The Ultimate Guide To Cooking Turkey In An Air Fryer

Cooking a succulent and juicy turkey is a challenging task, but with the help of an air fryer, it becomes a breeze. Air fryers have gained immense popularity due to their ability to produce crispy and perfectly cooked dishes with minimal oil. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of air frying turkey, discussing food science, culinary details, selection, cleaning, preparation, tips, variations, doneness checks, and finally, a delicious turkey air fryer recipe.

Understanding the Science behind Air Frying Turkey

Air frying works by circulating superheated air around the food, creating a crispy exterior while keeping the interior moist and tender. In the case of turkey, this method helps to achieve a perfectly browned skin without excess oil. The cooking process happens due to the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars, which results in that delightful browning effect.

Selecting the Right Air Fryer

When it comes to cooking a turkey in an air fryer, size and capacity matter. Ensure that your air fryer can accommodate the size of the turkey you plan to cook. A large air fryer with a capacity of at least 5 to 6 quarts is recommended for a full-size turkey. Additionally, look for an air fryer that offers a temperature range of at least 375°F to 400°F to ensure proper cooking.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Before embarking on cooking your turkey, it’s essential to ensure your air fryer is clean and in optimal condition. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, and make sure to remove any residue or buildup from previous use. A clean air fryer will not only enhance the flavor of your turkey but also prevent any unwanted odors or flavors from transferring to your masterpiece.

Preparing and Seasoning the Turkey

  1. Thaw: Begin by thawing your turkey completely in the refrigerator. A general rule of thumb is to allow 24 hours to thaw each five pounds of turkey.
  2. Seasoning: Once thawed, remove the giblets and neck from the turkey cavity. Rinse the turkey thoroughly under cold water and pat it dry using paper towels. Prepare a flavorful seasoning blend consisting of your favorite herbs and spices. A classic combination includes salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and rosemary. Gently rub the seasoning blend all over the turkey, including the cavity.
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Tips for an Optimal Turkey Air Frying Experience

  • Before preheating your air fryer, lightly grease the basket or use a non-stick cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  • Place the turkey breast side down in the air fryer basket. This helps to ensure even cooking and promotes juiciness in the breast meat.
  • Baste the turkey with a small amount of oil or butter to enhance the browning process and maintain moistness.
  • Consider using a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the turkey. This guarantees that it reaches a safe and optimal level of doneness.
  • Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket. Cook the turkey in a single layer to allow sufficient airflow for even cooking.

Checking for Doneness

To determine if your turkey is cooked to perfection, use a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the deepest part of the thigh without touching the bone, ensuring it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. If the temperature falls short, continue air frying in intervals until the desired doneness is achieved.

A Mouthwatering Turkey Air Fryer Recipe

Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about air frying turkey, let’s dive into a delicious recipe to put your newfound skills to the test:


  • 1 whole turkey (10-12 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary


  1. Thaw the turkey completely in the refrigerator and remove the giblets and neck from the cavity.
  2. Preheat your air fryer to 375°F.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried thyme, and dried rosemary to create a flavorful seasoning blend.
  4. Rub olive oil all over the turkey, ensuring it is evenly coated.
  5. Gently sprinkle and pat the seasoning blend onto the turkey, ensuring thorough coverage.
  6. Place the turkey breast side down in the air fryer basket.
  7. Set the timer for 30 minutes and allow the turkey to cook.
  8. After 30 minutes, flip the turkey breast side up and baste with a small amount of olive oil.
  9. Continue cooking for an additional 60-90 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165°F.
  10. Once cooked, carefully remove the turkey from the air fryer and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving.
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Variations and Additional Tips

  • For a crispy skin, increase the temperature to 400°F during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
  • Experiment with different seasoning blends and herbs to create unique flavor profiles. Cajun, lemon herb, or garlic and herb are all excellent choices.
  • Consider brining your turkey for a juicier and more flavorful outcome. Brining enhances moisture retention and adds subtle flavors to the meat.
  • Don’t forget to save the drippings from your air-fried turkey! They can be used to make a delicious gravy or added to soups and stews for added depth of flavor.


Air frying a turkey is an innovative and convenient way to achieve a perfectly cooked bird with a crispy skin. This comprehensive guide has covered the food science behind air frying, selection and cleaning tips, detailed preparation instructions, essential cooking tips, and a mouthwatering turkey air fryer recipe. Now armed with all this knowledge, it’s time for you to impress your family and friends with a succulent and delicious turkey cooked to perfection in an air fryer.

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  • FAQS On Turkey Air Fryer Recipe

    What Is A Turkey Air Fryer Recipe?

    A Turkey Air Fryer Recipe is a cooking method that uses the air fryer appliance to prepare a whole turkey with a unique and delicious flavor. This method involves marinating the turkey, seasoning it, and then cooking it in the air fryer to achieve a crispy and juicy result.

    How Long Does It Take To Cook A Turkey In An Air Fryer?

    The cooking time can vary depending on the size of the turkey, but generally, it takes about 25 minutes per pound to cook a turkey in an air fryer. So, for example, a 10-pound turkey would take approximately 4 hours and 10 minutes to cook in the air fryer.

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    What Temperature Should I Set The Air Fryer At For A Turkey?

    The recommended temperature for cooking a turkey in an air fryer is 350°F (175°C). This temperature allows the turkey to cook thoroughly and evenly while ensuring a crispy exterior.

    Can I Stuff The Turkey When Cooking It In An Air Fryer?

    It’s not recommended to stuff the turkey when cooking it in an air fryer. Since the air circulation in the fryer is limited, stuffing the turkey can extend the cooking time and result in unevenly cooked meat. It’s safer to cook stuffing separately to avoid any potential food safety issues.

    Should I Brine The Turkey Before Cooking It In An Air Fryer?

    Brining the turkey before air frying it can greatly enhance its flavor and moistness. Brining involves soaking the turkey in a saltwater solution overnight, allowing the meat to absorb the moisture and seasoning. However, it’s essential to pat the turkey dry before air frying to ensure a crispy skin.

    How Often Should I Flip The Turkey In An Air Fryer?

    To ensure even cooking and browning, it’s recommended to flip the turkey halfway through the cooking process. This allows both sides of the turkey to receive equal heat and results in a well-cooked and crispy turkey.

    Can I Use A Frozen Turkey In An Air Fryer?

    It’s not recommended to cook a frozen turkey directly in an air fryer. Thawing the turkey completely before cooking is crucial to ensure safe and even cooking. It’s best to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator for a few days prior to air frying to eliminate any potential food safety risks.