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Deep Fried Thanksgiving Turkey Safety Tips

Updated on March 9, 2014

Frying For First-Timers

Many people receive frozen turkeys for a Thanksgiving gift from their boss. At least, this was the tradition at my workplace. Now If you have never had deep fried turkey, you don’t know what you’re missing. While the idea may sound, well, greasy, it is anything but.

You will taste the most succulent, juicy turkey you have ever had. And you’ll wonder why you ate dried up oven roasted turkey for so many years.

Frying a turkey is a bit of an adventure, and it can be dangerous for those who are inexperienced, careless, or who have hit the holiday spirits a little early.

Here are some tips for enjoying an unbelievable meal and staying safe.


Caution: Hot Oil

Frying a turkey involves using a great deal of oil (preferably peanut, though vegetable will do). This gets very, very hot, and severe burns could be a result of mishandling or improper equipment. You really want to make sure you know what you are doing; this is an instance where you really do have to follow the rules so you can avoid a trip to the emergency room on a holiday, and even worse: scars for life.

Why SAFETY Matters


Size Matters

Do not use turkeys larger than 15 pounds. If you have more people to feed, make two smaller birds. It is easier to handle and reduces the risk of injury. Also, do not overfill the pot with oil.

Make sure your bird is completely thawed. If there is any ice in the turkey, it will cause the oil to pop up and spatter.

Where to Fry

Fry your turkey outside. And outside doesn’t mean the deck or the garage. There is a danger of splattering hot oil and fire, so you do not want it inside your home or other structures.

ALSO: Make sure the fryer is on a stable base.

Before You Fry

If you have a propane fryer, turn off the gas before you put the turkey in and when you take it out to keep oil from spilling over the container to the propane flame. If oil hits the open flame, you will have a nasty grease fire on your hands.


Inserting the Turkey

Lower the turkey into your vat or pot of oil very slowly to keep the oil from boiling over. Very slowly. Do not just drop it in because you can seriously injure yourself or those near you.

Use heavy leather gloves to protect your hands from burns. You will want to make sure they are leather, though. Plastic or rubber gloves will melt, and you will have an oil and plastic burn.

How to Deep Fry a Turkey


While It Cooks

Don’t leave your turkey. Supervise it, and do not turn your back on it. You do not want to take the chance that the assembly gets knocked over somehow. Luckily, it takes only about 30 minutes to cook a 15 pound turkey. Time to stand around and chat with your friends and family, maybe even eat some Thanksgiving cookies while you're waiting.

Do not touch the sides of the pot. Even with potholders, it may be still too hot to touch.

Keep your children and a pet away from the fryer before, during, and well after it has been used. They are going to be interested, but it is very dangerous. You wouldn’t let them play with a power saw, so don’t let them near the turkey fryer.


Words to the Wise

If you are absent-minded, get bored easily, or don’t want to stand in the cold for a half hour, rethink a fried turkey. Your home, skin, and family members are more important.

If you do have the patience and wherewithal, though, be vigilant, careful, and enjoy.


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    • janices7 profile image

      Janice S 5 years ago

      Great safety tips! I have heard some horror stories where people burned down their entire house trying to fry a turkey INSIDE the garage or house. Love fried turkey - so juicy and tender!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You know, it's weird, but I don't think I have ever had deep-fried turkey....sheez, how is that possible? Well, great job on this hub; I just might have to do this this coming Thanksgiving.

    • jkvkdailey4 profile image

      jkvkdailey4 5 years ago from Minnesota

      I love deep fried turkey! We've done it for many parties, and we love injecting different flavors into the bird. I agree that it's very dangerous, but well worth the risk. The most tender turkey I've ever tasted - hands down!