How to Choose the Best Coconut Oil

Want to find the best coconut oil? There are so many labels, so little time! Here’s your guide to selecting the best coconut oil for your body.

How To Choose The Best Coconut Oil

In its purest form, coconut oil is incredibly healthy for your body. But not all coconut oils is pure. Some are cut with other oils, or are cosmetically altered with potentially toxic chemicals. Coconut oil’s popularity has led to many different types being invented and developed. Not all of these different types are bad, but not all of them may serve your body’s needs.

How to Choose the Best Coconut Oil

There are so many types of labels on coconut oil! Which is the best coconut oil? Here’s your guide to choosing the best coconut oil for you:

Virgin Coconut Oil

The real stuff! And the best coconut oil in my opinion. Virgin coconut oil is oil derived from the meat of mature coconuts. It’s the good, fatty oil that comes as a result of processing the meat. No chemicals needed to extract all that goodness.

Virgin coconut oil is my favorite, personally. It’s by far the most pure grade, and you’ll definitely reap the most benefits from using it. But it has a very definite taste. If you don’t like the taste of coconut, you many want to look for an alternative.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

I’ll tell you a secret: Extra virgin coconut oil is really no different than virgin coconut oil. It’s not comparable to olive oil, simply because they’re made with very different substances. Don’t fall into the trap of paying more for something for no reason!

Refined Coconut Oil

This coconut oil isn’t the most pure out of all the options I’ve described here. But it’s a favorite among many because it provides all the benefits of coconut oil without the distinctive coconut oil taste. It’s also less potentially triggering to those with allergies.

Don’t be afraid to use refined coconut oil! Refined doesn’t mean that unhealthy additives have been added. As long as the coconut oil is expeller pressed (a natural, non-chemical process of extracting oil), you definitely won’t be exposing yourself to any harmful chemicals in your coconut oil.

Liquid Coconut Oil

Now it’s time to go to talk about the less natural coconut oil substances. Liquid coconut oil is natural coconut oil that has been franctionated, with some remaining solids extracted as well. It actually stays in liquid form at room temperature, while virgin coconut oil does not.

But there are some downsides. Liquid coconut oil is processed to achieve its unique characteristics, and some key aspects of coconut oil are removed. One of these is lauric acid, a very healthy fat found in most forms of coconut oil. So while this version of coconut oil safe to use on skin and in recipes, you’re really not getting all of the benefits of coconut oil by using it.

RBD Coconut Oil

This one is the worst coconut oil product on the market. RBD stands for Refined, Bleached and Deodorized. That’s referring to the oil, folks!

Like refined coconut oil, this oil has no coconut-y taste. It definitely has its fans among people who want the features of coconut oil without that signature taste. But you won’t be reaping all of the benefits (like healthy phytonutrients) of coconut oil if you use RBD coconut oil. Worse yet, you’ll be putting unnatural substances in your body. You’re best off sticking to the most natural product possible.

My Favorite Coconut Oil

I use virgin coconut oil in my kitchen and in most of my homemade beauty products. When I’m cooking for friends or family members who don’t particularly like their food to taste like coconut, I’ll use organic refined coconut oil instead. I also occasionally use fractionated coconut oil in my diy beauty recipes when a liquid oil is needed.

Which Brand Do I Think Is The Best Coconut Oil?

I personally like using Nutiva and Tropical Traditions coconut oil in my home. Both companies make excellent organic coconut products. When buying coconut oil I shop at my local Costco or health food store to check prices before I order online. Sometimes you can find great deals at your local stores!

Amazon and Thrive Market usually have excellent discounts and reduced shipping so make sure to check them out too.

What’s your favorite type of coconut oil? What type of coconut oil do you use in your home? Tell us in the comments below!

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About the author: Hi! I’m Tiffany – aka Coconut Mama. I’m a real food mama of three coconut babies. I’m passionate about traditional and healing foods. As a true believer in the health benefits of coconut, I use coconut products in all my recipes. You can download my free Coconut Flour Recipes E-book here. Thanks for stopping by!
76 comments… add one
  • Catherine D. Epperly November 18, 2017, 1:58 pm

    Hello. I purchased Alofa virgin coconut oil USDA organic and cannot find information as to whether or not it needs to be refrigerated after opening. I want to rub it onto our little dog’s pads as he does a lot of walking on pavement and they are a bit chapped. Thank you,
    Catherine Epperly

  • Infinity November 8, 2017, 3:49 pm

    I use coconut oil on my skin almost everyday! When I first started using it, I bought an organic brand from the grocery store, but it was super greasy and just sat on top of my skin. Now, I use The Glow Co Beauty brand of coconut oil. My skin absolutely loves it! It absorbs right into my skin, and keeps my dry areas smooth. It’s 100% organic, cold pressed, and unrefined. It’s a little pricey, but totally worth it! It’s the best coconut oil that I’ve used for my skin this far!

