Do you love French fries as much as I do? I know they aren’t healthy, but I can’t get enough of them! They are especially tasty when deep fried, but what if you don’t have a deep fryer?
In this article, I’ll be covering everything you need to know about deep frying in a non stick pan.
What is non-stick coating?
Non-stick coatings in cookware are designed to make pans easier to wash. These coatings are usually Teflon, but other non-stick materials like PFOA (Perfluorochemicals), are being used.
The main claim is that they are safer than their traditional counterparts, but are they more dangerous? Especially when deep frying in them?
Can you deep fry in a non stick pan?
Yes, you can deep fry in a non stick pan. As long as the oil is below the temperature that the non-stick coating can withstand. However, there are some considerations to take into account to make it safer, such as pan depth, and the non stick-coating and the utensils that are used.
In the next section, we will cover everything you need to know about deep frying in a non-stick pan.
Things to consider when deep frying in a non-stick pan
When deep frying in a non stick pan, there are general practices that you do need to follow to ensure you won’t damage your pan and your food will come out nice and tasty.
Continue reading to see the best practices to follow.
Avoid shallow pans
Non-stick pans typically are shallow, if you are deep frying in them with a large amount of oil, it can get dangerous very quickly, as a small knock could empty the entire batch of oil onto you.
Oil can surpass the temperature of boiling water very quickly, some oils can reach 450 degrees Fahrenheit, as opposed to water which can only get to around 212 degrees Fahrenheit. That means if you drop a batch of 450 degree oil on you, it’s can result in a potentially life threatening scenario.
And even if it doesn’t hit you, the chance of a fire being created in your kitchen is extremely high if large amounts of cooking oil were to spill.
Therefor if you are going to deep fry in a non-stick pan, I would always advice going for a non-stick pan that has depth, a saucepan for example. And not filling it up near the top.
Prevent the non-stick coating melting
One of the major concerns with deep frying in non-stick pans is the non-stick coating, everyone knows that high temperatures can cause it to melt which creates toxicity. So is it safe to deep fry?
Yes, it is safe to deep-fry in pans with a non-stick coating, however you do need to make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot. The melting points of PTFE is around 620 °F, however this doesn’t mean you can allow your pan to reach that temperature. Teflon recommends no higher than 500 °F.
The easiest way to prevent the pan getting too hot, is to buy a Infrared Thermometer as they are extremely convenient for monitoring the temperature of oil and the pan to ensure both don’t overheat.
Choose the right cooking oil
when it comes to choosing the right oil for non-stick pans, you typically need one that has a high smoking point, this prevents the oil burning and reacting with the Teflon coating.
But you’ll also need a cooking oil that’s unflavoured, Afterall you don’t want the taste of your food to be compromised just to have the ability to deep fry.
In this section, we will talk about the different cooking oils that you can use to deep fry in a non-stick pan.
Unrefined vs refined: which is better?
Unrefined and refined oils are two different methods that manufactures use to create the oil.
Why is it important to know this? Well for deep frying, you’ll specifically want refined oils.
Unrefined oils are lightly filtered to only filter out the largest particles, and refined oils are heavily filtered and strained with heat to remove smaller particles.
These method affect the flavoring of the oil, the more it’s refined, the less flavor you’ll get, and for deep frying you don’t want any flavor in your oil.
So let’s take a look at the different refined cooking oils that are good for deep frying in a non-stick pan.
Refined Canola (rapeseed) oil
Refined Canola oil, also known as rapeseed oil, is great for deep frying in non-stick pans, it happens to be the most common cooking oil used by home cooks.
It has both a high smoking points of 400 °F (204 °C) and it’s unflavoured, meaning it won’t damage your Teflon coating and it won’t add any weird flavours to your recipe.
Canola oil also has a health benefit, and that’s the amount of unsaturated fats it contains. We all know too much saturated fat is bad for you, but you can never get enough of unsaturated fat. Canola oil is mostly unsaturated with just 7% saturated fat. It also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, combined with vitamin E and K.
All these traits of Canola oil make it a perfect pick for deep frying in non-stick cookware.
Refined Corn oil
Next on the list is refined Corn oil. Corn oil has a higher smoking points than Canola oil by a small amount, it’s smoking point is between 446-460°F (230–238 °C) depending on the brand you buy as it can vary slightly. This is high enough to prevent it burning whilst deep frying and ruining your Teflon coating.
