Real foodies do a lot of cooking, but it's a hassle when your food sticks to the pan -- that is unless you use cooking sprays. They can save you time and headaches, but should you use them with that gourmet recipe?
Most often, we recall the cooking sprays of our youth, like PAM or Crisco, which could potentially ruin a gourmet dish. Traditional cooking sprays have come under fire for their ingredients, including additives that have questionable safety, even if they are FDA-approved. Companies use harsh chemicals as propellants required to spray oil from the can. If you've avoided sprays for these reasons, it's time to revisit this product. Today's cooking sprays come in many varieties, including coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and sunflower oil. Propellants are made from safer ingredients or are eliminated. Many are certified organic or have other healthy options.
In addition to seasoning your pans, there are cooking spray hacks that can ease your time in the kitchen. They perform duties like keeping avocados fresh or keeping your pasta water from boiling over. These are some grocery store baking sprays, ranked from worst to best.
13. Kelapo Extra Virgin Coconut Oil Cooking Spray
Experts today often recommend coconut oil as a healthier alternative to vegetable oils. Cooking with coconut oil is ideal for certain dishes, like curries, and if you want to reduce your fat intake, use coconut cooking spray, instead.
Unrefined coconut oils and sprays are less processed. If this is a concern, you might like Kelapo's Extra Virgin Coconut Oil Cooking Spray. When you cook with unrefined coconut oil or spray, you usually can taste the coconut, like in this case. Once cooked, though, the food was less coconutty.
Kelapo put a thinner coat on the surface than the other cooking sprays; a big concern was that it smoked up almost immediately after the pan got warm. Like the other coconut sprays, Kelapo comes in an aerosol spray bottle. It's not eco-friendly, but it sprays well. Kelapo claims its oils are organic but does not report any certifications, so we could not verify this statement. It also contains propellant, while most of the other cooking sprays do not. Given its high price point and that it was slightly more challenging to find, we put it at the lowest spot in this list.
12. PAM Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Developed in 1959, PAM quickly became a household name. It's actually an acronym for the Product of Arthur Meyerhof, the original company that developed it. Today, the cooking spray originator ConAgra Foods acquired it.
PAM offers a large selection of cooking spray varieties, most of which contain canola oil and additives. That's why it was a nice surprise to discover that its Organic Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil (EVOO) spray has no harsh ingredients on the label. Except for the propellant, all ingredients are organic. This product does contain soy, so beware if you have an allergy. How did this spray measure up? After spraying, there was a noticeable chemical smell, which the taste had a hint of. The spray came out in a thin stream, unusual for an aerosol can. This made it difficult to evenly coat the pan.
PAM's organic EVOO is made from all organic ingredients, including organic soy lecithin and organic grain alcohol as a propellant. You can safely spray this kind of propellant on food, but based on taste results, we don't recommend it. There were some problems with the nozzle, which popped off when opened. It also stuck while spraying for the first time. This was a good option at the price point but not the best alternative.
11. LouAna Coconut Oil Spray
The first coconut entry, LouAna Coconut Oil Spray, was readily available from Walmart and very affordable, beating the price of the other brands by $2, which is good news for organic certified oil. LouAna is not refined, so naturally, it tasted like coconut. Still, it had a pretty good flavor. Unlike the other coconut oils, this one left a thick coating. Your food is much less likely to stick to the pan than other options. Unfortunately, there is little else to recommend this oil. The spray reached too far, so it's not great for small pans. Despite the organic ingredients, the ingredient list contained soy and natural flavors.
While they sound healthy, natural flavors can mean anything because it is not precisely defined by the FDA. The regulation requires that the ingredient must come from a natural source. What that entails is primarily at the discretion of the company. In other words, there's no way to know the ingredients. This spray also contains propellants, so you can't use it directly on food.
10. Great Value Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Because some of these brands are fairly expensive, we thought it was wise to include an affordable option: Great Value Brand Organic EVOO from Walmart. The flexibility of this product is impressive. Should you spray EVOO cooking spray on food like salads? That depends. If the spray is free of aerosols and propellants like this one is, you can.
Great Value's EVOO cooking spray was thick and did its job well. Unfortunately, the nozzle jammed a bit when first used. The spray stream sprayed the oil too widely, so use caution when coating a small pan.
