Coconut oil is without a doubt the most versatile oil in the world. You can use it for food preparation, beauty and personal hygiene, chores around the house and more.
In this article I explain how to use coconut oil in the kitchen plus I give tips on how to store, measure and melt coconut oil.
1. Cooking oil
Coconut oil is packed with healthy fatty acids called MCT’s. Some of the MCT’s convert into ketones which are literally brain food. Unlike most other fats, MCT’s are used as an instant source of energy instead of being stored in the body.
The high concentration of healthy saturated fats in coconut oil make it very heat-stable. It has the highest resistance to oxidation of all fats, which is one of the main reasons why it’s so healthy to cook with.
For me personally it’s the main reason to use coconut oil in the kitchen. Choosing the right fats to cook with makes such a big difference for your health!
You can read more about the health benefits of cooking with coconut oil here.
Use a virgin coconut oil for raw or low temperature food preparation and a good quality organic refined coconut oil for high temperature cooking. Refined coconut oil is more heat-stable than virgin coconut oil, which makes it perfect for high temperature cooking such as frying and baking.
2. Smoothie super booster
Add a bit of coconut oil to your smoothies and fruit salads to help with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Besides making your smoothie tastier, coconut oil makes your fruit (or vegetable) snack healthier too!
3. Butter substitute
Use a virgin coconut oil in a creamy, soft consistency to replace butter. Soft and creamy on your toast, to make popcorn with and in baking / cooking recipes.
4. Candy and fudge base
A wonderful way to use coconut oil in the kitchen for all of us with a sweet tooth!
Coconut oil makes a great base for healthy chocolates and sweets.
It has a melting point of 24° C / 76° F. When it’s liquid it mixes easily with other ingredients.
It quickly solidifies when you cool or freeze it, which makes it an excellent stabilizer.
5. Chocolate dip (magical shell) base
Are you planning to make healthy homemade treats such as bounty bars or ice cream? You’ll love this one! It’s one of my favorite coconut oil kitchen uses. Create that delicious crunchy chocolate topping with coconut oil, it’s perfect for it.
You’ll need coconut oil, cacao and a sweetener of choice. Mix it all together and top your treat with it. When you pour it over something cold like ice cream, the sauce becomes solid immediately.
6. Hot drinks booster
7. Salad dressing
Try a different kind of salad dressing: instead of an olive oil or vinegar base use coconut oil. It has a sweet and subtle flavor with a tropical hint.
8. Coffee and tea sweetener
Do you want to cut down on sugar and just add some flavor to your hot drinks? Coconut oil gives them a hint of sweetness and creaminess without affecting your blood sugar levels.
The following coconut oil kitchen uses help you clean, condition and grease your kitchen tools:
9. Wooden cutting board conditioner
To keep your wooden cutting board in good shape, you need to condition it regularly. You can use all sorts of oils for this, but since you expose your food to it, you want to avoid oils that go rancid or contain questionable chemicals.
Coconut oil is a great choice as its powerful antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and anti-parasitic properties sanitize and seal your cutting board. It will last much longer this way and more important even: it makes it a much cleaner, healthier environment for your food.
Rub some coconut oil into your clean and dry cutting board. An organic refined coconut oil is great for this, no need to use virgin coconut oil.
Let it sit for a few hours, wipe off any remaining oil and repeat as often as necessary.
10. Cast iron pan conditioner
Cast irons pans are very solid, versatile and above all non-toxic pans. They do require a special treatment when it comes to washing and seasoning them. This is a process of coating them with oil to keep them in good shape. Coconut oil works very well for this and it’s a clever way to use it in the kitchen.
Katie, ‘’The Wellness Mama’’ explains how to do this step by step.
11. Cookie / cake tray greaser
Traditionally butter is used to grease cake trays or muffin tins. But if you’re a vegan or have other reasons to skip butter, coconut oil does the job. It will help you remove your baked goods from the tray afterwards and it doesn’t burn as easily as butter does.
12. Kitchen tools anti-stick
If you’ve ever tried cutting sticky food such as jackfruit or dates, you know that it can get a bit messy.
Especially with jackfruit as it leaves a very sticky latex type of juice that is hard to take off.
Coat the knife (in case of using jackfruit, also the handle) with coconut oil to seal it prior to using it.
Give it a good wash afterwards to get the oil off.
Uh-oh – did you already cut your jackfruit and can’t get the stickiness off now? Easy to fix!
Coat the knife or tool with coconut oil, let it sit for a few minutes and then rub it off with a washcloth.
Repeat until it’s clean.
Coconut oil characteristics
Despite its name coconut oil doesn’t always look like oil.
It has a melting point of 24° C / 76° F and easily adapts to temperatures.
When it gets warmer, coconut oil becomes liquid and transparent (or yellow if it’s refined coconut oil).
When it gets colder, it transforms from liquid to soft / creamy and finally to solid / hard. Don’t worry, your oil isn’t going bad, this is normal. Climate related temperature changes have no effect on the quality or the shelf life of coconut oil. It can easily go back and forth between liquid and solid without affecting it.
Measuring coconut oil
How to measure and use coconut oil in the kitchen?
If you are using coconut oil in a recipe to replace another liquid oil such as vegetable oil, make sure to measure the coconut oil when it’s liquid.
If you are using coconut oil in a recipe to replace a solid fat such as butter or shortening, make sure to measure the coconut oil when it’s solid.
Melting coconut oil
The best way to melt coconut oil is Au Bain Marie which is a water bath.
This technique helps preserve more nutrients.
You do this by putting the coconut oil in a bowl that is placed in a pan with shimmering water on a low heat.
I advice against using a microwave in general. It destroys nutrients and is not healthy to cook with or be around. I understand that it’s convenient time wise, but it’s something to take into consideration if your health is important for you!
Solidifying coconut oil
This is very easy; just put the coconut oil in the refrigerator for several minutes. The amount of time will depend on if you want it creamy and soft or solid.
Storing coconut oil
How you store coconut oil is really up to you and depends on which consistency you prefer. You don’t need to refrigerate coconut oil, but if you do you will always have a solid consistency.
If you store your jar in your cabinet you will have liquid or soft coconut oil depending on your climate.
Coconut oil has a shelf life of at least two years, which is longer than any other cooking oil.
It’s best stored out of direct (sun) light, preferably in a glass container.
Ready to start creating some delicious recipes with coconut oil? Find them here.