How to Substitute Coconut Oil for Shortening

By LeafTV Editor

From adding healthy fat to a sauté to moisturizing skin, coconut oil does just about everything. This MVP oil comes from mature coconut meat and has a mild, nutty flavor.

Fresh coconuts and a jar of coconut oil on a wooden table
credit: Magone/iStock/GettyImages
How To Substitute Coconut Oil For Shortening

Baking With Coconut Oil

A notable characteristic is that it's

solid

when stored at 76 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. (When warmed, it turns into a liquid.) This makes it ideal in place of butter or vegetable shortening in baked goods. Use coconut oil as a natural, nondairy replacement for these. Its

consistency

makes it particularly great for making flaky pastries, including pie dough. Will it make your recipes taste like coconut? Yes, a little. Whether the recipe is sweet or savory, coconut oil imparts a mild, nutty flavor. It also deepens the flavor of rich desserts like pound cake or chocolate ice cream.

Cooking With Coconut Oil

Use coconut oil in place of vegetable oils for pan-fried foods like stir-fry. Substitute at a 1:1 ratio. You can also deep fry with it, but

only for lower-temperature cooking

. Heat the oil to no more than 325 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If it's too hot, the oil will burn and smoke, leading to charred, smoky foods.

How to Liquefy Coconut Oil

Liquefy a whole jar of coconut oil by running hot water over the sealed jar until the oil warms enough. To liquefy smaller amounts, microwave the oil on high for 15 to 30 seconds, depending on the amount of oil. Coconut oil added directly to a hot pan melts naturally.

Storage

Store coconut oil in the fridge or in your pantry. If you want to keep it solid, keep it in the fridge if the room temperature is above 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Only use dry utensils to scoop out coconut oil, whether liquid or solid. Water in the jar, even if by accident, increases the chance of mold developing. If stored in a dark location in an airtight container, a jar of coconut oil

lasts for around 2 years

.