Again, with Canola oil, Corn oil is unflavoured and also had health benefits such containing compounds that have correlation with lower amounts of heart disease.
It’s highly unsaturated with the majority of it’s fats being polyunsaturated (the healthiest type) and contains Vitamin E.
Overall, Corn oil is a great choice for deep frying to get that crispy finish on your food whilst retaining it’s flavour.
Refined Peanut oil
Refined peanut oil is another cooking oil that’s used all around the world, especially in restaurants when frying chicken or fries.
It has a high smoking point of around 450 °F (232 °C) and a also has a great amount of unsaturated fats, specifically monounsaturated fats.
As well as monounsaturates, it’s also rich in polyunsaturated fats which are once again, the healthiest type.
Peanut oil is extremely versatile as it can be used both cold and hot, so you can use it for more than just deep frying. However, if you aren’t using peanut oil to deep fry with it on daily basis, I would advise storing it in the fridge to ensure its freshness and taste remains optimal.
Contrary to belief, people with peanut allergies are mostly going to be fine when using refined peanut oil, although it’s always best to check the packaging regarding alergy concerns.
Lastly, peanut oil is unflavored, so not only will it provide crispy food, but it won’t affect the flavor of your deep fried foods.
Refined Safflower oil
Finally, another cooking oil that is very similar to Canola oil is Safflower oil. It has an incredibly high smoking point of 510 °F (266 °C) and it’s also unflavored.
Safflower is rich in vitamin E and contains the same amount of unsaturated fats as Canola oil, making it a great choice for deep frying.
While Canola oil and Safflower oil are very similar, there is a slight difference. Safflower is higher in monounsaturated fats than Canola oil, and lower in polyunsaturated fats making it slightly less healthy.
Overall refined Safflower oil is another great option for deep frying in non-stick cookware, and if it’s an option for you, then give it a try.
Refined Vegetable oil
Vegetable oil is a good alternative to Canola oil or Safflower oil as it has a high smoking point at 428°F (220 °C). It’s very similar to refined peanut oil but it has less monounsaturates and more polyunsaturates.
Like Safflower Oil, vegetable oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats which are the healthiest fats.
You can use vegetable oil to deep fry with in non-stick pans, so it’s another good choice.
Don’t preheat the pan
When deep frying, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t preheat your pan. Preheating is a big no-no as it can compromise your non-stick coating.
The reason behind it is the high temperature of the pan without oil in may cause some spots on your pan’s non-stick surface to dehydrate and start to flake off, therefore it becomes a smaller scratch which if impacted by oil or food particles could crack and create a hole in the surface. This means that you no longer have a non-stick coating after just one use of preheating the pan.
So don’t do it! Leave your Teflon coated cookware as it is until you’re ready to start cooking.
Never deep fry on high heat
Deep frying is not hard, but you do have to pay attention to avoid any accidents or unwanted burned food.
You should never deep fry on high heat, above 392°F (200 °C). High heat will not only cause your food to burn before it ever has a chance to get crispy, but it will also cause the teflon coating to start breaking down into your food.
Use the correct cooking utensils
While using your non-stick pan, you need to use proper cooking utensils which are suitable for the pan. This means that you shouldn’t use metal or plastic utensils.
Metal utensils will more than likely scratch the teflon coating from the pan whilst deep frying, and plastic will more than likely melt.
Instead I recommend using silicone or wooden cooking utensils when deep frying in a non-stick pan, it’s really the best way forward.
Below I have covered some additional questions you may have about deep frying in your non-stick pan. Feel free to comment below if you require any additional questions answering!
Which pans are safe for deep frying?
As I’m a big advocator of safety, my only recommendation for deep frying in a non stick pan would be saucepans specifically. Any other pans just aren’t deep enough.
If you were wanting to move away from non-stick coatings for deep frying, I’d recommend stainless steel. Stainless steel heats up evenly and quickly, whilst being able to tolerate extreme heats, and you can get some very deep stainless steel pans.
What should I do if the coating scratches off?
If the coating scratches off your non-stick pan, then the best advice is to throw it away and buy a new pan. Non-stick coatings often contain chemicals which can leach into food and potentially harm your health.
I personally do not advocate non-stick pans for long term use, I tend to have a stainless steel or cast iron pan for long term use, and I use non-stick pans for no longer than 2 years.