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Cooking with Coconut Oil

Cooking with Coconut Oil? Is that appropriate?

By Karen Middleton

Cooking with Coconut Oil is beyond appropriate – it’s the single most healthy way to cook your food!

It’s a common misconception that Coconut Oil is great only for hair care or skin care and… that’s it. But that isn’t “it”, at all – Coconut Oil is absolutely brilliant for cooking!

And if that is news to you, it certainly isn’t news to the millions of people who have been cooking with this most wonderful oil in the tropical regions for thousands of years!

It is ideal for baking, frying, roasting, wok cooking or for whenever you might otherwise consider using a regular cooking oil. Coconut Oil can, and should be substituted 1-1 for that regular oil. It so much more healthy than regular oils – it’s a rich source of Lauic Acid, the major medium-chain fatty acid which is also found in human mother’s milk). It is very stable too, and unlike regular oils is unlikely to go rancid. Unrefined Coconut Oil is a solid at room temperature (unless your room is warmer than 24°C – that’s 76.0 °F) – and while it need not be stored in your fridge, it is best left out of direct sunlight.

In fact, it’s not until you begin cooking with Coconut Oil that you might appreciate just how versatile it is; apart from it being great for high temperature cooking, you can use it in smoothies, you can spread it on toast, add a spoonful to your tea or coffee, or even make a salad dressing from it; why not check out our Coconut Oil Recipes for a whole range of meal and snack ideas?

Cooking with Coconut Oil – the main benefits

Baking with Coconut Oil – It’s Delicious and Rewarding!

Baked foods typically contain large amounts of butter, together with its attendant saturated fat and salt. When baking, virgin coconut oil can be a substitute for shortening, butter, margarine, or vegetable oil. (either completely or in part: eg. 50/50 ratio of butter to coconut oil). The more coconut oil substituted in, the healthier the food becomes. This is due to its high concentration of Lauric Acid and its (healthy!) medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs).

This invokes just one of numerous benefits that this oil provides; in general terms it is acknowledged by experts to:

Frying with Coconut Oil – It’s Easy and Healthy!

The type of fat you use for frying counts for a lot; some oils are much more healthy than others – and frying with coconut oil is the healthiest way of them all! Coconut Oil is the richest source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) known to man, and these naturally occurring MCFAs are actually good for your health, and in ways!

How hot should the oil be?

Not only it is the healthiest oil that you can use for frying, it also has what is called a high “smoke-point”; the smoke-point is the temperature that an oil can be raised to before it begins to burn. It’s smoke-point is 350 Fahrenheit, meaning that is easily stable enough to fry meat, poultry, eggs and omelettes provided that the heat is kept moderate so as not to exceed its smoke-point.

It’s important of course that you ensure that the coconut oil is hot enough and the best way to do this is to use a fryer with a built-in heat dial. If you don’t have one of those, use a sugar thermometer. The temperature of the oil should be from 320 – 350 Fahrenheit depending on the recipe you are following.

This product is typically solid at room temperature – it melts once the temperature is above 76 degrees F (24 C). A good way to melt the oil so that you can measure how much you are going to use is to place the entire jar into a pan of warm water and heat it gradually on the stove. Do not let the water boil, or even come close to it! A short period of warming will be enough to see it melt, at which time you can then simply pour the oil you are going to use into your measuring vessel.

How much should I use?

When frying with coconut oil a good guideline is to substitute your regular oil on a 1:1 basis; ie if the recipe calls for 50ml of regular oil, just use 50ml coconut oil in its place.

Can I reuse that Oil?

The answer to that, is yes! The oil will preserve its nutrient and cooking qualities after you have used, and re-used it, but retention of these properties relies on your ensuring that the oil does not exceed its smoke point!

Won’t all of my food taste of coconut?

Not really, no! The cooking process largely neutralizes the coconut aroma and taste; many people state that food fried in coconut oil exhibits a better flavour than when cooked in regular oil!

Roasting with Coconut Oil – it’s Healthy and Wholesome!

Roasting with Coconut Oil results in food which is so much healthier than that cooked with regular oils. This is due to not only to it being cholesterol free, but also to it having a high concentration of Lauric Acid. And Lauric Acid is composed of (very healthy!) medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs).

Is it okay for meat roasts?

Yes it is, and no it’s not! This depends really on the type of Coconut Oil that you use to roast your food. If you use a cheaper, refined Coconut Oil, then yes, this can be used to roast meat and poultry. This is because its “smoke-point” – that’s the temperature at which the oil begins to burn – is 450°F (232°C). If you use a Virgin (that’s unrefined) Coconut Oil, its smoke-point is 350°F (177°C) – which in some cases may not be sufficiently hot to cook a meat or poultry joint thoroughly. Our recommendation is that these cheaper, unrefined coconut oils be avoided completely and that if you do intend to roast food using coconut oil, you choose a Virgin (unrefined) Coconut Oil and limit your roasting to vegetables.

Again, this invokes just one of numerous benefits that this oil provides; in general terms it is acknowledged by experts to:

Visit the page Coconut Recipes for recipes suggestions.

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