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Due to its versatility and rich flavor, coconut oil is quickly becoming one of the most popular cooking oils out there. But not all coconut oils are created equally. In addition to their taste, they differ in the way they’re made. Virgin or extra virgin coconut oil can be produced by expeller pressing or cold pressing. These two types do result in a lower smoke point of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For anyone needing something with a higher smoke point, you'll want to choose a refined coconut oil.
Here are all of the best-tasting coconut oils that make the cut.
Best Overall: Thrive Market Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
What do buyers say? 2,400+ Thrive Market reviewers rated it 4 stars or above.
It’s hard to find coconut oil that can top Thrive Market’s product. It’s organic, cold-pressed, unrefined, virgin, and, like all Thrive Market goods, priced considerably fairer than many other coconut oils of the same quality.
To make things even sweeter, it’s ethically sourced from a small farm in the Philippines where farmers are treated fairly and only the highest quality coconuts make the cut. In other words, it checks all the boxes of what makes a coconut oil great, and that’s why it earned the spot of best coconut oil overall.
Sizes: 15 ounces, 54 ounces | Total Fat Per Serving: 14 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 13 grams | Extraction: Cold-pressed
Best Organic: Dr. Bronner's Regenerative Organic Virgin Whole Kernel Coconut Oil
Like others on this list, Dr. Bronner’s coconut oil is organic, unrefined, and freshly expeller-pressed, but this coconut oil takes sustainability up a notch. Dr. Bronner’s works with Sri Lankan farmers who utilize regenerative farming practices that help enrich soil and reduce the carbon footprint, decreasing the impact on climate change. The Regenerative Organic Alliance certification also ensures that farmers, animals, and workers are all treated fairly during the entire process.
For a nuttier taste, we recommend the whole kernel version. This means the brown inner skin of the coconut is left on. If you want something a bit milder, there is also a white kernel version that omits the inner skin before processing.
Sizes: 14 ounces, 30 ounces | Total Fat Per Serving: 14 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 13 grams | Extraction: Expeller-pressed
Best Budget: Happy Belly Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
This high-quality coconut oil from Happy Belly is organic, unrefined, and virgin, but the cost per ounce is considerably less expensive than others on the list. Made from Filipino coconuts, this is certified by the USDA and the Non-GMO Project. Some reviewers do note that this has flakes of coconut in the product, so it's not suitable for non-food applications. You can choose from three sizes so if you use coconut oil a lot, you can buy it in bulk and keep some money in your pocket.
Sizes: 15 ounces, 30 ounces, 54 ounces | Total Fat Per Serving: 14 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 13 grams | Extraction: Cold-pressed
Best Cold-Pressed: Garden of Life Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Garden of Life uses cold pressing, an extraction technique that relies on pressure rather than heat, oxygen, or chemical additives to turn raw organic coconuts into coconut oil with all of the flavor locked in. With organic and non-GMO certifications, it’s one of the highest quality coconut oils you can buy. It comes in three sizes, so you can purchase as much or as little as you want.
Sizes: 14 ounces, 29 ounces, 56 ounces | Total Fat Per Serving: 14 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 13.5 grams | Extraction: Cold-pressed
Best Liquid: Nutiva Organic Liquid Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has become a go-to ingredient for smoothies and baked goods, but since it’s solid at room temperature, it can be difficult to incorporate into frozen drinks or batter without melting it first. That’s where Nutiva’s Organic Liquid Coconut Oil comes in.
Using a proprietary extraction technique that doesn’t involve chemicals or filler oils, Nutiva separates the fats from virgin coconut oil and turns them into an oil that remains liquid, even at cooler temperatures. The end result is a pure coconut oil that’s organic, unrefined, and easy to use.
Sizes: 8 ounces, 16 ounces, 32 ounces | Total Fat Per Serving: 14 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 14 grams | Extraction: Cold-pressed
Best Refined: Wildly Organic Refined Organic Coconut Oil
If you want to add coconut oil to your life but don’t really like the tropical taste, refined coconut oils, like this one from Wildly Organic, are a good compromise. Wildly Organic relies only on steam to create a coconut oil with a milder taste and higher smoke point compared to unrefined coconut oil. This makes it ideal for high-heat cooking, like sautéing and stir-frying.
