When it comes to air frying, I often wonder if I can use PAM non-stick cooking spray on the basket.
I use PAM quite often for pots and pans. It helps to prevent food from sticking. But is it a good idea to use it on the air fryer basket? Let us find out.
What is PAM?
PAM is a brand of cooking spray that is used to prevent food from sticking to pots and pans.
It is made up of oil, a propellant, and an emulsifier called soy lecithin.
The oil in PAM is what helps to prevent food from sticking to the surface of the cookware.
The propellant is the substance that helps to spray the oil out of the can. Soy lecithin is the emulsifier that helps to keep the oil and propellant mixed.
Should You Spray Air Fryer Basket with PAM?
No, you should not spray the air fryer basket with PAM, as it can damage the coating of the basket.
The reason is that these sprays contain harsh agents that can cause chipping and damage to the nonstick coating of the basket.
The propellant used in PAM is harmful if inhaled, and the high heat of an air fryer can cause the propellant to break down into harmful chemicals.
Additionally, some varieties of Pam contain soy lecithin, which can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Another reason to avoid using PAM is that it contains flammable substances that can cause accidents if you’re not careful.
Back in 2019, PAM faced a bit of a crisis. Many PAM bottles exploded in people’s kitchens while they were using them. The aftermath? Eight unhappy folks sued Conagra Brands – the company behind PAM – claiming they’d been seriously hurt by the eruptive cans.
Now, it’s no secret that PAM’s got some pretty fiery ingredients. These propellants make the product flammable (check the warning on the label). So, it’s no wonder things got a little heated!
When these propellants are exposed to too much heat, they can easily get too hot and catch fire, which would cause the can to explode.
While the company maintains that the product is safe when used as directed, it’s always a good idea to be cautious.
Also read: How Long Do Air Fryers Last?
What You Can Use Instead of PAM
Here are some alternatives to protect your air fryer and still get that perfect crispy texture:
Oil Sprayers and Misters
Opt for good quality oil mister or bottle sprays specifically designed for air fryers.
These will allow you to easily coat your air fryer basket with oil without causing damage to the nonstick surface.
You can use your favorite cooking oil to make sure your food doesn’t stick.
Another way is to try spraying oil/applying oil with a pastry brush directly on your food before air frying. This helps to enhance the durability of your air fryer while still providing a non-stick experience when preparing food.
Here are two popular options for oil mister or spray bottle
Using a Paper Towel
Another alternative is to use a paper towel to apply oil to your air fryer basket.
This method is simple and cost-effective. To do this, follow these steps:
- Pour a small amount of your chosen oil onto a paper towel.
- Gently rub the paper towel around the inside of your air fryer basket.
- Discard the paper towel, and your basket is ready for cooking!
By using these methods, you can ensure that your air fryer basket stays in good condition and your food comes out crispy and delicious without the risk of damage from aerosol sprays like PAM.
Also read: What Utensils Can Be Used in Air Fryer?
Choosing the Right Cooking Oil for Air Frying
Selecting the right oil for air frying can significantly impact the taste and quality of your food.
Some of the oils you can use for air frying are:
- Olive oil (avoid extra virgin olive oil due to its low smoke point)
- Avocado oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Coconut oil
- Vegetable oil
- Butter (melted)
- Canola oil
- Peanut oil
Let us discuss the smoke points of oil. I will also tell you about some health considerations when selecting a cooking oil spray.
When selecting an oil for your air fryer, consider the smoke point of the oil.
Smoke points are the temperatures at which oils start to break down and produce smoke.
High-smoke point oils can withstand high temperatures without breaking down.
It is ideal to choose an oil with a high smoke point, as air frying usually involves high temperatures.
For example, avocado and grapeseed oil are suitable choices due to their high smoke points and neutral flavors.
Remember, experimenting with different oils and adjusting your cooking techniques can help you achieve even better results with your air fryer.
Health should also be a consideration when choosing a cooking oil spray for your air fryer.
Some oils are healthier than others, offering certain benefits such as maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
For example, grapeseed oil is high in polyunsaturated fats, which help in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
When selecting an oil spray, make sure to read the labels and choose one with minimal additives.
