Many people are confused about the difference between coconut oil and coconut butter, so here’s a few facts so that you know what sets them apart from each other.
Coconut oil, which is solid when cold, and liquid when warm, is the fat extracted from the coconut. It is the safest oil for frying, aside from rice bran oil, as it’s so stable.
Coconut butter is the pulverised whole coconut meat, made from both the fat and the fibre. It is not extracted like coconut oil, just pureed. Coconut butter has a harder texture than coconut oil, although when you buy them some brands are very similar in texture. Don’t fry with coconut butter as it burns easily.
In chocolate bar recipes coconut butter sets faster and makes a bar that’s a little more resistant to melting than when using coconut oil.
Coconut butter burns more easily and therefore, when making raw chocolate or desserts, needs to be melted at a very low heat. So a dehydrator or a bain marie are ok, but a food warmer (my favourite way of melting fats because it’s so convenient) is too hot. In contrast, coconut oil is fine over a food warmer – however long you leave it, it won’t burn.
The easiest way to tell the difference between coconut butter and coconut oil is to melt them: coconut oil is transparent when melted, whilst coconut butter stays a creamy white.
My guess is that raw coconut butter is probably made by a similar process (but of course raw) to the creamed coconut blocks you find in the supermarket, which are used in cooking. I have made chocolate bars and truffles with both raw coconut butter and creamed coconut and you handle it identically – ie it burns easily, and makes a similarly firm-textured end product.
Check the labels carefully when you want to buy coconut butter, as some companies are still calling coconut oil ‘coconut butter’ . If it’s made from the fat, it’s coconut oil, if it’s made from the whole coconut flesh, it’s coconut butter.
So there you go, a brief low down on coconut oil and butter. I use both, but get through much more coconut oil as it’s more versatile and easier to use. I hope this blog post helps you decide which you want to use in your own kitchen!
We don’t yet stock coconut butter, but click here to buy coconut oil from Sweet Sensations.