Can You Use Coconut Oil To Grease Baking Pans?

coconut oil jar

Coconut oil is one of those ingredients that garners a lot of questions, like what exactly it is. Extracted from the white, meaty interior of the coconut, it is differentiated from coconut butter because it does not actually contain the flesh itself. Instead, the oil is pressed out and separated (via Bon Appétit). Unlike other cooking oils, it is solid at room temperature, which means it can be spread and cut up similar to dairy butter, but as The Spruce Eats states, its low melting point means that coconut oil can also be used in place of vegetable oil for things like stir-frys.

Its increasing ubiquity on grocery store shelves and high versatility means coconut oil is great to have on hand for baking, especially as a vegan substitute. The Kitchn notes that coconut oil can be directly subbed out for other fats at the same proportion so that creamed butter is no longer standing between you and a plate of freshly-baked cookies. And if you are already baking with it, why not use coconut oil to grease those pans?

Coconut oil is a good choice for greasing pans

pan greased with coconut oil

One of coconut oil’s strengths as a cooking fat is its high smoke point. That means it can stand up to higher oven temperatures without burning, making it great for greasing your baking pans in any recipe, vegan or not (via The Kitchn). Just melt it and brush it on in place of any other oil you might use with no complications or worries.

Just make sure you are using refined coconut oil over unrefined, as the high heat processing removes impurities and gives it that higher smoke point. Refined coconut oil also has a more neutral flavor that won’t change the taste of your recipes very much when using it as a substitute. However, the intensity of coconut flavor does vary over brands (per Serious Eats). Coconut oil’s variety of styles and flavor intensity means you can use it however you want to, as long as you find the brand that fits your preferences.

Prepping makes all the difference in the end.

Updated on August 16, 2022

One of the easiest and simplest steps to encourage a perfect cake is to properly prepare the pan before pouring in the batter. The obvious reason for preparing the pan is to ensure a clean release and flawless appearance, but it also contributes to the cake’s crumb, texture, and crust.

Pan prep methods vary with the type of cake and the recipe, and those instructions should be heeded to ensure a proper rise and clean release. An angel food cake, for example, bakes in an ungreased pan. Other recipes call for greasing only the bottom of the pan and to omit the flour. But many Southern cakes call for greasing and flouring the pan. And it’s easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Make sure the pan is clean and dry. Unless otherwise specified, cakes bake best in metal pans instead of glass or ceramic.
  2. Use your fingertips, a soft pastry brush, or a folded paper towel to lightly and evenly coat the inside of the pan with vegetable shortening, such as Crisco. Make sure there are no bare spots, especially in the corners of the pan. Also avoid thick lumps or streaks that will hold excess flour and possibly mar the outside of the cooked and cooled cake with white residue. A pastry brush works best in pans that have an intricate pattern.
  3. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of all-purpose or instant flour (such as Wondra) into the pan. Gently shake, tap, and tilt the pan until all of the shortening is covered in a dusting of flour. Invert the pan over the sink and gently tap out any excess flour.

Why shortening instead of butter or oil?

Butter can sometimes worsen sticking problems, especially in cakes that are high in sugar. Oil absorbs too much of the flour and can pool in the bottom of the pan.

What about parchment paper?

If your recipe calls for lining the bottom and/or sides of the pan with parchment, do so. Some recipes combine greasing and flouring the pan with parchment.

What about nonstick cooking spray?

It’s tempting to turn to a can or bottle of cooking spray, especially those that contain flour, in an effort to save time. However, these sprays tend to make the cake’s crust thicker and darker, which might not matter all that much on a pound cake, but could be a deal breaker on delicate cakes. Some bakers report that cooking sprays leave residue that builds up and stains their pans over time. If your recipe specifically calls for misting the cake pan, then do so, but otherwise spraying a pan cannot replace greasing and flouring.

What about nonstick pans?

It’s best to not count on it, especially if the pan shows wear. Moreover, a heavy, dark, nonstick pan can affect baking times and turn the cake’s crust too thick and dark. Vintage Southern cake recipes written back when everyone used lightweight and light color aluminum pans bake best in that type of pan.

Knowing when and how to grease a baking tray is key for a budding baker or cook. There’s nothing worse than putting the effort and ingredients into a recipe, only for it to stick to the tin and look spoiled at the end. Even if you have excellent non-stick pans, your mixture could still cling to the tray if you don’t use butter or oil to coat it.

There are various methods for greasing a baking pan, and each has advantages and disadvantages. It will also depend on what kind of pan or tin you use and what you have to hand in your kitchen. You can opt for different oils or butter or lightly flour a greased surface, or even use cocoa powder.

