Difference Between Frying and Deep Frying

Frying vs Deep Frying

Frying is a method of cooking that makes use of the heat of a cooking medium to prepare the food item. This is different from boiling, baking, and grilling as it allows the food items to be cooked to absorb the fats from the cooking oil. There are two ways to fry a food item. One can either pan fry the food item or deep fry the food. There are obvious differences between frying and deep frying though there are also health reasons that dictate the choice of cooking between frying and deep frying. This article attempts to highlight these differences.


Frying or shallow frying is also called pan frying. This is a kind of frying that makes use of small quantities of oil that is just sufficient to cook the food. The food item is not submerged in the oil, and it remains below the bottom surface of the item. One needs to keep stirring to regulate the oil as it is in small quantity during pan frying. The food item remains exposed to air from the top and sides, and the temperature remains around 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Deep Frying

Deep frying is a technique where the food item to be cooked is submerged in oil, and it makes use of heavy quantities of oil. French fries and potato chips that are loved by people of all ages around the world are the best examples of deep frying. The food item is not exposed to air and thus it cooks much faster than is the case with shallow frying. The temperatures that are reached with deep frying are around 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Meats or vegetables that are deep fried soak in lots of fats from the cooking oil and thus it makes sense to drain as much of oil as possible before consuming. Food items cooked through deep frying are crisp from outside but retain their juices from inside.

Frying vs Deep Frying

• Both frying and deep frying require the heat of the oil to cook food, but the main difference lies in the amounts of oil used. Frying or pan frying uses very small quantities of oil, whereas deep frying requires the food item to be submerged under hot oil.

• Frying gives food item exposure to air thus taking longer to cook whereas, in deep frying, there is no exposure to air thereby cooking faster.

• All food items that can be deep fried can also be cooked by pan frying.

• There is higher absorption of fats by the food item that is cooked through deep frying than when it is just fried.

• Deep frying cooks foods faster than shallow frying.