Difference Between Saute and Fry

Saute vs Fry

Sauteing and frying are two similar cooking methods that make use of heating food items with dry heat. The similarities are obvious with food items being heated in a pan containing some kind of cooking oil over direct flame. However, there are differences between sauté and frying that are known to chefs and those who use these methods for cooking different food items. This article takes a look at these differences to enable readers to use them according to the requirements of the food recipe.


Sautéing is a method of cooking food items over hot pan containing a little amount of fat or oil. The pan is shallow, and the food items are spread all over the pan, to receive the heat quickly from the hot pan. Sautéing browns the outer surface of food items that are deliberately cut into short pieces. Care is taken to stir the food items with the help of a utensil or by jerking the fry pan itself so that they do not get burnt by high temperature of the pan and the hot oil inside the pan. To sauté, one has to heat the pan and then add a little oil. Let the oil become equally hot and then place all food items in the pan. Stir the food items and take them out quickly after they become brown.


Frying is a very common cooking method that makes use of dry heat as the food items are placed in a pan containing hot oil. Frying requires food items to be kept relatively large and keeping the heat moderately high. For frying, there should be enough oil in the pan to submerge the food pieces. In frying, you do not need to keep tossing the food items as they become brown through the heat of the pan and the oil. Frying is ideal for cooking large pieces of meat as they cannot be cooked through sautéing. Frying makes use of lower heat so that the exterior of the pieces being fried do not become overcooked. But heat should still be high enough to cook the interior of the pieces.

What is the difference between Sauté and Fry?

• Sautéing is a cooking method that is quicker than frying.

• Frying makes use of a larger amount of oil than sautéing.

• Sautéing is done at a higher temperature than frying.

• Frying requires deeper pan than sautéing.

• In sautéing, you have to keep stirring the food items, but that is not required in frying.

• Sautéing needs smaller food pieces whereas larger pieces of food can be cooked with frying.

• High heat in sautéing means food items become brown outwardly quickly, and they have to be stirred.

• More oil is needed for frying than is required for sautéing.