I just cooked some breaded tilapia. The breading consists mostly of panko. As per my "chef" training, to bread it, I did the usual:

  • Dusted the fish in flour first
  • Dipped it in egg next
  • Dredged it in panko last

I fried about 4-5 pieces with maybe 1/4" of oil in a non-stick frying pan -- gas stove (medium burner, medium heat). I'm surprised that by the time I finished the fourth piece of fish, I had to put more oil.

I thought the addition of flour, and the fairly high heat, should have prevented the fish from absorbing oil. I don't think the oil was too cold, because after I flipped the fish (two minutes on one side), the panko looked golden brown and a touch burned.

What did I do wrong?

  • 3
    I don't think that you made something wrong, the panko will absorbe oil
    – Dr.Molle
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 1:36
  • @Dr.Molle that's not what I learned. According to my classes, the right combination of hot oil and flour before egg/crumbs should prevent the food from absorbing much oil.
    – ashes999
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 1:57
  • preventing the food from absorbing much oil doesn't mean that it didn't absorbe any oil. furthermore there will be oil on the surface(put the fish on a towel and you will see it)
    – Dr.Molle
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 2:15
  • 1
    There will always be some oil absorption, but it is minimized with good temperature control. You need 1) an infrared thermometer (or lots of experience) to keep the oil at 185 celsius, and 2) lots of oil (so it won't cool down the moment the cold fish hits it and get absorbed while slowly getting to optimal temperature).
    – rumtscho
    Commented Oct 6, 2013 at 9:34
  • @rumtscho please convert your comment into an answer.
    – ashes999
    Commented Oct 6, 2013 at 19:10

1 Answer 1


It's not the fish absorbing most of the oil, it's the breading. When you cook something starchy in oil, it's going to absorb SOME of the oil. Using high heat minimizes the amount of oil that it will absorb, but it's always going to absorb some. Furthermore, panko has a lot of surface area. Some of the oil is just going to get carried out of the pan on the surface of the breading, which will probably drip or be blotted off later.

  • That much oil? Really?
    – ashes999
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 22:18
  • No lie. Did you put the fish on a draining rack or paper after cooking it? You'd be amazed at how much oil can just stick to the surface of things.
    – SourDoh
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 22:21
  • I did pat the fish down, but very little oil came out of the first few pieces. The latter ones, though ...
    – ashes999
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 3:17
  • 1
    The oil will cool down when you put the fish into the pan. Wait a minute before you fry the next pieces to give the oil time to reheat and evaporate fluid.
    – Dr.Molle
    Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 0:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.