Can You Fry Without Oil? Try These 7 Methods

Frying is one of the oldest methods of cooking known to man. The technique involves submerging food in hot oil in order to cook it. 

The resulting golden crust from this process is often delightful but also leads many people to believe that frying is an unhealthy method for cooking food because it relies heavily on fat—namely, vegetable oil or lard (pork fat). 

However, there are several ways to enjoy fried foods without having them come out greasy or overly fatty. 

You can air fry, use glucose powder, and use your oven without the oil of normal frying.

We’ll explore these methods below:

What Happens When You Fry Food Without Oil?

Avoiding those large amounts of oils and fats can be very beneficial.

Here are 4 health benefits of frying your food without oil:

  • Your overall health will improve. Oil suppresses the function of your immune system. Decreasing the number of oils in your diet could give you a nice boost.
  • Extra fat in your diet can contribute to plaque build-up in the arteries and other heart issues. Cutting down the fat in your diet and improving your heart health.
  • Decreasing fat intake can help with maintaining a healthy weight. 
  • High-fat meals can steal our energy by affecting our red blood cells’ ability to carry oxygen. Lowering your fat intake could increase your energy levels. 
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How Do You Fry Food Without Oil?

1. Using an air fryer

This fancy new technology gives you a similar texture to your favorite fried foods without all the fat. 

Air fryers can handle things like fried chicken, fries, corn dogs, mozzarella sticks, fish, and even any veggies for a new way to eat your food. 

The concept is simple. Instead of using hot oil to cook your food to a crisp, it uses hot air. The air circulates around all sides of the food giving it a crispy and crunchy texture. 

An air fryer comes with a well-ventilated basket to allow the air to circulate properly around your chosen food.

To use an air fryer:

  1. Use a non-stick spray to keep your food from sticking to the bottom.
  2. Spray your food with a little bit of oil.
  3. You don’t want your food touching each other in the basket. If it’s too crowded your food won’t cook evenly.
  4. Like many things, you’re going to want to flip or shake things halfway through.
  5. Once the timer’s done, check it and enjoy the crisp texture without all the fat.

2. “Frying” in the Oven

Baking is always a nice healthy alternative to all the fat of regular deep frying. While you won’t get the same crunch as typical fried food, the flavor will be great and much healthier.

To fry in the oven:

  1. Bread your chicken or other meat as you would normally.
  2. Preheat the oven to 365 degrees F.
  3. You’re going to bake your chicken for 30-40 minutes or until you achieve that ideal golden color and make sure to flip the chicken pieces about halfway through.
  4. You can do the same process with veggies. We recommend a cornstarch slurry to coat your veggies before oven frying them.
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The one downside to this method is time. It does take a significant amount of additional time to cook than traditional frying in oil. 

3. Hot Salt or “Frying” in Sand

This is a common household practice in Asia, more specifically, Pakistan, China, India, and Bangladesh.

  1. You’ll need to fill a frying pan with salt. 
  2. Put your frying pan over high heat and brown the salt at about 350 to 400 degrees.
  3. Once the salt is heated, you can fry dry food items over a minute or two. 
  4. Move the food around in the salt to make sure it cooks evenly.

This method does work for food with wet batters, like chicken wings. The wet batter will just absorb the salt and make your food overly salty. 

4. Sauteing

Fluid replacements for oil when sauteing:

  • Water
  • Vegetable broth
  • Cooking wine
  • Vinegars
  • Soy sauce 

5. Stir Fry

No, you don’t need oils to stir fry your favorite foods. 

To stir fry without oils:

  1. Heat your pan to the desired temperature.
  2. Add a little water, or broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
  3. The liquid works the same way as the oil, it keeps the food from sticking and burning.
  4. Add a little liquid at a time as it evaporates until your food is completely cooked.

6. Roasting

It’s not recommended that you simply roast your veggies without oil. There’s a technique to make sure that they come out delicious.

Roasting without oil:

  1. Steam or boil your veggies beforehand. This keeps moisture inside them while they roast.
  2. Toss them in your favorite seasonings
  3. By soaking them ahead of time you can roast them at a higher temperature for a shorter time. 
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7. Glucose Powder

Glucose or dextrose powder is available at most grocery stores and perfect for frying without oil. This powder melts at lower temperatures and then caramelizes. It’s great because you can use it for sweet and salty foods. 

How to fry with glucose powder:

  1. Using a frying pan, place the powder over the fire until it melts into a transparent liquid.
  2. Once it comes to a boil, you add your food to fry.
  3. If the temperature gets a little high, just add more powder to bring it back down. 
  4. Just like a normal fry, blot the finished food on paper to remove excess fluid.

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So, can you fry food without oil? The answer is yes. There are many healthy ways to crisp up your food without bathing it in oil.

You can use any of the methods above to fry your food without using oil. It’s all about finding what works best for you and your cooking style!