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Best coconut oil for cooking 2022: Roast, fry and bake with our favourite cooking coconut oil

Add a creamy, aromatic flavour to your cooking with these delicious coconut oils

Coconut oil is just one great alternative to cooking with butter and other vegetable oils – but how do you separate the best coconut oil from the duds? With so many brands claiming different things, you need to be certain that what you’re buying is the real deal. Good coconut oil will not only add a subtle flavour to many dishes, but it’s also vegan, gluten-free and a great source of good fat when enjoyed in moderation.

It’s grown steadily in popularity over the years and, unlike other flash-in-the-pan cooking fads, it would appear good coconut oil is here to stay. You can even take it from the kitchen to the bathroom and use the uber-nourishing oil in your beauty routine, for healthier hair and softer skin.

Below, we show you how to best use coconut oil in cooking, as well as what should you watch out for when buying it for the first time. If you’re already clued up on your oil dos and don’ts, scroll on for our pick of the best coconut oil you can buy.

Best coconut oil for cooking: At a glance

How to choose the best coconut oil for you

What can I use coconut oil for?

You can use coconut oil like you would any other oil. Fry chicken, roast vegetables or even use it as a vegan replacement for butter when baking. It’s great for spreading on toast, mixing with chocolate to create a ganache or greasing trays so your baking doesn’t stick.

Coconut oil also has a longer shelf life and higher smoking point than most other cooking fats. In fact, unrefined coconut oil smokes at 171˚C (350˚F), while refined types hold out until they reach 204˚C (400˚F). It’s also the only vegetable oil to remain solid at room temperature, only melting at 24˚C (76˚F) and above.

Is coconut oil good for you?

Many important questions have been raised about coconut oil’s impact on our health and whether we should be integrating it into our diet. After all, coconut oil has a high concentration of lauric acid, which is a saturated fat. While lauric acid is great for fighting pathogens, ingesting too much saturated fat can be bad for you. This can increase the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood (the bad kind) and lead to clogged arteries or heart disease.

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Our answer is to consume coconut oil in moderation, like most things, as eating from a range of food groups is part of having a healthy and well-balanced diet. Be sure to use other oils in your cooking, too, as there are many benefits to other oils such as extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil and even butter.

What are the different types of coconut oil?

  • Food grade coconut oil is produced at the highest standard, this oil is safe to ingest, which means it can be used for cooking or cosmetic use. There may be a slight coconutty taste when cooking with this.
  • Cosmetic grade coconut oil can only be used for beauty-related purposes as it’s produced to a lower standard. While ideal for use as a body moisturiser or makeup remover, it can’t be used for cooking as it may contain other ingredients or perfumes.
  • Unrefined coconut oil, often referred to as virgin or extra virgin coconut oil, has been extracted and processed naturally, leaving the original coconut scent, texture and flavour.
  • Refined coconut oil is bleached and deodorised to remove the colour, scent and flavour. This oil is better for cooking with you if you don’t want that distinct coconut taste in your cooking.

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The best coconut oils for cooking to buy

1. Vita Coco Coconut Oil: The best cheap raw coconut oil for cooking

Price: £10 (500ml) | Buy now from Amazon

There’s no need to spend a fortune to benefit from coconut oil’s natural goodness. Our budget buy, the Vita Coco oil has been cold-pressed from mature coconut meat in the Philippines to retain its nutrients and antioxidants like lauric acid and vitamin E. It’s ideal for those with Celiac disease as this extra virgin oil is 100% gluten-free and certified organic.

The wide-mouthed jar makes it easy to spoon out the contents without making a mess and we found the oil melted quickly in the pan to leave no lumps. In terms of taste, the coconut oil is pretty neutral. We detected a slight nutty tang but it’s subtle enough to not imbalance anything you’re cooking.

Our thoughts? The Vita Coco coconut oil is unrefined, organic and raw: everything you’d expect from a quality coconut oil but at a bargain price.

