Deep Fryer Safety

Deep Frying Turkeys

In recent years deep-frying turkeys has become increasingly popular. The cooking method requires placing the turkey in three gallons or more of oil, heated by propane. The Fitchburg Fire Department warns that cooking with deep-fat turkey fryers can be very dangerous as they have a high risk of tipping over, overheating, or spilling hot oil. That could lead to fires, burns, or other injuries.

Five Dangers

Here are five dangers associated with deep frying a turkey:
  • Units can easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
  • An overfilled cooking pot or partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is inserted.
  • A small amount of cooking oil coming into contact with the burner can cause a large fire.
  • Without thermostat controls, deep fryers have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
  • The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles can get dangerously hot, creating severe burn hazards.

Safety Tips

If you fry a turkey please keep the following tips in mind:
  • Fryers should always be used outdoors, on a solid level surface a safe distance from buildings and flammable materials.
  • Never use a fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage or enclosed space.
  • Do not overfill the fryer: 1) place turkey in the empty fryer, 2) fill with water to the appropriate level per manufacturer recommendations, 3) remove the turkey and make note of the remaining water level, 4) dump out the water and fill the fryer with oil up to the marked line. This process will help reduce the chance of hot oil overflowing when the turkey is place in the fryer.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended because, without thermostat controls, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use or after use as the oil can remain hot for hours.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts and wear long sleeves and safety goggles to protect from splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before it is placed in a fryer.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby.
  • If a turkey fryer fire occurs, call 911 immediately.

External Safety Information

For more information about deep fryers, please visit the following websites: