poisoning if undercooked.

So how will you cook your turkey this year? In the oven? Or in the deep fryer? If you’re able, cook one each way and take a vote of the favorite one. Either way, give thanks and enjoy the feast, and the time spent with family and friends.


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