Key specs – Volume: 500ml; Refined/unrefined: Unrefined

2. Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil: The best unrefined coconut oil for cooking

Price: £15 (858ml) | Buy now from Amazon

Unrefined oils have a distinct coconut flavour that’s guaranteed to give your dish a tropical edge and we think the Nutiva coconut oil is one of the best for that distinct flavour. Using the freshest coconuts from Southeast Asia, Nutiva processes and extracts the meat inside the nut as naturally as possible to retain its signature scent, taste and texture.

Completely organic and cold-pressed to lock in all the goodness, the tropical creamy taste of Nutiva oil is great for baking coconut-based treats, cooking curries or livening up porridge.

But what really puts Nutiva one step above the rest is its commitment to giving back. In the Philippines, it’s sponsored the planting of 200,000 coconut seedlings, which will contribute to farmers’ crop yield and income in the future. Overall, a fantastic brand and a tasty coconut oil.

Key specs – Volume: 858ml; Refined/unrefined: Unrefined

3. KTC Coconut Oil: The best refined coconut oil for cooking

Price: £7 (3 x 500ml) | Buy now from Amazon

If you’d prefer that whatever you’re cooking didn’t taste of coconut, try a refined oil instead. Neutral-tasting, refined oils are extracted from dried coconut meat, which is called copra. During processing the oil is refined, bleached and deodorised for safe consumption, removing its strong flavour and scent. The result is less expensive than unrefined alternatives.

Our favourite refined coconut oil is from KTC. It’s completely pure, with no added ingredients or flavourings, so it’s gluten-free and suitable for vegans. It’s also fantastic to fry with, as it has a super-high smoking point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

The downside to going refined? You’ll have to wave goodbye to the health benefits of using coconut oil, as many of the nutrients and vitamins are stripped during processing.

Key specs – Volume: 1500ml; Refined/unrefined: Refined

4. Tiana coconut oil: The best fairtrade coconut oil for cooking

Price: £12 (500ml) | Buy now from Amazon

You’d have thought with coconut oil’s superfood status, coconut farms across the world would be raking it in. Unfortunately, that’s not the case as most farmers and workers are exploited, overworked and underpaid.

With Tiana, you’re making the best decision for your body and the farmers that produce it. Not only is the oil itself unrefined, organic and completely raw, but it’s fairtrade too. Tiana ensures workers in developing countries earn a fair wage and have better opportunities while being educated on sustainability.

Committed to quality, Tiana puts its award-winning oil through a rigorous 20-stage testing process to guarantee that each and every jar is fresh. For a creamy, coconut taste, there’s no beating Tiana.

Key specs – Volume: 500ml; Refined/unrefined: Unrefined

5. Organic Coconut Oil Monte Nativo: Best value organic coconut oil

Price: £10 (1000ml) | Buy now from Amazon

There’s a whopping 1L of organic coconut oil in this jar from Monte Nativo, making it a great option for those who need to buy in bulk on a tight budget. At just £10, you might be concerned about the quality, however, this oil is unrefined and has a sumptuous flavour profile.

It’s also cold-pressed just once, to get all that creamy goodness trans-fat free and without any additional additives or preservatives. With an above average percentage of lauric acid (53%), this coconut oil is also well suited to high-temperature cooking such as frying and baking.

Key specs – Volume: 1000ml; Refined/unrefined: Unrefined

6. Nature’s Truth Liquid Coconut Oil: Best for a Keto Diet

Price: £7 (237ml) | Buy now from Nature’s Truth

With a whopping 13 grams of MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) per tablespoon, this Liquid Coconut Oil is the ideal option for those on a Ketogenic kick. In the body, MCTs – a type of fat that is shorter than most long-chain fats we eat – are converted into ketones (a chemical that breaks down fats), with this believed to increase energy expenditure and lead to fewer calories being stored as fat when used in moderation.

As a result, MCT heavy products like Nature’s Truth often form parts of low-carb, Ketogenic diets where fat loss is the goal. It’s also vegan and gluten-free since it’s expeller-pressed from fresh coconuts. Better still, it has a smoke point of 171˚C (350˚F) which is 30˚C higher than pure MCT oils, meaning it is great for slow cooking, baking or sauteing.

Key specs – Volume: 237ml; Refined/unrefined: Unrefined

Buy now from Nature’s Truth

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