6 Types Of Breading And Batter For Deep Frying
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While batters are made by combining flour with a liquid for binding, along with a leavening agent to coat foods in a thick, goopy layer; breading usually consists of multiple layers of flour, binder and liquid which coats the meat or vegetable in a specific sequence to allow the driest layer come in contact with the hot oil. Breading can also sometimes have an additional crunchy layer of panko breadcrumbs, nuts, cornflakes and crackers – unlike batters which are homogenous in texture.

While the function of both – batter and breading is to encase meats, vegetables and fish within a protective layer, so as to not strip them of their natural moisture in high temperatures; along with providing crunch. The medium of a thick, air-pocket filled coating acts as a conductor of heat and allows the inside to remain tender and fluffy, while gently and evenly cooking the filling. A good batter forms a delicate, crispy air-filled web of bubbles which give the vegetable or fish a fluffy yet crispy texture. Good breading, on the other hand, has nooks and crannies and multiple uneven surfaces that make it crunchier when cooked in hot oil.


When pieces of food are brined or soaked in a wet marinade, tossing them in seasoned flour and deep-frying them is essentially what dredging is. When done well, this technique of breading can produce a crunchy, dark brown crust – perfect for a substantial protein like chicken or tofu. If the excess flour is not shaken off of the food before it hits the oil, this method could also cause extremely rapid breakdown in the quality of cooking fat.

Regular Breadcrumbs

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Pieces of meat or cutlets are typically coated with a three-layer breading – made with flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Perhaps one of the simplest methods of breading, this technique typically uses a few pans or saucers to accommodate all the elements. This method of breading allows one to achieve a crispy, air-tight crust, making it perfect to eat with or absorb a sauce or gravy. Ensuring that the breadcrumbs are the right texture is necessary as superfine crumbs might disintegrate in the oil.

Panko Breadcrumbs

Panko breadcrumbs are usually made with Japanese milk bread, is used most commonly to make katsu or Japanese-style cutlets of chicken or pork; the technique involves a three-step dredging technique of flour, eggs and panko. The result of this kind of breading is a crunchier outer crust due to more surface area that increases scope for chicken, portobello mushrooms and even paneer or tempeh to retain their robust flavours.

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Gram Flour

One of the most common ways to make batters for pakoras in India, gram flour or besan is a widely used base to make gluten-free batters. With the addition of aromatics, spices and a spoon or two of rice flour, gram flour batters tend to be denser without the addition of a leavening agent like fruit salt or soda bicarb. Gram flour batters also tend to get lumpy if not whisked correctly, which could also lead to pockets of dry flour turning the coating hard to bite into once fried.


The tempura batter is usually made with a high-starch and low-protein flour – like a mixture of all-purpose flour and corn starch. When combined with ice cold water and sometimes an egg and mixed rapidly, the lumpy batter produces extremely crisp results when food is dipped in it and fried immediately. Since the batter is low in protein, chances of tempura turning out golden-brown are less. This batter is ideal for delicate vegetables or seafood that have flavour which contrasts the mildly-flavoured crisp coating.


When seasoned flour is mixed with a fizzy beer, it creates a thick, pancake-like batter which promotes browning, while also keeping the coating fluffy and light when fried. Ideal for delicate ingredients like fish, onions and even fruits like kiwi – the batter has ample flavour while also protecting the ingredients coated in it. Easier to make and comparatively stable while mixing than the tempura or gram flour batter, the challenge lies in cooking food in oil with the right temperature for frying. Beer batters are susceptible to turn soft quickly, if not used rapidly to fry food.