Downarrow-small-lineGroupStaff FaveGroupClose IconEmailLike Cooking Light on FacebookShapeFollow Cooking Light on InstagramMenu IconPrintSearch IconSpeech BubbleFollow Cooking Light on SnapchatFollow Cooking Light on TwitterWatch Cooking Light on YouTubeWatch Cooking Light on Youtube

Stir-Frying vs. Sautéeing

Learn what separates these two fundamental techniques.
Image Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Stir-frying is similar to sautéeing, but amplified. With stir-frying, the heat is higher and the action is faster.

Sautéeing cooks large or small pieces of food in a wide, shallow pan in a small amount of hot fat over medium-high heat, turning often or just once. The fat may be a combination of butter and oil.

Stir-frying increases the heat to high, and keeps the food in constant motion. The pan commonly used is a round-sided wok. The food is continuously turned, tossed, and stirred. Butter is not used because it burns easily at high heat. Food is cut in small, thin pieces for fast-paced cooking.