If you want to learn how to saute without oil, you need to start with buying proper cookware. Materials like ceramic or enamel allow creating non-stick pans that don’t need oil to prevent burning your food. Armed with the right tools, you will need to employ the right method for cooking without oil. Finally, you should consider using healthier alternatives to traditional cooking oil.
I’m an extremely food-conscious person and a bit of a health buff. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for healthier cooking methods. Fried foods increase the risk of developing metabolic and cardiovascular disorders, says research. Therefore, a no-oil fryer is a smart investment for everyone. More details on the importance of healthy habits are available here.
How to Saute Without Oil: Best Cookware to Use
1. Aluminum non-stick pan
An aluminum pan with a nonstick surface coated with some PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) is lightweight and very good quick cooking as it heats up fast. Use it as a no-oil fryer for veggies and eggs. These pans are versatile, affordable, and reasonably durable. You need to be careful with their coating though. Even a small scratch can ruin the pan as the food will immediately start to stick around the damaged patches.
Not that the type of non-stick coating is the main factor that determines the quality of this cookware. There are many variations of these polymers. Therefore, you need to do your research and make sure the one you consider buying is good.
2. Stainless steel pan
A stainless steel non-stick pan is sturdy, durable, and a good choice if you want to learn how to saute without oil, especially if you want to cook meat with starchy veggies. Like aluminum pans described above, the performance of this cookware for oil-free cooking depends on the quality of the nonstick coating.
Note that some manufacturers might use coating that contains PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). It’s a potentially toxic chemical of concern tagged by the FDA (The Spruce Eats). Look out for ‘PFOA free’ labels when shopping for non-stick cookware.
3. Enamel-coated cast iron pan
Enamel-coated cast iron is the best cookware material if you want to not only know how to saute without oil but also broil, fry, and braise any foods to perfection. Cast iron guarantees even heat distribution, which makes a difference for the taste of your cooking.
Note that cast iron coated with enamel won’t rust or get damaged when you are cooking acidic foods. It’s better at the non-stick factor than regular cast iron. Enamel also ensures no chemicals from the pan itself get into your food. Note that it might be a serious issue with some low-quality iron cookware.
Be advised that enamel requires very careful handling. If it gets chipped, you will need to replace the damaged cookware.
4. Ceramic titanium pan
If you want to learn how to saute without oil in order to make your meals healthier, a titanium pan with ceramic coating is the best choice. Both titanium and ceramic-coated cookware has been tested and proven as safe and non-toxic. Therefore, combining these two creates a no-oil fryer option perfect for cooking healthy foods.
Titanium is light, which makes it easier to handle. These pans usually have aluminum base to improve heat distribution. However, they are also pricey, so be prepared to take a chunk out of your budget. But they are also very durable, so this investment will pay off in the long run.
5. Air fryer
An air fryer is a kitchen appliance every health-conscious family should have. This device can act as a deep fryer without oil and it enables you to cook a great variety of meals with ease. You can use this type of cooker to make French fries, steak, tacos, roast, and all without a single drop of oil.
The food coming from an air fryer is healthier, tastier, and lower in calories. Most importantly, you don’t need to use any special tricks for how to saute without oil when using this device. It will literally handle all the cooking, so you save time and money when using it. Cleaning a high-quality air fryer is easy and most of the parts can be washed in a dishwasher.
Guide on How to Saute Without Oil: Method Explained
- Always heat the pan first.
If you are cooking without oil, it’s imperative that you heat up the pan properly first. You can use specialized thermometers to determine the temperature or buy a frying pan with an indicator.
- Add a little bit of water or broth while cooking.
Frying without oil doesn’t mean frying without any additional substances. You can reduce the risk of your food burning by adding 1-2 tablespoons of water or broth. Add more if necessary, but be careful not to go overboard. In that case, you might end up with steamed food instead of fried. You need to add only a little liquid and preferably heat it up first. Otherwise, there is a risk that the pan itself will cool down, which will prolong the frying process.
- Toss and stir frequently.
The most important rule for how to saute without oil is to stir the cooking food often. Note that even nonstick surface materials aren’t infallible. Tossing and stirring is essential to ensure your meal isn’t stuck to the pan.
Note that you’ll need to use a wooden or silicone spoon r spatula. Metal and plastic might damage the non-stick surface necessary for cooking without oil.
- Control cooking time with the lid.
If you cover the pan with a lid, the food will cook faster and liquid you’ve added to it will evaporate quickly. However, if you cook with the lid open, the process will take a bit longer, thus the risk of accidents increases.
In the majority of cases, sautéed vegetables take between 5 and 15 minutes to cook.
Why You Should Learn How to Saute Without Oil
The main reason to start using a fryer without oil is that it’s much better for your health. Do not forget that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world (WHO). The second of those is stroke, and both these health conditions can be caused or worsened by high blood cholesterol levels. Fried foods bring your LDL cholesterol level up. Aside from this, such foods also increase the risk of metabolic disorders, like type 2 diabetes and obesity.
The second reason to start cooking without oil is that doing so will increase nutritional value of the food. Frying reduces the nutrient count by default, because some of the vitamins and minerals break down due to heat. However, when you fry the food with oil, not only does the nutrient loss become higher. But the lost nutrients get replaced by not heart-friendly fats and calories.
Therefore, if you plan to start a weight loss diet, especially an intense one like the plan to lose 10kg in a month, you have to go oil-free. On average, a single tablespoon of cooking oil adds 120 calories and 14g of fats to your meal. Thus, excluding it will be a huge help in developing a low-calorie diet plan.
Bear in mind that even fitness junkies should start learning how to saute without oil. It takes an average woman a 1.2-miles long run to burn off the calories you get from one tablespoon of oil. Therefore, you should consider not only a fryer without oil but giving up on it completely.
Healthier Oil Alternatives: How to Saute Without Oil Yet Saute Nonetheless
- Tamari (thicker, low-sodium, fermented variation of soy sauce)
- Coconut aminos (rich coconut sauce)
- Vegetable broth
- Leftover cooking broth (best use the broth left from cooking legumes with spices)
- Apple cider or balsamic vinegar
- Liquid left from steaming veggies
Note that these products cannot replace oil completely as they have different chemical properties. Therefore, you need to use a no oil fryer with a nonstick surface and stir frequently regardless of which of these alternatives you use. However, they can be a great help in infusing your oil-free fried foods with rich flavor.
Do you use oil for cooking? If so, which type? Have any other helpful suggestions on how to saute without oil?
I’ll be looking forward to your replies in the comments.