Coconut oil is becoming more popular by the day, but using it can be tricky given that the freezing/hardening point is 76 degrees Fahrenheit. That means at room temp, it’s already in its solid form. Baking with coconut oil presents even more challenges as ingredients are required to be at specific temperatures to get the best consistency (cheers to those of you patient enough to wait until that butter is actually room temp).
So the question now becomes, do you melt coconut oil for baking? Yes. To ensure it blends seamlessly with the other ingredients, you have to melt the coconut oil before using in your baked goods.
Read on to learn about how to melt coconut oil, and add richness & texture to your baked goods.
Is Coconut Oil Good For Baking?
Coconut oil is a perfect ingredient to use in baking, and here’s why:
Coconut Oil Melts At 76 Degrees Fahrenheit:
Coconut oil, unlike other fats, changes from a solid to liquid state depending on the temperature at which it is kept. It will harden and solidify if held below 76°F, but it will melt into a liquid above 76.
The Perfect Substitute With A 1:1 Ratio:
Coconut oil is an excellent alternative for butter and other oils, such as olive, canola or vegetable oil. If substituting for one of these, use equal amounts of coconut oil.
The thickness of solid coconut oil is similar to that of butter. Ran out of butter mid-bake? Not a problem, coconut oil is here to save the day. However, if you’re replacing butter with coconut oil, make sure it’s not melted – Keep it at room temperature to keep with that matching consistency of butter.
Pro note: This is critical when making pie crust!
Make Baked Goods Lighter And Healthier:
Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but it is primarily lauric acid, which tends to have a neutral effect on the heart. This makes coconut oil a healthier alternative compared to butter. You may notice that when substituting butter for coconut oil, cookies and cakes turn out much lighter and less dense.
Use Coconut Oil To Grease Baking Trays:
Coconut oil is also great for greasing cake pans, cupcake tins, and baking utensils due to its high smoke point. Apply a thin layer to the bakeware’s surface using a small brush or clean towel.
Not into the Coconut Flavor? Shift the Type of Coconut Oil You Purchase:
Baking using coconut oil has the advantage of allowing you to customize the coconut taste. It all relies on the kind you choose, which is a matter of personal preference.
Unrefined coconut oil is taken from fresh coconut flesh, goes through minimum processing, and has a distinctive coconut fragrance and taste.
However, refined coconut oil is made from the dried fleshy part of the coconut. High-heat processing eliminates the coconut scent and taste of this oil.
What Are Various Ways To Melt Coconut Oil?
Convinced? There are so many reasons to bake with coconut oil, but let’s dig into how you melt it.
To change the state of coconut oil from solid to liquid, there are a few approaches you can take. Across all of these, it’s important to make sure you only use low-heat techniques to melt your coconut oil. These approaches are simple, safe, and will not significantly affect the nature of the oil or how your baked goods turn out:
When asking an avid baker how they melt their coconut oil, the most common answer is a double boiler. Fill a saucepan or any container halfway with water and set it on the burner to heat until it starts to boil.
Place the coconut oil in a heat-resistant bowl that will cover the surface of your saucepan of water. The water in the saucepan should not directly contact the bowl.
Turn the heat off entirely or to a low setting. The heat from the water will start to liquify the coconut oil in the bowl and should be done in 5 to 10 minutes.
Pan Method (Quickest):
Put the coconut oil in a saucepan and set to medium heat. The coconut oil will melt fast due to the pan’s high surface area, so it’s important not to use too much heat. One thing to keep in mind, the more you heat the coconut oil, the more nutrition it sheds. Try to whisk the oil in this process to get a better consistency.
Soak In Water (Easiest):
Your coconut will melt slowly in a water bath. For this method, you can fill a saucepan, bowl, or sink halfway with boiling water. The water does not need to be bubbling, but it should be warm rather than tepid.
Place coconut oil in an airtight jar, plastic bag, or microwave safe canister. Place the container in the boiling water and wait for the coconut oil to melt. Beware that there is potential to scorch the coconut oil in this method.
Can you melt coconut oil in a microwave? The answer is yes. Microwaving is worlds easier than the above methods, however, you may lose some of those great nutrients that coconut oil naturally provides.
To melt the coconut oil, use a microwave-safe bowl and set the microwave to the lowest temperature setting (this is usually the defrost mode). To keep from splattering, place a paper towel on top of the bowl. Microwave the oil for 30 seconds at a time to prevent it from scorching or bursting.
When you find the perfect way you prefer to melt coconut oil for your baking, make sure to record it down in your recipes using a recipe sharing app like Morsel.
Coconut oil can be temperamental, but the many health benefits make it worthwhile. Test out the various ways of how to melt coconut oil and let us know your favorite method!
Caroline is a co-founder of Morsel – a family recipe cookbook software. When she not working on making our recipe sharing app better for our users Caroline can be found dancy her heart out, exploring the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, and traveling the world one new country at a time.