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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. Sandra Murray says:

    I just bought the Nutiva coconut manna intending to use it in my smoothies. On the label it states …
    “for smoothies, sauces and spreads”. Also, on the lable is a smoothie recipe using 2Tbsp of the manna with banana and FROZEN fruit. I used 2 Tbsp of the manna with frozen fruit, protein powder and with almond mile in my Ninja blender. It almost broke my blender!!! ….it appears that the coconut manna…hardened and became frozen chunks!!!! Can you please help explain this to me. Many thanks.

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      Hi Sandra,
      Because the coconut meat and oil are still combined, when mixed with frozen fruit it could harden. Perhaps try adding more liquid to help move the blender along.

  2. Carol says:

    I bought the refined coconut oil but then read on the label that it is processed in a facility that bottles peanut oil. I was saddened to read this as my son has a peanut allergy

  3. Jacob says:

    What is the shelf life of refined coconut oil? I plan on buying the tub sold art Costco. Does our go rancid quickly?

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      Both Nutiva’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and Organic Refined Coconut Oil have a shelf life of 2 years from the date it has been packed in our facilities.

  4. Sheryl says:

    I just started using your refined version because I wanted something I could fry potatoes in. But when i tried it for the first time my oil foamed up and made a mess. Can you please tell me what went wrong? I am happy with the product other than that.

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      Hi Sheryl,
      We haven’t had this experience. Perhaps try turning down the heat a bit?

  5. Dhiraj Baranwal says:

    Which is better as body oil.. Virgin or refined coconut oil??

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      Hi Dhiraj! If you would like a coconut scent, we recommend using Virgin Coconut Oil. If you prefer a neutral scent, try Refined Coconut Oil. Both are great for body care. Thanks!

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