Using a cooking spray is convenient and quick. However, many people are concerned about its effects on the environment, health, and the fact that it is an expensive approach. Using a cooking spray substitute can resolve several of these problems. If you have some cooking skills, using an alternative option should be no problem at all.
Conventional cooking spray offers a low-calorie alternative to oils and butter. However, because of the nature of the product, it must include some additives. While these are food-safe, they do raise an eyebrow, especially with those conscious about what they ingest.
For most cooking sprays, the oil inside is thinned out with water. Since water and oil tend to separate, there’s a need to keep the mixture stable. This sees the addition of stabilizers and emulsifiers like soy lecithin and dimethyl silicone. Something like butane or propane could be used as a propellant.
Even though the ingredients are food-safe, it is understandable that some people would wish to avoid them. Additionally, there’s the added expense of the can and its ingredients. The environmentally conscious too aren’t entirely comfortable with the idea of limited-use spray cans. Hence, the need for alternatives.
Let’s see what are the top options to replace cooking spray in your kitchen.
Top Cooking Spray Substitutes You Can Use
Butter is the old, classic way to make cooking surfaces non-stick. It comes with the benefit of adding flavor and taste to the food. It is soft and spreads easily. Butter is widely available and there’s a good chance that you have it at home.
One thing to remember is that butter adds a stronger flavor to the food as compared to cooking spray. Usually, that’s not a problem and could even be the desired outcome. However, it is something to keep in mind when using butter as a substitute for cooking spray.
2. Regular Oil
Cooking spray puts oil on the cooking surface. You can do the same with regular cooking oil. Keep in mind, you should use a healthy, high temperature cooking oil. Things are going to get pretty hot while cooking and we don’t want the oil to start smoking or burning.
Something like refined avocado oil, rice bran oil, or even vegetable oil should be good enough. Things can be lax if you’re baking. In such cases, even extra virgin olive oil (with a smoke temperature of 325-375 F) can be useful.
For most uses, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with more oil than needed in the pan. If you prefer to stay low on oil intake, you can try applying it as a film. Pour some oil on a paper towel and then use this towel to coat oil on the pan.
Lard is another good option to make a pan non-stick while cooking. It’s a conventional ingredient that was pretty popular in use until people got vary of the huge fat content in lard. It’s soft and easy to use. As with butter, lard too adds a strong flavor to the food being cooked.
More often than not, this flavor is delicious and preferable. However, it is something to note when choosing this option.
Learn more: 11 Convenient Lard Substitutes to Get By
Have you tried flour? It may seem counterintuitive, but flour is an excellent way to prevent dishes from sticking to the pan. The most viable use for this is in baking, where recipes often call dusting the pan with flour.
If the dry flour doesn’t hold your interest, mix it with vegetable oil or vegetable shortening to create a spread. This spread will be easy to apply and will keep food from sticking to the pan.
5. Refillable Spray Bottles
Prefer to spray oil on the pan but can’t bother with cooking spray containers? Refillable spray bottles can fill that gap. Add your favorite cooking oil to the bottle and use it the same as you would a cooking spray. This option is especially useful for those who have sustainability and environment-related objections to cooking sprays.
Refillable bottles are relatively easier to manage and won’t include any additives to keep them stable. Do remember to choose the right kind of oil that suits your needs and cooking temperature.
6. Parchment Paper
Parchment paper can come in handy for some situations. And by some, I mean baking. The paper has *a thin layer of wax coating on either side. This coat prevents food from sticking to the container (or paper).
Wax usually has a low temperature tolerance and can give unexpected results. That’s one reason why many contemporary parchment papers use a coat of silicone instead. It’s easy to manage, has a higher temperature resistance, and does a better job at preventing the food from sticking to the pan (or paper).
7. Vegetable Shortening
Shortening is usually made from a combination of vegetable oils. It can as conveniently cover the role of keeping food from sticking to the pan. While Crisco has become synonymous with vegetable shortening, any brand or shortening would do the job.
How To Grease A Pan Without Spray?
Many people get used to employing a cooking spray to grease the pan. It is a convenient option, sure, but it’s not the only option. After all, the people around the world were greasing pans before cooking spray became a thing!
You can use something like lard or butter to grease a pan. These are old-school favorites. They’re soft and easy to work with and they add a nice flavor to the food. Alternatively, try putting some oil into the pan.
If you’re cooking, go with oils that have a high smoke point – something like avocado oil or rice bran oil should do. For baking, you can use oils with a low smoke point, e.g. extra virgin olive oil.
All that considered, if spraying is really what you want, get a refillable spray bottle. Fill it with the oil of your choice and simply spray it on the pan when cooking.
Homemade Non-Stick Cooking Spray
If you prefer the way of cooking spray, you can make a decent replacement at home. Take your pick of cooking oil; vegetable oil, avocado oil, and canola oil are good choices. You can even use olive oil if you prefer, but remember not to use it for high-temperature cooking. Next, add some water and fill up the mix in a refillable spray bottle. Plant mister bottles work just as well.
Here’s the lowdown:
- ¼ cup of liquid oil
- 1 ¾ cup of water
Mix them both, and put them in the refillable spray bottle. Remember to shake the bottle well before each use, because oil and water will separate. Commercial products usually include an emulsifier to prevent the water and oil from separating. However, for going the DIY route, this setup should work without a hitch. Well, as long as you remember to shake the bottle before use!
Replacing The Cooking Spray From Your Meals
Though it has been around for a while, many people now want a cooking spray substitute. The trend could be because of the presence of additives or the fact that cooking sprays aren’t environmentally friendly. Or maybe you just ran out of the spray and need an alternative! Either way, the list here should help you find the substitute that’s right for you.