Cooking spray or non-stick spray has been a mainstay in many households for years. Whether you’re using it to lightly grease the pan for frying something savory or using it to create baked goodies, non-stick sprays are quite versatile.
But while useful, non-stick sprays are known to be potentially dangerous, or you may simply not like how it tastes. Don’t worry! There are plenty of substitutes for non-stick spray that can help make your cooking easier and cleaner. From olive oil to baking soda, discover how you can create a non-stick surface on your pans in healthier ways!
1. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a great substitute for traditional sprays. Not only is it much healthier than processed alternatives, but it offers many additional health benefits as well! Olive oil is loaded with antioxidants and healthy fatty acids that can help reduce cholesterol, maintain heart health, and regulate blood sugar.
Olive oil is a cooking favorite that offers a great non-stick alternative to cooking sprays. Its high smoke point and mild flavor make it an ideal option for sautéing, baking, pan-frying, and roasting vegetables. It also has a subtle, earthy taste that can give everything a little extra flavor.
2. Vegetable Oil
Unlike other substitutes, vegetable oil is completely natural and doesn’t contain any added chemicals that can potentially be dangerous to your health. Furthermore, it has a high smoke point, making it suitable for most cooking needs.
As a substitute for non-stick sprays, vegetable oil works perfectly in almost any culinary situation. When poaching or sautéing, use a ratio of three parts oil to one part water; this will help create a protective barrier that prevents food from sticking to the pan while helping to keep the flavors concentrated within the food itself.
For baking recipes, feel free to adjust the amount of oil you use according to your preference. A small amount will give a nice crispiness, while adding more will result in a softer texture.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a great option to substitute for traditional non-stick sprays and oils. Not only is it widely available, but it also provides both buttery and oily texture and taste, making it a versatile choice. It’s naturally cholesterol and trans-fat-free, too.
When using coconut oil as a cooking substitute, it’s best to use it based on the recipe or dish you’re preparing. For instance, with baking recipes, use half butter and half coconut oil for a light and fluffy consistency, or reduce the amount of coconut oil for a stronger buttery flavor. In sautéing or stir-frying, it’s usually best to start with one tablespoon per serving and add more if needed.
Butter is another great choice when it comes to non-stick substitutes. It is an all-natural product that provides a long-lasting flavor and texture that cannot be achieved with sprayable oils. Additionally, butter adds a rich, creamy flavor to dishes, making them extra delicious.
When using butter as a non-stick substitute, the best ratio is one tablespoon of butter to one cup of food — whether it’s vegetables, proteins, or grains. You can also add more butter if you want a more decadent, rich flavor. Butter creates an excellent non-stick surface for cooking while also adding an incredible flavor that can’t be replicated with any other option.
5. Canola Oil
Canola oil is a great choice for those looking for healthy, non-stick substitutes to the aerosol spray. It is packed with monounsaturated fats and has lower saturated fats than other vegetable oils like corn and sunflower oil. It can also be heated to a relatively high temperature without breaking down and becoming carcinogenic. This makes canola oil safe to use with higher-temperature cooking, such as roasting or stir-frying.
When using canola oil in place of sprays, be mindful of how much oil you use — too much can lead to greasy dishes, while too little will not provide enough of the non-stick effect. As a general rule, three teaspoons of canola oil can replace one tablespoon of spray. This amount should be enough to spread across a pan and is also appropriate for most stir-fries. As always, err on the side of caution — start with less oil; it is much easier to add more if needed!
6. Vegetable Shortening
Vegetable shortening is an excellent non-stick substitute to consider. Unlike vegetable oil, it has a higher melting and smoke point, which makes it better suited for high-heat cooking than most other oils. Vegetable shortening is also solid at room temperature, much like butter. And it creates a non-stick barrier that coats the entire pan and allows food to slide smoothly from the surface without sticking.
Using vegetable shortening as a non-stick substitute couldn’t be easier — all you have to do is rub a small amount over the whole surface of the pan. A good ratio to adhere to is one tablespoon of vegetable shortening per four inches of the pan. This will ensure that the entire cooking surface is coated well, creating the perfect non-stick barrier.
7. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a non-toxic, all-natural alternative to spray-on coatings for baking pans. It’s cheap, easy to find, and works just as well as store-bought products. To use it, combine one tablespoon of baking soda with three tablespoons of warm water. The paste should be thick enough to coat the sides and bottom of your pan before you start baking.
A pinch of baking soda in your favorite pie or cake batter will also help activate the other ingredients, improving both flavor and texture. Additionally, adding a small amount of baking soda to a savory dish can help cut through the fat and make it even more flavorful. You won’t regret giving this natural substance a try!