  • Rita Loyd July 23, 2017, 10:51 am

    Do it matter if its cold press?

  • Jackie B April 26, 2017, 6:17 am

    Hi, I was reading recently about trying to find cruelty free brands of coconut products. These would be suppliers that don’t use monkeys to pick all their coconuts, these are usually monkeys taken from the wild and kept in bad conditions, treated badly and made to work for extended hours every day. I cannot find information on the back of products to say too much about their origin, do you know of any brands that are ethically better than others?

  • Patty Boyce April 24, 2017, 7:50 pm

    I would appreciate it, if you could also let us know which brands that come in cans, are BPA free. BPA is an endocrine system interrupter. It is in so many products and containers. No point in buying beautiful organic coconut milk if the can is lined with poison.

  • Tanya March 31, 2017, 6:52 am

    Hello … I do have a question …. I want a coconut oil that I may take by mouth every day. What would you recommend?

  • Glenda Beall March 19, 2017, 8:37 am

    How much should I take to get relief from arthritis?

  • Rachel Allen March 11, 2017, 10:50 am

    “Coconut Mama,” I just discovered your site, and I love it!

  • DORA March 8, 2017, 7:05 am

    Can anybody recommend a good brand of fractionated coconut oil ?? thanks

  • Melissa March 3, 2017, 10:09 pm

    Thank you so much, your information was more than helpful… we are switching over to coconut oils and I was going in blind!

  • Avi Castro November 26, 2016, 12:52 pm

    great info on choosing coconut oil

  • Laurel Lavin November 11, 2016, 1:57 pm

    I need to know the best type of coconut oil to get rid of “daddy long legger” spiders. I saw on public television that they hate it and won’t come back if sprayed on their webs or favorite places in your home. There are so many types-I need the one spiders hate.

  • Susan Matthews September 6, 2016, 6:20 am


  • Melissa July 15, 2016, 10:17 am

    During a recent trip to my local Costco in Houston, I noticed Nutive organic, refined coconut oil for $16.99 for 128 oz. That seems like an incredible deal to me! Incomparable with Trader Joe’s, Amazon, etc….

  • Luann Brown July 15, 2016, 6:18 am

    Hi! I am very new to the coconut oil uses. I bought a container of Crisco pure organic coconut oil. The label says it is non GMO verified. I keep seeing the articles about the extra virgin organic coconut oil. Can you tell me the difference between the two products and how they should be used? I am fair skinned and am very sensitive to skin products, especially on my face. I do love to eat coconut and love the smell of it too.

    Thanks in advance for your help. If there are websites you would prefer I use to find out this information, I’ll be happy to check those sites. I would just like some guidance about this.

  • alxander pope July 13, 2016, 10:43 pm

    I love the coconut oil.It has many types but i like the original coconut oil.It is used in all kinds of baking and healthy. I used this oil in baking. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tiffany June 30, 2016, 2:21 pm

    Have you ever heard of cold expeller pressed coconut oil? Publix supermarkets have organic coconut oil labeled cold expeller pressed. I keep searching the internet to find out what this means, but still cannot find the answer.

    • Suella September 18, 2016, 7:05 am

      Cold pressed coconut oil means that the coconut oil was pressed using a mechanical method; however, unlike when normal processing is done, no high temperatures are used during the pressing process to help the coconut oil retain its natural healthy nutrients. When a coconut oil is cold pressed, the temperatures during the pressing process never exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • John Marris June 17, 2016, 8:19 pm

    I’m often talking about coconut oil around here. I use it for baking. I use it on our skin. My favorite lotion bar is made from coconut oil. I highly encourage eating coconut oil.I want buy coconut oil online.Thanks for sharing.

  • John Marris June 9, 2016, 10:09 pm

    I am too much confused that which coconut oil is real.After going on many sites i was still confused that every person has different thinking about COCONUT OIL.After visit this site my problem has been solved.Now,i can choose original coconut oil for me.Thanks for sharing.

