Nonstick pans are quite versatile. They can be used to fry eggs, sauté veggies, and cook good ol’ pancakes.
However, when it comes to deep-frying, the opinions of cooking experts vary.
Considering that deep-frying requires a relatively high temperature, is it safe to use nonstick for deep frying?
This is, indeed, a burning question. If you have a similar concern, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s find out if nonstick pans are made for deep-frying or not!
Can You Deep-Fry in Nonstick Pan?
Let’s understand what goes into deep frying. It is certainly not the same as sautéing or shallow frying. The ideal temperature for deep-frying varies between 300 to 375 degrees F. Anything below than this might just give you greasy food.
Naturally, the best cookware material for deep-frying is stainless steel and cast-iron. These two are some of the most durable cookware with high volumetric heat capacity.
Stainless steel not only withstands the heat but also distributes it across the cooking surface quite well. In short, once the pan is hot, it’s going to stay hot.
However, deep frying in cast iron isn’t advised by the USDA. This is because cast iron has a tendency to break down the oil faster. It can be a little unstable as compared to stainless steel.
The most important aspect of deep-frying is maintaining a consistent temperature. You might’ve noticed how most chefs advise not to add too many items in the pan during deep frying. This is because, if you add too much, the temperature of the oil drops.
But with a pan that stays hot for longer, this issue is often minimized. Hence, choosing the right cookware is crucial.
Now, where does a nonstick pan fit into all of this?
Modern nonstick pans have a solid and long-lasting Teflon coat. For this reason, they can withstand temperatures as high as 500 degrees F. Nonstick pans may sound like an odd choice for deep-frying. However, they bring with them several advantages to take your cooking to the next level.
However, you may not be able to deep fry as frequently in a nonstick pan. This is because it’s not built to withstand the prolonged exposure of such high heat.
However, you can safely use a nonstick pan for special occasions. If you don’t deep fry food as much or are out of stainless steel cookware, nonstick pans are the next best choice.
Choosing the Ideal Nonstick Pan for Deep-frying
The nonstick pan you use to fry eggs in the morning isn’t the ideal choice. For pan deep frying, you need a deeper and larger nonstick pan. With a greater surface area, it’ll be able to heat up quickly and retain that heat.
The pan should be 5-6 cm deep and wide enough to fit a significant amount of fried items.
The depth will ensure that the fried food submerges in the oil and cooks nicely. A deep nonstick pan will also protect you from the grease that jumps out while frying.
If the pan is shallow, you’re likely to get hurt and burn yourself. For this reason, depth is a non-negotiable feature for such nonstick pans.
Using the Right Oil for Your Nonstick Pan
The same oil that works for your normal cookware won’t work for a nonstick.
Deep-frying is a whole different ball game. Your foods need consistent heat and stable cookware.
Canola and olive oil are two common choices for nonstick pans. However, they’re used for different reasons. With that said, let’s have a look at the best choice for deep frying!
Canola oil remains stable at high-heat.
With a smoking point at 207 degrees C, canola oil is ideal for deep frying. It’s also extremely low in saturated fats and high in heart-healthy omega fatty acids. This makes it a decent choice for deep frying.
What makes canola oil suitable for nonstick pans is its stability. Oils with a low smoking point may react with the Teflon coating.
Generally speaking, Teflon remains stable at a temperature of 260 degrees F. However, when the heat rises beyond this number, the coating can start to break down.
The good thing about canola oil is that it maintains a consistent heat on the cooking surface. It gives you the perfect amount of heat that isn’t harmful to the Teflon coating.
This is an important factor to be mindful of. If the nonstick coating ends up breaking down, it may release toxic chemicals in the air. These fumes may trigger the Teflon flu and are extremely harmful to your health.
Grapeseed oil is a terrific oil. It has a stable smoke point at 240 degrees F that is perfect for nonstick pans.
Grapeseed oil has very little saturated fats and almost no cholesterol. It’s a flavorless oil that’s a good substitute for canola oil
You can fry your favorite foods like French fries and churros in grape seed oil. The oil will stay hot for longer, which is just what you need for crispy fried foods.
No matter how long you use it for deep frying, the oil won’t break down or develop a bad taste.
Grapeseed oil may not be as stable as soybean or corn oil. However, it contains the healthiest fats. You can deep fry foods without an ounce of guilt!
Another great choice for deep-frying in nonstick pans is peanut oil. This oil has a relatively stable and high smoke point at 232 degrees C. It is almost the same as sunflower oil, which makes it a good substitute for deep frying.
