Pam cooking spray might be the most well-known brand of nonstick spray, but it’s not the only option—or even the best. Cooking spray in general not only keeps food from sticking to the pan, but it also facilitates even cooking without “hot spots,” since the oil gets more evenly distributed over the entire surface of the pan. Depending on the recipe or your individual taste, you can use other products without sacrificing flavor or nonstick properties.
Butter adds flavor and richness to many foods. It’s just as great for searing fine cuts of meat and steak as it is for moistening cakes and muffins. To grease a baking tray or muffin tin, put a pat of butter on a piece of wax paper or paper towel and spread a thin coat over the surface.
Vegetable oil has good nonstick properties and is relatively inexpensive. It’s ideal for pan-frying a variety of foods, such as omelets, stir-fry, and potatoes. Vegetable oil can also be brushed onto a cold barbecue grill or baking pan to prevent food from sticking.
Although olive oil is a pricier option, it works well for sautéing vegetables and infusing foods with a rich, traditional flavor. This Mediterranean staple is perfect for sauces, salads, or pasta.
A canola oil–based spray offers the same convenience of Pam. Since it’s virtually tasteless, it’s ideal for baking and really lets foods’ natural flavors shine through. You can purchase a reusable oil sprayer and put any type of oil into it—you’ll never need Pam again.