Your definitive guide to baking with coconut oil.
Fragrant, slightly sweet, and surprisingly versatile, coconut oil is often the fat of choice for vegan baking and cooking. But even if you’re not vegan, don’t let that deter you from incorporating this rich oil in your cookies, cakes, pie crusts, and scones. Here are a few things to consider before heading into the kitchen:
Liquid or Solid
Depending on where it’s stored, coconut oil will either melt down to a liquid or seize up and solidify. Either is workable for your recipes. If you have liquefied coconut oil and need it firmed up for the recipe, pop it into the freezer. It won’t be long before it hardens! When it’s solidified at room-temperature (not frozen), it’ll sub into most recipes quite easily in lieu of butter or shortening. If you are subbing it for another oil, simply melt it first and then measure.
No need to worry if it’s all you’ve got on hand. When baking with coconut oil, it can be subbed in for other fats in a 1:1 ratio.
Coconut Oil Can Taste Like Coconut (But it Doesn’t Have To)
Unrefined coconut oil (also referred to as virgin or pure coconut oil) has the natural flavour of fresh coconuts, which imparts a slight sweetness and works very well with recipes like these ultimate breakfast cookies, this orange macadamia challah bread pudding with coconut crème, these thick and chewy coconut dark chocolate cookies, or this next level chocolate espresso hazelnut granola.
Refined coconut oil, on the other hand, has been processed under high heat to remove the coconut smell and flavour. It’s more versatile and works well in recipes calling for oil where you don’t want the coconut flavour. For example, the easiest banana bread recipe calls for olive oil. In this case, either refined or unrefined coconut oil would work. But if you’re looking to avoid the coconut flavour altogether, stick with olive oil or use melted refined coconut oil.
Room Temperature Ingredients Are a Must
Cold ingredients will cause the oil to seize up and not mix together very well. To avoid this, it’s best to bring your other ingredients to room temperature before working with it.
Grease It Up!
Because of its high smoke point, coconut oil is an excellent choice for greasing pans. Solid or liquid (you’ll need a paper towel or pastry brush for the latter), simply rub a thin layer on your baking pan.
Want more? This article by Bon Appetit showcases 32 sweet and savoury ways to utilize this adaptable oil.