We have written some tips and advice below on how to grease a baking pan so that you don’t find yourself with half of your cake stuck to it!

Get Prepared

Materials You Might Need

You will not need everything from the below list, but we have put it together so that you have an idea of the types of things you can use.

  • Cooking spray or olive oil, or coconut oil
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Pastry brush
  • Paper towel
  • Baking trays
  • Cake tin

Options for Greasing Baking Pans

buttered pans

There are many different oils that you can use depending on what you are cooking. Canola oil or vegetable oil are excellent choices as they are flavourless and won’t impact the taste of the thing you are baking. Coconut oil is good if you are baking a cake. Olive oil can be used for savoury bakes but may alter the taste of a cake.

Butter is made of water and milk. Neither is the best non-stick product. Oil is probably more effective. But when you use butter to grease a cake pan, it can give the outer edge a lovely taste and golden crunch. You can use shortening to grease a pan as an alternative to butter. Shortening is simply the term used for any fat that is solid at room temperature. It has a higher fat content than something like olive oil.

If you are worried about flouring a baking pan and the flour spoiling the appearance of the finished cake, or you are making brownies or a chocolate cake, then substitute the flour for cocoa powder, as this will enhance the flavour and won’t be as visible.

If you are flouring a tin to prevent a cake from sticking, a top tip is not to be too heavy-handed. Use a very small amount and shake any excess flour from the surface.

Greasing a Baking Pan

Once you have everything prepared, you are ready to grease a baking pan.

Step 1: Apply Your Chosen Grease to the Pan

oil, butter, and flour

If you have chosen butter as your grease, you can either apply this by putting some on kitchen paper and wiping it around or do it the traditional way and use your fingers! It is a good way to ensure that you have given pans a thorough coating.

Using a cooking spray is straightforward as you simply spray it all around. If you use olive oil or another type, a pastry brush will be ideal for lightly greasing a round tin. This method also works well when using a bundt pan, as the shape means that you can’t use parchment paper. Cooking spray or grease brushed on works much better.

Pro Tip: Don’t grease a baking pan too early in the baking process, as the oil you use may slide down in warm temperatures and pool at the base of the pan, which means that your baked goods may stick to the sides.

Step 2: Add Flour if You Are Using It, or Grease Proof Paper

If a recipe calls for it, once you have applied oil or grease to a baking pan, you can also sprinkle flour or cocoa as an extra layer of protection against your baking sticking. Be careful with using flour on naked cakes presented without frosting or icing, as it may slightly spoil the appearance!

Greasing non-stick pans should be sufficient. But if you want to ensure that your cooking does not stick, you can cut out the shape of the base of your pan from greaseproof paper and place it inside on top of the oil or fat. This stops the paper from moving around before adding the batter or dough and popping it into the oven.

Ready, Set, Bake

Now that you have learnt how to grease a baking tray, nothing can stop you from creating mouthwatering cakes! Having the right equipment in your stock cupboards will mean you are always ready to start your favourite recipes without worrying about your sponge cake sticking when you take it out of the oven!

Butter or spray are great options for greasing a tray. And soon, you will get to know the best product that will keep your baked goods from sticking. Oils have different tastes and can impact the flavour of your baking. Hence, it would help to consider this fact before selecting the right grease for your pan.

If you want to ensure that your ingredients don’t stick, you can use a layer of parchment paper on the base and sides of your tray. This can also help lift the cake or bread from the tin, as you can use the edges of the baking paper to pull it out.

Then it is just a case of cooking your recipes and turning out perfect bakes from your cake pan or muffin tins every time!

Additional Resources

Judith Hughes

I am a full-time housewife and love nothing more than cooking. I am extremely passionate about all things food and take great pride in every dish that I prepare. I try to use the freshest ingredients possible, and often experiment with new recipes.

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Butter is one of the most common greasing go-to’s because it’s usually already on hand in the kitchen. However, it usually is not the most effective method, especially when it comes to baking cakes or cupcakes. But don’t get me wrong, while the contents of butter may not be the best for a non-stick option, it usually provides a nice golden-brown crust on baked treats.

  1. First, cover your hands with either some disposable gloves or a Ziploc bag.
  2. Then, use your covered hands to spread some room temperature butter generously along the entire inside of the baking pan. Make sure to coat all the corners and sides. 
    1. You should achieve an even coating with no chunks of fat leftover.

  3. If desired, use a small sifter to evenly distribute a small amount of flour across the inside of the coated pan. Then turn the pan over and tap out any excess flour.
  4. Finally, pour your prepared batter into the greased pan and bake away!

Baked apples

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How to Grease a Baking Pan with Butter

Prep Time 3 mins

Total Time 3 mins

Course baking

Cuisine American

  • First, cover your hands with either some disposable gloves or a Ziploc bag.

