10 Favorite Foodie Uses for Coconut Oil | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

08 September, 2014

10 Favorite Foodie Uses for Coconut Oil

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Ah, coconut oil. My Pinterest feed is inundated with posts professing its muli-tasking, beautifying abilities: You can use it as conditioner! As makeup remover! As a natural mouthwash! And so on. While some of those things are definitely true, I still tend to think of coconut oil as a cooking ingredient more than anything else, so today I thought I'd share a few of my favorite foodie uses for the stuff. (And if you want to steal a spoonful for your hair every now and then I certainly won't oppose.)


1. Use coconut oil as a substitute for butter or margarine in cakes and brownies.
For those who don't know: I've eaten a vegan diet for the past 4+ years. Generally speaking I find it very easy to cook for vegan dietary restrictions, however baked goods can sometimes present a bit of a challenge. I see a lot of cake and brownie recipes calling for butter (or even vegan butter, like Earth Balance, in some vegan-specific recipes). It's not too hard to sub margarine for butter, but what if you run out? Also, it can be kind of expensive. Thankfully, coconut oil comes to the rescue: You can substitute coconut oil for butter 1:1 in most recipes, and since coconut oil is sort of buttery in texture when in its semi-solid state, you can even whip it with sugar like you would with regular butter. It also imparts a very faint, delicate nutty flavor. Sometimes I'll adapt recipes and use half "butter" and half coconut oil just because I like the taste.

2. Add a spoonful of coconut oil to your milkshakes for improved texture.
You know how fast food milkshakes tend to have a really smooth texture that's "creamy" without actually being milky? Here's a secret: They often contain vegetable oil. Next time you make a milkshake, try putting in a tablespoon or so of liquified (melted) coconut oil and notice the texture difference. (You can also use canola oil or another light, flavorless oil if your coconut oil is too hard.)


3. Try blending coconut oil into your coffee.

On a similar note, blending a tablespoon or so into your hot coffee (along with milk and any desired sweetener) gives a lovely texture and supposedly provides a nicer, more sustained energy "kick". Than regular coffee alone. I'm not 100% sure about the energy boost, but it provides a nice alternative to drinking plain old black coffee or boring coffee with milk in it. Just make sure you mix it up in a blender so it can emulsify properly.

4. Pop your popcorn in coconut oil.

I strongly prefer air-popped or oil-popped popcorn to the microwave bag stuff. It just tastes more like real food, y'know? And coconut oil is an even more delicious choice than flavorless oils (like canola). If you've never oil-popped before, it's actually really easy: Just heat up about 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large pot on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add 3-4 kernels and wait for them to pop (this is your way of testing the oil to make sure it's hot enough). Once they pop, add more corn (about 1/2 a cup), put a lid on the pot, and shake it gently back and forth over the heat  (this prevents it from burning) until all of the kernels have popped. Then you can add salt or whatever else you want! That's really all there is to it.

5. Use coconut oil as a spread on toast.
This may sound kind of weird, but a thin layer of coconut oil spread on toast beats margarine any day. Just try it. Add a light sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top for extra awesomeness.

6. Use coconut oil to sauté your greens.
Before the whole coconut oil craze I just used olive oil to sauté my veggies, but this is an awesome alternative. Kale or spinach + a generous amount of garlic + a hint of salt + a little bit of coconut oil makes for an awesome (and simple) veggie side dish.

7. Use coconut oil in your next curry.
I've always been a big fan of coconut milk curries, but for extra coco-coconuttiness you can use coconut oil to sauté whatever vegetable matter you're putting in at the beginning. (Yes, coco-coconuttiness is a word.)

8. Try roasting potatoes in coconut oil.
Potatoes roasted in olive oil with salt are a classic, but have you ever tried them with coconut oil instead? Just use the same amount of (melted) coconut oil as you would olive oil, toss with potatoes and other seasonings as desired, and roast. The smell is DELICIOUS. Or if you're already planning the menu for your next Thanksgiving feast, try sweet potatoes roasted in coconut oil—yum!

9. Use coconut oil to fry your eggs and/or tofu scrambles.
I don't eat eggs anymore, but for those of you who do, using coconut oil is an excellent alternative to pan-frying them in butter. Just make sure to keep the heat moderate so you don't create a ridiculous amount of smoke and/or burn your eggs. Similarly, if you're a vegan or just a lover of tofu, you can do the same thing with tofu scrambles.

10. Try coconut oil in your next salad dressing recipe.
Coconut oil adds an interesting flavor to salad dressings and vinaigrettes, particularly those with a sweet component to them (i.e. honey or agave nectar). Try replacing half (or more) of your "usual" oil with coconut oil and notice the difference!


Those are a few of my favorite uses for coconut oil—what are yours? By the way, I was inspired to write this because Thera Vita sent me me a jar of their Paradise Organic Coconut Oil to review, and of course I've been using it (and dreaming up new ways to use it). The oil arrived in a liquified state (it is summer) but it solidified easily when I popped it in the fridge. It doesn't have as strong of a sweet/nutty smell and flavor as the other coconut oil I currently have in my possession (Vitacost store brand), but it's perfectly pleasant. It's just more neutral, if anything. In any case, thanks to Thera Vita for fueling my coconutty eating fantasies!


Do you use coconut oil mostly for beauty or cooking purposes? What's your favorite brand?



Disclosure: The coconut oil featured in this post was provided to me for review purposes, however any opinions expressed above are honest and my own. I did not receive any other form of compensation. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy.
 

51 comments:

  1. When I make paleo treats, I always substitute butter for coconut oil. I've also put it in smoothies a couple of times, especially since I've heard it's great in filtering out your liver. Since I'm a "sickie" who is on lots of meds, that's extremely important to me, but even if you're not on medication, coconut oil has a lot of other benefits too! I've thought about doing the oil-pulling fad (even though it isn't food related), but I'm still not set on it.

