Did you know that almost every spray can of cooking oil – from vegetable to coconut oil contains propellant or propane among its list of ingredients? If you’re like me, you didn’t and now that you do, you’re horrified and want an alternative to the standard cooking spray on our grocery shelves.
Seriously, there is propellant or propane in most cooking sprays??? I learned this thanks to my cooking OCD which makes me automatically check the ingredient list of any food or cooking product I take down from the shelf. After seeing that everything from the normal Pam canola spray to the organic avocado spray contained propellant or propane, I looked up how to make my own. And it’s damn easy. Here’s how to make your own using a spray bottle, your oil of choice, and not much else – and definitely not propellant or propane!
I Just Want Cooking Spray
I never thought I’d be writing an article on “beware of propellant” in an everyday household cooking item like cooking spray. The impetus for cooking spray and the horror over what the stores stock started because of waffles. Now that the autumn mornings are getting chilly, I wanted to offer guests homemade, gluten-free waffles using my waffle iron. Typically I cook with either coconut oil, sesame oil or olive oil. I never use cooking sprays but when it comes to waffle irons, I figured I should pick up a can.
That’s when the horror began. Every can on the shelf contained not just annoying additives but also propellant or propane. Sometimes it was listed right among the ingredients and not always last which means there is more propellant than the ingredients that follow it since ingredients are listed in descending order of quantity. Sometimes, like with Pam, the propellant comes under the main list or is asterisked. In these latter cases, propellant won’t typically show up in the “ingredient lists” for online labels but it will be noted on the actual can. For examples, check out the following Target’s Market Pantry and Pam cooking sprays.
Ingredients: canola oil, soy lecithin, propellant.
Next time you’re in the store, look at the ingredients on your spray can or the note just below it mentioning the propellant or propane used inside, then put the spray back on the shelf and walk away.
Originally I just wanted a cooking spray with as few additives as possible. Many brands, including Pam, include phosphated mono- and diglycerides, as well as dimethyl silicone (for anti-foaming) and other additives in their cooking sprays. I didn’t realize I had to be on the lookout for propellants as well! Forgive me for not wanting to consume even trace amounts of it. I just want a trustworthy oil that will keep my batter from sticking.
Alternatives: Spray Pump
If you buy a can of cooking spray, chances are 99% that it will contain a propellant of some sort. However, alternatives do exist. You can buy the pump sprays. These shouldn’t need propellants unlike with the canned varieties but always read your labels since who knows what the manufacturer will stick in what should otherwise be an innocuous bottle of spray oil. The downside with pump bottles is usually their more expensive price tag.
Or Just Make Your Own
Frustrated with the manufacturers? Make your own. DIY cooking spray is easy and cheap. Just pour your oil into a small spray bottle or pump bottle, then use it as needed. You may need to dilute it slightly with water if it doesn’t spray well but don’t feel like you need to go overboard. Some DIY recipes call for 1 part water for every 1 part oil, though some will go as high as 4 parts water to 1 part oil of your choice. The consistency might vary depending on the oil you choose so experiment to see what works best for you.
Shake your spray bottle well before each use, as the oil and water will separate over time. Spray your baking pan or sheet lightly and evenly. Your food will slide right off when you’re done cooking or baking! That’s it.
No propellant required.
And now you know what’s in your cooking oil too for added health and peace of mind.
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