Extracting the oil from the Kukui nut is done using a press method. This process continues to be part of the Hawaiian culture today, just as it was in ancient times. Once extracted, the oil contains antioxidants, which are used to soothe such skin conditions as eczema, psoriasis, acne, sunburn, windburn, cancer radiation burns, heat-induced burns, scars, lesions, dry skin and chapped skin. The oil is also used as a tonic to promote hair growth.

Kukui Nut Preparation

Choose Kukui nuts that are mature, firm, and free from dirt and debris. Mature nuts are used for oil extractions and are darker in color than the young Kukui nuts. This is due to the natural aging process. The oil is found inside the kernel and when extracted produces a transparent, fluid-like consistency.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the mature Kukui nuts on a baking sheet, and bake for one to two hours. Allow the nuts to cool before cracking open. Remove the inside kernel from the nutshell and set it aside for mashing.

Grind the kernels into a fine paste using a mortar and pestle.

Three Methods to Extract the Kukui Oil

Fill a hand-operated oil press with the paste, and set a wide container under the press to catch the extracted oil.

Fill cheesecloth with the paste and strain them by twisting and tightening the cheesecloth to press out the extracted oil into a bowl.

Place the paste into a jar and store in the refrigerator. While in the refrigerator, the oil will separate and rise to the top. Pour the separated oil into another jar and place in the refrigerator for future use. Discard the mashed kernels in the trash.


  • The pressed oil can be used to polish wood bowls, making them waterproof.

  • Wear gloves when applying pressure to the contents of the cheesecloth.