  • JoAnn May 13, 2016, 4:01 pm

    I use Nature’s Way and am happy with it. It tastes like coconut and the texture is nice and smooth. I’ve tried Nutiva and was not impressed. Love Nature’s Way much more.

  • Vicky April 8, 2016, 2:08 pm

    I have been using Better Body Foods Organic Coconut Oil…the container states that it is naturally refined, but does not say expeller pressed…What exactly is the difference? Is this considered an RBD oil? (Perhaps another one of the sneaky marketing ploys to make it appear healthy and minimally processed) I tried it because the price was very reasonable and liked that it didn’t have a coconut after taste so it was very versatile and I could substitute it for butter & oils baking and cooking recipes that my family will still enjoy….please let me know…thanx

  • Westley Schultz March 10, 2016, 9:23 pm

    Hi Tiffany!
    Thank you for your article as we love using coconut oil.

  • Brady March 8, 2016, 7:25 am

    Excellent insight, thanks!

  • Kathy January 23, 2016, 3:44 pm

    Trader Joe’s makes a good organic virgin coconut oil. Cold pressed and unrefined….

    • KT Pierce August 30, 2016, 10:18 pm

      Yep! And for like, $5 (depending on where you live).

  • Tim Prefovan January 5, 2016, 2:16 pm

    I have Melrose
    I bought it at Woolworths
    Organic unrefined Coconut Oil
    * Virgin
    * Cold Pressed
    * Rich Coconut Aroma & Flavour

  • Cynthia@varicoseveinstalk.com December 13, 2015, 5:20 am

    I have been buying Extra Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions and really like it. Thanks for the breakdown!

  • Robin December 11, 2015, 2:40 pm

    I agree that Nutiva and Tropical Traditions virgin coconut oils are great! Ive used both. Ive noticed my hair and skin are so much more healthier. This week the Sprouts store I normally purchase the Nutiva brand was out of stock. I was at a Trader Joes and bought their brand of extra virgin cold pressed. Q. Is that a good brand that is as effective?

  • TAMI December 4, 2015, 2:05 am

    After tons of researching, I found carrington farms was listed at 2nd, behind nutiva I think. I had been using the swanson brand but had started looking at what was considered the best. I just received my carrington and am very happy. It had a stronger taste than the swanson’s. I’m really not sure there is a best brand, but I would never buy mine from walmart. But as long as it is unrefined, cold pressed, organic, and virgin, I think they would all be similar.

  • Donna December 1, 2015, 7:50 pm

    Is organic unrefined the same as virgin ?

  • Sheri October 22, 2015, 8:46 pm

    I purchased 100% pure 92 degree coconut oil from Bulk Apothecary. Is this a good type?

  • Betsy September 28, 2015, 6:08 pm

    Tropical Traditions all the way!!

  • Elizabeth September 13, 2015, 12:43 pm

    I have tried a few different brands and have settled on Garden of Life Extra Virgin Coconut oil..I like the flavor and it works well for me.

  • Eblyn September 2, 2015, 7:35 pm

    Hello! My coconut oil says it is virgin but at room temperature it is liquid. I live in Cancun México so we have a very humed and hot weather, it shouldn’t be liquid at a room temperature?

    • Jennifer Mendoza October 7, 2016, 7:16 am

      Room temperature in the United States is 73 degrees Fahrenheit. In Mexico it is about 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Once coconut oil hits 75 degrees Fahrenheit it starts turning into a liquid.

  • Ree Roman August 20, 2015, 9:37 am

    Excellent article.
    I cannot stand taste of coconut oil. It’s just too strong for me.

    Anyone know a good cold pressed refined brand that i can buy?

    • Linda February 3, 2016, 10:44 am

      I use Lou Ana from Walmart. It doesn’t taste like coconut but it said it’s 100% coconut oil.

  • Ronda August 12, 2015, 5:19 am

    I’ve been buying Carrington Farms Virgin Coconut Oil and liquid coconut oil. I also buy Simply Organic brand. I truly wish I had discovered coconut oil 30 years ago.

  • Carolyn August 5, 2015, 2:37 pm

    Don’t you worry about it being in a plastic jar?

  • Beverly Walling August 4, 2015, 8:28 pm

    I love Swanson’s Organic Virgin Coconut oil……it is the very best of all I have tried

  • Stephanie August 4, 2015, 7:15 pm

    Tropical traditions and Nutiva are my favorites as well! I’ve had great success cooking with both as well as using them for my skin, hair and nails! I feel that they are excellent quality!

