Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by Share My Kitchen
Nonstick cooking sprays are being criticized for these reasons: being too expensive; harmful to your health; dangerous for the environment.
You may be reading this because you agree with these reasons, ran out of cooking spray, or simply don’t have the time to buy a new one. You may also just be looking for a substitute for cooking spray.
Either way, we are right.
Just kidding. Let’s get into the 4 best cooking spray alternatives to save you time and money in the kitchen.
Cooking Spray Alternative That Work
1. Use Cooking Oil to Brush Your Pan
Cooking oil, water, an emulsifier, and other ingredients are used to make commercial cooking sprays. So you can use any oil you have to grease your pan so you won’t scratch it. It is best to use vegetable oils like avocado oil or canola oil since both oils have neutral flavors and high smoke points (400°F and 370 to 400°F respectively).
How To Apply Cooking Oil As A Cooking Spray Alternative:
- Put cooking oil on the pan, and then grease it using your hands
- Use a silicone basting brush to avoid getting your hands too oily
- Use an oil-soaked paper towel to rub the surface of the pan
Using a paper towel makes the application look almost as if cooking spray was used instead, but any of the methods will do.
Although sometimes the easiest methods, using your hands work best.
Extra-virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oils are great cooking spray alternatives too. It will give your food that additional peppery, tart, and slightly nutty flavor. And this is a sign that you are using high quality olive oil.
Usually pungency, bitterness and nuttiness go well with, and they add depth and flavor. However, I doubt that this is an effect you will be seeking on your baking.
2. Butter the Baking Pan
You can grease a baking pan by simply using a stick of butter and running it on the cooking surface. Your pan will be coated with a nonstick coating because of the fatty cells found in butter.
Before starting to coat, the butter should be at room temperature. Get the stick of butter out of the refrigerator and let it sit for 45 to 60 minutes before using it to grease your baking pan.
However, if you are in a hurry and forgot to do this, heat your pan in the oven for a few minutes until it is warm. Then, take it out and butter it. The cold butter will melt if it is placed on the warm, but not hot, surface.
Can You Use Salter Butter As A Cooking Spray Alternative?
You may also use salted butter to grease your baking pans for a creamier and saltier baked goods.
Match the cooking temperature of the recipe to the oil’s smoke point. Butter has a lower smoke point (302°F) than canola oil (400°F). Therefore, butter is not recommended to use for recipes that needs cooking spray or baking temperatures above 300°F. It will burn.
3. Use Lard or Bacon Fat to Grease the Pan
These ingredients are not always readily available. However, you can still consider both of these options if you only have them on hand.
Lard is virtually tasteless which makes it ideal for baking. On the other hand, bacon fat is meaty, salty and aromatic, so it works best if you want to infuse those flavors when baking.
It’s arguable that vegetable oil or animal fat is better for baking. However, there’s no correct answer to that. This option is still available if your diet allows you to use animal fats for baking.
Lard is not available in every supermarket. But for those that do, the best place to look is the meat section. Keep in mind that it is sometimes labeled as “manteca.”
Most of the time lard is criticized for its poor quality, but it is actually better than butter or most other cooking oils. It is rich in monounsaturated fat, which is the same type we commend extra-virgin olive oil to be rich in. It also contains 20% less saturated fat than butter.
4. Grease Can Be Replaced With Parchment Paper
Use parchment paper to prevent food sticking to a pan without using grease or oil. This method doesn’t require you to grease or oil the parchment paper.
To create the nonstick coating, parchment paper, a cellulose-based paper, has been chemically treated using silicone. You can buy it in rolls just like aluminum foil or waxed papers. They can be found in the baking aisle of your local grocery store.
Use enough parchment paper to cover your pan if the recipe needs you to grease its bottom and sides. Instead of tearing it by hand I prefer to use scissors, this gives me more control and reduces waste.
Remember that parchment paper is not sticky. It doesn’t require any grease and baked goods can slide off the parchment paper when they’re done baking. While you will still need to clean the pan after, it will be easier to do so.
Why Does Food Stick to Baking Pans?
The two reasons food sticks to baking pans are:
Reason 1: When heated, the metal expands, allowing food to get trapped in the microscopic cracks and crevices of your baking pan, then burn.
Reason 2: High heat can cause the proteins and carbohydrates in your food to bond with the cookware’s surface. Simply put, meat and eggs stick to metal because of the bonds they make with it. That’s the reason why aluminum pans can sometimes impart a metallic taste to food.
You now know why cooking spray is necessary. And why finding a substitute for it is optimal.
You’re either already buttering your baking pan or permanently enthusiastic with the best cooking spray alternatives.
Remember, you can also use cooking oil, like extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil or canola if you don’t have any cooking spray. There’s also the option to use butter, bacon fat or lard to brush on the pan. Bacon fat is especially useful if you wish to add bacon flavor to your food.
You can also use parchment paper if you don’t want to use grease. This paper comes in rolls and has a silicone nonstick coating. It also makes it much easier to clean your pans.
Have fun baking!