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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 and Refined Coconut Oil? Read on to discover all about virgin vs refined coconut oil 5 things you need to know.

Virgin vs Refined Coconut Oil 5 Things You Need to Know

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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.

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

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, this process is certified organic and uses absolutely no chemicals.

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.

Organic refined coconut oil naturally has a yellowish color to it. This is normal and is to be expected. Only chemically bleached and refined coconut oil is pure white. Our Refined Coconut Oil goes through an organic steam refining process and some of the yellow color naturally remains in the product as the dried coconut is not treated with sulfites or other bleaching agents.

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?!

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Add a Comment


  1. Linda Adsit says:

    I use both. I make snacks, cakes and cookies with the virgin oil, with or instead of butter. I make a coconut wafer with the cookie press that melts in your mouth. Coconut cakes are my heart’s delight. I do all my frying and sauteeing with the refined. It makes the world’s best latkes. I’ve graduated to Nutiva brand and will be staying.

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      We’re happy to hear you love both Virgin and Refined Coconut Oil!

      1. Marguerite Nelson says:

        Do you carry stevia extract powder?

        1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

          Hi, Marguerite! No, we do not.

    2. Cindy Barton says:

      Can you share your recipe for making a coconut wafer?

    3. Susan says:

      Sure would like recipe for coconut wafer

    4. Carol Hearne says:

      Would you please share your recipes for the wafer and cakes?

  2. Randal says:

    Personally I love the taste and smell of coconut and I don’t mind a tablespoon or two of just plain coconut Oil. It’s healthy tasty and I figure it’s helping me even from the inside out so I’m glad to find Nutiva that sells it so reasonable. I do hope that price stays a while so I can tell al my family and friends. It’s great for stir fry regular or the and it’s great for right out of the shower for skin moisterizer AS IT ABSORBS FAIRLY FAST AND is great for a after shave facial lotion.. Although I haven’t seen it take off any pounds off my franme it still tastes good.

    1. Tom says:

      Funny you should mention weight loss, Randal. I began eating coconut oil several years ago–as a dementia preventative. Like Dr. Anna Newport recommends, three tablespoons per day. I gradually began losing weight. I dropped about twenty pounds and haven’t put it back on. My weight went down to where it used to be when I was in high school. I had to punch new holes in a couple of my belts. It goes without saying that I am a convinced user of coconut oil. Oh, guys can use it to oil the beard, too. The stuff congeals below 76 degrees Fahrenheit so I keep a little in an old artichoke jar in the bathroom and put it in some warm water in the wash basin while I shower. I keep an eye dropper in the jar and when I get out of the shower I put a drop or two in my hand and rub it in. Nutiva is one of my favorite companies because they are upright people.

      1. Tom says:

        Mary Newport! I meant to say Doctor Mary Newport, not Anne Newport. Sorry.

      2. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

        Thank you for stopping by to share with us, Tom!

      3. Lana Bateman says:

        How did you take the 3 tablespoons?

      4. Leonard Barrett says:

        I have high blood pressure from 1989 always high but in 03/20/2018 I have eaten VIRGIN COCONUT OIL and it brings it down to 119/76, 119/76, 120/80.

  3. chandra says:

    I go for Virgin and Unrefind coconut oil ,there is miles of difference both in taste and scent .

    1. Jessica says:

      Right! There are miles of difference in both taste and scent. The scent is what make me feel it is more authentic. My preference as well will always be unrefined or virgin

  4. Becky Schultz says:

    I have exclusively used virgin coconut oil due to my own ignorance (and my love for the aroma and flavor). Thanks for enlightening me with the full knowledge between virgin and refined. I think I need both in my house!

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      We’re glad this information could help you, Becky!

  5. Larry says:

    It seems there’s more work involved in ‘refining’ the oil, so why is the virgin the more expensive of the two?

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      Hi Larry,
      Nutiva’s Virgin Coconut Oil is cold-pressed from fresh and mature coconut meat. Because the Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is hand-scooped from fresh coconuts and requires time-sensitive handling, the process is actually more involved with the virgin coconut oil. We hope this helps!

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