How to Cook by Flash Frying

Flash frying is a cooking technique in which you fry your food in a frying pan filled with oil at a very high temperature for a minimal amount of time. The technique comes from Chinese cooking and is also known as "bao" or "explode cooking." The purpose of flash frying is to lock the juices and flavor in your food without too much of the cooking oil seeping into it. You can flash fry just about anything, including meat, seafood, vegetables and tofu.

A chef pouring oil into a frying pan. (Image: Kung_Mangkorn/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Fill your frying pan with just enough oil to submerge your food in.

Step 2

Set your burner on high, and wait until the oil begins to boil.

Step 3

Add your food to the pan, and submerge it in the oil, using a spatula. Let it cook for 30 to 60 seconds.

Step 4

Remove your food from the oil, using a slotted spoon or tongs. Set it on a stack of paper towels and season to taste. Serve immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Frying pan

  • Cooking oil with high smoke point, such as peanut or grapeseed

  • Spatula

  • Paper towels

  • Tongs or slotted spoon


Flash frying requires the oil to be at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit, so you must use an oil with a high smoke point.

In traditional Chinese cooking, fish and meat are always coated in breading or eggs before being flash fried. You can also batter vegetables and tofu if you like.


Protect yourself from splattering oil with long sleeves and cooking mitts.

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