Cooking With Coconut Oil

MeltingCoconutOil Many cultures have been using coconut oil for centuries, benefiting from its many wonderful properties – everything from cooking to skin care!

In the last few years, this oil seems to have been rediscovered in North America, and our love affair with this fragrant oil has begun.

Whether you choose virgin coconut oil with its strong coconut flavor and aroma, or the more subtle refined coconut oil, both can be used interchangeably.

Once the oil is heat above 76°F/24°C (room temperature) it turns from a semi-solid to a liquid, and can be heated and solidified numerous times without any degradation to the oil. It also has a very high smoke point, compared to other cooking oils, making it a perfect choice for sautéing, baking, roasting, and even frying.

How to Measure

You can measure the oil in its solid form, or melt it first then measure. Both produce approximately the same volume. Although for most recipes you’ll want it in its liquid form so you can easily blend it in with other ingredients. The only exception is when making pastry, where it should be measured and blended in its solid form.

If you are concerned with degrading the oil and damaging its healthful properties, do not microwave or melt the oil over direct heat. Instead use a hot water bath or a double boiler to liquefy the whole jar, or measure out just what you need in a smaller dish. Coconut oil can be safely melted and re-solidified many, many times.

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Let’s Get Cooking!

Baking with Coconut Oil

Replace other oils …
Anywhere an oil is called for, replace at a 1:1 ratio with melted coconut oil.

Replace butter or shortening …
Depending on your needs, melt or use at room temperature (ie. for flaky baked goods like pastry) at a ratio of 1 part shortening to 3/4 part coconut oil. Since coconut oil is nearly pure fat, (butter contains water) you may need to add more liquid.

Temperature of other ingredients…
Because coconut oil will start to harden below room temperature, make sure the other liquid ingredients (including eggs) you are mixing it with are at the same temperature. Otherwise once you begin mixing, the oil will start to solidify and turn into little solid chunks that will be impossible to blend.

Try it in…
Coconut Cupcakes and Dark Chocolate Fudge and are just some of the delicious ways to bake with coconut oil.

Cooking with Coconut Oil

Pan Frying – with its high smoke point, it can withstand high temperatures without burning, so replace your regular oil and see the different coconut oil makes.

After cooking rice or pasta, stir in a teaspoon of coconut oil instead of butter. Taste the difference it makes in this yummy Coconut Curry Fried Rice.


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Oven-Cooked Bacon

Other Ways to Get Coconut Oil in Your Diet

  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil to a fruit smoothie – this can increase your feeling of fullness and keep you satisfied for longer periods of time.
  • One tablespoon of melted coconut oil with one cup of hot coffee or herbal tea, processed at high speed for 20 seconds in a blender. Emulsified together, this creates a smooth and creamy hot drink.
  • Spread on bread, toast, or crackers
  • Drizzled over popcorn instead of butter (if you’ve never tried coconut oil before, this is the best place to start – and my favorite!)


More Than Just Oil

Inside a fresh coconut is a liquid that is gaining popularity as a natural sports drink. Coconut Water or Coconut Juice is fat free, low in calories, and is full of electrolytes.

Coconut Milk is made by combining water and the white meat of the coconut. Found in cans in the ethnic/Asian section of the grocery store, it is quite thick and is mainly used for cooking (although it can also be used in baking – like in our Dairy Free Whipped Cream). It is made with a 1:1 ratio of coconut meat to water. Those cans marked as ‘light’ have been strained to reduce more fat.

See also
Substitutes for Xanthan & Guar Gum - What to use instead
Make Your Own Coconut Milk

Coconut Cream has an even higher ratio of coconut meat to water. It’s much thicker than canned coconut milk, but can be used in the same recipes (both are typically found in the ethnic/Asian section of grocery store).