    However, we just got a new brand in at the health food store I work, it’s the “Ziggy Marley” version in a glass jar (love that!!!) and its cold pressed. I’m going to do some research before purchasing but I’m intrigued!

  • Marita Bailey August 4, 2015, 8:06 am

    I’ve been using “Grace” , Virgin Coconut Oil for oil pulling, frying, cooking, adding in my morning coffee as a frothy late….and even as toothpaste, eye make up remover, . Now I’m worried, cause it does say that it’s ALL NATURAL & COLD PRESSED……has anyone used it? This is the only one I can buy at the local Metro Grocery Store. I live in a small town…it sometimes goes.on sale for $5.99, comes in a glass jar, 500 ml.regular $7.99. Marita Bailey

  • Jennifer August 4, 2015, 5:35 am

    I love Dr Bronner and Nutiva. I like that Dr. Bronner is a very clean company. I love Nutiva as well but will only buy my coconut oil in glasses and Nutiva sells in both. So if I find it in glass I buy it.

  • Tim August 4, 2015, 5:23 am

    Earth shift products carries a good oil. I buy by the gallon. I’ve bought from Tropical traditions, mercola, etc.like earth shift the best so far.

  • Chris August 1, 2015, 6:49 am

    I haven’t been using coconut oil for long still learning but the first brand I bought and tried is Better Body organic coconut. I’m not a big organic food buyer but this was priced very well and so I bought it and love it but can’t find it at my Sams club any more. It is cold pressed, 100% coconut, bottled in the USA. Have you heard of this brand?

    • Mandi August 4, 2015, 10:59 am

      That is the brand I use. I ha e used it for over 2 years. I love it. I buy it from Sam’s also. Sometimes it’s hard to find it in the store since they move stuff around so much. I would ask someone. You may also be able to check there app or website to see if they have it in stock or can order it. I saw that Walmart had the same brand the other day but it’s half the size but the same price.

  • Melissa P. July 31, 2015, 10:06 pm

    I use Dr. Bronner for oil pulling, cooking, and to put in my morning coffee. I use LouAna for body and hair.

  • Cheryl Mallen July 31, 2015, 6:35 pm

    I use Trader Joe’s organic virgin coconut oil for $5.99 a jar.

  • Vanessa Jones July 31, 2015, 5:07 pm

    Hi Thanks for the article. Just wanted to add something else to watch out for in Coconut Oil and that is cold pressed or no heat added oil if you want the full benefit of the properties of a coconut. We are the manufacturers of Coconut Oil in Tonga and have learnt that to make the best oil possible we need to avoid all heat in the processing. There are a number of producers who claim cold pressed however they do add some heat. The reason most producers use heat is to extend the shelf life. By removing any water content in the oil it last long as that it is the water that makes it go rancid. We are working on a filtration process that will remove even more of the water than we already do without adding heat.

    • Lisa June 29, 2016, 9:57 am

      I beg to differ.
      You may just be misinformed in your belief, I know theres a lot of misleading info on the internet, Ive done some extensive research. And This article I feel represents the ABSOLUTE TRUTH REGARDING COCONUT OIL AND THE BENEFITS AND THE DIFFERENCES in the production of it.
      Its worth the read

  • Pat July 31, 2015, 6:28 am

    I also have purchased Sam’s Club Omaggio brand USDA Organic Refined coconut oil in a 56 oz., for $11 plus. I’ve been very pleased with it. It does, however, come in a large plastic container which can be transferred to glass jars. If anyone has any information on this brand, please post. I was going to buy Costco brand but found it very cost prohibitive for my budget.

  • Doris Bishop July 31, 2015, 5:33 am

    I have been using Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut oil for a few years & like it best of all. If I run short I before my next order arrives I will get the cheaper virgin oil at the store. I use 2 TBL. of coconut oil in my oatmeal every morning & use it for frying things also.

  • Phyllis July 30, 2015, 11:31 pm

    I buy mine in a gallon bucket from Bulk Apothecary.The brand is Nature’s oil on the label and says coconut oil 76 degrees. The label says its 100% coconut oil. Is this a good brand?

  • Nancy July 30, 2015, 4:58 pm

    I would dearly love to continue using my coconut oil, as I like it. I have been put on the heart smart diet, and am supposed to have no saturated fats. Is there anyway I can still use the oil?

