Skip to main content

Virgin vs Refined Coconut Oil: 5 Things You Need To Know

Who doesn’t love coconut oil? It’s versatile, nourishing, and can replace a ton of cooking, baking and body care ingredients.

There’s a lot of information available about how to use coconut oil in your day-to-day routine, but the number one question we hear is this: What’s the difference between Virgin Coconut Oil and Refined Coconut Oil? Read on to discover all about the differences and similarities between the two.

Virgin vs Refined Coconut Oil: 5 Things You Need to Know

Click HERE to save this post for later.

Virgin vs Refined Coconut Oil 5 Things You Need To Know Infographic Nutiva Organic Kitchen Recipes
Let’s go over the basics.

Does Virgin Coconut Oil Taste the Same as Refined Coconut Oil?

One of the most immediate differences between Virgin and Refined Coconut Oil is the taste and aroma. While Virgin (unrefined) Coconut Oil boasts a delicious, tropical coconut scent and flavor, Refined Coconut Oil has a neutral scent and flavor.

How is Coconut Oil Made?

To make our Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, fresh coconut meat is scooped out of the shell by hand, then cold pressed, leaving just the oil which has a pure coconut flavor.

Our Organic Refined Coconut Oil is made from dried coconut meat, or copra. Unlike other companies that use harsh chemicals to produce refined coconut oil, we gently steam refine our oil to achieve a neutral-flavor. Because of our commitment to producing the highest quality products, no harmful chemicals or solvents are used in this organic-approved process.

How Do I Use Refined Coconut Oil?

Coconut Oil can be used for baking, cooking, and body & hair care. Luckily, Virgin and Refined Coconut Oil can be used interchangeably in recipes so you won’t have a problem switching between the two.

Because of the way Refined Coconut Oil is made, it has a higher smoke point (400 degrees) than Virgin Coconut Oil, making it great for sautéing, stir-frying and baking. Plus, the neutral flavor makes it ideal for recipes where a coconut flavor isn’t desired. Virgin Coconut Oil is best for medium heat cooking up to 350 degrees.

Are you ready to try Refined Coconut Oil? Try this recipe: Stir Fry Bok Choy with Cashews.

 Virgin vs Refined Coconut Oil 5 Things You Need To Know. Learn about the differences between virgin and refined organic coconut oil

Which Coconut Oil is Better for You?

Great news! Both Refined and Virgin Coconut Oil have the same nutritional profile. No matter which coconut oil you prefer, both will contain 63% medium chain triglycerides, including 50% lauric acid.

What Should I Look For When Buying Coconut Oil

An easy way to check if you’re buying quality coconut oil is to make sure it’s certified organic and verified Non-GMO. The next step is to confirm that Virgin Coconut Oil is cold-pressed, made without hexane, and never deodorized or bleached. Refined Coconut Oil should never be refined using harsh chemicals, so be sure to check if it’s steam-refined.

Virgin and Refined Coconut Oil are similar in consistency which fluctuates depending on the temperature they’re exposed to. All coconut oil is naturally liquid at warmer temperatures and solid to semi-solid at cooler temperatures, with the exception of liquid coconut oil which remains liquid at cooler temperatures. If your Virgin or Refined Coconut Oil has melted and you’d like to re-solidify it, simply place it in the fridge.

Organic Refined Coconut Oil naturally has a yellowish color to it, which is normal and to be expected. Only chemically bleached and refined coconut oil is pure white. Made using an organic-approved process, our Refined Coconut Oil is steam-refined, expeller-pressed, and gently filtered for a finished product free of the aroma or flavor of coconut. Some of the yellow color naturally remains in the product since the dried coconut is not treated with harmful chemicals or solvents.

At Nutiva, we take our commitment to excellence a step further and dedicate 1% of sales to support sustainable agriculture. Specifically, we support the small farming communities in Southeast Asia where we source our coconut oil. We sponsored the planting of 100,000 coconut seedlings in 2015, and in five years these seedlings will grow into producing coconut trees and provide farmers with increased income and improved livelihood. We also partnered with Fair Trade USA to implement a school lunch program for children in our farming communities. You can read about that HERE.

Virgin vs Refined Coconut Oil 5 Things You Need to Know

Now you tell us. Which is your go-to coconut oil—Virgin, Refined, or both?!

Related Recipes You might be interested in...


Add a Comment


  1. Richard L says:

    Can coconut oil be used for deep frying?

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      Yes, we would recommend Organic Refined Coconut Oil since it has the highest smoke point.

  2. connie delaMorandiere says:

    Is Nutivia coconut oil gluten free?

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      Yes, Connie, all Nutiva products are gluten free.

  3. ARABA EDITH says:

    Can virgin coconut oil reduce or eliminate chronic toxic seizure?

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      Hi Araba,
      We don’t have information about this. Please consult a physician.

  4. Joseph Rzeczycki says:

    Interesting page, thank you. Nutiva makes very nice coconut oil and other things.
    I like to take 2-5 TBS of Nutiva refined coconut oil daily, along with some raw honey, ACV, and cayenne.

    1. madalyn.crum says:

      Thank you, Joseph! We’re glad you’re enjoying our organic coconut oil.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Newsletter Get the Scoop