How To Cook With Coconut Oil


Unsure how to cook with coconut oil? Here are some tips that will help you learn how to cook with this healthy fat!

How To Cook With Coconut Oil

When we started our real food journey one of the first changes we made was to switch out our cooking oil (canola oil) for a healthier oil, coconut oil! Cooking with coconut oil isn’t as  difficult as it seems. Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the years that have made cooking with coconut oil a pleasure rather than a frustration.

How To Cook With Coconut Oil

Before you learn how to cook with coconut oil, it’s helpful to understand a few facts about this fat.

  1. Unlike most vegetable oils, coconut oil is solid at room temperature. In the cold winter months our coconut oil is as hard as a rock! I have literally hacked away at a block of coconut oil just to get a few shaved pieces out. Thankfully, I have a solution for this problem (which I mention later in this post).
  2. Coconut oil will begin to liquefy at 76°F. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received from readers who were worried about a concerning “liquid” forming on top of the coconut oil that was purchased. Keep calm, this is completely normal! Our coconut oil is in liquid form for most of the whopping two months of summer here in Oregon. Depending on your location coconut oil may likely be liquid unless refrigerated.
  3. Coconut oil has a high smoking point of 350°F. This makes it optimal for almost all cooking. If you’re deep frying I suggest using sustainable sourced palm oil, which has a smoke point of 450°F.

How To Cook With Coconut Oil from The Coconut Mama

6 Helpful Tips To Help You Learn How To Cook with Coconut Oil

  • To avoid the need to hack away at your coconut oil you can simply melt it and pour it into ice cube trays (I use this easy push out tray). Refrigerate the coconut oil until it’s solid. Pop the coconut oil cubes out of the tray and store them in an air tight container. As long as your kitchen isn’t too warm the coconut oil cubes will not melt. You can also keep them in the refrigerator if you prefer. These coconut cubes are handy to have on hand when you want to toss a dollop of coconut oil into your pan. This is a tip a learned from Health Starts in the Kitchen!Single Portion Coconut Oil
  • If you need to melt coconut oil for a recipe the best way to melt it is to heat it over low heat in a saucepan. Coconut oil will liquefy at 76°, so it will melt fairly quickly.
  • We keep a jar of coconut oil on our stove top always. I usually have something simmering on the stove, so it’s a great spot to keep coconut oil  for when you need it. I use this coconut oil for baking so I don’t have to melt it and dirty up a pan.
  • Did you know you could whip coconut oil? I usually keep a jar of whipped coconut oil in my bathroom but it’s also great in the kitchen. You can easily scoop whipped coconut oil with a spoon without having to hack away at it!
  • You can use coconut oil in place of butter, shortening and oil in most (if not all) of your baking. Remember, coconut oil will solidify if added to cold ingredients (i.e., eggs and milk) so it’s best to make sure all ingredients in the recipe are at room temperature before you add the coconut oil.
  • Virgin coconut oil is best but if you don’t like the taste  you can use expeller pressed coconut oil instead. Make sure to only use refined coconut oil that has not been processed with chemical solvents.

How To Store Coconut Oil

Unlike most unsaturated oils, coconut oil doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It’s high saturated content is resistant to oxidation!

If you’re like me and you purchase coconut oil by the gallon you may want to transfer some of your coconut oil to a glass jar or smaller container to keep with your kitchen supplies. I don’t have a lot of counter space so this tip helps keep my counters free of clutter.

Where To Buy Coconut Oil

We use Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil in our kitchen. You can read more about their coconut oil here.

(CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE COPY OF THE PALEO EATS COOKBOOK.)

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53 comments… add one
  • Lee July 14, 2016, 5:13 am

    Hi….are you suppose to use unrefined coconut oil….refined is the bleached out one ????…..I read where you could use to deep fry …example french fries etc….Is there a danger to use in frying …I am seeing it both ways …could you please explain

    Reply
  • Michael Rozon July 6, 2016, 10:52 am

    Thank you for all the tips on coconut oil. Found your site very helpful.