  • Marian July 30, 2015, 3:59 pm

    Thanks for the info. I would like to mention that I try and buy coconut oil sold in glass jars as opposed to plastic containers. I am concerned that some by-products in the plastic may transfer into the oil itself over time.

    • Jasmine Santoyo October 2, 2015, 10:08 am

      I agree, I only purchase glass containers as well. I’m not sure that it’s a big deal but it’s what I’m comfortable with. Thanks for the info, I didn’t realize that extra virgin oil is comparable to virgin oil. :o)

  • Becca July 30, 2015, 3:08 pm

    I have always used Nutiva virgin coconut oil because that’s what I have the easiest access to, plus I can get it for a great price when it goes on sale. My absolute favorite way to eat it is on sweet potatoes- there’s just something about that combination that is delicious! My mom loves this candy recipe I make with it which is similar to a mounds bar- she is always asking for more coconut candy! What’s great is that it’s actually a healthy dessert. The ones at the store have vegetable oil in them- how is that coconut candy?!

  • john hutchens July 30, 2015, 2:56 pm

    I really like Wilderness Family Naturals Centrifuge Extracted organic virgin coconut oil. It has the best flavor of any that I have tried.

  • Dar July 30, 2015, 2:22 pm

    I think my husband just purchased a brand that may not be good. He got it at SAMs. It’s called Omaggio organic refined coconut oil. Can you tell me if this is a good one or just hohum…I normally buy Spectrum refined but he saw the price and brought it home, please advise.

  • Ape July 30, 2015, 2:10 pm

    I enjoy buying mine from Carrington Farms, which I typically order thru Amazon. I didn’t realize that there was no real difference between Virgin and Extra Virgin coconut oil. Thanks for the info.

  • Gail July 30, 2015, 1:21 pm

    I use Trader Joe’s organic virgin coconut oil.

    • Barb August 4, 2015, 4:19 pm

      My fav too!

  • Bets July 30, 2015, 1:14 pm

    I’ve used Tropical Traditions for years. And I usually wait to order until it goes on sale & why I enjoy getting emails from them.
    Free shipping is always a good ’email’ to get also.

    • Cheryl Miller July 31, 2015, 7:58 am

      I also use Tropical Traditions. Did a lot of research and feel they are a reputable company. Love the products and wait till I can purchase on sale and many times get free shipping. Win win for me!

  • Anna July 30, 2015, 12:59 pm

    I use Nutiva, both refined and unrefined (prefer the unrefined), but I stay away from Tropical Traditions, due to information I couldn’t verify as true or untrue from an individual who had done her research and could not support them as reputable.
    I found Spectrum to be horrible.
    My local grocery store carries Carrington Farms, which I’ve seen listed as a reputable product, and have found it to be consistent.

  • Lorna Penner July 30, 2015, 12:44 pm

    Thank-you for all info,,I will look for the good one. Lorna

  • Karen Koshgarian July 30, 2015, 12:39 pm

    I used to get Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil at Costco. Now they only sell their Kirkland brand. Since Kirkland is usually a stand in for another brand, do you know who Costco’s Kirkland brand is using?
    Thanks. You Rock, BTW.

    • Gay July 30, 2015, 7:14 pm

      I’ve been trying to find out the same thing Karen. We used to have the Carrington Farms coconut oil at ours. I really liked it (I used to use Tropical Traditions and found it just as good or better). Now all ours carries is the Kirkland. I email Carrington Farms but got no response. I don’t know if they are allowed to say. Sure would like to know. I haven’t bought any of the Kirkland yet to try it. I would prefer to research it first and know what I’m buying before I buy it.

  • George Grimm July 30, 2015, 12:34 pm

    I’ve used both Tropical Traditions and Nutiva….I think they are both great, but I buy Nutiva due to the price and free shipping on Amazon Prime.

  • Joy July 30, 2015, 12:34 pm

    I use Vitacost’s cold-pressed coconut oil and am very happy with it. The price is excellent!

    • The Coconut Mama July 30, 2015, 12:37 pm

      Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to check them out! 🙂

      • Cynthia August 4, 2015, 9:12 am

        I use and highly recommended Barlean’s virgin coconut oil. It is by far the best coconut oil I’ve ever used. I make my salt scrub out of it and use it on my skin every other day (by my dermatologist recommendation).

  • Deborah July 30, 2015, 12:29 pm

    Thank you for this info. I love coconut oil & use it for many things. My daughter & sister took my advice and used it on their dogs dry skin. Worked magnificently. Use for cooking, best eye makeup remover & many others.?


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