Safety Tips for Turkey Fryers - Alert!
The US Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) issued safety tips for preventing fires and burns when using
turkey fryers. Since 1998, CPSC has reports of 75 incidents that involved fires,
flames, or burns associated with turkey fryers. Twenty-eight of these incidents
were reported for the year 2002. Here are some of the hazard scenarios:
- House fires associated with turkey fryers leading to injuries and property
- Ignition of oil used with turkey fryers. This was often related to oil
reaching excess temperatures or oil contacting the open flame of the
- Splashing of hot oil causing burns.
The majority of reported incidents occurred while the oil was being heated,
prior to adding the turkey. For this reason, it is very important consumers
monitor the temperature of the oil closely. If any smoke at all is noticed
coming from a heating pot of oil, the burner should be turned off immediately
because the oil is overheated.
There is a risk of injury resulting from splashing due to the cooking of
partially frozen meats. Thoroughly thaw and dry ALL meats before cooking in hot
oil. One reported burn incident occurred when partially frozen chicken wings
were added to hot oil in a turkey fryer.
CPSC staff is working with industry and voluntary standards organizations to
improve the safety standard for turkey fryers.
CPSC staff recommends consumers who choose to fry turkeys follow the
following safety guidelines:
- Keep fryer in FULL VIEW while burner is on.
- Place fryer in an open area AWAY from all walls, fences, or other
- Never use IN, ON, or UNDER a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or any
structure that can catch fire.
- Raise and lower food SLOWLY to reduce splatter and avoid burns.
- COVER bare skin when adding or removing food.
- Check the oil temperature frequently.
- If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn gas supply OFF.
- If a fire occurs, immediately call 911. DO NOT attempt to extinguish fire
For safest operation, CPSC staff recommends that consumers follow these
guidelines as they prepare to use a turkey fryer:
- Make sure there is at least 2 feet of space between the liquid propane
tank and fryer burner.
- Place the liquid propane gas tank and fryer so that any wind blows the
heat of the fryer away from the gas tank.
- Center the pot over the burner on the cooker.
- Completely thaw (USDA says 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds) and dry
turkey before cooking. Partially frozen and/or wet turkeys can produce
excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions to determine the proper amount of
oil to add. If those are not available:
- Place turkey in pot
- Fill with water until the turkey is covered by about 1/2 inch of water
- Remove and dry turkey
- Mark water level. Dump water, dry the pot, and fill with oil to the
For emergency information, please visit the First Aid Center.
Source: CPSC, Press Release # 04-041, November 26, 2003Last Editorial Review: 11/26/2003