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Health and Family Services Cabinet
If Frying a Turkey This Holiday Season, Follow Precautions

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, November 22, 2006  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Beth Crace(502)564-6786  

If Frying a Turkey This Holiday Season, Follow Precautions


Frankfort, Ky. - (Nov. 22, 2006) Frying a turkey can be a fun and tasty alternative to the traditional baked and roasted dishes of the holidays. As many start to plan menus, the Department for Public Health (DPH) wants to remind Kentuckians that fryers also can be dangerous — even causing fires or burns — when not handled with care.

DPH suggests you take time to review basic guidelines so you don’t sacrifice safety for good taste. The first thing you should do is read and follow the manufacturer's instructions and become familiar with your turkey fryer. 

The majority of reported incidents occur while the oil is being heated. 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 heated pot of oil, the burner should be turned off immediately because the oil is overheated.

It is important to thoroughly thaw and dry all meats before cooking in hot oil. Hot oil may splash out of the fryer and cause injury if meats are still wet or have not been properly thawed.

Before heating the pot, you will want to determine the proper amount of oil to add:

  • 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 marked level. 

Here are other important safety tips to remember when frying your turkey:

  • Keep fryer in full view while burner is on. 
  • Place fryer in an open area away from all walls, fences or other structures.
  • Never use a fryer in, on or under a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, wooden deck or structure that can catch fire.
  • Make sure the fryer is used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Make sure there is at least two 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 recommends 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds) and dry turkey before cooking. Partially frozen or wet turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil.
  • Cover bare skin when adding or removing food.
  • To avoid oil spills, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Raise and lower food slowly to reduce splatter and avoid burns.
  • Check the oil temperature frequently. If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn gas supply off. The oil can overheat and catch fire.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Keep a phone within reach so that you can call 911 for emergencies.
  • Never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pots remains dangerously hot for hours after use.

For more information from DPH, contact Tammy Warford with the Division of Public Health Protection and Safety at (502) 564-7181.







Last Updated 11/22/2006