I love experimenting with different cooking oils and their unique characteristics. Two popular choices that often find themselves pitted against each other are corn oil and coconut oil. While both oils have their advantages, they have some important differences you need to know before cooking with them. Let’s get right into it!
Comparing corn oil vs coconut oil
|Corn oil||Coconut oil, Virgin/Unrefined||Coconut oil, Refined|
|Solid or Liquid?||Liquid||Semi solid||Semi solid|
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)||450 degrees||350 degrees||400 degrees|
|Good for Cooking…||Raw, low, moderate, and high heat||Raw, low heat, moderate heat||Raw, low heat, moderate heat|
|Allergens||Corn (zein)||Coconut, tree nut||Coconut, tree nut|
Differences between corn oil and coconut oil
Both oils are plant-based, but that’s where their similarities end. Corn oil (or maize oil) is typically extracted from the germ of corn kernels through a mechanical or chemical process, involving grinding, pressing, and solvent extraction. On the other hand, coconut oil is extracted from the meat of mature coconuts using methods such as cold pressing, expeller pressing, or solvent extraction, followed by various refining processes depending on the desired end product.
Corn oil is also primarily polyunsaturated fat, which makes it a liquid at room temperature, while coconut oil is mostly saturated fat, so it’s more solid.
Virgin/unrefined vs refined coconut oil
Coconut oil comes in two main forms: virgin/unrefined and refined.
Virgin or unrefined coconut oil is extracted using traditional methods, ensuring it retains its natural flavor and aroma. This type of coconut oil is ideal for baking, adding a delightful tropical twist to your creations.
On the other hand, refined coconut oil undergoes a process that removes the coconut flavor and aroma, making it a neutral cooking oil suitable for dishes where you don’t want a pronounced coconut taste.
Baking and cooking with corn oil vs coconut oil
When it comes to cooking, corn oil has a higher smoke point of around 450°F (232°C), making it suitable for high-heat cooking methods such as frying, sautéing, and deep-frying. Its neutral flavor allows it to blend well with different dishes, so it also works well in baking moist cakes, muffins, and quick breads, where its subtle taste allows the other flavors to shine.
On the other hand, coconut oil has a lower smoke point of around 350°F (177°C) for unrefined varieties and 400°F (204°C) for refined versions, making it more suitable for gentle to moderate heat cooking like baking, stir-frying, or light sautéing.
Coconut oil adds a distinct flavor to dishes, providing a hint of sweetness which is great for baked goods. From fluffy coconut oil pancakes to gooey chocolate chip cookies made with coconut oil, this oil can lend a tropical touch to your creations!
Can corn oil and coconut oil be substituted for each other?
There are situations where you can substitute corn oil for coconut oil, or vice versa. For example, if you’re making a stir-fry and prefer a more neutral taste, you can replace coconut oil with corn oil. Conversely, if a recipe calls for corn oil and you’re looking to infuse a hint of coconut flavor, you can swap it with virgin coconut oil. If you’re cooking at higher temperatures for frying, use refined coconut oil.
Nutrition: Corn oil vs coconut oil
Corn oil is primarily made up of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are considered heart-healthy fats. It also contains vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids.
On the other hand, coconut oil is rich in saturated fats, which were once viewed as less favorable. However, recent research suggests that not all saturated fats are created equal, and coconut oil may have some health benefits.
It’s important to consume both oils in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)||Corn oil||Coconut oil, Virgin/Unrefined||Coconut oil, Refined|
|Polyunsaturated||7.4 g||0 g||1 g|
|Monounsaturated||3.8 g||1 g||1 g|
|Saturated||1.8 g||13 g||12 g|
|Trans||0 g||0 g||0 g|
|Total Fat||13.6 g||14 g||14 g|
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store corn oil and coconut oil
Both oils should be kept in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Corn oil can be kept unopened in the pantry for up to a year. Once opened, the best way to store corn oil is in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Coconut oil, especially in its unrefined form, has an even LONGER shelf life and can last up to two years at room temperature or in the fridge. Refrigeration doesn’t really extend its shelf life, unlike corn oil.
Corn oil vs coconut oil: The ultimate verdict
In the end, it all comes down to personal preference and the recipe you’re making. If you’re looking for a neutral flavor and high smoke point, go for corn oil.
If you want that rich, coconutty taste, go for virgin coconut oil. Whether you’re making a batch of homemade granola bars with virgin coconut oil or preparing a stir-fry with refined coconut oil, there’s an option to suit your culinary needs!
Corn oil and coconut oil have different compositions and properties, with corn oil being higher in polyunsaturated fats and better for high-heat cooking, while coconut oil is higher in saturated fats and may have potential health benefits when used in moderation.
Corn oil is generally considered a type of vegetable oil, so the term “vegetable oil” can encompass various types of oils including corn oil, and their health benefits may vary depending on individual dietary needs and preferences.
Olive oil is generally considered healthier than corn oil as it is rich in monounsaturated fats and has been associated with various health benefits, including improved heart health and lower risk of chronic diseases.