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Air Fryer Turkey

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How to air fry a whole turkey. The most tender, moist and juicy turkey recipe with crispy golden skin. Cooking a turkey in an air fryer. 

Turkey Air Fryer

Now I have always wanted to fry a turkey but honestly it seemed like a lot of work and kind of dangerous. Air frying a turkey is a much safer and healthier alternative. 

While I am very excited about my new air fryer I wanted to give it a try before Thanksgiving to test it out. I bought a 15lb Butterball turkey and decided since my Dad is from Nova Scotia why not celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving this year. 

Not only is cooking a turkey in an air fryer delicious it cooks in a fraction of the time and saves you oven space. This is the perfect method for cooking your turkey for Thanksgiving. 

Thinking about recipes for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Don’t forget the Instant Pot mashed potatoes, Swedish apple pie and apple cider sangria.

This air fryer was gifted to me by Masterbuilt. This post contains affiliate links. 

Cooking a turkey in an air fryer

The air fryer I am going to be using to deep fry a turkey without oil is the Masterbuilt 20 Quart 7-in-1 Outdoor Air Fryer. You can cook up to a 20lb turkey in this air fryer! 

Masterbuilt 20 Quart 7-in-1 Outdoor Air Fryer

  • 7 IN 1 – air fry, bake, roast, convection, broil, dehydrate, or smoke
  • Includes a large basket, a poultry stand, and 4 stacking baskets for frying, dehydrating, roasting, and much more
  • Choose your desired cooking function and either manually select the temperature or cook with the preset temperature
  • Add wood chips while smoking for a unique flavor experience
  • Top load for ease and safety when placed on the ground
  • Dishwasher safe accessories, heat deflector, grease tray, and wood chip tray
  • Bottom element comes out for easy cleanup of inner pot
  • Easily move with side handles

Masterbuilt Outdoor Air Fryer

Can you cook a whole turkey in an air fryer?

Yes! You can cook a whole turkey in the air fryer. Check the capacity of the air fryer. Some indoor table top ones can just cook a turkey breast. But since this is a large capacity outdoor air fryer it can cook up to a 20 lb. turkey. Cooking a turkey in an air fryer sounds intimidating but it was actually easier than cooking it in the oven. No basting or checking on the turkey.

Prep the turkey

The first thing you will need to do to prep the turkey is make sure that it is thawed. This can take a few days. Once the turkey is thawed remove the neck and giblets. 

Put butter under the turkey skin

Adding butter under the skin insures you will have a moist and juicy turkey. It also helps flavor the turkey. In order to do this you need to carefully and gently loosen the skin away from the turkey breast and legs using your hand. Make sure not to rip the skin this is important for keeping the moisture in. You are creating pockets so you can spread the butter all over your turkey. I promise you this is the most difficult part of the recipe but take your time with it. 

herb butter

I use this same method even when I am baking a turkey in the oven. I like to make an herb butter. In order to do this I grab a fresh pack of poultry seasoning in the produce aisle. It contains thyme, rosemary and sage. Chop those up finely and mix into 1.5 sticks of softened butter with salt and pepper. 

I use just about one stick for under the turkey skin and the remainder on the outside of the turkey. I also add salt and pepper to the outside of the turkey. 

Air Fryer Basket

Now the Masterbuilt 20 Quart 7-in-1 Outdoor Air Fryer came with a turkey stand and an air fryer basket. Connect the turkey stand into the clips on the basket. Insert turkey stand into the turkey cavity. You will want to make sure the drumsticks are upright and holding the weight of the turkey. This will help level off the basket when you pick it up to bring outside. 

Air FryerTurkey Prep

What temperature do you air fry a turkey?

To cook a turkey I set the air fryer to 350 degrees and selected the air fryer function. Wait about 10 minutes for the air fryer to preheat. If you are cooking in a colder climate in the winter maybe wait about 15 minutes. 

how to air fry a turkey

How long does it take to cook a turkey in an air fryer?

Rule of thumb when air frying a turkey is to cook it 8-10 minutes per pound. Since this is an outdoor air fryer take weather into account. If you are air frying in the winter it may take a little longer. We cooked this 15 lb turkey on a 65-70 degree day and it too just over 2 hours. 

I suggest to use a meat thermometer and check it towards the end. You will want the internal temperature of the turkey to be 165 degrees. 

Let’s talk what not to do when air frying a turkey

Don’t use a frozen turkey make sure to thaw it out. From what I read this will result in dry meat that takes much longer to cook. 

Don’t brine your turkey. I know when you bake a turkey that brining is delicious. Some of the best turkeys I have had have been brined. But when you brine a turkey and then air fry it it will result in an overly salty turkey and no one wants that. Trust me butter is the way to go. 

How to Air Fry a Turkey

Is an air fryer turkey juicy? How’d it taste?

This may have been the juiciest and moist turkey I’ve ever had. Yet the skin was golden and crispy! My parents both agreed this was the best turkey we’ve ever made. We usually roast ours in an electric roaster and you guys those turkeys are juicy but this surpassed that!

Air Fryer Turkey

Yield: 12

Air Fryer Turkey

Air Fryer Turkey

How to air fry a whole turkey. A moist and juicy recipe for a perfectly air fired turkey.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes

Ingredients

  • 15-20lb Turkey
  • 3/4 Cup of Butter Softened (1.5 Sticks)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Chopped Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon of Chopped Fresh Sage
  • 1 Tablespoon of Chopped Fresh Rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Thaw the turkey according to the instructions on the package. Remove neck and giblets.
  2. Combine softened butter, herbs and salt and pepper.
  3. Carefully and gently loosen the skin away from the turkey breast and legs using your hand. Make sure not to rip the skin this is important for keeping the moisture in. You are creating pockets so you can spread the butter all over your turkey. I use just about one stick for under the turkey skin and the remainder on the outside of the turkey. I also add salt and pepper to the outside of the turkey. 
  4. Pre heat air fryer to 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
  5. Insert turkey stand into the turkey cavity and place on frying basket. Lower into the air fryer.
  6. Let fry 8-10 minutes per pound.
  7. When the turkeys internal temperature is at 165 degrees remove turkey from the air fryer using oven mitts and the hook that came with your fryer.
  8. Let turkey rest for at least 15 minutes.
  9. Carve and Enjoy!

Notes

Rule of thumb when air frying a turkey is to cook it 8-10 minutes per pound. Since this is an outdoor air fryer take weather into account. If you are air frying in the winter it may take a little longer. We cooked this 15 lb turkey on a 65-70 degree day and it too just over 2 hours. 

Do not place a frozen turkey into your air fryer.

Do not brine your turkey.

Nutrition Information:


Amount Per Serving: Fiber: 0gSugar: 0g

Can you still make gravy?

This was a concern for me. Where were the drippings? How was I going to make gravy? There was a small tray at the bottom of the air fryer that collects the drippings. Towards the end of frying I was able to grab a cup full to make the gravy. 

Turkey Air Fryer

Review of air frying a turkey

I would give this a 10 out of 10. I don’t foresee us going back to the turkey roaster unless it was raining or snowing. They turkey was so full of flavor and so juicy. I am not one to usually eat the skin but it was crispy and flavorful I couldn’t help myself. Have any question that I didn’t cover? Let me know in the comments. 

How to Air Fry a whole Turkey

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