Dangers of Frying A Turkey

In recent years deep-frying turkeys has become increasingly popular. The cooking method requires placing the turkey in 3 gallons or more of oil, heated by propane.

The Cosumnes 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 and could lead to fires, burns, or other injuries.
A propane turkey frying station.
5 Dangers of Frying a Turkey
Here are 5 dangers associated with deep frying a turkey, according to the Cosumnes Fire Department:
  • A small amount of cooking oil coming into contact with the burner can cause a large fire.
  • An overfilled cooking pot or partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is inserted.
  • The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles can get dangerously hot, creating severe burn hazards.
  • Units can easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
  • Without thermostat controls, deep fryers have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
Turkey Frying Safety Tips
The Cosumnes Fire Department advises against using a turkey fryer. If you decide to do it anyway, these precautions should be followed. Please follow these tips to stay safe:
  • Do not overfill the fryer.
  • Fryers should always be used outdoors, on a solid level surface a safe distance from buildings and flammable materials.
  • If a turkey fryer fire occurs, call 911 immediately.
  • Keep all-purpose fire extinguishers nearby.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before it is placed in a 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.
  • Never use a fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage or enclosed space.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts and wear long sleeves and safety goggles to protect from splatter.