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The Dangers of Turkey Fryer Fires: Turkey Frying Safety

Fire Damage
Author: ServiceMaster Restore

Eighty-eight percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, according to a survey by the National Turkey Foundation. Unfortunately, Turkey Day also has one of the highest percentages of home fires caused by cooking – especially since turkey fryer fires have hit the scene. In fact, the U.S. Fire Administration reports that cooking fires double on Turkey Day, which causes an average of $28 million in property damage each year. While deep fried turkey may seem like a tasty alternative to the traditionally oven-roasted variety, frying an entire bird can be extremely dangerous. If you're planning to try this technique at home, be sure to read all of our turkey fryer safety tips ahead of time to keep yourself, your home and your guests well-fed and fire-free.


Any time a home cook opts to deep fry, there's a risk for burns or injuries caused by splash-back from the hot oil needed for the frying process. Deep frying a turkey requires a significant amount of oil heated to temperatures of 350-degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Oil is combustible, and at high temperatures, the risk for cooking oil vapors to ignite increases. Moreover, the risk for serious burns is high when deep frying a turkey. The fryer stand can tip, boil over, spill or splash hot oil. Using too much oil or trying to fry a wet, partially defrosted or frozen turkey can have catastrophic results. Just watch this video created by State Farm and the Illinois Fire Service Institute and see what happens when a professional firefighter causes the oil in his fryer to spill in a controlled environment. Now imagine what would happen if he hadn't been prepared to handle the results!

Safety tip: Thoroughly thaw and completely dry your Thanksgiving turkey before deep frying.


Before frying your first turkey, consider and follow each of these important and potentially life-saving turkey frying safety tips:

  • Follow all instructions on your turkey fryer
  • Never overfill the oil in a turkey fryer
  • Always be sure the turkey has been properly and thoroughly thawed
  • Do not stuff a turkey that you intend to deep fry
  • Never use a turkey fryer inside unless it's specifically designed for indoor use
  • Never use a turkey fryer on a wooden deck or patio, which can easily catch fire
  • Fry turkeys in flat, open environments, away from trees, buildings, overhangs and tripping hazards
  • Keep children and pets away from your turkey fryer at all times
  • Turn the burner off when putting your turkey in or taking it out of the fryer
  • Never use ice to cool hot oil – oil and water don't mix!
  • Wear safety goggles and heavy-duty mitts while frying
  • Don't touch the sides of a hot fryer without protection
  • Always have an all-purpose or grease fire extinguisher nearby when frying

ServiceMaster Restore urges everyone to follow all our turkey fryer safety recommendations for a safe and successful turkey frying experience. A cooking fire can be devastating, causing injury as well as serious damage to your home or property. If an accident does happen, you can always call the experts at ServiceMaster Restore. We'll be there to help get you back to normal 24/7, 365 days a year.