Coconut oil is basically the Adele of the cooking world. Everyone's heard of it, everyone loves it, and everyone loves to tell you how much they love it. Hello, it's coconut oil, and I was wondering if after all this time you'd like to use me for something other than teeth whitening. Because there's a lot to know about this magic jar of goodness, but the things to know about cooking with coconut oil top the list.
Most of the hype about coconut oil has been all of its health benefits, but that wasn't always the case. According to the Huffington Post, coconut oil used to get a bad rap. And although a few studies have been done on the low amount of cholesterol in coconut oil, studies haven't shown much on how it affects long-term heart health.
But the light taste of coconut oil and the texture continue to win people over while cooking. And because of its versatility in the home, it's an economical choice, especially if you're using it to both cook your chicken and condition your hair. But because it's so different from more popular cooking oils like vegetable oil or olive oil, there are 11 things you should know about cooking with coconut oil.
1. It Contains Saturated Fats
If you're substituting butter and oil for coconut oil in the hopes it will make your dish healthy, that may not be the case. The New York Times noted that coconut oil still contains saturated fats and federal dietary guidelines recommend that less than 10 percent of your daily calories are made up of saturated fats. Despite its other benefits, too much can be bad for your heart health, according to Huffington Post.
2. It's Solid At Room Temperature
Coconut oil isn't like olive or vegetable oil, in that coconut oil is solid at room temperature. So unless you're using it as a substitute for another solid-fat like butter or shortening, you'll have to melt it first for measuring.
3. It's Used A Lot In Asian Recipes
Coconut oil is great for a lot of different recipes, but it really shines in Asian recipes, like your favorite Chinese dish or Indian curry. It's great for anything tropical, too.
4. It Has A Stronger Flavor
It's not particularly overwhelming, but coconut oil does have the taste and aroma of coconuts. If you want something more subtle, try refined coconut. Otherwise unrefined coconut oil has a much stronger taste.
5. It Needs Salt If Substituting For Salted Butter
People love to replace butter with coconut oil in recipes, but if you're replacing salted butter, Healthy Eating notes that you need to add a dash of salt.
6. It Has A High Smoking Point
Coconut oil is perfect for sautéing vegetables and even frying foods because it has a smoke point of 350 degrees fahrenheit.
7. It Spreads Like Butter
Although coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it's also spreadable like butter. For a yummy alternative on your waffles and toast, Whole Foods recommends using coconut oil like you would your favorite butter.
8. It Solidifies When Added To Cold Ingredients
You may find that your melted coconut oil is turning into small chunks when mixed with cold ingredients, such as frozen fruit in smoothies. You can combat this by either warming up your other ingredients, or just dealing with tiny chunks.
9. It Has A One-To-One Ratio When Used As A Substitute
If you're replacing a butter or oil in a recipe, especially baking dishes, there's no complicated equations to follow. The Kitchn notes that you should replace the butter or oil with coconut oil in a one-to-one ratio.
10. It May Melt In Its Jar
If you notice your coconut oil has a layer of liquid atop its solid state in the jar, don't worry about it. According to Vegan Baking, coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees fahrenheit, so its totally normal for your jar to go back and forth between liquid and solid.
11. It Can Be Used For Just About Anything
Scrambling eggs, replacing butter or oil in baked goods, stir frying vegetables, add it to soup or chili, and even use it to rub on meats before grilling. The options are endless with coconut oil.