While oils and oil sprays serve many of the same purposes, the latter are particularly useful for a variety of kitchen tasks.
Here are a few ideas and tips for using that spray can, which can do a lot more than coat your bakeware.
Remove your cooked foods without tearing
A fine, even layer of cooking oil spray prevents food from burning and adhering to pans without necessarily turning it greasy.
It's also ideal for baked goods.
Coating a loaf pan will help a quick bread slide right out.
While I prefer greasing cake pans with butter, since it's often already included in the recipe, spraying the bottom of the pan with cooking oil spray can hold in place the parchment round you use to make the cake easier to turn out.
Cooking oil spray is a natural in muffin tins as well.
I've found this to be particularly effective for releasing cakes and muffins. Pulling out the baking spray is easier and quicker than applying separate grease and flour layers, and I won't use anything else when it comes to particularly tricky pans, where it can be more difficult to evenly cover every nook and cranny.
Keep sticky ingredients from getting stuck
Perhaps my favourite use for cooking oil sprays is on the inside of measuring cups or spoons when I'm portioning ingredients such as honey and molasses.
It also comes in handy on my spatula when I'm stirring the mixture for homemade marshmallows.
I like to spray my knife when it comes time to cut the finished marshmallows. That same strategy is useful when you have to chop dried fruit.
Spraying a little cooking oil on your hands while forming meatballs or burger patties is another handy prep strategy.
Protect your rising bread dough
Bread recipes often call for covering the bowl or baking sheet with a piece of plastic wrap.
In that case, it's helpful to coat the plastic with cooking oil spray to keep it from sticking to the dough, which could deflate or tear it if you have to resort to yanking the plastic off.
Use for broiling or baking food
If you're roasting food on a wire rack set inside a baking sheet you'll want to coat the rack with cooking oil spray.
If you're making oven-baked versions of typically fried fare, say, chicken tenders or breaded fish, you can spray the crumb-coated food with cooking oil for crunch and golden-brown colour.
Make for easier cleanup
Scrubbing a box grater is up there as one of my least favourite kitchen tasks.
A spritz of cooking oil spray on the holes before you begin shredding will leave less mess to deal with.
Go the DIY route
If you do not want to use store-bought spray, you can invest in an oil mister, which you can fill with your oil of choice and is especially nice if you plan to use it on meat or salad greens.