Pam cooking spray, which comes in several varieties, prevents food from sticking to cooking surfaces. Whether you’re grilling, frying or baking, Pam cooking spray can be used to coat metal surfaces and provide a nonstick barrier for almost any type of food. This allows for easy removal and turning of food as well as even cooking without burnt areas or “hot spots.” Depending on the recipe, or your individual taste, you can use other products without sacrificing flavor or the nonstick proerties.
Butter adds flavor and richness to many foods. This refrigerator staple is prized for the ability to perfectly sear fine cuts of meat and steak. Butter’s exceptional nonstick characteristics also make it a good choice for baking cakes and muffins. To butter a baking tray or muffin tin, put some butter on a piece of wax paper or paper towel and spread a thin coat over the surface.
Vegetable oil works in place of Pam, is relatively inexpensive, and has good nonstick properties. This makes it ideal for pan-frying a variety of foods, such as omelets, stir-fries and potatoes. Vegetable oil can also be brushed onto a cold barbecue grill to prevent meats or other items from sticking. You can also brush it into pans for baking.
Although olive oil is a pricier option, it works well for sauteing vegetables and infusing foods with a rich, traditional flavor. This staple of Mediterranean cooking is used in sauces, salads or to prevent pasta from sticking.
A canola oil-based spray offers the same convenience of Pam but is made with a blend of oils that include canola. Like Pam, this spray is ideal for baking and really lets the food’s natural flavors shine through. Typically, it is only necessary to spray a thin coating on the entire sheet or baking pan for maximum effectiveness. You can also put any type of oil into an oil mister or sprayer to use as you would use Pam. Mixing any type of vegetable oil with equal parts of lecithin in a pump spray bottle gives a spray that’s similar to Pam.
References and ResourcesPam: Pam FAQ
Frugal Upstate: Quick Tip: Non-Stick Spray (PAM) Substitute
The Cook's Thesaurus: Oils & Cooking Sprays