Cooking Safety Tips for Thanksgiving


One of the most delicious holidays of the year can unfortunately result in accidents or injuries. Though Thanksgiving is a busy time with plenty of family and friends causing us to multitask between cooking and visiting, a few simple reminders can keep preventable accidents at bay.

Don’t be a fire starter

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 1,400 fires on Thanksgiving Day in 2019 occurred in residential buildings. Avoid becoming another statistic by following these tips.

  • Check your home smoke alarms and replace batteries if they haven’t been changed recently.
  • Keep children and pets away from the stove.
  • Remain close to where the turkey is cooking to check on it frequently.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen.
  • If a grease fire happens to occur, do not douse with water. Use a fire extinguisher.

Fry like a pro

Frying a turkey is a favorite pastime for many people at Thanksgiving. Make sure your deliciously fried turkey doesn’t cause a disaster by taking a few safety steps:

  • Keep your fryer outdoors on a level surface, off of decks and at a safe distance from trees and other structures.
  • Children and pets should stay at least 3 feet away from fryer.
  • Wear a long sleeve shirt and pants when frying, along with protective equipment like gloves and goggles.
  • Defrost the turkey completely before frying, as ice and water mixed with hot grease causes fire flare-ups.
  • Don’t use a fryer in the rain.
  • Carefully follow fryer manufacturer instructions and avoid overfilling the fryer with oil.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended.
  • Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey in. Once turkey is submerged, the burner can be turned back on.
  • When finished, take the pot off the burner and allow to cool overnight on a level surface before emptying.

Cook until it’s done

It’s important to properly cook all foods in your Thanksgiving feast and remember these guidelines to avoid foodborne illnesses or upset tummies.

  • Cook your turkey to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after touching raw food items.
  • Avoid handling raw and cooked food together.
  • Clean utensils after they are used on raw food.
  • Let the turkey sit for at least 20 minutes prior to carving to allow time for juices to settle.

UF Health Jacksonville stands ready to handle your emergencies 24/7 with highly qualified, board-certified adult and pediatric emergency medicine physicians.

Brian K Yorkgitis
Department: Surgery – Jacksonville

Brian K Yorkgitis D.O.

Associate Professor; Associate Chair, Community Outreach; Associate Director, TraumaOne Flight Services; Medical Director, PICU/Pediatric Trauma
Phone: (904) 244-3416