Unsure how to cook with coconut oil? Here are some tips that will help you learn how to cook with this healthy fat!
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! I head to learn how to cook with coconut oil. Once I figured out how coconut oil works best in replacing other oils, the transition was easy! 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.
- 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).
- Coconut oil will melt 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.
- Virgin coconut oil has a smoking point of 350°F. This makes it optimal for baking and lower-heat cooking. For a higher smoke point, check out other popular oils (including refined coconut oil): to make it easier, we’ve ranked the smoke points of 15 of the most popular cooking oils (including avocado oil, with a smoke point of 520°(!)
6 Coconut Oil Cooking Tips
- 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.
- 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.
Coconut Oil Recipes
There are a LOT of great things you can make with coconut oil. From salty foods like tortilla chips and French fries to sweet desserts like no-bake coconut oil cookies and homemade Almond Joys! You can even make your own nutella or cough drops.
I’ve put all those recipes and many more in a list of over 25 recipes that feature coconut oil.
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! (though there are some advantages to freezing it).
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
You can find coconut oil at most grocery stores, just make sure it’s pure, organic and sustainably harvested. Here are my 5 favorite brands, ranked!Links on this page may be affiliate links, for which the site earns a small commission, but the price for you is the same