Tips to safely deep fry a turkey

Tips for cooking a turkey in a deep fryer without causing a dangerous fire this Thanksgiving.

Safely frying a turkey in a deep fryer.

Thanksgiving is a time for family and holiday traditions including taste testing Thanksgiving recipes. It's also a time where family members may want to join in the food preparation, so fire safety is important. With the speed of deep-frying a turkey, the irresistible flavor and juiciness, turkey frying has become a Thanksgiving tradition for some. Turkey fryers have the potential to cause fire and serious injury. Each year these deep fryers on average cause 60 injuries, 5 deaths and over $15 million in property damage according to the National Fire Protection Association. Because of injuries, Underwriters Laboratories does not safety certify any turkey fryers. If you plan to deep-fry your holiday bird, be sure you know how to safely use the fryer, and use these turkey fryer safety precautions to help protect yourself, your guests and your home.

Tips to prevent deep fried turkey accidents

  • Never leave fryers unattended.
  • Keep outdoor fryers a safe distance from structures, off wooden decks and away from trees.
  • Never use fryers in garages.
  • Place the fryer on a level surface and avoid moving it once it's in use.
  • Never attempt to fry a frozen turkey. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups. Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Also, skip stuffing the turkey before frying.
  • Be cautious of the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
  • There should be 2 feet between the burner and tank.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid overfilling.
  • Choose the proper size turkey. A bird that's 8 to 10 pounds is best.
  • Purchase a fryer with temperature controls. Continuously check the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, TURN OFF THE FRYER.
  • Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner back on.
  • Wear protective cooking gear. Put on goggles to shield your eyes, use oven mitts to help protect your hands and arms, also keep an "ABC" or grease-rated fire extinguisher close by. NEVER use water or a garden hose on a fire related to turkey fryers.
  • Always keep children and pets away from the fryer.
  • Once finished, turn off the burner and carefully remove the pot, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.
  • Opt for an oil-less fryer. This uses infrared heat, rather than oil, to cook the turkey.

After your turkey is prepared, remember these Thanksgiving food safety tips to help ensure your family has a safe, enjoyable holiday.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.
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