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Cook’s Country Reviews Nonstick Cooking Sprays

Reviewing Nonstick Cooking Sprays - Which Brand is Best?

Nonstick cooking spray is one of the least glamorous – and most functional – items in the kitchen. Spraying on a thin layer of vegetable oil is much more efficient than greasing a pan by hand and uses much less oil over all. Most cooking sprays are aerosols, which means that small particles of oil are suspended in gas, which propels them out of the can. Sprays may also contain emulsifiers or anti-foaming agents, in addition to oil. The additives help to keep the emulsion stable and help the oil leave the can smoothly, as well as helping to ensure that the oil disperses evenly over your cooking surface. Not all cooking sprays are aerosol-based, and some newer products use a “cleaner” aerosol by using carbon dioxide as a propellant, rather than something like propane.

In a recent issue (February/March 2015), Cook’s Country magazine set out to see which cooking sprays performed the best in the kitchen and whether some of the new cooking spray technologies made big improvements on the original formulas.

The top-rated cooking spray was Original PAM No-Stick Spray, which produced a perfect release even with very sticky foods and coated the pan evenly every time. It’s a best selling brand for a reason! Other top finishers included Winona Pure 100% Oil Spray – a non-aerosol spray that was very convenient, but not quite as good at preventing sticking as PAM. Crisco Original No-Stick Spray produced an excellent non-stick surface, but tended to brown when cooking at temperatures over 400F. Smart Balance and Mazola Original Sprays also performed fairly well overall.

The least successful sprays were PAM Organic Canola Oil and Spectrum Naturals Canola Oil Spray – two sprays that used “cleaner” aerosol technology. Both of these products were nonstick, however both produced off-flavors in the food that tasters hated. Both received a not recommended review from the test kitchen.

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  • Tim Aaranjo
    January 21, 2015

    You do not mention that some of these sprays are not recommended for the new non-stick cookware. I ruined a couple of skillets before I found this out. Besides cooking oil, the sprays also contain a chemical that adheres to a non-stick surface, and causes food, especially protein items like meat, to be almost impossible to remove. Are there any sprays that do not contain this chemical, but yet are products that produce the desired result – easily removed foods after cooking?

  • Nicole
    January 21, 2015

    Hi Tim – In this case, the Winona spray is 100% oil – nothing else added. It should be absolutely safe to use with all types of cookware.

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