Can You Use Cooking Spray On a Nonstick Pan?

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Cooking spray is one of the most useful cooking tools, but it can be hard to know if you’re using it correctly. A lot of recipes recommend spraying a pan with cooking oil before adding food to the hot pan.

 But does this really work for nonstick pans? Can cooking oil spray ruin nonstick pans?  And what should you do instead if you use any spray and need to grease your nonstick pan quickly?

 We’ll answer all those questions for you in this article so that next time you need to use a spray or decide not to use one; you’ll know exactly how they work and what effect they have on your cookware. Let’s get started!

 Why You Shouldn’t Use Cooking Spray on Nonstick Pan

 It’s not recommended to use cooking sprays on nonstick pans as these may ruin them. While the cooking sprays are good for reducing calories in some dishes, it’s not compatible with nonstick pans. One reason for this may be because the oil in cooking sprays can’t heat up enough to have any effect on the food you’re trying to cook.

 In other words, if you spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray, it will just sit on top of the surface and not add any additional flavor or texture to your dish. Continued use of cooking sprays on your nonstick may result in a buildup of residue. This residue reduces the nonstick feature. 

cooking spray on non stick pan
Photo Credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

Cooking Sprays May Contain Substances that Might Harm You

Another reason you should avoid using cooking sprays is that the sprays may contain certain substances. The Teflon coating made to make the cookware resistant to stain may pose danger when consumed.

 For example, the FDA has warned consumers that many cooking sprays may react with foods containing acid or moisture and emit toxic fumes. These chemicals can collect in your body over time and cause long-term health problems such as memory loss, brain fog, headaches, fatigue, depression, and more. Most common cooking sprays are made with GMOs, which might not be healthy for you.

 If that wasn’t enough to convince you, if your food gets burnt onto the pan and then goes into your mouth, these chemicals could also be ingested during normal digestion. Not good!

 Most cooking sprays on the market today are made from soybeans. They contain growth hormones that have been linked to breast and prostate cancer. But there are plenty of other problems with soybean oil besides hormone disruption. Soybean oil is generally genetically modified. It’s often treated with hexane, has a high omega-6 content.

 How to Safely Use Cooking Sprays

 If you use cooking spray on a nonstick pan, it’s best to use parchment paper or aluminum foil under the food sprayed. That should only be the case if you don’t have another option. It’s not a good idea to use it as a replacement for butter or oil when cooking. Cooking sprays are not heating stable, and they break down at high temperatures leading to unhealthy fumes. This is why most professionals advise against using them in the kitchen.


 Great Alternatives to Cooking Spray on Nonstick Pan

 Instead of using cooking sprays on your precious nonstick pans, try using other cooking oils such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil or any neutral-flavored non-flavored vegetable oil. These are all great alternatives that you can use to season your pan and avoid the crepe effect.

 Other Ways to Protect Your Nonstick Cookware

 Nonstick pans have gained popularity in the kitchen because they are easy to use and clean. However, some people still believe that cooking sprays are a great choice for protecting their nonstick pans, which is one of the nonstick cookware mistakes they make. You can also protect your nonstick pan by using the following tips:

  • Storage: You should store them in dry locations at room temperature, not in places where you put other items that are highly acidic or may have a strong odor.
  •  Cleaning: Avoid putting your nonstick cookware in a dishwasher. Instead, hand wash them with warm soapy water. Clean your nonstick frying pans regularly to prevent food buildup and keep it in good shape for years to come. 
  •   Don’t overuse utensils: Don’t use sharp cooking items or metal utensils on your nonstick cookware; this causes scratches and damages your nonstick surface.
  •  Cooking: Use olive oil, vegetable oil or butter when cooking with a nonstick fry pan. Avoid using salt as it can cause damage to your nonstick frying pans. 
  •  Avoid overheating: Nonstick pans have limits on the temperatures they can withstand to avoid damaging them. Using high heat on your nonstick pans will increase the risk of damaging them.

 FAQs for Nonstick Pans and Cooking Sprays


Are there some kinds of cooking sprays that are safe for nonstick cooking pans?

Yes. A lot of them actually won’t damage your nonstick cooking pans but may give the pan a metallic taste. So use those kinds of sprays if you are worried about damaging the pan. But that’s not really necessary with most modern nonstick pans on the market today. This is because most modern nonstick coatings aren’t sensitive to heating temperatures.

 Do nonstick pans need oil?

 No, they don’t. The oil just adds flavor and acts as a protective layer between the metal of the pan and the food you’re cooking. But you won’t hurt anything by using a nonstick pan without oil, either. It’s just that your food might not brown or get crispy like it normally would on a traditional stovetop pan.


 Which oils should you use on a nonstick?

 Aside from adding flavor, the oil you use will also impact how quickly your food cooks. Vegetable oil and canola oil are both great for cooking with nonstick pans. They’re relatively low in saturated fats and have a neutral flavor that doesn’t interfere with the food’s natural taste.

 What should you cook on a nonstick pan?

 You should not only be choosy on the oils you use on nonstick pans but also the types of food you cook with them. You should stick to cooking softer foods such as omelettes and eggs, fish or chicken. Foods that can resist sticking on the surface, like pancakes, are also a great choice for nonstick pans. Never put hard cheeses or things that will easily burn onto your nonstick pans and cause irreversible damage to them.

 Should you preheat nonstick pans?

 Do not preheat nonstick pans without oil. It may damage your cookware permanently and cause it to fail earlier than expected. The pans are made of aluminum that expands when preheated. And this expansion may cause the coating to peel off and ruin the pan.

 When you preheat your nonstick pan, be sure that it will cool down before putting food on it or else you’ll risk damaging your cookware. A better alternative is to use a little oil just before placing food in the pan. 

 Bottom Line: Should You Use Cooking Spray on Nonstick Pan? 

 To conclude, it’s evident that cooking spray and nonstick pan are not the best of friends. No matter how hard you try to prevent it, the cooking spray may cause damage to your nonstick pan. So, if you want to prolong the lifespan of your precious nonstick pan, it’s best just to avoid using the cooking spray with it.

 But since you must grease your pan, there are great alternatives to cooking sprays that you can use. These include butter, olive oil, and vegetable oil, among others.


Dino Paccino

Dino Paccino

Dino is a lifelong writer and home improvement specialist. He enjoys bringing cutting-edge information on home renovation and remodeling to Kitchen Infinity.

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