Fried Turkey for Thanksgiving: Tips to Keep You Safe

The United States Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that since 2002, there have been more than 157 turkey fryer-related incidents. These include fires, burns, and explosions or carbon dioxide poisoning.[1] Among the 68 listed injuries, none have been fatal;[2] however, this should not take away from how dangerous conventional turkey fryers can be.

In 2007, a seven year old was badly burned when he stepped on a rubber hose connecting a turkey fryer to a propane tank, causing the pot to fall over and heated oil to pour onto his back.[3] In another incident, a mother and her teenage daughter were injured when someone emptied hot cooking oil from a fryer into a storm drain while someone else poured water from a garden hose down that same drain.[4] The resulting steam cloud badly burned the two.[5]

Even famous actor William Shatner has experienced his fair share of turkey-fryer-related accidents. Click here to see his safety video where he explains what happened to him, and how you can keep safe yourself.

5 Steps to Be Safer When Frying Your Own Turkey

  1. Turkeys must be completely thawed before placing in the fryer. A partially thawed turkey will cause the oil to splatter causing serious burns.[6]
  2. Be careful when placing the turkey into the fryer and removing it. Fryers are often quite unstable, and can easily tip over spilling as much as five gallons of hot oil.[7]
  3. Use extreme caution! The side of the cooking pot, lid, and handles gets dangerously hot.[8]
  4. Cook outdoors at a safe distance from any buildings or trees. Keep the fryer off any wooden structures, such as a deck or patio.[9]
  5. Do not use ice or water to cool down oil or extinguish an oil fire. Keep an extinguisher approved for cooking or grease fire nearby.[10]

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) cautions against using traditional turkey fryers in the first place. The NFPA recommends using an “oil-less” fryer or purchasing an already fried turkey from a restaurant or grocery store. For more information on oil-less fryers, click here. For information on where to purchase a fried turkey in Richmond, click here.

As always, have a safe and happy holiday season.

About The Author: Danielle Bringard is a personal injury attorney practicing with the law firm of Allen & Allen at their office in Fredericksburg. Her practice is focused in the areas of car accidents, product liability, premises liability, and distracted driving accidents.

[1] See United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, Stand by Your Pan: Protect Your Family from Cooking Fires and Food Poisoning this Thanksgiving Holiday, CPSC (Nov. 25, 2014),

[2] See id.

[3] See Cochran v. Brinkmann Corp., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114814, *1-2  (N.D.G.A. Dec. 9, 2009).

[4] See Boderick v. R.Y. Mgmt. Co., 71 A.D.3d 144, 145 (NY App. 2009).

[5] See id.

[6] See NFPA, Turkey Fryer Safety, available at

[7] See id; Eatocracy, The Department of Homeland Security Does Not Want You to Die in a Fryer Accident, CNN, [hereinafter Eatocracy].

[8] See Eatocracy.

[9] See Duckmen Si and Jase Robertson Offer up a Serving of Turkey Fryer Safety, PRNewswire,

[10] See id.