    Michael

    Reply
  • brian July 5, 2016, 6:35 pm

    I’ve recently been using coconut oil for frying/ sauteing fish and vegetables, etc, I have a viking gas stove with a high volume exhaust system.. I am trying to keep the smoke at a minimum but the oil when volatile forms gasses that when cools and reform sticks too everything. I have started to get a rancid smell in the exhaust, cabinet walls get covered(figuratively speaking) and gross oil in grease collection pans. Never happed with EVO. What am i doing wrong??

    Reply
  • Noemi January 30, 2016, 6:58 pm

    How do I know when the coconut oil is no longer usable. I fried some wings in it and the color is like an dark Amber. Can I still use this oil or is it burnt. I did not have a thermometer to see if it was at 350 degrees.

    Reply
    • The Coconut Mama January 31, 2016, 8:42 pm

      I usually use mine twice before I toss it. If it doesn’t have an off taste then it should be fine to use.

      Reply
  • Emmie January 24, 2016, 11:15 am

    I want to start a healthier lifestyle, I bought organic coconut oil today. I need help learning to incorporate it into my cooking.

    Reply
  • Britney S. December 1, 2015, 7:33 am

    Thanks for the great article! Never thought about pre-melting into cubes for cooking with.

    Reply
  • MF October 19, 2015, 4:38 am

    This is awesome. I picked up two bottles of the stuff at my local Indian grocery just today, and I can’t wait to make cashew butter with it. Massive thanks for the melting tips, this stuff is super weird! Greetings from Switzerland

    Reply
  • Mary July 25, 2015, 5:54 am

    Hi Jo,
    Do you know “HEMANI” pure natural Sri Lankan coconut oil?

    Reply
  • Marian D July 18, 2015, 9:35 pm

    Hi Tiffany! This is really great! I also bought your suggested pop-out trays. I live in Oregon, too — hey, the weather has been so hot, even with my air conditioning my oil is liquid. I bought my first jar of coconut oil at Thrive Market, online. They deliver free if you buy $50 worth of food. Amazing prices, all organic and free traded. Highly recommend this place.

    Reply
  • claudia June 26, 2015, 6:58 am

    Hello,
    How can you know if chemicals have been used to process the oil? Does it say anywherd jn the jar? I use the brand spectrum. I know you dont like it but I am not sure why. It is because of the flavor or because it is processed with chemicals.?

    Reply
  • Mary Mings June 6, 2015, 8:06 pm

    I have never used coconut oil before. I know very little about it. However, I had heard one should use organic. The one I selected is brand name: Spectrum. Label info: expeller pressed, organic, virgin, coconut oil, unrefined. What do you think of this selection?

    Reply
  • Sandra June 3, 2015, 1:36 am

    How do you transfer your bulk coconut oil into a smaller jars?

    Reply
  • Frank May 31, 2015, 10:53 am

    Hi Jo,
    I’m having trouble doing a veggy sauté in my pan with coconut oil, it just burns up and crackles intensely, temperature too high?

    Thanks

    Reply
  • Jo April 29, 2015, 12:07 pm

    I think coconut oil is gods gift, but I do think you need to re read the differences between refined and unrefined oil…it is the unrefined oil that does not have additives…here is a link to only one of the many many articles out there

    Reply
    • The Coconut Mama April 29, 2015, 1:29 pm

      Hi Jo~ As I mentioned above and in the article, Virgin (unrefined) is best but if you don’t like the taste of virgin coconut oil for your cooking you can use expeller pressed organic coconut oil. The brand I use (tropical traditions) doesn’t use chemical solvents or additives.

      Reply
  • Amy Brown April 27, 2015, 1:22 pm

    I am reading Pure Slim 1000 and on page 19 it states not to cook with coconut oil. It doesn’t really state “why.”

    Reply
  • Biljana April 14, 2015, 10:57 am

    Hi, thanks for your posts, I’ve learned a lot! Coconut oil is very new to me and my family, so I would like to ask about frying in it. Last night I made fries fried in coconut oil (your recipe) and they were delicious!!! Now I have lots of oil I used for fries, and I wonder if you would suggest reusing it. With canola oil, I would always throw it away (greasecycle, actually), but if I could reuse the coconut oil, that would bring down the cost. Of course, I wouldn’t want to do it if it’s unhealthy. Thanks

    Reply
  • Norma March 14, 2015, 5:35 pm

    what’s the best way to whip coconut oil?

