November 12, 2021

Safe Cooking on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it is all about coming together with family and loved ones to celebrate and share a meal. However, there are a lot of factors that go into making this day run safely and smoothly. Don’t let your holiday be overshadowed by hazards! Follow our tips for safe cooking this Thanksgiving.

Before Cooking on Thanksgiving

To avoid food poisoning, it is very important to be aware of how to properly prepare and cook your Thanksgiving meal, especially when it comes to making a turkey. Make sure to allow several days for the turkey to thaw in your refrigerator before Thanksgiving Day. It is helpful to clean out old and expired ingredients to make plenty of space for it. Generally, you should allow approximately 24 hours of thawing time in the fridge for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. If you’re pressed for time, thaw your turkey in cold water for approximately 30 minutes for every pound of turkey. A 10 lbs. turkey will take about 5 hours to thaw completely. If you use the cold-water method, cook the turkey immediately after thawing is complete.

If turkey is the main event at your Thanksgiving dinner, it is easy to forget about taking precautions for the side dishes as well. When preparing the rest of your menu, make sure that you are keeping tools used on raw meat separated and wash your hands often.

While Cooking on Thanksgiving

Leaving food cooking unattended in your kitchen can be extremely dangerous, so make sure that you or someone else is keeping an eye out at all points during the process. Before putting your turkey in to cook, ensure that it is fully thawed first. Check on it frequently and use a food thermometer to measure its internal temperature. The minimum internal temperature of a fully cooked turkey should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Fire Safety

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, the majority of which are caused by leaving cooking food unattended. Here’s what the National Fire Protection Association recommends if you find yourself in this situation: Cover the pan with a lid to smother the flames and turn the burner off. Keep the lid on the pan until it has cooled completely and can be removed from the stovetop. In the event of an oven fire, the NFPA strongly recommends turning your oven off and shutting the oven door. Allow the fire to burn out on its own with the door closed. Once the fire is extinguished, open the windows in your kitchen and slowly open the oven door to allow the smoke to clear. Consider storing a fire extinguisher in your kitchen in case of an emergency.

Grease fires are extremely dangerous and are handled a little differently than regular pan fires. To avoid grease fires entirely, be familiar with the warning signs that your oil is becoming too hot. If it boils or smokes, this is a good sign that you should turn down the heat.

Above all, the most important thing is that everyone stays safe. If the fire cannot be easily and safely controlled by these measures, it is always best to get everyone out of the house safely and call 911 for assistance.

Child Safety in the Kitchen

The kitchen can be a dangerous place for children, especially on holidays like Thanksgiving where there are many moving parts. Ensure that sharp objects, dangerous kitchen tools, and hot pots and pans are kept out of reach. If children are present in the kitchen, keep a close eye on them and have them stay at least three feet away from the stove. Never leave children alone in the kitchen without supervision.


This summary is for general informational use only and may not include all relevant information.