Walmart's EVOO is cold-pressed, which means it is extracted using pressure but without the high heat that removes its taste and health benefits. However, this brand may contain traces of milk, wheat, soy, or sesame, which generally means cross-contamination from being processed with products that contain those ingredients. Avoid it if you have these allergies. Otherwise, Great Value EVOO is a pretty good value.
9. Spectrum Naturals Coconut Oil Cooking Spray
Some brands come with high expectations that they don't meet. Once the darling of the health food scene, Spectrum Naturals is now difficult to find online. In fact, it seems to have been rebranded since we purchased this item. The website sports a bottle that looks much more like the other brands.
Spectrum's spray is derived from refined oil, and, true to form, there is no hint of coconut flavor whatsoever. The bottle sprayed well for an aerosol, quickly coating the pan despite having a thin consistency. It released a little smoke while cooking, but the results were good.
This coconut spray contains propellant and is not recommended for food. While it is expeller-pressed and certified organic, it also contains soy. Given the high price point and lack of flexibility for food uses, this was not one of the top choices. However, the recipe's flavor shone through. If you're looking for a coconut oil spray you cannot taste, this is the best option.
8. Pompeian Organic Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray
This household brand came next on our list. We chose the organic version because EVOO flavor and composition are always reliable. Sometimes olive oil is adulterated with other, lower-quality oils. You must know what to look for when shopping for the best olive oil brands. We did have a few issues with this bottle. The spray nozzle stuck, and it took some work to get it functioning properly. The spray stream also went further than expected, making it hard to use on smaller pans or dishes. It did smoke a little while cooking but not enough to cause concern.
Both Pompeian brands bear a label that reads Farmer Owned. According to the company, this means that the farmers -- several listed on the website -- adhere to strict standards that trace the olives back to their source. While these are not independent, third-party standards, listing the farmers on the site is a nice touch.
Pompeian EVOO spray lives up to its robust name and is nice and flavorful. Since it is propellant-free and emits a thin mist, it works well as a food spray when you need olive oil. Certified USDA Organic and Project Non-GMO Verified, Pompeian's EVOO is easy to find, a popular brand, and more affordable than Walmart's brand.
7. Pompeian Keto Blend Cooking Spray
You can impress your guests who follow the Keto diet by having this blend on hand. Keto is vastly different from many other diets, such as plant-based diets, because dieters must avoid fruits and beans.
Pompeian's Keto spray contains 80% EVOO and 20% avocado oil, a healthy fat ideal for anyone who is on this diet. It was also reasonably priced at Walmart. While it's not organic, it is Project Non-GMO Verified. It also carries the seal of the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA). This organization tests whether American and Canadian olive oils meet the standards set by the prestigious International Olive Council, making this a high-quality spray.
While it is propellant-free, it is only labeled for cooking uses, so avoid spraying it on food. Pompeian Keto Spray puts a thick coating on the pan and has a light and pleasant aftertaste after cooking.
6. Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray
Another exciting option for cooking spray is avocado oil, which is said to be a healthy fat source for your diet. It contains vitamin E, antioxidants that help your immune system, anti-inflammatory agents, and antioxidants. However, avocado oil may not fit all your recipe needs.
Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray is one of the better-known brands of avocado oil and is widely available, from Walmart to Target to Costco. Its mid-range pricing offers good quality without the high cost. The nice thing about this spray is that you can cook on heat as high as 500 F. And because it is propellant-free, it's flexible enough to use on just about any food that pairs well with avocado flavors, like salads. One excellent food use for this spray is to keep avocados from browning. However, this spray has a neutral flavor and can be used for many savory dishes.
Unfortunately, the consistency of this spray was a little slimy, even after cooking. That's surprising because the oil is not as thick as others. Use it sparingly when dressing foods with it. Chosen Foods Avocado spray is GMO-free, but it's also certified glyphosate-free. This rare certification is an excellent find because this common pesticide may be linked to cancer.
5. 365 Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray
This entry from Whole Foods Market is a hit. The 365-brand organic EVOO spray deployed perfectly, giving the pan an even coating that was neither too thick nor too thin. That makes it a great candidate for use in food. However, the flavor, while light, did seem slightly off. It was a little bit reminiscent of PAM's EVOO spray but not as chemical-based. It could have been a strong olive flavor, but it just wasn't.