  • Then, use your covered hands to spread some room temperature butter generously along the entire inside of the baking pan. Make sure to coat all the corners and sides.

    You should achieve an even coating with no chunks of fat leftover.

  • If desired, use a small sifter to evenly distribute a small amount of flour across the inside of the coated pan. Then turn the pan over and tap out any excess flour.

  • Finally, pour your prepared batter into the greased pan and bake away!

Keyword baking, kitchen hacks

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Grease is a type of lubricant used to reduce the friction between two objects. It is often used in machines to keep them running smoothly. Grease has several features that make it ideal for this purpose. It is thick and sticky, which helps it stay in place.

It is also resistant to water, which helps protect the machine from corrosion. Additionally, grease has a high melting point, which means it can withstand high temperatures, making it ideal for use in engines and other machinery that runs at high temperatures.

Is it necessary to grease a cake pan?

A cake pan is an ovenproof dish with a flat bottom and sides used to bake cakes. Cake pans come in many different sizes and shapes. Some cake pans have non-stick coatings to help the cake come out of the pan.

Others feature a layer of flour or sugar to support batter adherence to the pan and not stick to the cutting tool when you cut the cake. Before placing a cake pan in the oven, make sure your pan is greased. You can use melted butter, margarine, line baking spray, or some other type of fat to grease the cake pan. Greased cake pans prevent cake batter from adhering, which helps the cake stay together.

Use shortening or cooking spray.

If using shortening, put it in a bowl and put the cake pan next to the bowl.
Hold the can six inches from the cake pan using cooking spray and spray the entire surface.

Either way, make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Some people also like to line their cake pans with parchment paper for an extra layer of protection against sticking.

Is it OK to grease cake pans with butter?

Some cooks believe it’s better to grease cake pans with butter than 
cooking spray. They say the butter provides a nice, crispy crust on the cake. Others say that cooking spray is just as good, if not better because it doesn’t leave a greasy residue on the pan. Ultimately, it’s up to the cook to decide what they prefer.

Should I use oil or butter to grease a cake pan?

When greasing a cake pan, there are two main choices: oil or butter. Both have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Oil is a popular choice because it’s non-stick, which means that the cake will quickly come out of the pan without sticking.

However, some people find that the taste of oil can be overpowering in baked goods. Butter is also a popular choice because it gives cakes and other desserts a wonderful flavor. However, getting a cake out of a butter-greased pan can be difficult if it starts to stick.

Many recipes will show you how to put the dough to a baking pan, but not precisely how to grease your dish adequately. Although it seems it is an effortless task, you shouldn’t skip this step since it can make a difference in the end.

Grease a Pan

If you don’t oil the pan properly, you won’t be able to remove the crust or cake without damage. It will probably stick to the surface or break into pieces.

There are several ways to grease a pan properly. Which one you want to use will depend on what you bake and what kind of cookware you have. That means baking a cake, cookies, and loaf bread require different greasing. Also, springform pan and roasting pan need a different approach. Let’s see how to grease a pan.

This article will cover

  • Methods of Greasing a Pan.
  • Greasing Different Types of Pans.
  • Seasoning the New Pan.
  • Summary.

Methods of Greasing a Pan

1. Butter and flour

The traditional way to grease a cake pan is to run butter all over its surface with your fingers. It includes both the bottom and all the sides. The heat from the fingers will soften the butter and make the job quicker. Then, you should add a pinch of flour, shake and tap the pan to spread it evenly.

how to grease a pan

Pour the rest of the flour out from the pan, and you are ready to put the dough in. Some bakers like to use a brush or kitchen paper instead of fingers, which spreads the butter on the surface evenly. Whatever method you decide to pick out, try not to leave any uncovered gaps or crumbs of butter inside.

Also, take care to grease the pan right before you finish with the dough. If it is impossible for some reason, you should keep the greased pan in the fridge until using it. Leaving the pan at room temperature will result in melted butter, which is not suitable for baking.

In case you make a bread loaf, you can try coarse cornmeal on the butter instead of flour. It will create a crispy crust to your bread, and it will be more comfortable to get it out of the pan.

2. Butter and sugar


In some cases, adding sugar over the butter instead of flour is an excellent way to get the cake out of the pan effortlessly.

However, that will depend on the recipe. The sugar coating will make the crunchy crust on some cakes, but it is not the best option for layer cakes.

3. Vegetable shortening and oil


You can also use vegetable shortening instead of butter. It is a hydrogenated vegetable oil made of palm or soybean oils. It is stable at room temperature, and it has a neutral flavor. Since vegetable shortening allows high temperatures while preparing the food, you can use it for baking pies, cookies, and pizza crusts.

