[GUIDE] How Long To Cook Turkey In Air Fryer

Cooking a turkey in an air fryer is a convenient and efficient way to prepare a succulent and flavorful dish. This method reduces cooking time and yields a beautifully golden, crispy skin while locking in the juices for a tender and moist turkey. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to cook turkey in an air fryer, including selecting the right turkey, preparation steps, and essential air fryer settings for optimal results.

Quick Answer: How Long To Cook Turkey In Air Fryer

The cooking time for a turkey in an air fryer can vary depending on the size of the turkey and the specific settings of the air fryer. As a general guideline, a whole turkey typically requires 30-40 minutes per pound to cook in an air fryer. Additionally, the internal temperature of the turkey needs to reach at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure its safety for consumption.

Choosing Turkey

Selecting the right turkey is crucial for achieving the best results when using an air fryer. When choosing a turkey for air frying, consider the following factors:

Size

  • The size of the turkey should be suitable for your air fryer basket. Ensure that the turkey fits comfortably without overcrowding the air fryer to ensure even cooking.

Fresh Vs. Frozen

  • Fresh turkeys are ideal for air frying as they yield better texture and flavor. If using a frozen turkey, ensure it is fully thawed before cooking to promote even cooking and to avoid any safety concerns.

Quality

  • Choose a high-quality, well-kept turkey for the best flavor and texture. Look for turkeys labeled as "natural" or "organic," as these often have superior flavor and may be free of added hormones and antibiotics.

Preparing Turkey

Properly preparing the turkey before air frying is essential to ensure even cooking and delicious results. Here are the steps to prepare the turkey for air frying:

Thawing

  • If using a frozen turkey, ensure it is completely thawed before cooking. Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator according to the package instructions. Allow approximately 24 hours of thawing time for every 4-5 pounds of turkey.

Cleaning

  • Rinse the thawed turkey under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Remove any giblets, neck, and excess fat from the turkey cavity and pat the skin dry to promote crispiness.

Seasoning

  • Season the turkey with your preferred seasonings. Common options include salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and sage. Additionally, consider using a light coat of oil or butter to help the seasonings adhere to the turkey and promote crispiness.

Air Fryer Temperature For Cooking Turkey

Setting the appropriate temperature on the air fryer ensures that the turkey cooks evenly and achieves the desired texture. The recommended temperature for cooking a turkey in an air fryer is 350°F (175°C). This temperature allows for thorough cooking while promoting a crispy outer skin and juicy interior.

Air Fryer Cooking Time For Cooking Turkey

Determining the cooking time for a turkey in the air fryer is essential for achieving a perfectly cooked dish. Here’s a guideline for estimating the cooking time based on the size of the turkey:

Small Turkey (8-10 Pounds)

  • Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C). Place the seasoned turkey in the air fryer basket and cook for approximately 30-40 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, ensuring it reaches at least 165°F (74°C).

Medium Turkey (10-14 Pounds)

  • Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C). Cook the seasoned turkey for approximately 30-40 minutes per pound, ensuring the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).

Large Turkey (14-20 Pounds)

  • For larger turkeys, it’s essential to use an air fryer with a larger capacity. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and cook the turkey for approximately 30-40 minutes per pound. Monitor the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.

Note

  • It’s crucial to monitor the cooking progress periodically, as the actual cooking time can vary based on the specific air fryer, the turkey’s size, and its starting temperature.

Cooking a turkey in an air fryer offers a convenient and efficient way to prepare a delicious and succulent dish. By selecting the right turkey, preparing it adequately, and using suitable air fryer settings, you can achieve a beautifully cooked turkey with a crispy exterior and juicy interior. With the proper cooking time and temperature guidelines, you can confidently create a mouthwatering turkey dish using your air fryer. Enjoy the convenience and flavorful results of air fryer-cooked turkey for your next meal or holiday feast.

How To Cook Turkey In Air Fryer

Cooking a turkey can be a time-consuming and daunting task, especially when using traditional methods. However, with the advent of air fryers, cooking a turkey has become a breeze. Air fryers are versatile kitchen appliances that use hot air circulation to cook food, resulting in crispy and delicious dishes.