    Reply
  • Doris March 13, 2015, 4:16 am

    The simplest way I found to melt coconut oil is to place the jar in a pan or large bowl and fill with very hot tap water. Let it set for a few minutes and shake. You may need to weight it down with something heavy to keep plastic bottles from floating.

    Reply
  • Karen January 11, 2015, 6:14 am

    Hi….just want to say that I’ve used the microwave to melt coconut oil with no problem. It takes no time at all and any unused just goes back in the jar.

    Reply
  • Anita November 3, 2014, 1:16 pm

    thanks, love your information and ideas.

    Reply
  • Ashley October 24, 2014, 7:19 am

    I read somewhere online the other day that coconut oil is “not” good for you in a daily basis that it’s one of the “bad” saturated fats. I come to your page everyday and just wanted to double check with you on it being used everyday. I’m tired of the junk being sold at the stores, I’m too scared to use anything on my son during bath time, rash, etc. He’s had eczema since birth and nothing has helped. We’ve tried all the over the counter things plus tons of prescription medications and nothing is helping. I’m looking for all natural, homemade products which is why I stalk your site on the daily.

    Reply
    • The Coconut Mama October 25, 2014, 10:53 pm

      Hi Ashley – This is a good read about coconut oil that may help you understand which fats are actually “bad” 🙂 http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/coconut-oil.shtml

      Reply
    • Meg September 18, 2015, 10:11 pm

      Hi just wanted to tell you my friends son also had eczema which was not relieved by anything. But after testing for food
      allergies they found out he was allergic to some foods. Once the foods were eliminated from his diet his eczema is also gone. Please also check for food allergies as in some cases eczema is caused by food allergies and doctors fail to make that connection.

      Reply
    • Meg September 19, 2015, 9:21 am

      Hi please also check for food allergies as they also cause eczema

      Reply
  • gail September 25, 2014, 6:08 am

    Just wondering how long coconut oil remains fresh and useable..several years ago I had a 5 gallon pail of coconut oil…after several years, it started to form tough little beads of oil. Recently I purchased a small container that started to form these little beads after only a few weeks of purchase…is this a quality related issue, age or what?

    Reply
  • marjorie siemens July 10, 2014, 9:14 am

    look forward to getting new posts

    Reply
  • marj siemens July 10, 2014, 8:54 am

    i’ll be looking forward to new posts

    Reply
  • Debbie July 1, 2014, 8:10 am

    I just tried oil pulling for the first time. WOW!!! My mouth feels so clean and fresh! I could only hold the oil for 10 minutes…going to try to work up to the 20 minutes! I am so glad I found this site!!!

    Reply
  • Sharon June 23, 2014, 5:03 am

    We make gluten free cookies for our grandson who cannot have gluten. We tried using coconut oil, but the cookies ran a bit. Flat . Should we use less? Or is coconut oil easy to change out in recipes ?

    Reply
  • Nancy June 23, 2014, 4:20 am

    I am new to using coconut oil, I was told to use unrefined that is not treated with chemicals but in the article about cooking with it you said use refined can you let me know which one I am to use I am getting confused. Thanks

    Reply
  • Amy June 22, 2014, 11:16 pm

    Hello, I love coconut oil and have used Nutiva in the past. I recently purchased it in their new packaging and the label now says that it is bottled in a facility that also bottles peanut oil. Not sure if the previous packaging said that but I read every label and don’t recall seeing it on there. Is there any coconut oil out there that is not processed alongside peanut oil? My daughter is highly allergic.

    Thank You!

    Reply
  • Christine June 20, 2014, 9:00 pm

    In reference to the statement- “Make sure to only use refined coconut oil that has not been processed with chemical solvents”, I’m assuming you meant UNrefined?

    Reply
    • The Coconut Mama June 20, 2014, 11:38 pm

      Hi Christine, no I meant refined. Some refined coconut oils are refined with chemical solvents but the brand I recommend in this article are actually refined without chemicals.

