10 Basic Thanksgiving Cooking Safety Tips You Should Know

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: November 15, 2022

The warm kitchen fills with delicious aromas. Your plans include family favorites and a few new dishes. The most mouthwatering day on the calendar is well-seasoned with anticipation for even more holiday celebrations.

You’ve done it all for so many years, and everything always turns out just fine. Why think twice about Thanksgiving cooking safety tips?

The answer to that question is easy. Taking precautions can prevent disasters. You don’t want to spend the holidays cleaning up after a grease fire, tackling smoke damage or facing the devastation of a house fire.

Holiday Kitchens, Disturbing Numbers

Like most home chefs, you’re extra busy on Thanksgiving day putting in extra hours and putting the final touches on favorite dishes. All that activity in the kitchen results in holiday meals to be remembered.
It’s also the source of disturbing statistics.

According to figures from the National Fire Prevention Association, kitchen fires peak during the holidays. Three times more fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year.

10 Thanksgiving Cooking Safety Tips

family cooking during thanksgiving

By practicing basic fire prevention strategies and following these 10 life-saving Thanksgiving cooking safety tips, you can help keep your kitchen from becoming a holiday statistic.

1. Don’t Desert the Turkey

Too many cooks can be great in a Thanksgiving kitchen. They make sure that food is never left unattended over open flames. If you’re manning things by yourself, call in backup when you need to leave the room.

2. Let Timers Keep You Safe

Stay organized and save food from overcooking with several kitchen timers. You aren’t as distracted when you know the minutes are accounted for. It keeps you safer because you don’t let roasting dishes get too hot and reach temperatures that can damage and spark the oven’s heating element.

3. Enforce a No-Kids Zone

Kids love to help, so don’t ban them from the kitchen. Instead, explain that they have to stay on their side of safety by staying away from the oven and stove. Set up prep areas that young chefs can call their own for lending a helping hand or just hanging out for holiday conversation.

4. Keep Flammables at a Distance

Pot holders and dish towels are obvious hazards, but napkins, food packaging and cooking utensils can also catch fire on the stove top. Designate a corner away from open flames for safely stashing stuff.

5. Unplug the Unused

Cut down on potential electrical overload and sparking by cutting down on countertop appliances. If you don’t use it, store it. This is one of those Thanksgiving cooking safety tips that also helps keep your busy kitchen organized.

6. Dress for Cooking Success

Think about what you plan on wearing for that all-day cooking marathon. A favorite sweater tossed around your shoulders or long, loose sleeves can turn you into a fire hazard. Think from head to toe. Wear comfortable shoes that keep you on your feet instead of setting you up for a fall.

7. Enjoy Wine Afterwards

While it’s tempting to join guests with a little pre-meal toasting, you want to stay sharp and in charge of turning out a perfect Thanksgiving meal. Drinking while roasting turkey isn’t illegal, but it’s a risk that you don’t need to take. Enjoy cocktails later while someone else cleans up after dinner.

8. Leave Turkey Frying to Professionals

While this holiday trend has lost some steam over the years, it’s still popular, but it’s a very dangerous way to cook the turkey. Underwriters Laboratories still refuses to assign turkey fryers its UL-Certified designation. However, the organization does share Thanksgiving cooking safety tips for using these outdoor cookers.

9. Keep the Extinguisher Within Reach

Keep your home fire extinguisher within easy reach of the cooking area. If flames break out, you can’t afford to waste time digging around in a cluttered cabinet. Before you start Thanksgiving prep, store the extinguisher within easy reach, and confirm that its charge is still good.

10. Get a Post-Fire Checkup

If you do extinguish a small kitchen fire, don’t assume that you’ve eliminated all danger. Damaged electrical wiring and gas lines are still a serious concern. Call in help from fire clean up companies to inspect affected areas.

Always Have an Evacuation Plan

This point is so important that we want to stress it apart from our list of Thanksgiving cooking safety tips

You should already have a well-practiced evacuation plan in place. If not, put one into action now. It can save lives this holiday season and keep your family safe year-round.

A small stove-top fire can quickly become a devastating blaze. Don’t take chances with putting out flames when you’re unsure about the situation. Immediately evacuate the house. Call 911 from an outside location, and let firefighters handle the blaze.

If the Unexpected Happens

servicemaster fire restoration technician

We know you’re busy this time of year, but think about printing our tips and posting them in your kitchen.

If the unexpected should happen and you face cleaning up after a grease fire in the kitchen or recovering from a serious house fire, we’re here for you with an emergency response.

ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba provides the very best fire damage restoration services across Chicago and the suburbs. You can always count on us 24/7 through the holidays and all year-long too.