How to Shallow Fry

by Beth Rifkin

A heavy-skillet is best for shallow frying.

Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images

Foods like chicken, zucchini, fish, pork chops and eggplant are ideal for shallow frying, which means that more oil or fat is used than in sautéing, yet not as much as deep-frying. While thinly sliced meats and vegetables do well by being sautéed, foods that are around 1-inch-thick fare better with shallow frying. The cooking process is usually quick, and your meal will be served with less fat than it would have contained had you used a deep-fryer.

Pour ¼ to ½ inch of oil into a heavy skillet and place it over medium to high heat on the stove. Allow the oil to warm up for one to two minutes. Olive oil and peanut oil are preferred for shallow frying due to their high-smoking temperature.

Beat 3 tbsp. of water with three eggs in a bowl. Place a plate of breadcrumbs next to the beaten eggs on the counter.

Dip your food into the eggs and then roll it through the breadcrumbs; the egg should help the breadcrumbs stick to your meat and vegetables.

Place the breaded food into the skillet and allow it to cook for 3 to 10 minutes, depending on exactly what you are cooking; vegetable slices will only take a few minutes, however, thicker meats like chicken and pork chops will take between 6 and 10 minutes. Turn your food over several times throughout the cooking process.

Remove the food from the skillet when it is finished cooking and place it on paper towels, which will help to drain the excess oil.


  • Food should be cooked in one layer when shallow frying; it is better to cook food in batches than trying to put too much food into the skillet at one time.


  • “The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes From a Delicious Revolution”; Alice Waters, et al.; 2007
  • “Cooking Green: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen -- The New Green Basics Way”; Kate Heyhoe; 2009

Photo Credits

  • Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images

About the Author

Based on the west coast, Beth Rifkin specializes in business, food, cooking, family, lifestyle and health issues. Her work has appeared in numerous on and offline publications. Beth earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.