Cooking a turkey in an air fryer requires a few simple steps to ensure the best results. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cook a turkey in an air fryer:

Step 1: Thaw the Turkey
If your turkey is frozen, it is essential to thaw it properly before cooking. Thawing the turkey in the refrigerator is the safest method. Place the turkey in a shallow dish and allow it to thaw in the fridge, following the recommended time based on the turkey’s weight. Thawing times may vary, but as a general rule, allow 24 hours of thawing time per 4-5 pounds of turkey.

Step 2: Preheat the Air Fryer
Preheating the air fryer is crucial to ensure even cooking. Set the air fryer to the desired cooking temperature (we’ll discuss temperature adjustments later) and allow it to preheat for a few minutes while you prepare the turkey.

Step 3: Season the Turkey
Seasoning the turkey is an important step in enhancing its flavor. You can use your favorite seasoning blend or a simple combination of salt, pepper, and herbs. Gently pat the turkey dry with paper towels and rub the seasoning mixture all over the turkey, including the cavity. Make sure to season both the skin and the underside of the turkey.

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Step 4: Place the Turkey in the Air Fryer
Carefully place the seasoned turkey in the air fryer basket, breast side up. The size of the turkey and the capacity of your air fryer will determine if you can cook the whole turkey or if you need to cut it into pieces. Make sure the turkey is not crowded in the air fryer basket to ensure proper air circulation and even cooking.

Step 5: Cook the Turkey
Once the turkey is in the air fryer, it’s time to start cooking. Set the air fryer to the recommended temperature and adjust the cooking time accordingly. We’ll discuss cooking time adjustments in the following section. As a general guideline, you can start with 25 minutes per pound of turkey at 350°F (175°C). However, it’s essential to use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey is cooked to the correct internal temperature.

Step 6: Check the Internal Temperature
Using a meat thermometer, check the internal temperature of the turkey by inserting it into the thickest part of the breast or thigh without touching the bone. The turkey should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C) for safe consumption. If the turkey has not reached the desired temperature, continue cooking for additional time, checking the temperature periodically.

Step 7: Rest and Carve the Turkey
Once the turkey is cooked, remove it from the air fryer and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes. Resting the turkey helps the juices redistribute, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful bird. After resting, carve the turkey into desired portions and serve.

Cooking Time For Frozen Turkey

If you are cooking a frozen turkey in the air fryer, it’s important to adjust the cooking time to ensure it cooks through properly. The cooking time for a frozen turkey will be longer than that of a thawed turkey.

As a general guideline, allow an additional 50% of the thawed cooking time for a frozen turkey. For example, if a thawed turkey requires 25 minutes per pound, a frozen turkey of the same weight will need approximately 37 minutes per pound. However, it’s crucial to rely on the internal temperature of the turkey rather than the cooking time alone. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C) for safe consumption.

Adjusting Air Fryer Temperature For Cooking Turkey

Most air fryers come with adjustable temperature settings, allowing you to customize the cooking temperature based on your recipe. When cooking a turkey in an air fryer, it’s essential to adjust the temperature accordingly to ensure even and thorough cooking.

As a general guideline, start by setting the air fryer temperature to 350°F (175°C) for cooking the turkey. This temperature allows for a balance between cooking the turkey thoroughly and achieving a crispy skin.

However, if you prefer a more tender and succulent turkey with less emphasis on crispiness, you can lower the temperature to 325°F (163°C). On the other hand, if you want a particularly crispy skin, you can increase the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Experiment with different temperature settings to find the one that suits your preferences.

Adjusting Air Fryer Cook Time For Cooking Turkey

The cooking time in an air fryer can vary depending on the size and weight of the turkey. As a general rule, allow approximately 25 minutes per pound for a turkey cooked at 350°F (175°C). However, it’s crucial to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey for doneness.

The internal temperature should reach 165°F (75°C) for safe consumption. If the turkey has not reached the desired temperature after the recommended cooking time, continue cooking for additional time, checking the temperature periodically. Remember that cooking times may vary depending on the air fryer model, so it’s essential to rely on the internal temperature rather than the cooking time alone.

