Okay, so maybe you’re in the grocery store aisle right now. Your recipe calls for coconut oil, but you’re stuck. You notice some labels say “expeller pressed” while others say “cold pressed.” What is the difference? Does it matter?
Well, it might! Expeller pressed coconut oil uses pressure and friction to create heat to extract the oil. Meanwhile, cold pressed coconut oil uses pressure as well, but in a temperature-controlled environment, meaning the oil retains more nutrients.
In this article, we’re going to break it all down even further so you can make an informed decision about your baking or cooking with coconut oil. Which one should you choose? And why?
(Beyond that, read this for EVERYTHING on coconut oil.)
Comparing Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil vs Cold Pressed
A name says it all. Inevitably, there is a difference between expeller pressed and cold pressed coconut oil. The main thing here is how they are processed.
Expeller pressed coconut oil uses an expeller, or “screw,” machine to press the coconut meat. It uses extreme pressure and friction to create high heat and extract the oil. However, this processing can actually add up in cost. It usually requires more coconut or more of the entity desired to create the oil. This is why this type of coconut oil might be a few price points higher than others!
In contrast, cold pressed coconut oil uses a similar method of “pressing” but does so in a controlled temperature environment. Usually, the temperature is kept below 49 degrees Celsius or 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
So, how does this pan out nutritionally? In the next section, we compare the nutrition between these two processes.
Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil vs Cold Pressed Nutrition
Potentially unsurprisingly, the heat produced by the expeller press causes the coconut to lose some of its nutrient and antioxidant content. This means that cold pressed coconut oil often ends up having a higher nutritional value than its counterpart, especially when it comes to antioxidant content.
But on calories, macronutrients, and other high-level characteristics, the coconut oils are basically the same.
|Per one tablespoon serving||Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil||Cold Pressed Coconut Oil|
|Calories||120 calories||120 calories|
|Total Fat||14 grams||14 grams|
|Carbohydrates||0 grams||0 grams|
|Protein||0 grams||0 grams|
|Allergens?||Coconut, tree, nuts||Coconut, tree, nuts|
The Key Differences Between Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil vs Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
At the end of the day, the major difference between expeller pressed coconut oil vs cold pressed coconut oil is the way they are processed. Expeller pressed coconut oil uses heat and pressure, which can reduce the nutrient content. Meanwhile, cold pressed coconut oil uses just pressure. Neither method uses chemicals, making both fairly “clean” options.
But let’s take a closer look. Do the ingredients differ at all? Do they taste different? How is cooking with each of these oils?
Ingredients in Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil vs Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
Both use the same ingredients since neither process requires chemicals or added substances. Expeller pressed coconut oil and cold pressed coconut oil both require coconut meat (the fleshy part of the coconut!).
Comparing How Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil and Cold Pressed Coconut Oil Taste
These two coconut oils taste very similar. However, expeller pressed coconut oil, due to the high heat, has a bit more of a toasty and nutty flavor. Thus, some people might have a preference for one or the other. For a more coconutty taste, you’ll definitely want to go with the cold pressed version. (You can read more about this with our top coconut oil brands.)
Cooking with Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil vs Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
For higher heat points, it’s better to use expeller pressed coconut oil, such as for stir-frying or sauteing. For medium-heat, it’s best to use cold pressed coconut oil since this leaves behind a nice coconut flavor. However, you can use either one.
This recommendation is made more so in regard to their nutrient content. If cold pressed oils are exposed to high heat, they inevitably lose their high nutrient content. Since expeller pressed coconut oil has fewer nutrients to begin with, this is less of a concern. But, yet again, if you want a more coconut flavor, the recommendation is to use the cold pressed coconut oil. Thus, it depends on what you’re after when using either one.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
This depends on what you require the coconut oil for. Expeller pressed coconut oil is better for cooking on higher heat. Meanwhile, cold pressed coconut oil has more nutrients and thus, is better served raw or on lower heat.
No, they are slightly different. Expeller pressed oil uses friction and heat to create the oil from the coconut flesh. Meanwhile, cold pressed coconut oil is pressed down in a temperature-controlled environment and actually retains more nutrients.
Cold pressed coconut oil has a higher nutrient and antioxidant content since it isn’t exposed to heat during its processing. In turn, this may make it “healthier” if we use this word synonymous with “nutritious.”
Cold pressed coconut oil is better due to its higher nutrient content. However, if you intend on heating the coconut oil on high heat, then this won’t matter. Nutrients and antioxidants reduce when exposed to warm or hot temperatures.
Yes! It still contains plenty of healthy fats and is a great substitute for other oils or butter. However, this may depend on what “healthy” means to you. What is healthy for one person may be unhealthy for another. For example, someone already eating a diet high in fat shouldn’t necessarily add more fat. This could lead to an overconsumption of calories and weight gain, along with other negative health effects. Furthermore, whether expeller pressed coconut is good for you or not may further depend on individual genetics, health conditions, and more.
Yes, both expeller pressed and cold pressed coconut oil are natural. In general, neither process uses chemicals or other added substances to create the oil.
Surprisingly, expeller pressed coconut oil does not necessarily taste very coconut-y. Instead, it has a more toasty and nutty flavor due to the heat used in processing. If you prefer a more coconut flavor, use cold pressed coconut oil.
As you may have guessed, centrifuge coconut oil is separated from the coconut milk and anything else in a coconut slurry via a centrifuge (high-speed spinning). It tends to be on the high end in terms of purity and cost.