How to Fry With Butter

Most people recognize that frying food is not the healthiest preparation method. You can make fried foods a little lighter by frying in canola or vegetable oil. However, for browning and flavor, butter is usually the first choice. Frying foods in butter can pose a challenge because butter has a low smoke point and can burn quickly, which will ruin your dish. Health-care professionals advise people to limit the frequency with which you fry foods in butter. When you do, though, follow a few basic guidelines to keep your dish tasty.

Sauteing filets of fish in butter and oil in a cast iron pan. Credit: Baltskars/iStock/Getty Images

Step 1

Preheat skillet or frying pan to a medium-low to medium heat before adding the butter. Never fry with butter on high heat.

Step 2

Add enough butter to coat the bottom of your pan once it's melted but not more unless your recipe calls for it.

Step 3

Swirl the butter around the pan as it melts and add your food once it has melted but before it begins to turn brown.

Step 4

Combine the butter with canola or vegetable oil in a 2-to-1 ratio for foods that may require a little more heat or cooking time. This way you get the flavor of the butter without it burning.

Things You'll Need

  • Butter

  • Skillet

  • Canola or vegetable oil


Per tablespoon, butter has roughly 100 calories, with 11 g of fat and 7 g of saturated fat. Canola and vegetable oil are both around the 120 calorie mark per tablespoon, with about 14 g of fat and 1.5 g of saturated fat.

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