We are reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our review process.

Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

How to Deep-Fry a Whole Chicken



Golden-Brown, Crisp, and Oh-So-Delicious!
Golden-Brown, Crisp, and Oh-So-Delicious!

It’s true. Preparing deep-fried, whole chicken is an event in and of itself. I love fried chicken but, as easy as it may sound, I never managed to get it right.

That all changed when someone shared this easy way to deep-fry chicken with me. Since there are so many fried chicken lovers out there, I thought I would share this method with you.

Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-less Liquid Propane Turkey Fryer


The items you need to make this happen are as follows:

  1. Turkey fryer with a burner, pot, basket, and stand
  2. Cooking oil
  3. Tape
  4. Meat thermometer
  5. Oil thermometer

View on Amazon

Check out the Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-Less Liquid Propane Turkey Fryer on Amazon.

It works for chicken, too!

Let’s begin! Here are the steps to prepare that perfect, deep-fried, whole chicken.

  1. Gently place a whole chicken into the fryer basket and lower it into the pot. Pour enough water into the pot to cover the entire chicken. Use the tape to mark the waterline—this is the fill line for the oil. Then, carefully remove the chicken.
  2. Pour out the water. To avoid excessive splattering, make sure you wipe the fryer pot thoroughly before adding oil. Place the burner on the ground, ensuring that the ground is level and firm. Of course, you should avoid placing the burner anywhere close to trees (if you’re doing this in your garden), curtains, or anything else that might catch fire.
  3. Add cooking oil until it reaches the marked line and center the fryer stand on the burner. Next, place the pot on its stand and ensure that both the pot and stand are stable.
  4. Light the burner and adjust the flame to its maximum level. Place the thermometer inside the pot. Ensure the tip of the thermometer is in the oil, but not touching the bottom of your pot. Turn up the heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Thoroughly wipe the chicken dry—inside and out. Place the chicken in a baking pan and position it on a rack. Before putting it in the fryer, refrigerate the chicken without covering it. This can be done while the oil heats.
  6. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and any of your favorite herbs and spices. You may want to season it both inside and out. Place the chicken in the frying basket and turn off the burner.
  7. Slowly lower the basket into the oil. Work gently and slowly to avoid oil splatters. Now that the chicken is safely in the basket, turn the burner on. Deep-fry it for 3 to 4 minutes each round, adjusting the burner as necessary. Maintain a temperature between 350 and 370 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. After the cooking time has completed, turn off the burner and lift the basket slowly from the deep fryer. Keep it over the fryer and let the oil drip off. Then, move the basket to a smooth surface.
  9. Once the oil has stopped dripping, insert the meat thermometer into the thickest parts of the thigh and breast areas. Avoid contact with bone. These are the best locations to determine whether the meat is properly cooked.
  10. The meat should register at 180 degrees Fahrenheit and 165 degrees Fahrenheit for the thigh and breast, respectively. If you find the chicken to be undercooked, do not panic. All you need to do is return the chicken to the deep fryer and switch on the burner. Repeat Step 9 and, when the chicken is cooked, let it rest for about 10 to 20 minutes before you start enjoying it with your family and friends.
ThermoPro TP620 Instant Read Meat Thermometer with Thermocouple Sensor, Ambidextrous Backlight Kitchen Thermometer with Motion-Sensing, Digital Food Thermometer for Cooking Smoker BBQ Grill

View on Amazon

Check out the ThermoPro Digital Thermometer at Amazon

Additional Tips

  1. You need to take the chicken out of the freezer at least an hour or two before you fry it and let it thaw. Ice crystals consist of water and can cause dangerous oil splatters.
  2. To decrease the risk of overfilling, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines in regard to the bird size. Most deep fryer pots are big enough to hold two whole chickens.
  3. Before you fry the chicken, use injector kits to fill the inside the chicken with flavorings. Marinate the chicken at least 24 hours before you fry it. Not willing to wait? Using a vacuum sealer can speed up the marinating process.
  4. Consider using peanut oil to deep-fry the chicken, because of its high smoking temperature.
  5. To protect yourself from any burns or oil splatter, wear a heavy apron and oven mitts.
  6. If you plan to reuse the cooking oil, let it cool before storing it in a container or bottle. Use a strainer while pouring oil into the container so that any residue will be left behind.

What goes with fried chicken? Biscuits! Read about the best stand mixers for bread dough.

Deep-fried chicken is delicious and goes well with dishes such as mashed potatoes and mac and cheese. For a healthier option, steam some green vegetables to serve with your chicken.

When it comes time to carve, get the best knife for the job. I picked my favorites.

Or, if you’re in the mood for wings, see our recipe on the best way to fry chicken wings.

Tomorrow night, maybe you want to grill up some chicken but don’t want to head outside to fire up the grill. Consider one of these indoor grills that are perfect for grilling chicken.


You might also like this post on my favorite knife for cutting cooked chicken.

Image Credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Arnold G.