Sizes: 14 ounces, 28 ounces, 1 gallon, 5 gallons | Total Fat Per Serving: 14 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 13 grams | Extraction: Expeller-pressed
Best for Cooking: Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil with Butter Flavor
If you’re not a fan of coconut flavor in your savory dishes, like chicken or beef, this refined butter-flavored oil from Nutiva is a lifesaver. It has all of the benefits of coconut oil without the coconut taste. It tastes just like a rich, creamy butter, also making it a great butter substitute for baking, spreading on toast, and drizzling on top of popcorn. The butter flavor itself is made from a combination of vegan-friendly natural ingredients, so it’s completely dairy-free.
Sizes: 14 ounces | Total Fat Per Serving: 14 grams | Saturated Fat Per Serving: 12 grams | Extraction: Expeller-pressed
Thrive Market Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is a versatile, high-quality option that’s ideal for any kitchen job. If you don’t love the tropical flavor of coconut, try Wildly Organic Refined Coconut Oil. The brand relies only on steam to refine the oil, creating a milder taste and a higher smoke point.
What to Look for When Buying Coconut Oil
Oils can be refined or unrefined, cold-pressed or expeller-pressed, and how they are processed has a major impact on the qualities they have. Taste, texture, smell–these can all vary depending on processing, so you’ll want to pay attention to the information on the label. There are pros and cons to both, it just depends on how you plan to use the oil.
This is important to consider when it comes to cooking with coconut oil. “Coconut oil has a lower smoking point than most other cooking oils,” according to Emil Merdzhanov, owner of Georgetown Olive Oil Co. in Washington, D.C. If you do plan to cook with it, refined coconut oil has a higher smoking point.
Coconut oil is on the more fragrant side when it comes to cooking oils, so before you get carried away in the kitchen and start cooking with it, make sure the flavor profile of your dish makes sense with a mild coconut hint in the background. It may work really well in certain Asian dishes (try swapping it for the vegetable oil in this vegetable curry!), but not so great for your spaghetti and meatballs.
Does coconut oil go bad?
Yes, coconut oil can go bad. It will be pretty obvious as “rancid coconut oil has an intense scent and tastes sour,” according Merdzhanov. The color may also change. It's best to use refined coconut oil within a few months of opening, while virgin coconut oil may last up to two years, if stored away in a cool, dark place.
What can you cook in coconut oil?
What you cook in coconut oil entirely depends on how much you like or dislike the flavor of coconut. But, while certain ingredients may not taste great with a subtle coconut flavor in the background, you can technically cook everything in this oil. While a coconut curry may be a great application for coconut oil (if you’re already using coconut milk anyway), an Italian pasta dish, on the other hand, may not make the most sense.
Can you fry with coconut oil?
Yes, according to Merdzhanov, you can use coconut oil when frying; however, there are better oil options out there because the smoking point of unrefined coconut oil is only about 350°F (or 400°F for refined). “This makes it less suitable for cooking,” he says.
What is the difference between refined and unrefined coconut oil?
According to Merdzhanov, refined coconut oil has a higher smoking point, shorter shelf life, and less potent smell. Of the two, it may be considered the “less healthy” option. Unrefined coconut oil would be considered “more natural,” says Merdzhanov, because it hasn’t undergone the bleaching/deodorizing process.
How is coconut oil made?
“Coconut oil is made from pressing fresh coconut meat or dried coconut meat, called copra. Virgin coconut oil is made from fresh meat, while refined coconut oil is made from copra,” says Merdzhanov. You may also see the terms “expeller pressed” or “cold pressed” when looking at oils. These are just two different methods for producing/extracting coconut oil, says Merdzhanov. “Either one is better than solvent extraction.”
Does coconut oil need to be refrigerated?
No, coconut oil does not need to be refrigerated, says Merdzhanov. But if it's in the hotter months, and you don't like the liquid form, you can put it in the fridge to solidify.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Lindsay Boyers is a certified holistic nutritionist with extensive nutrition knowledge and food and beverage-testing experience. She’s developed over 1,000 original recipes and is constantly on a mission to find the healthiest, best-tasting options and ingredients across all food and drink categories.
This roundup was updated by Alyssa Langer, who is a registered dietitian and foodie, always curious about the next food or ingredient craze and hungry to learn and try more. Having worked in cookbook publishing, CPG label data, nutrition writing, and meal kits, her diverse background and varied interests provide a unique perspective that fosters clear, well-researched, and trustworthy reviews.
United States Department of Agriculture. The organic seal
Food and Drug Administration. How GMOs are regulated for food and plant safety in the United States. Updated April 22, 2020.