Oils like avocado and grapeseed are good choices, as they have a high smoke point and are healthier options compared to other cooking sprays.
Preventing Food from Sticking in an Air Fryer
Preventing food from sticking in your air fryer can be achieved by following a few simple techniques.
Proper Basket Preparation
Preparing your air fryer basket correctly can make a big difference in preventing food from sticking.
Use an oil sprayer or mister to lightly coat the basket. This adds a barrier between your food and the basket, reducing the likelihood of sticking.
Alternatively, you can apply a thin layer of cooking oil to the basket using a paper towel, which achieves the same effect as a nonstick spray.
Remember not to over-apply the oil or cooking spray, as too much can generate excessive smoke during the cooking process.
Techniques During Cooking
Several techniques during cooking can help prevent food from sticking.
Give your air fryer a little shake every once in a while. Shaking the basket helps move the food around and ensures that it cooks evenly without sticking to the cookware.
Remember to flip the food at least once during the cooking process. This helps prevent sticking and promotes even browning.
Be mindful of overcrowding the air fryer basket. Overcrowding can cause food to stick together and prevent even cooking.
Air Fryer Cooking Tips for Better Results
Using an air fryer can be an excellent way to cook your favorite foods more healthily and conveniently. To achieve the best possible results, follow these air frying tips.
- Instead of spraying your air fryer basket with PAM or other non-stick sprays, lightly oil the food you’re cooking. This helps to avoid damaging the non-stick coating of your air fryer basket.
- You can use a brush or a mister to evenly coat your food items like vegetables or meat with oil.
- Flipping the food halfway through the cooking process is another essential tip to ensure even cooking and crispiness.
- Frequently check the temperature and adjust it according to your recipe, as different foods require different temperatures for optimal results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions:
What Type of Oil Spray Should I Use in My Air Fryer?
Consider using a good quality oil mister or bottle with oils like avocado, grapeseed, or extra virgin olive oil instead of aerosol sprays.
Grapeseed oil spray is popular due to its high heat resistance and health benefits.
How Can I Avoid Food Sticking to My Air Fryer Basket?
To prevent food from sticking, lightly coat the basket or the food with a thin layer of your preferred oil using a mister or brush before cooking.
Why Is it Not Advisable to Use Aerosol Sprays like PAM in Air Fryers?
Aerosol sprays are known to cause chipping in air fryer baskets due to the harsh agents they contain, which can damage the non-stick coating on the basket.
How Can I Ensure Food Cooks Evenly in My Air Fryer?
For even cooking, avoid overcrowding the basket and give your food enough space for proper air circulation.
Shake or flip the food halfway through the cooking process.
Is it Necessary to Preheat My Air Fryer?
Preheating is not always necessary, but it does help in getting the best results. Preheat your air fryer for about 3-5 minutes before cooking for optimal results.
Can I Cook Frozen Foods in My Air Fryer?
Yes, you can cook frozen foods in your air fryer. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time and temperature accordingly to prevent undercooking or overcooking.
How Do I Clean My Air Fryer Basket?
After using your air fryer, allow it to cool down, then clean the basket with warm soapy water and a soft sponge or brush. Avoid using abrasive materials to prevent damaging the non-stick coating.
Can I Stack Food in My Air Fryer?
It’s not recommended to stack food in the air fryer, as it can prevent even cooking and air circulation.
Always leave enough space between the pieces of food placed in the basket.
How Can I Reduce Smoke While Using My Air Fryer?
To minimize smoke, avoid using too much oil, and make sure to place a tray or a piece of foil at the bottom of the air fryer.
This helps catch any excess oil or crumbs that might cause smoke during cooking.
In summary, it is generally recommended to avoid using PAM or similar aerosol cooking sprays as they can potentially damage the nonstick coating.
Instead, opt for alternatives like vegetable oil. Simply dab a paper towel in the oil and gently coat the air fryer basket before cooking.
When you wish to spray, opt for non-aerosol oil sprayers to keep the nonstick coating intact and still get that great taste.
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