Although peanut oil isn’t a typical choice, it’s certainly one of the healthiest oil for deep-frying. The oil has a neutral taste so it won’t change the taste of the fried foods. Peanut oil is also high in healthy fats, making it a great option in place of lard and shortening.
As a stable oil, it won’t react with the nonstick coating. Rather, the oil will form a seasoning layer that will protect your nonstick pan.
However, make sure you’re using the refined kind. Cold-pressed peanut oil can affect the taste. This is because the peanut proteins may seep into the oil while frying.
Olive oil has a stable smoking point around 190-207 degrees C.
For this reason, it’s mostly used for stir-frying and sautéing. You can lightly fry foods in olive oil that are semi-cooked.
However, when it comes to deep-frying, you might want to steer clear.
Also read: Can You Season a Cast-Iron Pan with Olive Oil? + Best Oils to Season
How to Deep Fry in Nonstick Pan
Now that we have the basics in place, let’s get into the details of deep-frying.
Different foods are fried differently in a nonstick pan.
Frying proteins, for example, requires slightly different conditions than potatoes.
Here are some tips and tricks to deep fry your favorite foods in nonstick pans.
Choosing the Right Amount of Oil
The idea behind deep-frying is to submerge the food completely in the oil. When pouring the oil, make sure it covers half the pan.
If you want to use less oil, simply cover ½ -1 inch of the pan in oil. If you use little oil, your food will end up being greasy and soft. Too much oil is also unhealthy.
You need to use the right amount of oil to get that perfect crisp on the outside and juicy tenderness on the inside.
Don’t Heat the Empty Pan
Most people tend to heat up the pan before they add oil. This is a good trick to transfer the heat onto the oil.
However, for nonstick pans, this could mean more harm than good. Overheating a nonstick pan before adding the oil can damage its surface.
You might even begin to see smoke emanating from the pan. Overheating can also release awful odor, which might seep into the food you fry later.
Therefore, always add the oil first instead of waiting for the pan to heat. This will ensure that both the pan and oil warm-up simultaneously.
Deep-frying in Medium Heat
Whether you’re frying chicken tenders, breaded fish, or croutons, maintaining the heat is crucial.
If the heat on the pan fluctuates, then your food won’t cook properly. Deep-frying is not just about attaining that tasteful crisp. It’s also making sure that the meat or vegetable is cooked all the way through.
For this reason, always fry your food on medium heat. This will protect you from burning your food due to over-heating.
It will also keep your food from getting soggy or staying uncooked due to little heat.
Use the Right Utensils
As you fry the food, you’ll need to toss and turn it so that it doesn’t burn and cooks nicely. Most people use metal spoons for deep frying. They have a firm grip and help you easily turn the food on the other side.
However, using metal utensils isn’t safe for nonstick cookware. They’re hard and may cause scratches and scrapes on the delicate nonstick coating. Therefore, the best utensils for nonstick are either made from wood or silicone.
Silicone utensils are rust-proof so they’ll never corrode over time. They’re also extremely gentle but handy to be used for nonstick pans.
Even wood utensils are quite durable and non-reactive.
Metal spoons tend to leave a metallic taste in fried foods. Wooden spoons, however, never allow harmful chemicals from seeping into your food.
Frying Smaller Batches of Food
Another important tip is to always fry food in smaller batches. Normally, nonstick pans aren’t as deep as stainless steel cookware is.
You have to make do with the limited depth of a nonstick pan. For this reason, fry smaller-sized pieces and that too in small batches.
This way, you can ensure that all your food will cook thoroughly. It’ll be hard to submerge large pieces into the oil.
If the oil is hot enough, your food will be well done in 30-45 seconds. However, you can always fry it for longer.
A Final Word
Deep-frying may be tricky but it’s the only to enjoy your favorite crispy and juicy snacks!
A nonstick pan may not always be a suitable option for deep frying.
However, if you’re using it occasionally, nonstick pans are a convenient choice!
By using the tips above, you’ll never go wrong with deep-frying in a nonstick pan!
Other cooking pan articles you may find useful:
- How to Clean Burnt Grease from the Bottom of Frying Pans?
- How to Measure a Frying Pan (So That it is Ideal for Your Requirements)?
- When and How to Recycle Your Frying Pans?
- Skillet vs Frying Pan – Are They Same or Different?
- Do Non-Stick Pans Need Oil?
- Best 8-inch Frying Pan with Lid
- Best 10-inch Frying Pan with Lid
- Can You Cook Steak In A Non-Stick Pan?