# Using an electric deep fryer does the food need to be totally immersed

frying

***Edit**** So there seems to be much confusion about the way I worded the question and how I described the situation. So I will try to clarify. The max fill line is about halfway down the fryer. The minimum fill line is very near the bottom. I am unclear whether this fill line is for ONLY oil or for oil and food both. Originally I assumed it was just for oil. There is no marking higher up as some have asked/mentioned.

I put a whole chicken that was wrapped inside the vessel. I then covered with water until the chicken was covered by an inch or two. as I put the water in I was calculating how much water it was I added. I added 8 qts of water on top of the chicken to cover it. I then removed the chicken and noticed that by chance the 8 qts of water reached the max fill line.

A commenter mentioned that the more food you have (a turkey compared to chicken for example) the less oil it will take to cook as the item will displace the oil. This should have been fairly obvious but I wasn't thinking correctly.

The box of the fryer says 22 qt capacity. I have no idea what this references. The box mentions cooking turkeys up to 14 lbs.

At this point in time I assume the max fill line is for oil only as it is halfway down the vessel and it takes 8 qts to reach that point which isn't much.

When I buy a turkey I will do the water test again (unwrapped) and see how much oil it takes. I am going under the assumption the max fill line is for oil only. I am assuming it is possible to cook a turkey since it is marketed as such.

I am hoping for the best and if you see a plume of smoke coming from Columbus, oh then pray for me lol. Thanks to all

Hello I have an electric deep fryer that will hold a maximum of 8 qts of oil.

I put in a whole chicken (young chicken) and added water to measure how much oil would be needed to cover the chicken and it takes the whole 8 qts to cover it by an inch or two.

The problem is for thanksgiving we want to deep fry a whole turkey which is significantly bigger than the chicken. The 8 qts to cover the chicken is by chance the maximum the fryer can hold. The box of the fryer says it can fry a turkey up to 12 pounds.

I understand the oil may bubble up as it's cooking. But the 8 qts barely covers the chicken. How can we cook a turkey with the same amount of oil that barely covers the chicken?

Would it be okay to do this?

Based on the comments, it sounds like your fryer has a fill line for just the oil, calibrated so that if you use that much oil then add a reasonably-sized turkey, you'll end up with the oil still safely below the top of the fryer. You'd never actually use 22 quarts of oil; then it'd be completely full of oil, on the verge of overflowing, with no room for food.

In that case, your chicken test doesn't really tell you very much. A turkey will fill the vessel more completely, so it may well take less oil to cover it. If you end up able to put your whole turkey in, and cover it with liquid, without getting dangerously close to the top of the pot, then you're okay. I would hope your fryer has another line closer to the top to tell you what a safe margin is there.

Do note that testing with wrapped birds also is misleading. That keeps the liquid from getting into the cavity, so it'll take less liquid to fill and cover that way.

And if the turkey is too big, then filling it to that 8 quart fill line then adding the turkey could cause it to overflow. So it really seems like you need to test with the turkey first (not wrapped!), to be sure it'll fit safely.

With all that said, supposing you do actually end up in the situation you mention in the question - not enough oil to cover the food - that's not good.

If your food is sticking out of the oil, it's not really cooking. It'll be in contact with hot air over the oil, but that's nowhere near actual hot oil.

Along with that, it'd indicate you've overfilled it, which is asking for trouble. The manual for your fryer almost certainly has some really strong warnings against that sort of thing. And even if the oil stops at the fill line, you have a huge turkey in there just waiting to shift or settle a bit, displace more oil, and push the oil above the max - it's still overfilled.

Doing something like that would make it really easy to splash hot oil out of the fryer, especially while you're putting the food in and getting that burst of boiling water and steam, which is incredibly dangerous. It's probably a fire hazard even with an electric fryer. And even without a fire, it's nothing you want splashing on you.

And in general, I'd strongly suggest you look at general safety guides before you attempt to deep fry a turkey, especially if you're not sure about part of the process.