Can Coconut Oil Be Substituted For Butter?

Slices of butter on a plate

Are you looking for a substitute for delicious creamy butter? Most of us love butter slathered on our toast, popcorn, and in our baked goods, but are the other options to choose from? Margarine was once touted as a healthy alternative, but recent studies show this man-made product isn’t so great. Luckily, there are all-natural substitutes that taste great and offer some positive health benefits. Coconut oil can be substituted for butter in so many different ways!

Why Coconut Oil?

Healthy Fatty Acids

Virgin coconut oil has a very pleasant coconutty flavor that is mild and subtle. Many people love the flavor and nuttiness that coconut oil can bring to the table when being substituted for butter. Coconut oil contains fatty acids, which might not sound too positive, but these fatty acids provide quick energy to the body and brain, and can even help encourage your body to burn fat. This quick energy is provided by medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), whereas most dietary fats contain long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). These MCTs can increase the number of calories your body burns vs. LCTs.

May Raise Good Cholesterol

The MCTs in coconut oil may also raise the good (HDL) levels of cholesterol in your body while turning the bad (LDL) cholesterol into a less harmful form. Some scientific studies were conducted that had promising results in women and those with coronary artery disease. By raising your HDL levels, you're boosting your heart health.

A jar of Wildly Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin or Refined?

The most beneficial form of coconut oil is virgin. Virgin coconut oil retains more of its nutrients and health benefits because it is not exposed to high heat and heavy refinement. Most virgin coconut oil is in oil form at room temperature and solid when kept cool. That is a great reason why virgin coconut oil can be substituted for butter in recipes, and those with shortening, because substituting won’t compromise the texture of the finished product. Choosing organic virgin coconut oil will also ensure your product hasn’t been exposed to harmful chemicals and pesticides during its journey from farm to table.

What Are Some Tasty Applications for Coconut Oil?

Baked Goods & Sweets

Coconut oil can be substituted for butter in so many different baked goods and desserts. Coconut oil can be used when substituting for shortening in pie crusts, for butter and margarine in cookies, and for liquid oils in cakes and brownies. In some instances, coconut oil can’t be substituted for butter, like in shortbread cookies that rely heavily on butter to achieve a very specific texture and taste. But for most baked goods, it’s a great alternative. We even offer a butter alternative that is a balanced blend of coconut oil and red palm oil, a great option for baking. Here are a few examples of treats it works well in:

  • Cornbread
  • Yeast breads
  • Quick breads
  • Crackers
  • Cakes
  • Brownies
  • Muffins
  • Granola Bars
  • Waffles and pancakes
  • Biscuits
  • Scones
  • Pie crusts
  • Cookies

Because you can control the solid or liquid state of virgin coconut oil, it can be manipulated to get similar results as butter. Use coconut oil straight from the refrigerator to get the perfect consistency when substituting for shortening. Take it out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter to soften up when whipping it with sugar for cookies. And when using it in place of vegetable or canola oil, warm it to the point of being completely liquid. Coconut oil can also be substituted for butter or shortening when greasing your pans. Substituting with coconut oil won’t cause it to have a strong coconut flavor because it’s subtle. You won’t really taste it in your baked goods.

Deep Fried Foods

You should definitely limit your fried foods intake, but it’s okay to indulge every once in a while. And when you do, coconut oil is one of the healthier options to use to fry your chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, mushrooms, and whatever else you want to throw in there. Some oils have a high smoke point, but that doesn't make them a good choice for deep frying. A good oil for deep frying will have a high content of saturated fat, like coconut oil. What you don’t want is polyunsaturated fats, which break down into toxic components like peroxides, aldehydes, and alcohol. Coconut oil only contains 2% of polyunsaturated fats, making it a prime choice for deep frying.

The best heat to use when deep frying with coconut oil is between 325 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Any more than that and you can exceed the oil’s smoke point, which will give you a burnt and bitter taste in your foods. If your deep fryer doesn’t have a thermometer, throw a single kernel of popcorn in, and when it pops, your oil is ready to cook with.

Stir Frys

Coconut oil can also be substituted for butter or oil when making a simple stir fry. Its high heat tolerance makes it easy to create any kind of stir fry you want with vegetables, proteins, and starches. Just be careful not to get your pan too smoking hot when using coconut oil.

Shelf Stable

So, yes! Coconut oil can definitely be substituted for butter in a wide range of dishes. It’s a healthy option that tastes great and is very shelf stable for your pantry. Virgin coconut oil can be kept in your kitchen for several years because it retains more of the coconut’s natural antioxidants than refined coconut oil.

Shop Wildly Organic for a great selection of organic and virgin coconut oils that can be substituted for butter in your recipes today!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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