Because you can use it in hundreds of tasty and healthy ways, coconut oil is an ingredient you should have in your house.
It elevates baking and cooking, works great as a butter-replacement for vegetarians, vegans, and health-conscious individuals, and is one of the best carrier oils for herbal infusions. As one of the few oils that is solid at room temperature yet melts to the touch, it’s an ideal base for homemade salves, balms, and creams.
- Is one of the most effective bases for absorbing herbal infusions
- Has a neutral flavor which blends into both sweet and savory dishes
- Stores at room temperature for months without needing refrigeration
- Moisturizes and conditions skin and hair
- Fits most diets: vegan, vegetarian, keto, etc.
- Has potential health benefits including boosting HDL (good) cholesterol
- Has a melting point of 78°F, making it ideal for cosmetics and food coatings
Want to discover the many uses for coconut oil?
We recommend starting with refined coconut oil. Refined coconut oils adds no coconut flavors or aromas to your edible and topical creations, and it also has the highest heat tolerance.
Because it is stable at high temperatures, refined coconut oil works well for frying, sautéing, baking, and any other kitchen process involving heat.
Cooking and baking
With its high smoke point of 400°F and high saturated fat content, coconut oil makes for a very stable cooking oil. The heat-tolerant qualities of coconut oil that make it good for pan-frying at low temperatures* and it also makes it good for other high-heat applications including baking and roasting. It has a similar texture to butter, and serves as a healthier butter-replacement in cookies, brownies, and cakes.
*Frying at high temperatures will degrade the potency of your infusion. It’s better to fry in a neutral oil and then infuse a sauce or spread with coconut oil.
**When baking, the internal temperature of your food never reaches the displayed oven temperature so degradation is minimal.
Use in desserts
Because it melts when heated slightly above room temperature, coconut oil has low temperature dessert applications. When added to chocolate, frostings, or icings, it can be heated then used to dip, coat or frost cakes and bars, then placed in the refrigerator to solidify. Check out our incredibly simple recipe here for an infused Chocolate Coating and Drizzle!
Coconut oil recipes
Dishes that include coconut meat or milk as well, like coconut curry mussels or berry coconut popsicles, are natural fit for coconut oil, but it’s important to remember that refined coconut oil has a neutral flavor and can be used in any cooking that calls for oil or butter. You can see just how mild the taste is by making baked goods with it such as coconut samoa bites and cookies.
For more ideas on how to use coconut oil in your home cooking, check out all of our recipes.
Coconut oil’s melting temperature makes it an ideal base for cosmetics. Solid at room temperature, it’s stable on the shelf. When you scoop some into your hands, your body temperature will make it melt, making it easy to apply and spread.
Coconut oil as a base
This quick transition from solid to liquid makes coconut oil a great base for people who want to make their own lotions, salves, and balms. To blend skincare ingredients into a coconut oil base, just heat the coconut oil until it melts, then add your ingredients, mix it, then let it solidify again.
Coconut oil as an extra ingredient
Beyond use as a base, coconut oil has desirable function, texture, and consistency qualities that make it a great secondary ingredient. As an oil, it has moisturizing properties for hair and skin. It can also give opacity to homemade salves and adjust viscosity and slipperiness.
Skincare, hair, and body uses
In terms of specific uses, coconut oil has applications all over the body. On the face, coconut oil works as a moisturizing makeup remover. It can be combined with salt or sugar to make exfoliating scrubs. In the hair, it can be used as a hair mask or hot oil treatment. When added in soap-making to traditional lye-based soaps, coconut oil has very high cleansing properties. On its own, coconut oil has potential antimicrobial properties. It is used in ayurvedic medicine circles as a tooth-cleaning substance and in homemade deodorants. It can also be used as bath bombs, suppositories and lotions.
For more examples of external uses for coconut oil, check out all of our topical and salve recipes.
Infusing herbs in coconut oil
If you’re making herb-infused edibles or topicals, start with coconut oil because it works the best at absorbing the active components of your herbs.
Why is coconut oil the best for herbal infusions?
Coconut oil efficiently absorbs the “herb” compounds that elevate you because it’s rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCT). This type of fat is physically better at extracting and absorbing the active ingredients from your herbs than other oils with shorter chain fats such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, and avocado oil. The only fat source that rivals coconut in effectiveness is butter. Infusing into butter however requires an additional step of clarifying. Coconut oil is ready to infuse – right out of the jar.
Internal and external uses
Once you’ve made an infusion, you can start using it immediately in cooking and baking, rub it on your skin, or take it sublingually (hold it under your tongue) for the fastest absorption. When infused with psychoactive herbs, you can create topicals and salves for a multitude of purposes.
When used for cooking, you can use infused coconut oil as you would any other oil, though it’s advisable to keep an eye on edibles dosage. The most useful recipes are ones that can be easily portioned such as easy-to-make single servings like a fried egg or a cup of coffee, or easy to store late like brownies, gummies or granola bars.
How to infuse coconut oil
To make the most of coconut oil’s ability to absorb herbal compounds, we recommend using a high-quality botanical extractor such as the MB2e MagicalButter Machine. The process of making your own infused edibles is full of steps in which you can lose potency. A professional-grade machine steeps your herbal extract at the correct time intervals and temperature to maximize the strength of your infusion every time.
Once you’ve made your herbal infused coconut oil, try it out as a butter replacement in an old favorite recipe or use it in new ones. Have fun exploring and enjoying the many uses of coconut oil!