If you decide to use it, the best option is to evenly apply the layer of grease over the pan bottom with kitchen paper. Then, sprinkle the pan with flour, and it will be easy for you to take out the cake from the pan once it is finished. Keep in mind that vegetable oil is not convenient for all types of cakes.

4. Parchment paper (baking paper)

grease a pan

This non-sticking cellulose silicone-coated paper comes in a roll or sheet. Choose the most convenient one according to the size of your pan to make your baking more comfortable. You can always cut it when you need a smaller paper size.

In some recipes, parchment paper doesn’t require additional grease and flour. When it comes to cakes, you should grease the paper and sprinkle with flour once you place it in the pan.

If your pan is round-shaped, there are two ways to cut the paper to adequate circle size. Place the dish on the paper and draw a line around it with a pen. Then, cut along the drawn line.

You can also fold the parchment paper and create a form of a triangle. Fold it a few more times to create a pointed shape. Then, place the tip of the paper in the center of the pan, measure the length towards the edge, and cut off the rest of it. Unfold it, and you will get almost the perfect circle for your pan.

Make sure not to mix the parchment with wax paper. Since this paper is coated, the wax will melt and soak into the cake once you put it in the oven.

5. Oil spray

grease pan

The latest invention, which helps with cooking and baking, is oil spray. It is easy to use and efficient when it comes to uneven surfaces, such as Bundt pan.

In the beginning, there was only one version of oil spray. Later, it was upgraded to an oil and flour product. Nowadays, you can find coconut, avocado, canola, and olive oil spray for different pans and purposes.

Greasing Different Types of Pans

Non-stick pan

best way to grease a cake pan

Non-stick pan requires specific maintenance because damaging the protective layer will result in loss of its properties. Avoid using this model at high temperatures and putting oil in it.

If you do that, food will absorb all the oil from the pan, which is quite an unhealthy result for you. Always grease this pan with butter or oil before placing it on the heat. That way, the oil will keep your food soft without filling it with unhealthy fats.

Carbon steel pan

what to use to grease a pan

This kind of pan will need seasoning before you use it for the first time. After washing it, you should heat the carbon steel pan in the stove. Then, put oil in and wait until it starts smoking, and the color of the pan turns brown. Remove the residues with a paper towel and use your cookware without too much greasing in the future.

Grill pan

grease pan

Since the grill pan has an uneven surface, you should preheat it to prevent the food from sticking to the surface. Then, spread the oil evenly with a paper towel or use the oil spray. You can’t pour the oil into the pan since it will end up in the grooves in such a case.

Springform pan

how to grease and flour a pan

Springform pan consists of two parts:

  • The outer collar with the latch to open and close
  • The bottom that fits inside the collar when you close the latch

It is ideal for cheesecakes and pies. Grease it with butter and flour or spray oil, according to your recipe. Even though most manufacturers claim that this pan doesn’t stick, you should still take some precautions just in case.

So, go along the inside edge of the pan with a knife before opening the latch. That way, you will avoid any part of the cake from sticking to the side.

Seasoning the New Pan

grease pan

Keep in mind that a new non-stick pan always comes with a protective layer. You need to remove it with warm water and soap before using it for the first time. After that, the recommendation is to season them. Apply a protective layer of grease to prevent the pan surface from roasting and food from sticking.

With cast iron pan and carbon steel pan, greasing the surface is necessary to prevent the forming of rust when the material comes in touch with water and food. Also, the seasoning will protect the food from sticking to a pan bottom while cooking. Let’s take a closer look.

One-time seasoning of the new pan is an excellent way to avoid burnt leftovers and prevent annoying scrubbing and rubbing the pan after cooking. However, you can repeat the procedure several times.

1 step – As I have already mentioned, most new pans are previously coated with a protective layer, like beeswax. You need to remove this film with soapy water before starting with seasoning.

2 step – Dry your pan with a cloth or paper towel. You can also leave it in the medium-heated oven to let the water entirely evaporate.

3 step – Apply a layer of grease all over the pan surface. You should use flaxseed or canola oil for that purpose. Keep in mind that the coat shouldn’t be too thick. It will be enough to cover the surface evenly.

4 step – Then, put the pan in the oven, turn it upside down, and leave it on 450 F (232 C) for about 30 minutes to an hour. The oil will heat up and create the desired layer. Don’t forget to protect your oven by placing another pan under the new one to prevent the oil from dripping.


Nowadays, baking and cooking are not just primary skills. They are almost a form of art, so you can freely experiment and create your own unique meals. With a few high quality and well-maintained pans and healthy ingredients, you can enjoy every activity in your kitchen.

best way to grease a cake pan

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