Pan Frying vs Deep Frying Chicken [The Differences Debate!]

Do you love fried chicken? Although it’s a rhetorical question the answer is “Yes, Always!”

Fried is the way that most of us love our chicken, having a crispy coated crumb while being juicy and moist on the inside makes us crave it repeatedly.

Well, which should you choose?
Deep-fried or Pan fried?

Deep frying Chicken will result in a super crunchy coating that is thick on the outside, moist, and flavorful on the inside as the meat releases its juices at higher temperatures. Whereas, pan or skillet-frying chicken produces a less crisp, thin coating than deep-fried chicken.

There are a few ways that you can fry your chicken however, in this post here we will look into some major differences between pan frying your chicken and deep frying and allow you to gain an in-depth understanding of how they majorly differ and what are the results you will get by applying either of the techniques.

Difference between Pan Frying and Deep Frying:

The following table lists some major differences between Deep Frying and Pan Frying Chicken.

Sr. No.ParametersDeep Frying ChickenPan Frying Chicken
1TasteDeep Fried Chicken tastes tastier than pan-fried chicken.A heavy-bottomed pan which is big is required. Or cast-iron skillet or electric fryer.
2TextureIt has a thicker coated crumb with juicy meat on the insideIt has a thin crust formed where the chicken touches the pan, other parts may not have a prominent crust.
3Time TakenThe time taken is much shorter compared to pan-frying chicken as it cooks at higher temperaturesIt takes more time compared to deep frying as the temperatures are not as high as the amount of oil used is lesser.
4TechniqueThe technique required is minimumSome level of technique is required.
5TemperatureThe chicken is cooked at 350 – 400FThe temperatures only reached up to 350F.
6EquipmentA heavy-bottomed pan which is big in size is required. Or cast-iron skillet or electric fryer.A good quality pan.
7Oil QuantityHuge amounts of oil are required, and the oil goes to waste after the chicken is fried.The oil required is just enough to be able to fry the chicken.
8HealthyDeep frying is unhealthy although deliciousPan frying is healthier than deep frying.


Deep Fried chicken is more delicious and tasty than pan or skillet-fried chicken. It happens mainly due to the fact that deep frying in oil at higher temperatures creates a thick crispy coating on the chicken during the cooking process that does not dry out the chicken from within and as a result, the chicken remains moist and succulent from within.


The texture that is obtained in deep frying is not possible in pan or skillet frying although the cooking happens at lower temperatures, due to the lack of a thick coating the heat gets transferred within and draws out the moisture from the meat.

Time Taken

Deep frying is quicker as the cooking happens at higher temperatures compared to pan frying. The time taken is lesser in a deep frying method also due to the fact that the meat is completely submersed in oil whereas in pan frying lesser quantity of oil is used.


Deep frying does not require any skillful techniques for the cooking process as the only thing that one has to be aware of is the temperature of the oil. Higher temperatures of the oil will result in burned chicken whereas lower temperatures of oil will make the chicken super greasy, and soggy and not result in a crispy coating. This issue can easily be solved with the help of a cooking thermometer.

Whereas pan frying involves the skill of the person cooking the chicken as there are various factors that affect the texture and the taste. Also, the chicken is uneven or does not touch the pan in all places thus uneven cooking is something that one has to be wary of and eyeballing is the only way to go.


In deep frying the chicken cooks at 350 – 400 F . Whereas, whereas in pan frying the chicken cooks at 350 F.


The equipment required for both types of cooking processes is different. Deep frying requires a deep pan that can hold large quantities of oil, whereas pan frying requires pans with heavy bottoms that are good enough to maintain and hold higher temperatures than normal cooking pots. Thus, cast iron skillets are hugely popular for pan frying. Also, they are known to result in a crispier coating than pan frying in other vessels.

Oil Quantity

The quantity of oil that is required in deep frying is almost 4 times more than in pan or skillet frying.


Pan-frying chicken is healthier than deep frying as the quantity of oil absorbed by the chicken is lesser than deep frying.

Suggested Reading: Fried Chicken vs Grilled Chicken [ 8 Differences with Calories!]

Is There a Difference between A Fried Chicken and Deep-Fried Chicken?

Fried chicken refers to chicken that is fried and does not necessarily specify pan-fried or deep-fried. You will have to enquire about the cooking process if you are looking for a particular version of the chicken. Thus, all fried chicken is not deep fried. Fried Chicken can be pan-fried, deep-fried, pressure-fried, or air fried.

Deep-fried chicken is particularly specified as chicken that has been fried using the deep frying technique.

Is Pan-Frying Chicken Healthier than Deep Frying?

Pan Frying is definitely healthier than deep frying. It does not absorb as much oil as it uses very little oil for frying. It must be your go-to option for recipes that you need not necessarily deep fry. An example would be bacon, bacon itself has so much fat that it is only pan-fried. Other leaner cuts of meats should also be pan-fried.

Although it depends entirely on the recipe that you are making. Recipes such as chicken popcorn or chicken lollipops can only be deep-fried or shallow-fried, and not pan-fried.

However, if you want a healthier option then opt for stir-frying instead of pan-frying. However, it is not possible to stir-fry everything. Also, pan frying shouldn’t be confused with shallow frying. Shallow frying is a technique that involves using enough oil which cooks and fries one side and then tossing the meat which is fried on the other side. Frying potato fries in a cast iron skillet is one such instance.

Suggested Reading: Why is My Mac and Cheese Dry? [And Here’s How to Fix It!]

Tips For Making Fried Chicken Healthier:

Listed below are a few options that can make fried chicken healthier:

  1. Choosing the right oil -Oils with higher smoke points such as canola oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc should be used.
  2. Using only as much oil as required
  3. Always use a new batch of oil to fry with. Using the same oil again or adding a new batch of oil to the previously used oil compromises the quality of the oil heavily.
  4. Always use the right cookware. Cookware such as iron pots which are not cast iron has a tendency to leach the corroded iron in the oil.
  5. Heavy-bottomed and good-quality pans must be used. Since the frying happens at higher temperatures the pots and pans should be able to withstand higher temperatures.
  6. Frying must be don’t at proper temperatures. At higher temperatures, the oil will burn and compromise the quality of the oil. At lower temperatures, the chicken will absorb a lot of oil and become greasy and soggy.

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