Deep-Fried Turkey 101: How To Safely Deep Fry Your Bird

by Staff
how to safely deep fry a turkey

Every year, people rave about how great a deep-fried turkey is. With Thanksgiving here, it’s important to remember that frying anything comes with an inherent danger. In the US, it’s estimated that over 1,000 fires are started via fried turkey every year around the holidays. Please, if you plan on deep frying your turkey this year, follow these tips to ensure total safety (and a delicious bird). 

Don’t Guess On the Oil

I know you think you know how much oil you need, but I promise you, you don’t. People overestimate the amount of fat needed to dry a turkey every year. When the bird is dropped into the pot, the oil overflows and the entire contraption erupts into flames. To accurately measure how much oil is needed, first put your wrapped turkey in the pot and fill with water until covered. The amount of water needed to cover the bird will be equal to the amount of oil needed. 

Make the Stuffing on the Side

Most people make the stuffing on the side anyway, but if you insist that stuffing must go in the bird, I’m sorry to say that you’re out of luck here. If you plan on frying your turkey, you’ll have to skip the stuffing. 

Remove the Giblets

Self explanatory. If you’re feeling brave, make a gravy with them—they’re full of flavor.

Don’t Use a Frozen Bird!

It’s okay if your bird comes frozen, but it should always be fully thawed before frying. Frozen pockets of ice will splatter and potentially cause a fire when the bird hits the oil. If you want to erase any anxiety of your bird having frozen bits before frying, just use a fresh one. Problem solved. 

Fry Your Bird Outside

We thought this one was obvious, but apparently it’s not. If you plan on frying a turkey, do everyone in the house a favor and fry it outside! Not in the garage, or the shed…. OUTSIDE.


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Slow and Steady

When it comes time to lower your bird into the oil, go slowly to alleviate aunty oil splatter. 

Don’t Touch the Pot!

Seriously, stop moving the pot around. With a large bird and multiple quarts of hot oil, it’s best to just leave everything be until it comes time to remove the turkey. 

Eye On the Prize

Unlike an oven-roasted turkey, frying your bird requires the utmost attention. Make sure someone is nearby the turkey for the entirety of the cook. It only takes a minute for disaster to strike. 

Water Makes Oil Fires Worse

We thought this was common sense, but apparently not. Water fuels oil fires. Keep a stack of heavy blankets around—which can be used to suffocate a fire in the event that one does break out.

And, that’s it! You’ll be frying turkey like a pro in no time. It might seem redundant, but knowing how to safely deep fry a turkey can be the difference between a relaxing holiday and one filled with horror. Once your turkey is done and rested, you can sit back with a drink knowing that your guests will have the juiciest and tastiest turkey of their life. Happy Thanksgiving. 

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