Not to be confused with the canned version, Coconut Milk that is meant as a beverage, as a substitute to cow’s milk, is sold in cartons and has a ratio  of about 1 part coconut to 4 parts water. Although if you make your own coconut milk, you can adjust those ratio’s are to your liking, using more coconut meat to get a creamier tasting milk. Try our recipe for making your coconut milk, it’s easier than you think! Drink on its own, or replace in your baking or cooking where milk or water are called for (like in the Coconut Fried Rice recipe above).

Cream of Coconut is a thick, syrupy blend of coconut cream and sugar. It’s typically used in tropical drinks like piña coladas (typically found in beverage aisle).

A Few Recommended Coconut Oil Brands

  • Dr Bronner’s
  • Carrington Farms
  • Artisana
  • Nutiva
  • Tropical Traditions
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Biona (UK and Europe)
  • Tiana (UK)


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  1. I have a question. I am allergic to Coconuts. Can I still use coconut oil in cooking and baking for myself?

  2. That would be a question for your doctor, but I would think if you are allergic to coconut (as in shredded coconut used in baking),that you would also be allergic to coconut oil. Coconut oil contains exactly the same thing as shredded coconut, except the fiber.

  3. Thanks for your very valuable post! Coconut oil is very yin, so not always a good ingredient for people like me, who are detoxing.

    It is delicious mixed with coconut butter, raw carob powder, and raw coconut sugar or xyliol.

  4. When I lived in Thailand many years ago, my cook made Thai curry by making coconut milk like you said, straining grated coconut through cheesecloth with hot water. She did this several times over the same coconut until the water was white and most of the flavor was gone from the coconut. Then she toasted the shredded coconut remains and used that as a condiment for the curry as well as raisins and peanuts. She added pineapple & juice to the curry too, so it was rather sweet as well as spicy hot.

    She used a tool to grate the coconut that I have been looking for a long time. It looked like a metal mace, a little spiked ball on a handle that she scraped over the coconut in each piece of the shell until it was all scraped out and shredded in the process. If anyone has seen one of these tools, I would appreciate if you would let me know. Thanks for your valuable info.


  5. Have been using coconut oil for about seven years in my morning drink together with 1/2 cup of ginger plus HOT water to melt the the oil. My aches & pains are gone (almost)Never had constipation, and I walk a mile each day…..Not bad for an 87 year old.

  6. I don’t like the taste of coconut in my food so I use the expeller pressed virgin oil in my cooking.


  8. So glad you enjoyed the article! It has sure become a popular ingredient in the last few years. All the thanks goes to Marla for researching the topic and putting it all together.

  9. Thank you for letting me know coconut oil is very healthy oil.I love coconut oil.

  10. Your local large chain grocery store should carry it in the organic foods section, as well Costco, Sam’s Club, or Price Club should have it as well.

  11. Your local large chain grocery store should carry it in the organic foods section, as well Costco, Sam’s Club, or Price Club should have it as well.

  12. This sounds like something I should drink every day. I am a 42 yr old disabled vet and some days I cannot even get out of bed. My 8 yr old has to pull me out. I also have had celiac disease since February 2014. Between aches and pains daily to colon/GI problems, I need something to start helping all of my symptoms. When you say you use 1/2 cup of ginger in your morning drink, is it fresh ginger or can you use ginger as a spice?

  13. Whenever I use coconut oil for cooking or frying I scrape it with a knife out of a the jar (which I have in the fridge) and put the amount I need in a little bowl. I wipe the knife on my arm and rub the oil in. The same I do with the (by then) melted oil in the little bowl after I’m finished with the amount I used for cooking – there is always a residue of oil left. You would not believe how smooth my skin is since I am doing this. By the way, I have a small container filled with coconut oil in my bathroom; it is usually in a liquid state, due to room temperature. I use this oil for my face and sometimes my whole body. It is really wonderful for the skin. And you smell good, too. I am over 70 and have no skin blemishes whatsoever.
    Regards, Heidi

  14. Yes you can use coconut oil for frying (although I wouldn’t use it for deep frying).

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