Even though coconut oil is all the rage these days, it’s still a relatively new addition to most kitchen cupboards. Because it’s not a standard ingredient (like butter, sugar or flour), it can get a bit confusing when substituting it into recipes. But don’t let that stop you; we’re here to help.
Coconut oil is an all-natural powerhouse with lots of health benefits. It can be used as an antioxidant, disinfectant, antibacterial, antifungal and soothing agent. Also, if you’re trying to build muscle, it has lower calories than most other oils so the body can convert it to energy much quicker. People with an allergy or sensitivity to dairy (or who want to cut dairy from their diet for any reason) can use coconut oil instead of butter and it’s a much better and healthier substitute than margarine.
What to look for
If you’ve never cooked with coconut oil, you’re in for a treat. Look for certified organic, either virgin (unrefined) or refined, depending on your recipe and taste. Organic virgin coconut oil has a soft coconut aroma and pronounced coconut flavour while refined coconut oil has a much more subtle flavour.
How to substitute into recipes
Like butter, coconut oil is solid at room temperature, allowing it to be used at a one-to-one replacement ratio. However, coconut oil will melt at approximately 76 F (about 24 C), so don’t let the kitchen get too warm. If necessary, place the coconut oil in the refrigerator until you are ready for it to prevent it from melting. Baked goods will need solid coconut oil to make sure the texture turns out the way it should; stir it into your recipe quickly so it does not begin to solidify and make your recipe lumpy. You can also use coconut oil to grease your pans the way you would use butter.
If your recipe calls for oil or melted butter, melt coconut oil over low heat, allowing it to briefly cool before adding. You can place a bowl or your jar of oil on the stove while you are preheating the oven and prepping your other ingredients as the oil will melt quickly. Use the coconut oil the way you would any other type of oil.
Other tips on using coconut oil in the kitchen:
- Melt a spoonful of coconut oil over hot cooked grains, cereals and veggies.
- Use organic refined coconut oil for sautéing, stir-frying and baking. If you prefer a stronger coconut flavor, try virgin or extra-virgin, but remember, it can burn more quickly, making it better for medium to low-heat cooking.
- Stir a spoonful into hot cooked soups, curries and stews.
- Scramble eggs in coconut oil, or melt over hot, poached eggs.
- Use in bread baking or for making crackers
- Make potato or sweet potato pancakes cooked in coconut oil.
- Spread over French toast, whole grain toast, muffins, pancakes and waffles.
- Sauté veggies in coconut oil, add cooked beans or lentils and spices for a quick, delicious meal.
- Rub a chicken with coconut oil, salt, pepper and sage before roasting.
- Pan-fry fish in coconut oil.
- Cook bananas in coconut oil with nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon.
- Make hot cocoa and stir in a spoonful of coconut oil.
Do you use coconut oil in your cooking or baking? Got a recipe or great tip? Let us know!