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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. Preston lamm says:

    I have noticed a huge change on taste. I get the unrefined cold pressed. It doesn’t taste like coconuts anymore. I buy in the biggest jar 54 oz ya I cook with it, sunscreen, moisturizer etc. So been using for years and Bam flavor Changes. I still use it but not like o I used to. So why the change in flavor from coconuts plus? What.

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      Hi Preston! We suggest contacting our Customer Service Team at so they can assist you. Thanks!

    2. Yep says:

      Same here. What happened? I always buy the virgin coconut oil 1 gallon and this time the smell and taste is not there! I was so disappointed

      1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

        Sorry to hear this! Please contact our customer service team at to report this.

  2. Sharon Tuscano says:

    The biggest question that I would like to have answered . . . . Is the nutritional composition changed with the refined?

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      Hi Sharon! Both virgin and refined coconut oil have the same nutritional profile. Thanks!

  3. Elynne says:

    I purchased 2qt. 14 oz. of Organic extra virgin coconut oil. I began to use it in baking and everything tasted like coconuts! I abandoned it on my shelf. Now..having gone to your website I see that refined coconut oil will not taste like coconuts! Alas.. should have done more research long ago. I love the flavor of coconut but not where I do n’t want it. Hoping to find recipes on your website that will let me use up all the coconut oil in a way to enjoy the taste.

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      Hi Elynee! It sounds like our refined coconut oil is perfect for your recipes where you do not want a coconut flavor! You can replace virgin coconut oil with refined coconut oil in any recipe. Thanks!

  4. Margaret Nahmias says:

    I like virigin coconut oil to flavor my coffee

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      Great idea, Margaret!

    2. Marilyn says:

      Just started using it in our 3 p.m. coffee. Whipping it in the blender gives it a nice latte foam. Also just changed from another brand to Nutiva because it’s not made in the same place they use peanuts. Thanks!

  5. Barbara Samuelsz says:

    I have used Nutiva coconut oil for more than 10 years and it is the only brand I will buy. I first realized the power of it when I had a growth on my scalp that slowly got bigger and bigger and my dermatologist said it wasn’t dangerous so we wouldn’t take it off. The girl who cuts my hair commented on it getting bigger over nearly a year. I had read the coconut oil miracle book and decided to try that on the growth. I took a very small dab of coconut oil and rubbed it into the growth. The next morning I felt the growth and it had changed dramatically overnight-it felt like it was drying up! I continued to rub coconut oil into it twice a day and within 2 weeks it was COMPLETELY gone and has never come back!! The girl who cuts my hair was stunned and so was I. A couple of years later I had another growth on my body and I tried the same thing and it disappeared even faster because I didn’t allow the growth to get big. The book talks about it working on Basal Cell Carcinoma so when a friend had about 6 Basal Cell Carcinomas on her scalp and was going to get them all taken off, I gave her some coconut oil to try as I had. When she went to the surgeon, he said there was not longer anything there!! Really incredible! I love the refined as well. We use it for everything-cooking, baking, skin lotion, eye makeup remover, our dogs in their food (if I have put it on my hands for hand lotion, they try to get at my hands to lick it off-they love it!! Our cat too-he also loves it in his food or licks from my finger or tries to lick it off my hands). This product is one of God’s amazing creations!

    1. Nutiva Team Nutiva says:

      Hi, Barbara! Thank you for sharing. We love to hear stories like these. Thank you for helping us revolutionize the way the world eats!

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