Learn the secrets of healthy frying with our step-by-step guide and delicious recipes.
Article by: Julianna Grimes
March 24, 2010
1 of 7Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Step 1: Heat the Oil
We were surprised–and delighted–to perfect some frying techniques that fill the bill for healthy eating. Read on for the secrets of healthy frying.
Step 1. Heat the Oil.
Once you’ve selected a heart-healthy oil with a high smoke point (we use peanut oil; soybean and canola oils are also good), place the oil in a large pan like a deep skillet or Dutch oven. The pan you should choose depends on the foods you’ll cook—you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Clip a fry thermometer to the side of the pan.
2 of 7Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Step 2: Coat Your Ingredients
Some foods, like our doughnut holes, don’t require an exterior coating before they’re fried; the batter forms its own coating. Others, like fish, chicken, or veggies, benefit from breading or a batter. If battered, simply dip and fry. If breaded, use a three-step process (see Fried Catfish recipe for example).
3 of 7Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Step 3: Maintain the Temperature as You Cook
As you add foods, temperature can drop. Watch the thermometer, and slow the pace or adjust the heat. Too-hot oil will burn the exterior before the interior is fully cooked. Oil that’s not hot enough will slow the cooking process and result in greasy, soggy food.
4 of 7Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Step 4: Drain
Always use a slotted spoon to transfer foods into hot oil so the batter doesn’t clump. Then use that spoon to remove foods from the pan so they don’t sit in pools of oil. Drain fried foods on paper towels for a minute or two; the towels will absorb any exterior oil that may still be clinging to them.
5 of 7Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Fried Catfish with Hush Puppies and Tartar Sauce
Coat the fillets and prepare the batter for hush puppies while you wait for the oil to come up to temperature. You can also make the tartar sauce up to two days ahead and keep it refrigerated. If you don't like catfish, use halibut, tilapia, or another flaky white fish.
6 of 7Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Maple-Glazed Sour Cream Doughnut Holes
Sour cream enriches these yeasted doughnut holes. Enjoy them for breakfast or dessert. Sugarcoat it: Omit the maple glaze and dip the doughnut holes in a mixture of granulated sugar and ground cinnamon for more texture.
7 of 7Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Tempura Tofu and Spring Vegetables
Tempura is a versatile batter. Substitute peeled shrimp for the tofu. Or use asparagus and fresh green beans for veggies.