In recent years frying a turkey for Thanksgiving has become very popular. Frying a turkey may be delicious, but, if you don’t do it the right way it can turn your Thanksgiving dinner into a trip to the ER. Every year deep-fryer fires are responsible for five deaths, 60 injuries, the destruction of 900 homes, and more than $15 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Before we proceed, you should know that frying a turkey in gallons of hot oil is very dangerous, if you are going to fry a turkey you should be extremely careful.

You’re probably wondering “why would I want to deep fry a turkey if it’s so dangerous?!” Well, when you deep fry a turkey you will get extremely crispy skin (like potato chip crispy) with the most tender and juicy turkey meat. Follow these tips to safely fry a turkey this Thanksgiving!

Safety Tips

  • Never leave the fryer unattended.
  • Follow all manufacturer’s instructions and guild lines for how big of a bird you can use and how much oil to heat up.
  • Prep your turkey. Make sure your turkey is completely defrosted (Here is an article on defrosting turkeys) and dry. If there is the smallest amount of water or if the turkey is still a little frozen the hot oil will splatter and possibly start a fire or explode!
  • Use a small bird. Most manufacturers recommend using a bird that is under 18 pounds. This is still a large bird and turkeys between 10-12 pounds are the best for frying. If you use a larger bird, you risk having the skin burn and the turkey not getting thoroughly cooked.
  • Keep children and pets away. Don’t allow children and pets near the hot oil. There will be a lot of hot oil splattering and they could easily get burned if they get too close.
  • Keep a grease-rated fire extinguisher in arms reach at all times. Not all fire extinguishers are made the same. There are 3 different ratings, each for a different kind of fire, “B” rating is suitable to smother a grease fire. Grease fires cannot be put out with water (this will cause the fire to spread) so make sure you have the proper fire extinguisher.
  • Never use a fryer in a garage, shed, on a deck, or under an awning.
  • When using an outdoor fryer when it is raining or snowing.
  • Do not move the fryer once it is hot. This could cause splatters, burns, or start a fire.
  • Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves (but not loose), eyewear, and good cooking mitts.


Make sure to keep a very close eye on the fryer, monitor the temperature, and use extreme caution when putting the turkey in and taking it out.

Happy Thanksgiving and safe frying!

Check out last weeks article: Snow Removal Safety

By: L. DiBartolomeo 11/21/19