Cooking Techniques

Aside from the basic steps outlined above, there are a few additional cooking techniques you can employ to achieve the best results when cooking turkey in an air fryer.

1. Basting
Basting the turkey with its own juices or melted butter during the cooking process can enhance the flavor and keep the meat moist. Every 20 minutes, open the air fryer and baste the turkey with a basting brush or a spoon. This extra step will result in a flavorful and juicier turkey.

2. Trivet or Rack
To further elevate the cooking process, consider using a trivet or rack inside the air fryer basket. Placing the turkey on a trivet or rack creates even more air circulation and allows the hot air to reach all parts of the turkey, resulting in a more evenly cooked bird.

3. Rotating the Turkey
If your air fryer allows for it, consider rotating the turkey halfway through the cooking process. This technique ensures that all sides of the turkey receive equal heat and promotes even browning. If rotating is not possible, make sure to position the turkey in the air fryer basket in a way that allows for equal heat distribution.

Cooking a turkey in an air fryer is a convenient and efficient alternative to traditional cooking methods. By following the step-by-step guide provided and adjusting cooking time and temperature accordingly, you can achieve a perfectly cooked and flavorful turkey. Experiment with different seasoning blends, basting techniques, and cooking temperatures to tailor the turkey to your preferences. With a little practice, you’ll be able to impress your family and friends with a delicious air-fried turkey that’s crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Happy cooking!

Undercooking

Cooking a turkey in an air fryer might not be the conventional method, but it can result in a deliciously crispy and juicy bird. Air fryers use hot air circulation to cook food, making them a healthier alternative to deep frying. This method can significantly reduce cooking time and produce a flavorful turkey with a golden-brown crispy skin. However, it’s essential to be mindful of certain factors to avoid undercooking or overcooking the turkey.

One of the challenges when cooking a turkey in an air fryer is ensuring that it is cooked through and reaches the appropriate internal temperature. Undercooked turkey can pose the risk of foodborne illnesses, so it’s crucial to achieve the right level of doneness.

To prevent undercooking, follow these guidelines:

  1. Thaw the turkey before cooking: Ensure that the turkey is completely thawed before placing it in the air fryer. A frozen turkey will take much longer to cook and can lead to uneven cooking.

  2. Use a meat thermometer: Investing in a reliable meat thermometer is essential when cooking a turkey in an air fryer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey (typically the thigh) to check the internal temperature. The turkey should reach a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in the thigh and 160°F (71°C) in the breast for safe consumption.

  3. Adjust cooking time: Air fryers generally cook food faster than traditional methods. However, the cooking time may vary depending on the size of the turkey and the specific air fryer model. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for suggested cooking times and temperatures, and periodically check the turkey’s internal temperature to avoid undercooking.

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Overcooking

While undercooking can be a potential risk, overcooking the turkey can result in dry and tough meat. It’s crucial to avoid leaving the turkey in the air fryer for too long, as it can lead to an undesirable outcome.

Here are a few tips to prevent overcooking:

  1. Use a digital timer: Set a timer to remind yourself to check the turkey at regular intervals. This will prevent you from accidentally leaving it in the air fryer for an extended period. Start by monitoring the turkey about 10-15 minutes before the suggested cooking time is up.

  2. Baste the turkey: To keep the turkey moist, consider basting it with butter or olive oil during the cooking process. This will enhance the flavor and help prevent the meat from drying out.

  3. Foil tenting: If you notice that the skin is browning too quickly, you can create a foil tent to cover the turkey loosely. This will help prevent the skin from burning while ensuring the meat inside continues to cook evenly.

Checking For Doneness Of Turkey

Checking for the doneness of the turkey is crucial to ensure it is cooked to perfection. While using a meat thermometer is the most accurate method, there are other visual and physical cues to look out for.

Here’s how to check for the doneness of a turkey:

  1. Internal temperature: As mentioned earlier, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey. Remember that the minimum safe internal temperature is 165°F (74°C) in the thigh and 160°F (71°C) in the breast.

