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Fried food are amazing, they are crispy and carries a burst of flavor. However, using a whole gallon of oil is not always ideal. Nor is bringing out the Dutch Oven. The good thing is that you can get a Shallow Frying Pan. Most Shallow Frying Pan are essentially a saute pan. There are many different options but the Best Shallow Frying Pan are heavy and hold heat. Lighter and flimsier pan will cause the temperature to drop too low, causing the food to be overly greasy.
Deep Frying vs Shallow Frying
Deep Frying is the ideal method of frying food. A shallow fry is where you partially submerge food to fry food. Once one side is done, you flip it. You can do this method with a regular frying pan. While this method does work, its not great. What happens is that the food rest on the bottom of the pan. When that happens, the breading on the bottom is compressed. For frying things like Panko, the flaky texture gets ruined.
Another issue with shallow frying is cooking time. Most recipes are designed for a fully deep frying. When you shallow fry, part of the food gets cooked. The other side will still be raw so you are essentially increasing the cooking time. Sometimes by 1.5 times.
With a deep frying, you get a beautiful uniform fry. Cooking time should be what recipes call for. Not only that, a Deep Fry will cause the least amount of oil intake. Essentially, the more oil you have, the better it will be at holding the temperature. The weight of the pan will also make a difference.
Materials for Shallow Frying Pan
There are many different materials for a Shallow Frying Pan. All models work a little differently. However, in my opinion cast iron is best for frying. Cast Iron is heavy and the seasoning will only get better with use. When you drop food in, the temperature wont drop like a nonstick pan.
Nonstick pans usually use a very thin aluminum metal. Not only does it lose heat fast, its also prone to warping. The upside to the nonstick is that cleaning is easier afterward.
Stainless Steel is not a bad choice. If you get a heavy one like the All Clad D5, then it should hold heat just as well as cast iron. However, oil stains are a big issue. If you like to keep the pan looking spotless, then I would avoid stainless steel.
Are Woks Good for Deep Frying?
In a Professional Chinese Kitchen, yes, Woks are perfect for deep frying. The burners that they use will heat up the oil almost instantaneously. However, in a home kitchen the burner are too weak. If the oil dips too much in temperature, it takes too long for it to reach the optimal frying temperature.
Best Shallow Frying Pan List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Shallow Frying Pan on the market. There are a few different option available, choose one that best suits you.
Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Deep Skillet With Iron Cover and Assist Handle (Best Overall)
Lodge Deep Cast Iron Saute pan is the Best Shallow Frying Pan on the market. Its heavy and the cast iron seasoning will only get better over time. This model is affordable and it comes with a heavy lid. This model will hold 5 qt of liquid but you should only fill it part way. Once you submerge food in, the oil level will rise. The pouring lips also makes it easy to drain oil. I highly recommend this model.
All-Clad 4206 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Deep Saute Pan with Lid (Best Stainless Steel)
This All Clad deep saute pan is great for deep frying. With a tight fitting lid, this is perfect for preventing random splatter from happening. The handle stays cools to the touch and its notch helps latch onto your hand. Best of all, you can double this as a soup pan if you want.
T-fal B36290 Specialty Nonstick 5 Quart Jumbo Cooker Saute Pan with Glass Lid (Best Nonstick Fry Pan)
If you want a nonstick, then nothing beats T-Fal. They are affordable and hold 5 qt of liquid. Just be aware that these pans are pretty thin. It wont be able to hold heat as well as the other models. The good thing is that its a lot easier to clean than the other.
There are a lot of pans out there. The semi tall saute pan are the perfect one for Shallow Frying. I personally think that the Cast Iron model by Lodge is the best. Its heavy and holds heat well. The lid is also heavy to keep the oil in. However, if you want a Stainless Steel model, All Clad makes a good alternative. If you want a nonstick model, then get a cheap one by T-Fal. Its easy to clean. Just be aware, that it will loose heat fast.
Want to Deep Fry instead? Check out our article on the Best Deep Frying Pan.