Sometimes, we get so absent-minded while baking that we forget that we ran out of a few ingredients. In our opinion, the worst one is a nonstick spray.
Think of it – You’re almost done with your batter, your oven is heated accurately, and when it’s time to grease your pan, you realize… There’s no more cooking spray!
All hope is not lost; you can still save your baking recipe without having to run to the supermarket. We’ll be showing you some excellent substitutes for nonstick spray, so read on!
The Best Substitute for Non-Stick Cooking Spray When You Run Out
We’ve been blessed with nonstick cooking spray since the 60s, which was then known as the alternative to fatty cooking oil and butter. Low in calories while keeping the food from sticking, it’s a great product, right?
Well, not really. Let’s just say that you’ll have more of a reason to ditch nonstick spray and go for its alternatives!
Most cooking sprays contain more than just oil. This product is essentially oil thinned out with water, having other things like soy lecithin, dimethyl silicone, and food-grade propellants like propane or butane.
It’s not deadly, but not many people appreciate the use of these components in their food. If you’re one of them, there are cooking spray alternatives to try, such as:
1. Vegetable Oil
Many commercial nonstick sprays are made of vegetable oils, so this is an obvious substitute!
All you need is your chosen brand of vegetable oil, then pour a bit on a paper towel. Rub the paper towel along the pan’s surface, ensuring that you coated every part.
Since the nonstick spray is pressurized and watered-down oil, any high-temperature cooking oils will work well (other than vegetable oil), which we’ll enumerate in the later sections.
2. Olive Oil
Besides vegetable oil, one of our favorite nonstick spray substitutes is olive oil, though it may add a subtle olive taste to your dishes. You’ll need to be wary about the amount you put, so use a paper towel only to add a thin layer to your pan’s surface.
If you are preparing fish or vegetable dishes, you can add more olive oil, which can even enhance the flavor. This oil contains a smoke point of up to 204 degrees C, so it’s not the best for high-temperature cooking.
Besides olive oil, you can also use coconut oil, similar smoke point temperature, and a slight coconut taste.
3. Avocado Oil
You can use neutral-flavored oils like avocado, sunflower, or safflower oil.
Of all oils, we recommend sunflower oil, which is versatile and works with most cooking applications. It has a high smoke point temperature of up to 232 degrees C. Peanut oil, which contains the same smoke point as sunflower oil, is another good alternative, though more expensive.
We also love avocado oil, which is heat tolerant and contains the highest smoke temperature, about 271 degrees C. That said, it’s the most expensive type of oil! (*)
Almond oil would have a mid-range smoke point of up to 221 degrees C, though it’s more expensive. Alternatively, you can use canola oil, which has a lower smoke point temperature of 204 degrees C.
4. Lard or Shortening
Shortening is a combination of various vegetable oils, just like how nonstick sprays contain vegetable oils and lecithin, which is why it’s an excellent substitute for cooking spray.
On the other hand, Lard is made of pig fat or animal products. If you are a vegetarian, do use shortening!
Use it as you would with butter, taking a bit of shortening from the packaging and rubbing it on the baking surface.
Butter is an excellent and easy-to-find substitute for cooking spray since it’s soft enough to spread into your muffin tins or loaf pans using your fingers.
Alternatively, you can rub one end of the butter to the surface of your pan, use parchment paper or a paper towel to grease your baking tool.
That said, do note that butter and lard have stronger flavors compared to neutral oils from the nonstick spray. Butter gives better flavor to baked goods, while lard works better when roasting meat or vegetables.
Butter has fatty cells that create nonstick coating to pans, and you can just melt it as you cook, running it around the surface. We’ve been using butter as a nonstick cooking solution for hundreds of years, so you can trust that it still works excellently now.
6. Bacon Fat
Bacon fat is less versatile than the other options here, but it’s still worth trying. It’s best for those who want a slightly smoky, bacony flavor in their baked goods, though it’s suited for savory dishes.
If you’re whipping up a savory pastry, why not use bacon fat instead? Better yet, if your recipe already calls for cooked bacon, just save the fat and use it for your pan later on.
Also, if you cook bacon, save all the oils in a jar for future greasing, or you can use it to fry rice and other yummy savory dishes to enhance the flavors. When saving your cooked bacon fat, do use a filter!
7. Parchment Paper
We are using parchment paper more and more nowadays and for a good reason! Before parchment paper, homemakers in certain parts of the world even used newspapers to keep their dishes from sticking to the pan.
Obviously, no one wants to use newspapers (all the ink and germs from wherever it came from), which is why parchment paper is the best solution.
Fortunately, parchment paper is very affordable and oil-free if you’re watching your calories and fat. It has a thin layer of wax on both sides, so you won’t have to worry about your food sticking.
We use this for many baked goods, especially cookies! You can also use waxed paper, both of which you can find in your local grocery store.
You have probably heard of recipes that direct you to dust greased pans using flour. This is because flour is an excellent method in preventing baked goods from sticking to dishes.
We recommend using flour when making pastries or bread, as bread dough is stickier and less “watery” than batters.
Flour is best used alongside your preferred oil, butter, or greaser. Once you apply a thin layer of your greaser to the pan’s surface, add a handful of flour, then shake the tray or pan until it’s spread evenly, throwing the rest away.
We recommend creating your own spreadable flour mixture by mixing equal parts of all-purpose flour, vegetable shortening, and vegetable oil. Place the mixture in the fridge, then spread it to your baking pan with a silicone basting brush whenever needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Wait, we’ve got more in store for you when learning more about nonstick sprays for cooking and baking! Here are the frequently asked questions our readers submitted:
1. How can I grease pans without any cooking spray?
There are multiple methods to grease pans or baking dishes without nonstick spray. You can use paper towels, parchment papers, basting brushes, or even your fingers.
If that’s too messy, you can always purchase a refillable spray bottle and fill it with your preferred cooking oil. It’s great to use when greasing your pan or even lightly spritzing dishes and salads rather than pouring too much oil or heavy dressings.
2. Can I make homemade nonstick cooking spray?
You can also make your own nonstick cooking spray without the added chemicals and propellants. Here are the steps to follow:
- Mix two tablespoons of canola oil and less than one cup of water.
- Place the mixture in a refillable spray bottle of plant mister bottle.
- Store it in a cool, dark, and dry area, but don’t leave it unused for too long as it would spoil in a short period.
- When using this alternative, shake the bottle before using it.
3. Why shouldn’t we use the cooking spray?
We use nonstick spray for its convenience and the fact it controls the amount of oil we add to the pan. However, there are more reasons why we’re better off with a substitute for cooking spray, and it’s not only because your store might not have it for sale.
As mentioned above, cooking sprays contain propellants that help get oils out from the spray bottle’s nozzle. Some of the propellants may be butane, propane, hydrocarbons, and even food-grade alcohol. While reasonably safe, there are health risks, and it would end up negating any health benefits nonstick spray offers.
Nonstick sprays may even include Dimethylpolysiloxane or Diacetyl to prevent foaming, along with soy-based lecithin, which may cause allergies.
Wrapping It Up
Rather than using commercial cooking sprays, try any of these alternatives. Whether you’re making bundt cakes or other cooking recipes, you can use any ingredients above and get excellent results.
What are you waiting for? Get on with cooking now!