  2. Juices: When the turkey is cooked, the juices should run clear. Use a clean fork or knife to pierce the turkey near the bone and observe the color of the juices. If they are pink or have a slight tinge of red, continue cooking the turkey until the juices run clear.

  3. Color and texture: A properly cooked turkey should have a golden-brown crispy skin. The meat should be moist, tender, and easily separate from the bones. If the skin is pale or rubbery, the turkey may need more time in the air fryer.

  4. Thigh and leg mobility: When the turkey is done, the thigh and leg joints should move easily without resistance. If there is any stiffness or resistance, continue cooking until the joints loosen up.

When Things Go Wrong

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things may not go as planned. If you find yourself with an undercooked or overcooked turkey, don’t fret. There are still ways to salvage the situation.

If the turkey is undercooked:

  1. Finish cooking in the oven: Transfer the turkey to a preheated oven and continue cooking until it reaches the appropriate internal temperature. Monitor the temperature using a meat thermometer to prevent overcooking.

  2. Slice the undercooked portions: If only certain parts of the turkey are undercooked, remove those portions and finish cooking them separately. This way, you can still enjoy the fully cooked portions without compromising the quality.

If the turkey is overcooked:

  1. Moisture infusion: To add moisture back into the turkey, try basting it with warm chicken or vegetable broth. This will help rehydrate the meat and make it more palatable.

  2. Serve with flavorful sauces or gravies: If the meat is dry, serving it with flavorful sauces or gravies can help enhance the taste and provide some moisture. Consider making a homemade gravy or cranberry sauce to accompany the turkey.

Tips For Cooking Turkey In Air Fryer

To ensure a successful turkey-cooking experience in an air fryer, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  1. Size matters: Consider the size of your air fryer when selecting a turkey. Make sure the turkey fits comfortably inside the cooking chamber without crowding or touching the heating elements.

  2. Season generously: To enhance the flavor of the turkey, season it generously with your favorite herbs, spices, and a salt rub. Let the turkey marinate for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator for optimal flavor infusion.

  3. Use an air fryer rack or basket: Placing the turkey on an air fryer rack or in a basket will allow the hot air to circulate evenly around the bird, ensuring thorough and even cooking.

  4. Preheat the air fryer: It’s essential to preheat the air fryer before cooking the turkey. This will ensure that the heated air circulates properly around the bird, resulting in a crispy skin.

  5. Stay vigilant: Keep a close eye on the turkey, especially during the last few minutes of cooking, to prevent overcooking or burning. Use timers and thermometers to assist you in achieving the desired level of doneness.

Conclusion

Cooking a turkey in an air fryer can be a convenient and delicious alternative to traditional methods. However, it requires careful attention to ensure the turkey is properly cooked and reaches the appropriate internal temperature. By following the guidelines mentioned above, you can enjoy a flavorful and moist turkey with a crispy golden-brown skin. Remember to always prioritize food safety and monitor the cooking process closely to achieve the perfect turkey in your air fryer.

FAQS

Can You Cook A Whole Turkey In An Air Fryer?

Yes, you can cook a whole turkey in an air fryer. Make sure to use a model large enough to fit the turkey comfortably and follow the recommended cooking time for the size of your turkey.

Do I Need To Preheat My Air Fryer Before Cooking A Turkey?

Yes, it is recommended to preheat your air fryer for a few minutes before placing the turkey inside. This will allow for more even cooking and better results.

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

The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your turkey and the temperature of your air fryer. As a general guide, a 10-pound turkey will take approximately 1 to 1.5 hours to cook at 350°F.

Do I Need To Use Oil When Cooking A Turkey In An Air Fryer?

No, you do not need to use oil when cooking a turkey in an air fryer. The hot circulating air will cook the turkey evenly without the need for added oil.

How Do I Know When My Air Fryer Turkey Is Ready?

The best way to determine if your air fryer turkey is cooked is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the turkey should reach 165°F in the thickest part of the breast and thigh. If the temperature has not yet been reached, continue cooking for a few more minutes.