FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Turkey Fryers Can Increase the Risk of Cooking Fires

Trenton, N.J. - In advance of the holiday season, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Fire Safety is issuing safety tips regarding turkey fryers. With more people using canister fryers to prepare their Thanksgiving turkey, DCA fire experts have issued tips to ensure proper frying methods to avoid catastrophes that pose some of the greatest risks for fire and injury during the holiday. In fact, experts report that more cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day in the calendar year.

“As families prepare for the holiday season, we would like to encourage them to be aware of the fire risks associated with planning a holiday dinner that includes using a turkey fryer,” said DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable. III. “It’s important to practice heightened caution to avoid any accidents and injuries.”

Turkey fryers have become increasingly popular since the propane gas tank fired units allow for deep frying of large turkeys, a common staple for holiday gatherings. A key feature is that the turkey or wild fowl is immersed and cooked to golden brown in a bath of hot cooking oil.

“The danger in particular concerns immersing a frozen turkey whole into a hot fryer, more often than not the action displaces an equal amount of extremely hot oil, injuring those nearby and possibly igniting the entire fryer in a ball of flame by the burner below. Done outside adjacent to the home, it is a recipe for disaster,” says William Kramer, Jr., Acting Division Director.

Additional hazards to consider when using a turkey fryer:

  • The lid and the handles can become dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazard.
  • Turkey fryers typically have no thermostatic control, so the threat of overheating the oil within is ever-present.
  • Many units can easily tip over.

The Division of Fire Safety recommends keeping the following in mind:

  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
  • Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
  • Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. 
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • 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.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. 
  • The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.

The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing public education and firefighter training programs.


Use the following link to view Turkey Fryer Safety videos: Turkey Fryer Safety Videos.

Lisa Ryan
Sean Conner
(609) 292-6055