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  2. I was considering doing oil pulling and documenting it, but I chickened out. I'm not entirely convinced of the supposed health benefits associated with it, but I do believe that it might actually make a decent natural alternative to mouthwash. Don't want to have a gag reflex/spit-take due all over my furniture due to oil swishing though. Anyway, putting it in smoothies is a great idea! Like milkshakes, but with actual nutrients, haha. :)

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  3. love coconut oil, definitely a healthy and useful item for just about anything, teeth, hair, etc.

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  4. caroline | thecarodiariesSeptember 8, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    I never knew coconut oil could be used for all of these things! So cool!

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  5. I use coconut oil instead of butter on toast, and it's quite amazing! <3 Thanks for these tips! <3

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  6. I love seeing all the things you can use Coconut Oil for! This is a great post!

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  7. I love frying shrimp in coconut oil. I ate it like that and put it in jambalaya.

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  8. It really is so delicious on toast! :)

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  9. Ooh, that's a very clever idea! Thanks for sharing. :)

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  10. Brilliant!! :) I love coconut oil and just discovered how genius it is. I have some brand from Trader Joe's but no idea what it is. Ha!

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  11. I'm very big on using coconut oil in frying, although since I run a beauty blog, it's usually a beauty ingredient when I talk about it. I've just gotten into using it in place of almost all my other cooking oils, but I definitely get more coconut taste out of it than what everything told me. "Oh, you can't taste it at all!" Uh, yeah, you can.

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  12. Haha yeah, that's true. I love coconut, but I wouldn't use the oil in EVERYTHING because it does have sort of a distinct taste, just like olive oil. If you want a really neutral oil canola or soybean is probably best.

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  13. I'll guess that it's .... Trader Joe's brand? :) But actually thanks for the the tip, I'll bet it's rather inexpensive there!

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  14. Hehe! I bet you're right! :) And yes, it was very reasonably priced. Hurrah!

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  15. These are some great tips! I never knew you could use it for so many things!

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  16. Love Coconut oil! Thanks for sharing new ideas for how to use it!

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  17. I love coconut oil! And this past weekend I bought coconut butter to use :) So much coconut in my kitchen!

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  18. I don't use much coconut oil, but now that you've listed out all of these uses for it...well, I just might!

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  19. Mmm, coconut butter sounds delicious! Having different kinds of coconut ingredients around doesn't sound like a bad situation to be in. :)

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  20. Hey, why not? I like cooking a lot so I usually have a few different kinds of oil around, but of course I don't want to have too many open at once (apartment/limited space) so it's good to find multitaskers. :)

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  21. I have a huge jar of coconut oil in my pantry that someone gave me, but have been stumped on how to use it. Thanks for sharing these great list of uses!

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  22. Whenever I go to my boyfriend's parents house, we have eggs in coconut oil and they are so tasty. They taste so much fresher. It's such a healthy alternative to all the other oils/butters out there!


    Katie <3

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  23. I use coconut oil for so many of my recipes and for my beauty regimen. It's absolutely amazing stuff! I love the smoothie tip and will use it this morning! :)

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  24. I use coconut oil to fry tofu (it has a high smoking point so i can get the tofu really crispy) and definitely with chicken curry!

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  25. Coconut oil is one of my favourite ingredients. I put in my porridge this morning.

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  26. Great tips, I have used in numbers 1, 6 and 9

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  27. Great ideas! I used coconut oil to make coconut flower pancakes. I use it like I would butter in the pan to cook them.

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  28. I hadn't thought of coconut oil in porridge but that sounds really good!

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  29. That sounds really good! Yum. I like that you can use it in place of butter in most situations.

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  30. I really want to try my popcorn with coconut oil. I don't use it much in the kitchen right now.

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  31. I've never used coconut oil before but it sounds like it has a lot of uses.

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  32. I had no idea about the tip about milkshakes!! Awesome!!

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  33. I have heard a lot of people use coconut oil in their coffee, going to try tomorrow!

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  34. I love coconut oil. It works so well as a makeup remover!

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  35. I love coconut oil. It has so many wonderful benefits and can be used in so many different ways!

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  36. Awesome! Feel free to report back and let me know if you love it or hate it. :)

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  37. It's reallllly good, definitely worth a try in my opinion!

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  38. I have never used coconut oil for anything but beauty purposes. It seems so weird to me to use it in food, haha!

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  39. I have never used coconut oil for anything. I think I need to try it out.

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  40. Coconut oil is amazing and it is really the only safe and healthy oil to cook with.

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  41. Hah, that's funny! I've knew it as a food ingredient because it became such a big DIY beauty star. :)

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  42. I always have coconut oil in my arsenal (for cooking and hair stuff) and I'm intrigued by the milkshake thing. Also, I really want to make popcorn now!

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  43. This is so helpful! I've actually only used coconut oil as a beauty product, thanks for sharing!

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  44. I like your suggestions. Coconut oil is the latest in "thing". I saw a suggestion to feed it to your dog for a shiny coat.

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  45. I looove eating coconut oil! Trader Joe's and Sprouts offer Coconut oil spray and I use it for all of my cooking!!

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  46. Oh that sounds really amazing! Much better than generic old "vegetable oil" cooking spray, anyway. Will look out for it on my next TJs trip, thanks for the tip! :)

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  47. I need to get some of this. It's everywhere.

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  48. I've been trying to use more coconut oil in my cooking! Thankfully, I can find it for a great price at Trader Joe's!

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  49. It seems that Trader Joe's is a popular source for coconut oil! Makes sense - gotta love budget-friendly options. :)

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  50. you're welcome!! It is seriously AMAZING! Especially for cakes :)

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