The ‘secret’ to cooking with coconut oil

So just how do you cook with coconut oil?

The better question might be, how do you cook without it?

Not only can coconut oil be swapped out for almost any other cooking oil, but because it has the highest smoking temperature, it’s perfect for pan frying fish, poultry, vegetables and anything else that should be cooked as quickly as possible.

And celebrity chefs – as well as just plain celebrities — have also discovered its amazing benefits.

There’s Vincent Vanhecke, executive chef at the Valley Club of Montecito in Santa Barbara, Calif., who’s constantly singing the praises of coconut oil. In his write-up “A Chef Tells All: 5 Ways to Use Coconut Oil (In and Out of the Kitchen!),” he highlights the sauté aspect of the oil. “Coconut oil handles heat well and does not go rancid at high temperatures making it ideal for sautéing fish, meats, vegetables and eggs. The taste is great with fish especially with a squeeze of lemon before serving.”

Celebrity chef Giada de Laurentiis is another fan. Her favorite way of using coconut oil is to melt maple syrup and coconut oil together for about a minute and pour over fruits or use in dressings.

Coconut oil is also big with celebrities like Angelina Jolie. “Grazia” magazine writes, “Angelina has been known to start her day with little more than a spoonful of coconut oil and a handful of cereal.”

Possibly the most active celebrity proponent of coconut oil is Jennifer Aniston. Per, Jennifer has been “a devotee of the Coconut Diet for a period of time and was even spotted with a shopping cart full of coconut oil. The Coconut Diet is low carb and includes plenty of coconut in all its forms to speed metabolism and weight loss.”

But you don’t have to be famous, or even a famous chef, to find plenty of ways to use coconut oil every single day.

Some perfect ways that pop out include popping popcorn. Tip: Since coconut oil takes a higher heat to smoke, always toss a few kernels in to see when things are hot enough to pop. Then when the popcorn is done popping, pour on some more coconut oil as a buttery topping. It’s especially good when the oil is infused with sea salt – or any herbal popcorn toppers

There are also many uses for cool/hardened coconut oil, which readily serves as a butter substitute. It can be easily spread on toast or atop mashed or baked potatoes. It also flows nicely atop pancakes.

Hardened coconut oil also spices up nicely. Add herbs and seasonings to it as it begins to solidify, and then refrigerate. Afterwards, spread on sandwiches or drop into a heated skillet for an oil and seasoning in one.

One of the most healthful usages for coconut oil is in salad dressings. Here’s a simple recipe found at

  •  1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Place coconut oil into a small metal bowl and add vinegar. Whisk briskly; mixture will be thick. Add honey and salt and whisk until well combined.

To thin mixture, place into a saucepan of simmering water and continue stirring. The dressing will quickly liquefy and when it becomes slightly warmer than room temperature it can be tossed easily with chilled greens.

And my favorite recipe that uses coconut oil is my very own mock mousse pudding with a “secret” ingredient. Check it out here.

Oh, and one other thing: forget all that stuff you might have once heard that coconut oil is bad for your heart. That was based on faulty studies done with partially hydrogenated oil, which contained trans fats. In fact, there’s nothing quite as heart-healthy as pure, unrefined extra virgin coconut oil, as the remarkably low level of heart disease among South Sea islanders will readily attest.

Read more about coconut oil here and here, and for Aisleagh’s great recipe to make a coconut stovetop fried chicken sandwich, check out her post here.

Our Wild Oats bloggers are partners who love to share their passion and knowledge about better living! While we compensate them for being a part of this vibrant community, their views and opinions are their own and do not signify Wild Oats' opinions, endorsement or recommendations. Wild Oats reserves the right to moderate and remove comments that are off-topic or inappropriate, so please help us keep this community clean, fun and valuable!

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