Whether you need to replace butter for dietary restrictions or health purposes, coconut oil is the perfect substitution. Along with its mild flavor, one of coconut oil's best attributes is that it's cholesterol free. Whenever you use coconut oil in place of butter, it is a direct swap -- use the same amount of coconut oil as you would butter.
[Although coconut oil's flavor is mild, it can still be noticeable in simpler dishes, so it is not ideal for butter sauces or for frying a salt and pepper steak.]
Use coconut oil instead of butter for dishes requiring high heat or with ingredients that pair well with sweeter flavors, even if the dish you're making isn't necessarily sweet. The more complex the flavor of the dish, the less noticeable the coconut oil's flavor will be. Coconut oil has a high smoke point, which makes it great for stir fry and for frying pancakes and omelets. Its flavor blends well when making curry and also pan-fried tofu, pork and shellfish.
Where coconut oil really shines as a valuable replacement is in baked goods. Like butter, and unlike many other oils, coconut oil is solid at room temperature. This quality produces the right texture during creaming, and creates fluffy, chewy baked goods that are crisp on the outside. Replace butter with the same measure of coconut oil in recipes for baked goods including:
- Pie crusts
- Pie filling
Coconut oil can also be used to grease baking pans or as a spread on muffins, loaves and toast.
Coconut oil is fine to store in the pantry. It melts at 76 degrees Fahrenheit, so if it's summer or if you live in a hot climate, you may want to keep some in the refrigerator to use for baking. Take the oil out of the refrigerator 10 minutes before you're ready to use, but keep a close watch to be sure it doesn't melt.