Dangers of Deep Frying Turkeys

Man deep-frying turkey with gloves

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and that can only mean one thing: deep-fried turkeys. While most people cook their Thanksgiving turkeys in the oven, more and more people are cooking their birds by deep frying them.

In 2016, it is estimated that 44 million turkeys were served on Thanksgiving in the United States. That’s about 736 million pounds of turkey eaten in one day. Many of those turkeys are deep-fried.

Deep frying turkeys became a trend in the late 1990s. It started in the South and gained popularity throughout the United States. People fell in love with the crispy brown skin and the moist meat inside.

However, frying a large turkey in a pot filled with gallons of cooking oil comes with risks. Every year, deep fryers cause roughly 60 injuries and five deaths. In 2015, there were six emergency room visits caused by deep fryers. Each year, 900 house fires are caused by the deep-fried turkey preparation, resulting in $15 million in property damage.

According to insurance company State Farm, Texas leads the United States in Thanksgiving Day insurance claims due to deep fryers. The state has an average of 38 such claims each year. Illinois is next on the list, with 27 claims. Tied for third place are Ohio and Pennsylvania, with 23 claims each. In fourth place with 22 claims was New York. Georgia and North Carolina were next on the list, each with 16 claims.

Deep-fried turkey in pot

Safety Tips for Frying Turkeys

If you and your family choose to partake of a deep-fried turkey for Thanksgiving, make sure to take the appropriate steps to safely prepare your bird.

Deep fryer machine next to fries and nuggets

Follow these tips for success:

  • Do not overfill the fryer with oil. This is one of the most common mistakes. Do some planning ahead of time to see how much oil you will need. You can do this by placing the turkey in the fryer and then covering it with water. Measure out how much water it takes to cover the turkey. Remember that once you put the turkey into the fryer, the oil level will rise to the top of the fryer. Keep it below the fill line to prevent a fire.
  • Use turkey fryers outside only. Never use a fryer indoors, in a garage or on a porch. Keep it far away from any structure.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Someone should be watching it at all times.

If you follow these simple steps, you can prevent an accident or burn injury. From our family to yours, have an enjoyable Thanksgiving shared with family and friends.

Turkey inside of fryer

Infographic of tips for deep frying turkey outdoors


November 21, 2017

Dangers of Deep Frying Turkeys

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and that can only mean one thing: deep-fri...