      Reply
      • Mona April 12, 2015, 8:23 pm

        It’s the UNREFINED Coconut Oil that is the one that should be used. Unrefined is pure.

        Reply
    • The Coconut Mama April 29, 2015, 1:26 pm

      “Virgin coconut oil is best but if you don’t like the taste you can use expeller pressed coconut oil instead. Make sure to only use refined coconut oil that has not been processed with chemical solvents.”

      Unrefined is best, but if you don’t like to use virgin (unrefined) coconut oil for your day to day cooking you can use a refined coconut oil. I use expeller pressed coconut oil from Tropical Traditions. They refine their coconut oil without chemicals or solvents.

      Reply
  • Jennifer May 19, 2014, 10:13 am

    I never use a microwave don’t trust them. that’s just me!! If I need to melt the oil I use a small jar and put the jar into a saucepan of boiling water. …

    Reply
  • Michelle K. May 19, 2014, 8:42 am

    When a recipe calls for melted coconut oil. I melt it in the microwave and any extra I just pour back into the container. Is this something I should or shouldn’t be doing?

    Reply
    • Kate P March 2, 2015, 4:13 pm

      Hi Michelle 🙂 Best not to microwave any food as it depletes the nutrition. xx

      Reply
  • Sonia May 15, 2014, 5:00 am

    I need advice, my husband dislikes the ” candy” taste of virgin coconut oil in my stews, fried foods etc. I began to use
    Luanna as it gave no such taste but I now found out it is not as healthy. Can you suggest any type of coconut oil that will give us the health benefits without the ” candy ” taste?

    Reply
    • The Coconut Mama May 15, 2014, 7:12 am

      Hi Sonia, Tropical Traditions makes an organic expeller pressed coconut oil that is tasteless. My husband prefers I use the refined oil over virgin for the same reason.

      Reply
      • Val Yoakum June 9, 2015, 8:01 am

        Is it true that Luanna brand is not as healthy? How so? And also, is coconut oil microwaveable? Thanks! I’m new to coconut oil and am just learning how to cook with it.

        Reply
  • Cleveland April 26, 2014, 6:03 pm

    Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I in finding It truly helpful
    & it helped me out a lot. I’m hoping to provide one thing back and help others such as you helped me.

    Reply
  • Kayli Schattner April 18, 2014, 10:47 am

    Loving on this post today! I recently bought a jar of coconut oil at Trader Joe’s + have been wondering how to cook with it exactly. Great tips!

    Reply
  • Mia April 11, 2014, 2:28 am

    Is coconut oil not microwaveable? Should I reheat my food (cooked with coconut oil) with microwave?

    Reply
    • Shawn-T December 22, 2015, 10:34 pm

      No, you must re-warm all goods made with coconut oil in the oven (non-convection). If you heat it up in the microwave, the coconut oil molecules quickly break down into sorbetroil, which is extremely carcinogenic.

      Reply
  • Erin April 8, 2014, 7:33 am

    I started using it in my whole wheat bread recipe and it has extended the shelf life by several days! It now goes stale before it gets moldy, which NEVER happened before.

    Reply
  • Molly Ann April 7, 2014, 11:23 am

    Your coconut oil mayonnaise is fabulous, but I lost the recipe. Could you send it to me please?

    Reply
  • kathy durbin April 3, 2014, 8:41 am

    Nutiva cocnut 78oz jar at costco for 22.49! great buy 2yr shelf life but if you dont use it within 2-3 months not using enough oil,benefits

    Reply
  • Julie April 3, 2014, 8:16 am

    I’ve been lucky and had no hassles switching almost all oil use to coconut- I love the stuff! I sautée with it, roast with it, bake with it, and pan fry with it (pastured eggs lightly fried in coconut oil – out of this world yummy!). Note with baking, when using as a butter sub, it can be a bit drier than butter so I usually add a tiny bit more of whatever liquid is in the recipe to compensate.
    I love the ice cube portions idea and will try it soon!
    Are there any tips or tricks with whipping it?

    We get our organic unrefined cold pressed coconut oil at Costco – $17 here for 54 ounces! I hope they never stop carrying it bc it’s fantastic in quality and price!

    Reply

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