Frying is the cooking of food in oil or another fat, a technique that originated in ancient Egypt around 2500 BC.[1] Chemically, oils and fats are the same, differing only in melting point, but the distinction is only made when needed. In commerce, many fats are called oils by custom, e.g. palm oil and coconut oil, which are solid at room temperature.



Frying is believed to have originated in ancient Egypt around 2500 BCE.


Polenta, French fries, and fried chicken at a Brazilian eatery

Fats can reach much higher temperatures than water at normal atmospheric pressure. Through frying, one can sear or even carbonize the surface of foods while caramelizing sugars. The food is cooked much more quickly and has a characteristic crispness and texture. Depending on the food, the fat will penetrate it to varying degrees, contributing richness, lubricity, and its own flavour.

Frying techniques vary in the amount of fat required, the cooking time, the type of cooking vessel required, and the manipulation of the food. Sautéing, stir frying, pan frying, shallow frying, and deep frying are all standard frying techniques.

Sautéing and stir-frying involve cooking foods in a thin layer of fat on a hot surface, such as a frying pan, griddle, wok, or sauteuse. Stir frying involves frying quickly at very high temperatures, requiring that the food be stirred continuously to prevent it from adhering to the cooking surface and burning.

Shallow frying is a type of pan frying using only enough fat to immerse approximately one-third to one-half of each piece of food; fat used in this technique is typically only used once. Deep-frying, on the other hand, involves totally immersing the food in hot oil, which is normally topped up and used several times before being disposed. Deep-frying is typically a much more involved process, and may require specialized oils for optimal results.

Deep frying is now the basis of a very large and expanding worldwide industry. Fried products have consumer appeal in all age groups and in virtually all cultures, and the process is quick, can easily be made continuous for mass production, and the food emerges sterile and dry, with a relatively long shelf life. The end products can then be easily packaged for storage and distribution. Examples are potato chips, french fries, nuts, doughnuts, instant noodles, etc.

See also


  1. ^ Tannahill, Reay. (1995). Food in History. Three Rivers Press. p. 75

External links

  • Free Culinary School Podcast Episode 7 A podcast episode that talks about the proper technique for deep fat frying and some professional tips and tricks.
  • is a foodservice resource providing information on important topics related to best practices for preparing healthier fried foods.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Frying — Fry ing, n. The process denoted by the verb fry. [1913 Webster] {Frying pan}, an iron pan with a long handle, used for frying meat, vegetables, etc. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • frying — ▪ cooking       the cooking of food in hot fats or oils, usually done with a shallow oil bath in a pan over a fire or as so called deep fat frying, in which the food is completely immersed in a deeper vessel of hot oil. Because the food is heated …   Universalium

  • Frying — Fry Fry (fr[imac]), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Fried} (fr[imac]d); p. pr. & vb. n. {Frying}.] [OE. frien, F. frire, fr. L. frigere to roast, parch, fry, cf. Gr. ?, Skr. bhrajj. Cf. {Fritter}.] To cook in a pan or on a griddle (esp. with the use of fat …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • frying — noun Frying is used before these nouns: ↑pan …   Collocations dictionary

  • frying — noun The action of the verb fry …   Wiktionary

  • frying — n. cooking in oil fraɪ n. young fish; young of a variety of animals (including frogs and bees); small children n. fried food; social gathering at which food is fried and eaten v. cook in oil; be cooked in oil; execute by electric chair (Slang);… …   English contemporary dictionary

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  • frying — noun cooking in fat or oil in a pan or griddle • Syn: ↑sauteing • Derivationally related forms: ↑saute (for: ↑sauteing), ↑fry • Hypernyms: ↑cooking, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

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