Deep frying

Two common methods for cooking foods are deep frying and pan frying. Both types of frying use oil and heat as a means to cook the food. In both methods, oil is heated before placing the food in it. Deep frying food is a faster method than pan frying; however it requires a lot more oil.

Amount of Oil

Pan frying requires only a small amount of oil in the pan. Typically, the amount of oil used is enough to cover the food halfway. In some cases, pan frying requires no oil at all, such as pan frying bacon. For deep frying, the food is completely submerged in oil which requires a lot of oil. Foods that are deep-fried cook much faster than those that are pan-fried because the food is not exposed air.


When deep frying food, the oil is normally heated between 350 degrees Fahrenheit to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. After deep frying, foods must be drained well to eliminate as much grease as possible before serving. Pan frying is done in oil that is approximately 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It is harder to regulate oil in pan frying because it is a thinner layer.


Deep frying food gives food a crispy outside and juicy center. Pan frying results in a browning of the food because it touches a surface. The food must be flipped at least once to evenly cook both sides. Some moisture is lost in pan frying because the food is exposed to air, whereas with deep frying, the food is completely covered in oil when cooked. When food is deep-fried properly, the moisture within the food repels the grease, which mitigates a greasy taste and texture. When food is pan-fried, if the temperature is not hot enough, the food will soak in the grease, leaving it tasting greasy and with an unpleasant texture.


Either method is used for most fried foods; however deep frying works better for onion rings, French fries and cheese sticks. Pan frying is ideal for cooking bacon, potato pancakes and pork chops. With either method, food can be breaded by dipping it first in water, milk or egg and then placing it in bread crumbs.