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Jan 12, 2009 10:20 AM

Deep frying vs. frying

I was told that when you deep-fry, the food absorbs less oil than if it was fried (not covered in oil). This was told to me by a macrbiotic food friend. He said he also learned that in hies cooking class at school. Is that the truth?

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  1. I am no expert, but from what I gather, the hotter the oil, the less the food absorbs.
    The larger volume used in deep frying means the oil will not cool as much when you dump the cold food in and keep a steadier temp.

    Editid to coreck the spelink

    1 Reply
    1. re: billieboy

      Editid to coreck the spelink

      I love it......

    2. No way to generalize; depends on the recipe.
      You probably wouldn't want to deep-fry a skinless
      chicken breast, or cook donuts in a fry pan
      with a little Pam.

      1. The way I understand it, deep frying at a high enough temperature causes the water in the food to steam, keeping the oil out.

        1. I consulted McGee and got nothing. From personal experience though, I think that it is more about the batter/breading and what it will absorb. I think it has nothing to do with deep/shallow frying.

          2 Replies
            1. re: Richard 16

              Deep frying controls the temperature of the oil better than simple pan frying without hot spots associated with pan. Too little oil will result in coatings burning. When food is dropped into the oil in a fry oil cooker.fryolater, less temperature is lost than in the oil as opposed to the simple fry pan and it takes longer for the fry pan to recover the heat lost. Whenever you cook cutlets on the stove top in a fry pan, did you ever notice the bread crumbs absorb more oil, especially the top side that is not cooking?

          1. It makes some sense. When you deep fry, all of the food is in the oil, which is usually 300-375F. This heat causes the water in the food to turn to steam, which creates pressure that keeps the oil from penetrating. When you pan fry, on the other hand, the top of the food is outside the oil, and so is cooler than the part that's in the oil. If it drops below 212F, you don't have the steam pressure keeping the oil out.

            On the other hand, the part of the food that's out of the oil is (duh) not in contact with oil. So absorption might be minimal. And I know that when I pan-fry a chicken in a quart of vegetable oil, there's more than a quart of oil in the pan at the end of the process. Apparently the amount of oil that's absorbed is less than the amount that renders out of the chicken. So pan-frying isn't necessarily a recipe for high fat absorption.

            I think results are going to depend on the particular recipe. (ktb615 is correct about batter / breading - the stuff is a sponge.) But in general, I'd be willing to bet that **properly** deep-fried food has no more, and possibly less, fat than pan-fried food.