Coconut oil adds a subtle sweetness to anything to which it’s added. It also has a moderate smoke point, making it ideal for sauteing anything from vegetables to pancakes. Plus, coconut oil is a darling of healthy eaters who sing of its healthy medium-chain saturated fatty acids and anti-microbial properties.
At room temperature, coconut oil isn’t like other cooking oils. It’s a soft solid, almost like refrigerated butter. Don’t let the texture stop you from using it, though. The best way to consume it is simply the one you enjoy most.
Coconut oil can be used in most baked goods with positive results.
- Replace vegetable shortening with coconut oil in cookie or bar recipes.
- Use coconut oil instead of butter in any baked-good recipe.
- Cook pancakes in coconut oil rather than cooking spray or butter.
Coconut oil can become a standard oil for stir-frying or pan frying.
- Scramble eggs in a pan greased with coconut oil.
- Cook up a veggie stir-fry in coconut oil.
- Use coconut oil as a base oil for curries or other sauced dishes. It’s particular appealing in Indian or Caribbean recipes.
- Pan-fry fish or breaded chicken cutlets in coconut oil.
If you’re not into cooking the oil but still want to include it in your diet, you have options.
- Melt a teaspoon or two of coconut oil over a hot grain cereal, such as oatmeal, in the morning.
- Whiz coconut oil into a smoothie.
- Top popcorn with coconut oil instead of butter.
- Stir a teaspoon into a cup of soup or stew.
- Pour melted coconut oil over waffles, instead of butter, before you add syrup.
If sauteing, snacking and baking aren’t for you, other options are still available.
- Toss wedges of white or sweet potatoes in melted coconut oil before oven-baking.
- Make energy coffee by high-speed blending a cup with a tablespoon of coconut oil and grass-fed butter. The same may be done with hot cocoa.
- Rub it on a roasted chicken or turkey before placing the bird in the oven. It helps seasonings adhere and gives the skin a crispy finish.
- Take it straight — some people enjoy the flavor without any cooking and other ingredients.
Refined coconut oil has a lighter coconut flavor and can withstand higher temperatures. Virgin or extra-virgin oils have a flavor that’s more pronounced. Both are suitable for sauteing and baking.