Why you should be cooking with coconut oil

By
Imogen Denny
Added
11 November, 2015

Imogen Denny takes a masterclass with Vita Coco to discover more about the latest cooking trends.

I already use coconut oil for frying; because of its high smoke point, the natural impurities can reach a higher temperature before they begin to burn. But I knew that couldn’t be the only reason it’s so on trend; but how much more could there be to learn? A lot, as it turns out. 

The really fascinating thing about coconut oil is its extreme heat sensitivity, and the myriad ways in which this can be exploited. The first thing this means is you should not be surprised to find your coconut oil is a clear liquid if your kitchen gets hot in the summer but is a solid block at a cooler room temperature. This means it melts quickly when added to a hot pan if you’re using it as a replacement for butter or oil in soups or stir fries.

Adding melted coconut oil to your smoothie is a great way give it a creamy texture. Because coconut oils are made purely out of the flesh of coconuts they are a source of healthy fat, and we need this in our diet to help our bodies absorb fat soluble vitamins. When added to smoothies, it helps to keep all of the ingredients suspended, so the best (or worst!) bits don’t sink to the bottom, acting like an emulsifying agent. At the risk of sounding like a health food advertisement, it also helps that smoothie keep you fuller for longer! 

Like fudge? Try freezing coconut oil. You can add flavours to coconut oil, then refrigerate, or even freeze, into a slab. Once cooled it can be sliced and eaten as a small, rich sweet treat; a cube of fudge or tablet is the closest comparison I can draw. I tried mint extract, cacao and honey, and it tasted much better than a sugary chocolate bar. This idea can be taken to the next level, too; the coconut oil can be coloured or decorated, or you could pour the flavoured oil over dried fruit and nuts for a healthy snack bar, the possibilities are endless. 

Three easy ways to try using coconut oil

  1. Stir a couple of tablespoons into some hot rice for a quick take on coconut rice.

  2. Use as a base for your butternut squash soup with lime and chillies for a thai twist on a classic.

  3. Add cocoa powder and honey to melted coconut oil, tasting as you go, and pour over vanilla ice cream for a slightly healthier version of a sundae.

What you should be cooking with coconut oil

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