I typically use extra virgin olive oil for almost everything when oil is required. The other night I ran out of olive oil and didn’t feel like running to the store. I checked the fridge and found some coconut oil. It’s funny, because a few months earlier a client of mine asked me, is coconut oil a good replacement for olive oil?
For health, coconut oil is not a good replacement for olive oil. Coconut oil contains more saturated fats and has been shown to increase bad cholesterol. Olive oil has been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk factors. For cooking, coconut oil can be used as a substitute for olive oil if necessary.
In this article, we’re taking an in-depth look at cooking with coconut oil and olive oil. I’ll let you know when it may be better to use one over the other. In addition, I’ll discuss which one is healthier, and why.
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Disclaimer: Some of links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Is Coconut Oil Healthier Than Olive Oil?
A few years back, coconut oil’s popularity began to increase. People started using coconut oil as a replacement for butter and vegetable oil. Some people even shelved their olive oil in favor of coconut oil. Choosing between the two for everyday use, you’ll want to answer the question, is coconut oil healthier than olive oil?
Coconut oil is not healthier than olive oil. Coconut oil has been shown to increase LDL cholesterol, the cholesterol associated with increased risk of heart disease. Olive oil has been shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In fact, olive oil is considered to be the most healthy oil you can use. Olive oil, when used in reasonable amounts, is actually good for you. Although coconut oil can be used as a substitute when needed, olive oil is the healthiest option when cooking, baking, or frying foods 1.
Coconut oil has about six times the amount of saturated fat when compared to olive oil. Saturated fat should be limited because it can raise cholesterol numbers, good and bad 2. The increase in bad cholesterol, LDL, has been linked to plaque build-up in the arteries and cardiovascular disease risk 3.
|Olive Oil (1 tbsp)||Coconut Oil (1 tbsp)|
|Saturated Fat||1.9 g||12.7 g|
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids||103 mg||0 mg|
|Vitamin E||10% DV||0% DV|
|Vitamin K||10% DV||0% DV|
Manly due to its fatty acids and antioxidants, olive oil has been shown to help improve the following 6:
- DNA Oxidation
- Insulin Resistance
- Blood pressure
- Risk of cardiovascular disease
I sometimes will add extra virgin olive oil to an Amazon order because it can found cheaper with free shipping. If you want to compare the current prices on Amazon, you can click right here, extra virgin olive oil. While you’ll there they have great deals on coconut oil also, coconut oil.
Olive Oil VS Coconut Oil For Cooking: Which Is Better?
Now we know olive oil is healthier than coconut oil, how about with cooking? Coconut oil takes longer to smoke than olive oil. In addition, it may add some flavor to certain dishes olive oil can’t. Even though coconut oil is unhealthier than olive oil, occasionally, coconut oil can be used as a substitute. Let’s address some of those times.
Can You Substitute Olive Oil For Coconut Oil In Baking?
It’s not often people bake with olive oil. Typically people use butter and when oil is used, they use vegetable oil. The great thing about baking is it allows you the freedom to be creative. Instead of vegetable oil, you’d be much better using olive oil.
With that being said, you can substitute olive oil with coconut oil for baking. Sometimes using coconut oil instead of olive oil can give you a richer flavor. This is because coconut oil has a higher fat content than olive oil.
Because many baked goods rely on the fat content found in butter, coconut oil is a substitute for baking 7. When substituting butter with coconut oil, use solid coconut oil at room temperature.
Solid coconut oil has a texture similar to butter and can be mixed with flour the same way. To bring out more of the coconut flavor and retain benefits 8, use virgin coconut oil instead of refined. Virgin retains more flavor and odor because it goes through less processing.
Is Coconut Oil Better Than Olive Oil For Frying?
Frying food involves cooking it in very hot oil. Some oil is more stable than others when heated up to high temperatures. Oils with more saturated fat remain more stable for frying.
Since coconut oil is made up of over 90% saturated fat, it will hold up better while being fried than most oils. Therefore, coconut oil can be used as a substitute to olive oil when frying 9.
Olive oil is resistant to heat also and will remain relatively stable for frying. When frying for a long time, some flavor and odor will disappear faster than coconut oil.
When frying, using an oil with a high smoke point is beneficial. Smoke point is the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke 10. The smoke points for cooking oils vary from one oil to the next. The smoking point even varies between virgin and refined coconut oils. The table below shows the different smoking points of oil.
|Oil or Fat||Smoking Point|
|350 Degrees F|
|450 Degrees F|
|375 Degrees F|
|400 Degrees F|
|Vegetable Oil||400 Degrees F|
|Butter||250 Degrees F|
For frying, coconut oil would seem to be the better choice over olive oil. It remains more stable, smokes slightly less and can retain more of its flavor. Although olive oil still makes a decent oil for frying and is the more healthier choice. Except for being in a pinch, I’ll choose the olive oil first.
Can You Use Coconut Oil On Salad?
It’s more popular to dress salads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Therefore, you might be wondering, can you use coconut oil on salad?
Coconut oil cannot be used on salad unless it’s mixed with other ingredients or kept at a higher temperature. This is to prevent it from forming into a solid. Higher temperature oil or solid is not good for using as a salad dressing.
There is many recipes on the internet which allows you to mix coconut oil with other ingredients, like olive oil or vinegar. This helps prevent it from becoming solid at room temperatures.
I would recommend using extra virgin olive oil over coconut oil on your salads. It’s healthier and doesn’t have to be mixed with other ingredients or heated up to keep it as a liquid.
Read Next – More Food Alternatives
- Harvard Health: Olive oil or coconut oil: Which is worthy of kitchen-staple status?
- Harvard Health: The truth about fats:the good, the bad, and the in-between
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: Blood Cholesterol
- NuritionData: Coconut oil
- NutritionData: Olive oil
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Lesson from Nutrigenomics
- SFGATE: How to Bake With Coconut Oil
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Randomized trial of coconut oil, olive oil or butter on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors in healthy men and women
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: A study on monitoring of frying performance and oxidative stability of virgin coconut oil (VCO) during continuous/prolonged deep fat frying process using chemical and FTIR spectroscopy
- Wikipedia: Smoke point