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Deep frying = XX extra calories. Anyone????

I just purchased a seriously cool deep fryer and I'd LOVE to know how many calories deep frying adds to food.

I can't believe, if fried properly, a deep-fried item is THAT evil. No one in my internet searches seems to have any concrete formulas for calculating this - not even Leslie Beck. I asked her but she didn't reply... I guess her sponsors didn't like the question.

Measuring the remaining volume of oil after, as compared to before frying wouldn't be accurate as there is evaporation... Remember those Crisco commercials? "All but one tablespoon..."

Someone.. anyone... please educate all of us... Thanking you in advance.

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  1. it's going to depend what you're frying. a battered item will soak up a lot more oil than an unbattered one. there is probably a formula you can figure out to adjust for evaporation (ie heat same amt of oil at same temperature for same amount of time and measure evaporation, then apply same adjustment to item).

    1. Which seriously cool deep fryer did you buy?

      I'm curious about the response as well--I limit wheat and sugar, so frying isn't necessarily evil in my book, but I still need to keep an eye on unnecessary calories.

      1. Look for the 2 shows Alton Brown did about deep frying. I remember the assertion that d-f added Less Fat than pan frying due to searing and temp.
        But are you wondering about how much fat d-f adds to "plain food" or vs. other frying?

        2 Replies
        1. According to the data found here:


          The difference between simple flouring and frying and battering and deep frying is about 90-100 calories, almost all of it from fat. The extra 10 grams of fat (14 vs 4.1) at 9 cal/gram is 90 calories.

          Every tablespoon of oil is 120 calories, regardless of type.

          14 Replies
          1. re: AMarshall

            I know that oil is 120 calories per tablespoon, but does the 90-100 calories count for the entire batch of fried food? For instance, if I fry 1 pound of potatoes, does that mean that in addition to the calories of the food I'm frying, I would add 90-100 calories and divide that by the calories per serving of my item and come up with a total in calories and fat?? Example: if there are 400 calories in 1 lb of potatoes, would that mean, fried = approx 500 calories... If I divided 1 lb into 4 servings, then that would mean 100 calories per serving??? This is my big question... Does that make sense?

            1. re: Moimoi

              What about "measure before, measure after"?

                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                    Yes... my deep fryer is closed/sealed... I would probably use at least half of a 3 litre jug (sounds kind of icky when I put it that way...) for a few frying sprees...

                    1. re: Kris in Beijing

                      Was thinking about your question today. Yes, it's sealed, but it's not hermetically sealed... it does have a vent for air, but the whole operation is much more efficient than say an uncovered stainless pot. I still believe there has to be a more exact science to this, although I appreciate the variables too.

                1. re: Moimoi

                  That 90 calories was for a single piece of fish.

                  In french fries, deep frying roughly doubles the calories. That will vary somewhat by the thickness of the cut. Thinner cut have more surface area to absorb the oil.

                  1. re: AMarshall

                    Okay, so say for example that a single piece of fish is 150 calories. If you fry it it will be 240-270 calories? Also, a thicker cut french fry would absorb less oil?

                    1. re: Moimoi

                      Those values seem reasonable. Yes, a thicker cut potato should absorb less oil. I don't know if it is a significant difference, though.

                      Remember it is a function of surface area. For example, if you take a chicken breast and coat it and deep fry it, it will absorb a certain amount of oil. If you decide to use the same chicken breast to make homemade "popcorn" chicken like you might see at KFC, so the chicken breast gets cut up before coating and deep frying, there will be substantially more oil absorbed.

                      1. re: AMarshall

                        Incidentally, it is not only a function of surface area, but even also determined by how well-done you cook the batter. Cooks are commonly advised to make sure their oil is hot enough, because (as the myth goes) when you undercook the batter, it gets greasy and absorbs more oil. Actually, the opposite is true. Batter that is cooked crispier absorbs more oil than undercooked batter (it is actually water moisture that makes undercooked batter soggy).

                        The point of the matter - for any given dish, it is very difficult to come up with an easy method of determining how many calories you add by deep frying that you can use at home. You can try to make your own bomb calorimeter if you want.

                        And it's impossible to give an accurate answer to how many calories you add by deep frying in general. There are just too many factors that vary by cook and by recipe - the surface area of the food, the kind of batter used, how thoroughly the batter is cooked, how much of the batter sticks to the food being fried. Any figure would be an estimate, plain and simple.

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          Agreed. I was just trying to point out that there is a lot of extra calories and fat.

                          1. re: AMarshall

                            You were right. Not trying to contradict. Just riffing off your post.

                          2. re: cowboyardee

                            I get what you're saying, but how does any food manufacturing company that sells deep fried foods (say McCain's) come up with their measurements? They hire professional food science gurus. I wonder how they calculate this stuff...

                            1. re: Moimoi

                              I think they basically use updated versions of the bomb calorimeter I mentioned earlier. Basically, it burns food and sees how much energy that generates. Not super easy to do at home, but if you're dead-set, it's not impossible.

                2. I don't know how much extra calories the frying cause. But, I do know that we fry turkeys, which are not battered just marinated, we get the majority of the oil back. We fry several turkeys at a time and we lose less than a cup of oil. Don't forget I am saying not battered. The first time I brought the turkeys to my doctors they didn't want it saying it would be to greasy and fatty. Then they tasted it, and they wanted more. If you do it right you use very little oil and it is not greasy. Coindentally, we learned to fry from one of our doctors. If you are going to fry a turkey or chickens I suggest that you inject them with a marinade it really makes a difference. Enjoy.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: paprkutr

                    Even half a cup of oil is close to 1000 calories.

