How Many Turkeys Can You Fry with a 20 Lb. Propane Tank? 

The air is getting cooler, the leaves are starting to change colors, and it’s your turn to host the big family Thanksgiving dinner at your house. This year, you want to stray from the normal and cook a meal that will have everyone raving for the next 12 months. You decide that you want to take the plunge and deep fry your turkey. But where should you start?  

There are a couple of methods for deep frying a turkey. Since most of us do not own an industrial-style deep fryer, the best option for us is a propane fryer and a large stock pot. (Many stores carry deep fryer sets that include the stock pot, fryer stand, and all necessary gear, though you will need to purchase the propane separately).  

When you go to set up your fryer, it is important to choose an open area free of flammable materials. The location you choose to set up your fryer is particularly important as it needs to be a stable location that can remain unbothered for hours at a time. It is best that you choose somewhere that is flat terrain with no trees, branches, or other materials hanging over where the fryer will be, driveways are ideal for this as spilled oil won’t cause as much damage to the concrete as it will to your grass or other materials.  

You will next thread the regulator of your fryer carefully onto the valve of your 20-lb. propane tank. Make sure it’s tight and fits properly.  

Ensure that your propane tank is full and if possible, you have a backup tank. The most important part about using propane to fry your turkey is keeping up a reliable source of heat to maintain the correct temperature. (Head to to find a location near you that offers a refilling station for your propane tanks!) 

Suddenly, your family tells you they will be bringing their neighbors who don’t have anywhere else to go. You are happy to welcome the additional mouths but don’t think one turkey will be enough. You’ve decided you want to cook more than one turkey. How many propane tanks should you make sure to have on hand? 

A typical 20-pound propane tank has about 18-20 hours of continuous burn time. Depending on the size of your turkey, you can determine how much propane you will need. The most commonly known rule is that to deep-fry a turkey, the necessary timing is usually 3-4 minutes per pound. For a large 20-pound turkey, you will need to budget about 80 minutes of cooking time or 1 hour and 20 minutes. For a smaller 10-pound turkey, you will need about 40 minutes of cooking time.  

There are many factors that must be taken into account when calculating how many turkeys you can fry. If you are planning to cook 15-pound turkeys, one 20-pound propane tank may be able to cook as many as 18 to 20 turkeys! 

So, invite the whole neighborhood and enjoy your delicious turkey dinner! 


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