Until we took our “No Refined Oils” mini-pledge last year I had never before purchased or cooked with coconut oil. And, like many others, I was surprised when I first learned that coconut oil is—or should I say “can be”—a solid.
I set out to use unrefined coconut oil in baked goods (like muffins, banana bread, pumpkin bread, and waffles) instead of the typical refined oils like canola/vegetable/grapeseed, which are obviously always in liquid form. Coconut oil, on the other hand, can actually change from a liquid to a solid (and then back again without causing any harm) pretty frequently because the melting point is 76 degrees F, which is fairly close to room temperature.
And since my husband is a little stingy with the A/C and heat usage in our house, I’ve found that our coconut oil is actually in liquid form in the summer and in solid form in the winter…talk about throwing me for a loop! So I thought it was pretty appropriate to put together this post today on how to work with these changes in consistency.
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Coconut oil tips that I’ve collected from various sources…
- Have all other ingredients at room temperature (like eggs, milk, and flour) before mixing them together with coconut oil that’s in liquid form
- In most cases, it is best to melt coconut oil that’s in solid form before measuring and adding it to a recipe…
- You can melt the oil by scooping some out of the jar and heating it in the microwave or on the stove
- You can also put the entire jar in the microwave or stick it in a pot of warm water to bring it to liquid form (it’s okay for the oil to go back and forth many times between liquid and solid)
- If you decide to scoop out the coconut oil before heating it then consider warming up some of the other ingredients (like honey and/or vanilla extract) together with the coconut oil to bring more than just the oil to a warmer temp
- Quickly whisk in the warm/liquid coconut oil (and other ingredients you may have heated as well) at the end after all the other ingredients have already been mixed together thoroughly
- Even after heating your coconut oil it can still turn into little solid chunks once it’s mixed with other cold ingredients, so…
- Consider whipping the batter more thoroughly in a blender to get rid of those oil chunks
- Make the recipe with the oil chunks in the batter anyway…I’ve done this with waffles and the end product still turned out okay
- Consider heating and mixing all ingredients together in a double boiler on the stove…it doesn’t take much to get above 76 degrees
- Some people actually prefer to use coconut oil in a solid form when using it as a replacement for Crisco or butter in recipes like pie or pastry crust
- Coconut oil can also be used to sauté veggies and other foods on the stove, and although I haven’t tried it yet I’ve heard it can add an especially good flavor when making stir-fry
- Check out the Nutiva website for some other general FAQs regarding coconut oil
To learn more about why we use coconut oil (and what kind of coconut oil to buy) check out our “No Refined Oils” mini-pledge post from last year. And if you have any other tips please share them with us in the comments below!