Thanksgiving is a holiday full of tasty treats, but the star is typically a nice juicy turkey! Every family has their preference of how to prepare their turkey; whether it be roasted, smoked or one of the more popular options – fried!

Although deep frying a turkey will give you that deliciously crisp skin, moist meat and fabulous flavor, it is one of the most dangerous methods of cooking a turkey. Not only does the piping hot oil pose a fire risk, it poses a huge personal injury risk as well.

According to FEMA Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, with approximately 2,400 fires reported on Thanksgiving Day between 2014 – 2016.  

Keep these potential dangers in mind and keep an eye on what you fry:

5 Dangers of Deep Frying

  1. Oil Spills – Turkey fryers can easily tip over spreading hot oil throughout a large area. If some of this oil happens to spill onto the burner, you could face a widespread fire that is very difficult to extinguish on your own.
  2. Overfilling Oil – Filling the fryer with excess oil will also cause an oil spill once the turkey is placed inside of the unit, posing a similar fire hazard as danger #1.
  3. Oil Splatters – Similar to placing hot water on a frozen windshield, placing a frozen turkey into piping hot oil will cause the hot oil to splatter everywhere; yet another fire hazard.
  4. Overheating – Turkey fryers can easily overheat and start a fire if the oil gets too hot.
  5. Burn Injuries – The pot, handles and lid of a turkey fryer can get dangerously hot and cause burn injuries if being handled with bare hands.

Deep Frying Safety

  • Always use deep fryers outdoors on a solid level surface, keeping it a safe distance from your home and flammable materials.
  • Never use a fryer in a garage or enclosed space, under a patio cover or on a wooden deck.
  • Do not overfill your fryer with oil. Determine the correct amount of oil needed by first placing the turkey in the pot with water.
  • Thaw your turkey before you fry it. A partially frozen turkey will cause hot oil to splatter. Thaw your turkey completely in your refrigerator prior to Thanksgiving following these USDA guidelines:
    • 4 to 12 pounds: one to three days
    • 12 to 16 pounds: three to four days
    • 16 to 20 pounds: four to five days
    • 20 to 24 pounds: five to six days
  • Never leave the fryer unattended as they can easily overheat and start a fire. Check the temperature often using a cooking thermometer to ensure the oil doesn’t overheat.
  • Create a 3-foot “kid-and pet-free zone” around your fryer,
  • Always use long cooking gloves or high-quality oven mitts and wear long sleeves. Fryers can get dangerously hot and cause burn injuries.
  • Keep all-purpose fire extinguishers nearby.
  • If a turkey fryer fire occurs, call 911 immediately.

Make it yet another Thanksgiving to remember, not one you’d want to forget because of a horrible accident. Always use caution when operating turkey fryers. Click Here to learn about other fire hazards to consider around Thanksgiving.

Amy Ingram Amy Ingram
Social Media & Communications Coordinator
Amy joined Rockford Mutual in January of 2017 with an Associates Degree in Marketing. Amy has a great understanding of insurance in general as she is currently working towards an Associate in General Insurance designation.