Commercial cooking spray is typically made from a combination of vegetable oil and lecithin (or other emulsifier). Dispensed in a very fine mist, it coats pans and surfaces to prevent foods from sticking when grilling, sautéing, broiling, roasting or baking.
Sometimes cooking spray is used directly on foods to add low-fat flavor. It is an indispensable cooking ingredient for health-conscious cooks who are watching their fat intake, and it also has some practical uses around the kitchen when it comes to easy cleanup.
Varieties and Buying Tips
Cooking spray can be found in your supermarket's cooking oil section. It is available in aerosol and nonaerosol cans, as well as plain (original), butter or olive oil flavors. You may also find specific varieties for grilling (formulated for higher temperatures) and baking (mixed with flour).
To make your own spray, purchase a mister (available at most kitchen stores) and manually fill it with vegetable or olive oil at home.
Cooking spray should be stored at a cool room temperature and used within one year for best quality.
- Never use cooking spray on hot surfaces or near open flames.
- Spray around jar lids to keep them from sticking.
- Spray your plastic containers and utensils to prevent tomato sauce stains.
- Coat containers to be filled with gelatin for easy unmolding.
- Spray into ice cube trays before filling to easily remove ice cubes.
- Coat the inside of your food processor when processing sticky ingredients or grating cheese.
- Use it on one side of plastic wrap to keep it from sticking to delicate surfaces like frosting.
- Spritz kitchen shears before cutting ingredients that stick together.
- Spray on box or hand graters before grating chocolate or cheese.
- When measuring honey (or other sticky ingredients), spray the measuring cup or spoon and it will slide right out.
- When rolling dough, spray on your hands, rolling surface, rolling pin and dough.
- When grilling, spray onto cold grill and tongs.
Try one of our favorite cooking spray recipes: