Try these ideas for cooking with coconut oil

Coconut oil is all the rage in the health and wellness industry. It can be used as a lotion, hair conditioner and even to clean your teeth. This versatile oil is also great when used in the baking and pastry arts. Here are some ways to incorporate coconut oil into your next recipe:

Replace butter or oil
Some people replace butter or oils with coconut oil thinking that it's healthier. In reality, the two are pretty even in terms of their nutritional value. You can substitute this slightly fruity oil for butter if you want to add a distinct flavor of coconut to switch things up a bit. Coconut oil is a great butter replacement in baked goods like cookies and breads. It easily melts and can be used at a 1:1 ratio with butter. If your recipe calls for a cup of butter, you can instead use a cup of coconut oil. You can even spread the oil on toast or pancakes just as it is.

Pour some over popcorn
Instead of using vegetable oil to cook popcorn, try coconut oil! You'll have a lighter flavor and can choose if you want a coconut taste or not by using a different type of oil. Unrefined coconut oil has a slight coconut flavor whereas refined oil is virtually tasteless. If you enjoy the coconut flavor, you can also drizzle a little oil over the top of popcorn.

Use it for frying things
Fry potato chips, chicken fingers and veggies with coconut oil. It can withstand high heat and will bring a unique flavor to your meal. Coconut oil is also a great vegetable oil or butter replacement when sauteing or to grease a pan. Scrambled eggs, grilled cheese and stovetop sweet potato fries are all tasty with a touch of coconut. Pan fry fish in a little bit of coconut oil for a slightly tropical taste. 

Stir it in
Coconut oil makes a great addition to soups, sauces and even tea or hot chocolate. In its regular form, the oil has a texture like hard butter, but once it is added to heat, the oil quickly melts and can easily be added to just about anything.

Add it to spicy foods
Coconut oil has a mild flavor, which makes it work well in many dishes. If you are making a spicy sauce or heavily spiced meat, consider adding coconut oil to rice to add some sweetness to the meal. The flavors will balance out nicely.

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