                    1. re: AMarshall

                      There are 1909 calories in 1 cup of Peanut Oil. 1927 in 1 cup corn oil.
                      However, in an deep fried turkey, an extra 1000 calories is going to be distributed through a number of servings : )

                      1. re: Kris in Beijing

                        Exactly... just what I was going to say...

                        The 1000 calories is not for one portion. If you divide up the 1000 calories between the number of turkeys paprkutr is talking about... let's assume four turkeys, then divide those four turkeys conservatively into four individual portions, the 1000 calories doesn't work out to too much per serving. Also, the turkeys won't absorb all that oil... which goes back to the original question...

                    2. re: paprkutr

                      I have always wondered about the effect of deep frying 'naked', unbattered meats like turkeys, chicken wings and hot dogs. Sometimes, after straining and saving the oil, there seems to be the same amount or even more fat leftover in the pan. The natural fat renders out and the tight structure of the meat doesn't seem to absorb very much fat back in. I almost feel like you would end up with fewer calories in the finished product. Or am I fooling myself?

                    3. I realize this is an old article, but it was on the top of search engine for this question. I think I may have devised a method for calculating this. Take 2 potatoes, using a scale, if they already do not weigh the same, cut the heavier potato down to equal weight of the larger. Now take one potato, put it in the refrigerator for later use. Cut up the potato you still have out into fries of the same size as you would for frying. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and cook the fries in the oven until done. Now take the cooked fries and weigh the "done weight". Now that we have an indication of the done weight of fries without oil, use your other potato and cut it into fries and deep fry them. Drain as much grease as possible, now weigh your fries. Now take the new weight and subtract the weight without the oil. You have your oil weight.

                      Now lets assume your cooked potato without oil weighed 100 grams. Now lets also assume the oil weighed 20 grams (these are not real numbers but improvised). Since we need to find out how many calories oil actually adds to the potatoes, divide 20 grams / 100 grams which gives you how much oil is in each gram of potato.

                      Now that we have oil/gram, when you deep fry french fries, simply weigh the fries after the grease is drained and they are done. Now take the weight of your fries in grams and multiply that by .2 (or whatever your oil/gram weight came out to) and you have your accurate oil weight each time you cook french fries.

                      You could easily use this method for other fried foods as well. Takes a little time, but you're getting accurate results.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: technobizzmo

                        Oil tends to replace water at the surface of fried foods. Foods that are more thoroughly fried will often weigh less but contain more oil because more water has cooked off to allow for oil absorption at the surface (oil weighs less than water). Because of this trade-off, it's basically impossible to tell how much oil is there (vs water) via weight alone.

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          cowboyardee, you're right. I didn't take into account that cooking in oil would remove more water weight from the food. Okay, a revision. Instead of baking the first set of fries, use a microwave. A microwave removes moisture during cooking. Microwaves couple with dipolar molecules, such as water, and cause them to vibrate rapidly. The resulting friction between the water molecules heats the water to a high enough temperature that it evaporates away from the material being processed. Do you think this would give more accurate results?

                          1. re: technobizzmo

                            Not really, unfortunately. The problem is that you can fry two otherwise identical pieces of food and wind up with each retaining a significantly different amount of oil depending on how long and how hot you fry them. And water is lost at a different rate in hot oil than it is when microwaved or baked, so it's very hard to get a control sample that you know is comparably dehydrated.

                            Theoretically, it would be more accurate to actually weigh the oil before and after cooking. But in practical terms, that becomes such a hassle that I wouldn't bother (you'd have to get a very accurate scale and then somehow account for oil splatter, bits of food that fall off into the oil, oil that is blotted off the food before eating, maybe even oil that's aerosolized or burned during cooking).

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              Okay, I'm going to nip this thing in the butt or at least attempt :). First, weigh 3 pieces of a napkin or whatever you wish to place your fried food onto after removing it from the deep fryer.

                              Supposing your scale can handle the weight of a deep fryer which is loaded with oil, and supposing you have a lid on the fryer, the fryer is set to a certain temperature. First weigh the oil in the fryer without the potatoes. Now record that weight. Now add the potatoes and fry them. Remove the potatoes from the fryer (draining as much oil as possible from the french fries while removing). Place your fried french fries onto your drainage cloth/napkins. Soak up as much oil from them as possible and remove. Now take the new weight of the cloth/napkins and subtract the weight.

                              You now have how much oil was drained via napkins. Now also weigh the oil left in the fryer and subtract that from the original oil. You now have how much oil was removed from the fryer, plus you have how much oil is on the napkins/cloth, giving you how much oil went into your food.

                              1. re: technobizzmo

                                Ooh, a new "eggcorn" caught in the wild! It's "nip it in the bud", meaning cut short before it develops any further. But mistaking "butt" for "bud" is understandable.

                                Your proposal sounds about as close as possible to determining the amount of oil. Even as a kid, when I saw that Wesson, Crisco, or whatever TV ad it was about how much oil "came back", it was clear to me that the juices and water from whatever they were frying was part of what they poured off and counted as oil.

                      2. Not necessarily the frying but, usually the coatings and batters add a lot to the calorie count.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: treb

                          You could always weigh your coatings and batter before frying. Such as, if you use an egg, milk, and flour, weigh the total of these and add their calories together. Weigh your piece of meat/fries without coatings then weigh them with coating right before putting them into the fryer This would give you your coatings weight. My revised method after cowboyardee's comments was to weigh the oil and the oil transfer onto the napkins/cloth where you drain the oil. If you even wanted to go further, you could find any drippings inside the oil and place them on a separate napkin/cloth then remove and weigh how much oil they've taken.