Special Feature

Turkey Fryer Safety Tips

Golden brown turkey on a serving platter

This time of year brings food, football, and gatherings with family and friends, but it can also bring new hazards. Did you know that the most cooking fires of the year occur on Thanksgiving? Several of those cooking fires are the result of deep fryers, and increasingly people are deep frying turkeys as part of their Thanksgiving meal preparation. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) discourages the use of turkey fryers altogether due to the risk of fires and burns. (Click here to read more.) However, if you’re determined to fry a turkey, it’s important to keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Make sure to strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the turkey fryer.

  • Set up your fryer outside, away from decks, garages, and other flammable materials.

  • It may be cold outside, but never leave the turkey fryer unattended.

  • Keep kids and pets away from the fryer.

  • Avoid moving the fryer once it is set up.

  • Only fry a completely thawed and dried turkey or a fresh turkey. Water from a thawing frozen turkey can cause oil to overflow and start a fire.

  • Do not overfill the fryer. Overfilling the fryer can cause hot oil to overflow, which can lead to fires and burns. Medium to small turkeys work best for frying, as big turkeys can cause overflow.

  • If possible, purchase a fryer with temperature controls. If the temperature is not monitored on a turkey fryer, oil can overheat and start a fire.

  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand. If a fire does start, remember to never throw water on a grease fire.

  • Fryers heat up very quickly. Use oven mitts and caution when handling the fryer to avoid burns from handles and the lid. In addition, protect yourself from oil splatters by wearing an apron and safety goggles.

  • Raise and lower the turkey slowly in and out of the fryer to avoid oil splatter and burns.