This spray is certified organic EVOO and contains no additives or propellants. However, Whole Foods Market recommends using this spray only for cooking heat levels up to 375 F. Clean, organic, and somewhat versatile, the price was higher than expected. This was surprising since it's the Whole Foods Market brand and not a dedicated oil brand. If you're a Whole Foods Market shopper, though, you can safely add this one to your cart.
4. California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Known for its strict certifications and purity, California Ranch EVOO comes in a cooking spray as well. California Ranch's line of olive oils is certified by the California Olive Oil Council (COOC). This organization has a reputation for one of the most stringent olive oil certification standards in the world. The testing includes both chemical analysis for purity as well as quality of taste.
We hoped the cooking spray version would have a bolder flavor, but it was surprisingly mild compared to the other samples. The bottle emitted a long, thin stream of oil that was thick. This EVOO is cold-pressed, meaning it is produced using chemical-free methods that allow it to retain most of its nutrients and flavor.
This spray is also propellant-free and, therefore, safe to use on food. Besides the COOC and USDA Organic certifications, this spray is also certified for Paleo and Keto diets. Only the high price and difficulty of finding it outside of Walmart keep this gem out of the top three.
3. La Tourangelle Avocado Oil Cooking Spray
Originally hailing from France but also located in California, La Tourangelle makes all its cooking sprays with pure oil. They are free of propellants and other chemical additives, so you can feel safe using them in any way that you like. The spray bottles and internal bag systems are free from BPA, a toxic chemical sometimes found in bags and cans, including the Avocado Oil Cooking Spray.
The flavor on this one is delicious, landing it in our No. 3 spot. It's rich but mild on the palette. The avocado taste is enjoyable. You don't feel like you're eating cooking spray. It's a welcome addition to salad and other savory items. Cook with it on high to medium heat. La Tourangelle's Avocado spray is a welcome choice for grilling seafood and finishing vegetables. This product was more costly on the website than in stores. It was available at several grocers so check your local supermarkets to find it first.
2. La Tourangelle Organic Regenerative Cooking Oil Spray
La Tourangelle carries an expeller-pressed canola-based cooking spray that is also organic regenerative. Regenerative agriculture stays true to traditional crop farming that supports sustainability. These fields regenerate crops every season. The elements of regenerative farming include eco-friendly practices like crop biodiversity, reduced pesticide and fertilizer use, and storing carbon emissions from plants in the ground rather than in the air. Regenerative agriculture ensures the soil remains productive and healthy, season after season.
That means that this canola is a healthy option. Like many canola oils, it has no flavor, meaning you can use it on any food you like. The spray came out too far -- it covered the sides of the pan on the first attempt. The only complaint other than the high price in the store. Unlike the avocado spray, this product is cheaper at La Tourangelle's shop.
La Tourangelle cooking spray also includes sunflower lecithin. Along with the canola, this makes for a very versatile spray that you can use in high-heat cooking or to coat pans and keep food from browning. This spray is a welcome, Project Non-GMO Verified addition to any pantry, earning it the No. 2 spot.
1. Bertolli Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Fairly well known for its EVOO, it was good to see an organic cooking oil spray option from Bertolli. The company has been in existence since 1865, and the products, mostly Italian food items, can be found everywhere in the U.S. That was just one of the reasons this spray landed in our top spot.
First of all, it was one of the most affordable organic cooking sprays that performed well in every category. It was also very tasty. The consistency was thick and viscous, true, but it was buttery and delicious. It's propellant-free, so you can spray it on any dish that calls for EVOO.
The spray works best from a slight distance. The cap functions perfectly, making it easy to use. Cover the pan as directed. The food stuck a little bit on areas that were too lightly coated. Still, the price and quality were unbeatable, and for that, we had to give it props for being the best deal on this list for the price.
These cooking oil sprays were selected based on quality, nutrition, and availability. Each costed between $3 and $7 at our local grocery stores, making them affordable and attainable. We also chose sprays that had little or no questionable additives or propellants. The ranking took cost into account, as was ease of use and product consistency.
Some other considerations included ingredients in the cooking spray and organic or other quality certifications. Each spray was tested on a pan and heated to see if it kept food from sticking to the pan or if it created smoke. Rankings were also based on flavor, covering both cold and cooked options.
Most cooking sprays in the U.S. are made from canola or vegetable oil that is extracted using a harsh chemical solvent, hexane, that reduces its nutritional benefits. We avoided those brands except for one that was expeller cold-pressed and met other standards.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.