I love playing with different oils to enhance the flavors of my dishes. Two oils that have caught my attention lately are pumpkin seed oil and coconut oil. While both oils have their own unique qualities, they bring distinct flavors and benefits to the table.
In this article, we’ll explore the differences between pumpkin seed oil and coconut oil, discuss their uses in cooking and baking, consider their nutritional profiles, delve into proper storage methods, and ultimately decide which oil is the best!
Comparing pumpkin seed oil vs coconut oil
|Pumpkin seed oil||Coconut oil, Virgin/Unrefined||Coconut oil, Refined|
|Solid or Liquid?||Liquid||Semi solid||Semi solid|
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)||320 degrees||350 degrees||400 degrees|
|Good for Cooking…||Raw, low heat||Raw, low heat, moderate heat||Raw, low heat, moderate heat|
|Allergens||Pumpkin seed||Coconut, tree nut||Coconut, tree nut|
Differences between pumpkin seed oil and coconut oil
Many people haven’t heard of pumpkin seed oil. It’s a rich, nutty oil extracted from roasted pumpkin seeds. Coconut oil is obtained from the meat of mature coconuts, and is solid at room temperature due to its high saturated fat content, while pumpkin seed oil remains liquid.
Pumpkin seed oil is typically cold-pressed, a process that retains more of the oil’s natural flavor and nutrients. On the other hand, coconut oil can be extracted through both cold-pressed and refined methods.
Virgin/unrefined vs refined coconut oil
When it comes to coconut oil, it’s important to consider whether you should opt for virgin/unrefined or refined coconut oil.
Virgin coconut oil is extracted from fresh coconuts without the use of chemicals or high heat. It retains a distinct coconut flavor and aroma, making it perfect for recipes where you want a pronounced coconut taste.
Refined coconut oil, on the other hand, has been processed to remove impurities and has a neutral flavor. It’s better suited for dishes where you don’t want the coconut taste to overpower other ingredients.
Baking and cooking with pumpkin seed oil vs coconut oil
Pumpkin seed oil and coconut oil bring unique flavors to your culinary creations. Pumpkin seed oil has a rich, nutty taste that adds depth to salad dressings, marinades for meat, and drizzles for soups and roasted vegetables. It has a lower smoke point, so it works best as a raw/finishing oil. When making a roasted butternut squash salad, I love drizzling a tablespoon of pumpkin seed oil over the warm squash cubes.
On the other hand, coconut oil has a mild coconut flavor that pairs well with both sweet and savory recipes. It’s fantastic for baking cookies, cakes, and muffins, giving them a delightful tropical twist. When making chocolate chip cookies, substituting butter with coconut oil adds a subtle coconut undertone that takes the cookies to a whole new level!
Can pumpkin seed oil and coconut oil be substituted for each other?
While pumpkin seed oil and coconut oil have distinct flavors, there are instances where you can substitute one for the other. For example, if a recipe calls for pumpkin seed oil to drizzle over a salad and you don’t have any on hand, you can use coconut oil instead. It won’t have the same nutty taste, but it will add a pleasant richness. Similarly, if a recipe requires coconut oil for baking, you can substitute a portion of it with pumpkin seed oil (a full substitute might be too intense, depending on the recipe).
Nutrition: Pumpkin seed oil vs coconut oil
Pumpkin seed oil is full of healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc.
On the other hand, coconut oil contains a high concentration of saturated fats, particularly medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which have been associated with various health benefits. Coconut oil also possesses antimicrobial properties, thanks to its high content of lauric acid. While coconut oil can increase levels of both good and bad cholesterol, it can still be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)||Pumpkin seed oil||Coconut oil, Virgin/Unrefined||Coconut oil, Refined|
|Polyunsaturated||7.5 g||0 g||1 g|
|Monounsaturated||6 g||1 g||1 g|
|Saturated||1.5 g||13 g||12 g|
|Trans||0 g||0 g||0 g|
|Total Fat||14 g||14 g||14 g|
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store pumpkin seed oil and coconut oil
Pumpkin seed oil tastes bitter if it goes rancid, so make sure to keep it in the fridge or a cool place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
Coconut oil is more resilient and can be stored at room temperature. However, it’s important to store it in a cool, dry place. Refined coconut oil has a shorter shelf life compared to virgin coconut oil, but both coconut and pumpkin seed oils last up to 24 months when stored properly.
Pumpkin seed oil vs coconut oil: The ultimate verdict
Coconut oil is the ultimate choice when comparing it to pumpkin seed oil. Its higher smoke point, nutritional value including MCTs, versatility, availability, and stability at room temperature make it a superior option. While pumpkin seed oil has its own benefits, coconut oil’s overall advantages for cooking due to its mild tropical flavor and solid form for baking care make it the clear winner. Here’s the coconut oil I buy.
Yes, you can mix pumpkin seed oil with coconut oil to create a blend of flavors and enjoy the benefits of both oils in your recipes.
Sesame oil can be a good alternative to pumpkin seed oil, as it also has a rich, nutty flavor that can enhance dishes in a similar way.
While pumpkin seed oil is often claimed to help block DHT (dihydrotestosterone) due to its phytosterol content, the scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness in this regard is limited and further research is needed to establish a definitive conclusion.