Deep Fryer Vs Pan Frying

Deep frying sliced potatoes

Frying is a food preparation method that requires the use of fat or oil to prepare the food till it's soft and tender and often brown and ready for consumption. Frying can be done in either a pan (pan frying) or a deep fryer.

Both methods of frying are efficient and use oil, but the significant difference between both is that one uses just a little oil (usually a few teaspoons of oil) to shallow fry – the pan frying, whereas the deep fryer takes up more oil. They both require heat, of course, to heat the oil before the food is carefully put inside the equipment.

Frying is also a very fast method of preparing food and typically takes just about a few minutes to get done. Deep frying is, however, faster than the pan frying but as stated earlier, it takes up much more oil than the later as it requires complete submersion in the oil, whereas the pan frying just requires a few teaspoons and would be turned over when browned to an extent.

Alright, let's look at a more detailed difference between a deep fryer and pan frying.

The oil required for frying

Like said earlier; pan frying uses just a small quantity of oil to get the food done. The oil is usually about a few teaspoons and spread to cover the entire breadth and width of the pan. This way, the oil put in would cover up to half of the food and would just require turning when the downside is ready. Interestingly, not all pan fried meals require the use of oil, for instance, bacon don’t need any oil when pan frying.

Deep frying, on the other hand, requires the entire food item to be submerged in the oil; this requires quite a lot of fat or oil whatever you would be using to fry the food. Deep fried food items also cook faster than the pan fried variants due to the submerged food is unexposed to air letting it done more quickly and turn crisp in no time.


The temperature of the oil used in deep frying is usually easier to regulate and is pegged between 350 degrees Fahrenheit to about 400degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, deep fried foods would contain lots of oil in them and thus draining them is the right approach to follow.

You should use a slotted spoon or a basket to get rid of the excess grease, trying as much as you can to limit the oil left inside to the barest minimum before serving. For pan fried items, the oil is heated to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit but unlike deep frying regulating the oil in the pan is quite difficult to achieve due to the thin layer of the oil.

Results of food items

Yes both produce tasty snacks and fatty food, but the outside look of both prepared food gives off the method of preparation most times. Deep fried food items, for instance, have their center looking yummy and their outside crisp whereas the pan fried food items give out a brownish outlook due to the surface touches between the food and the frying pan. Also, pan fried foods require flipping to cook both sides evenly, but deep frying doesn’t require this.


In deep frying, the food is submerged in oil; thus there’s no moisture loss in this method of cooking food, but pan frying sees moisture loss from the food due to the exposure to air when the bottom part is submerged.

Properly deep fried food items are usually well done with the moisture inside the food repelling excess oil from penetrating the food thus reducing the oily texture and taste you’d normally feel. Pan fried food, on the other hand, require sufficient temperature to avoid the food taking in excess oil, giving it an unpleasant texture and making it taste greasy and unpalatable.


Frying can be achieved using either of the two methods, but if you plan to fry snacks and foods like cheese sticks, French fries, onion rings and doughnuts, then deep frying is the preferred method. If however, you plan to cook light food items like bacon, pork chops and pancakes, then pan frying is recommended.