Can I Use Oil in a Nonstick Pan or Nonstick Bakeware?

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Do you need to put oil in a nonstick pan or bakeware? Or butter? Some manufacturers advise to use a bit of oil others say no oil. What is the best? Here we look at some of the myths and more about using oil with nonstick cookware and bakeware.

nonstick cooking oils

Do You Need to Put Oil in a Nonstick Pan?

Theoretically, no. Most manufacturers will claim their product provides fat-free cooking. While that can be true, many recipes state to use oil in the cooking process. Being nonstick cookware you can reduce the amount of oil stated, i.e. modify the recipe to lower the amount of oil required. 

However, if you want to cook without the oil, you can maximize the nonstick performance by making sure to preheat the pan on low to medium heat (never use high heat with nonstick cookware) before adding the food.

When cooking meats, eggs, or halloumi (or other protein foods) allow the food to cook slightly (like a minute or two) before trying to flip or move the food around the pan (tip: never use metal utensils on nonstick ware). The food will be less ‘sticky’ after the proteins coagulate (or set) from that bit of time given to the cooking process.

Back to the bit about recipes calling for oil or butter. You may want to use oil or butter to add flavor. As well, cooking with oil or butter helps heat the the food parts that aren’t in contact with the cooking surface and with frying food rather than burning it.  So, with using nonstick cookware you can add oil, but you will probably do with less than usual — a little oil. 

Does Olive Oil Ruin Non Stick Pans?

You should always follow the manufacturers instructions. This will cover you for warranty claims. If it says avoid olive oil then it makes sense to not use olive oil when cooking. 

Extra virgin olive oil is especially a healthy choice to use in cooking as it is high in omega 9 fatty acids, which are good for your heart and reducing inflammation. It’s smoking point is 320°F, so olive oil is fine to use in the normal heating of nonstick pans of low-to-medium heat (never higher). When using cast-iron pans on high heat, however, you need to look for oils with higher smoke points.

More often I’ve seen olive oil recommended for use with nonstick pans. Same commenters say that olive oil actually extends the life of the pan but to steer away from vegetable oils with soy that will lessen it.

The main thing is to avoid the aerosol types and just to reiterate, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 

What Oil to Use on  Non Stick Pan

There is much advice out there on avoiding cooking sprays or aerosol spray oils. The aerosols fall onto the pan and form a polymer layer. Over time this can harm the surface performance.

Again, check the manufacturer’s instructions. But, the most viable options are olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and butter. You should consider the smoke point of oils that you intend using so as to avoid harming the cooking surface with deposits of black carbon and also destroying the goodness of the food.

Virgin olive oil and virgin coconut oil are considered healthy choices as long as you are not using high heat. Olive oil is a source of bioavailable phenolic compounds which can protect us from chronic diseases. Similarly, the polyphenolic properties of coconut oil are said to protect us from inflammation and heart disease. The disclaimer here is to check the manufacturers instructions for the specifics regarding your appliance.

Do You Have to Grease Non Stick Baking Pans?

The same applies to nonstick bakeware as it does to nonstick cookware. If they are nonstick, no, you shouldn’t need to grease them. That’s the whole reason for buying them, right!

However, check with the manufacturer’s directions. 

And, never use a knife to slice that loaf in the baking pan (always remove the cake or loaf from the pan before cutting). Using metal utensils like this will damage the surface and the nonstick performance of the pans.