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Does Coconut Oil Oxidize? The Un-Tarnished Truth

August 13, 2021

Although coconut oil can oxidize, it doesn’t happen easily as the oil is quite resistant to the process.

My clients are often concerned with how to store coconut oil and are curious about how to prolong its lifespan. This is why I am often asked does coconut oil oxidize. As I have been using the oil in a wide variety of processes, I have first-hand knowledge of this.

This post is about how coconut oil oxidizes and what you can do to prevent this process. Let’s begin!

Why Does Coconut Oil Not Oxidize Easily?

The reason that coconut oil doesn’t oxidize as easily as other vegetable cooking oils has to do with its composition. Unlike many other plant-based oils, coconut oil is high in saturated fats – around 85 percent of the oil is made up of it.

Now, saturated fats are a lot more stable than unsaturated fats. Coconut oil has fewer unstable double bonds, which means that oxygen will not readily react with the oil. This reduces the risk of oxidation as well as the chances of the oil going rancid.

Coconut oil does contain some unsaturated fats, though, and this is what can cause the oil to eventually oxidize. Although this may not happen as easily, it is important to take the necessary steps to minimize this risk.

Woman with coconut oil bottle

How Can You Tell When Coconut Oil Has Gone Rancid?

Fortunately for you, you will not have too much trouble recognizing coconut oil that has oxidized. The most notable point will be the color. Normally, coconut oil is clear and translucent. When it goes off, the color will change to yellow. You may also notice a marbled appearance or specks in the oil. 

The other thing to take note of is the texture or consistency. Most coconut oil is solid at room temperature. Even then, it will have a smooth texture. If you notice that the oil is chunky or has an unusual consistency, it could mean that it is off.

Coconut oil that has oxidized and gone rancid may smell odd. The smell could be bitter or stale. In any case, it certainly will not smell like coconut oil. If the oil has been spoiling for a while, it will smell downright terrible.

Last, but certainly not least, you will be able to taste the difference. If you aren’t sure that your coconut oil has oxidized, you may want to taste it. In this case, always taste just a little ahead of time. And, if it does taste bad definitely don’t swallow the oil, spit it out.

What Does It Mean When Coconut Oil Turns Brown?

More often than not, coconut oil that has oxidized will turn yellow or will show some other kind of discoloration. If you notice that your oil has turned brown, though, this is certainly not a good sign. It has probably spoiled.

You should also check the oil for any brown or greenish specks. This, too, is another way to know that it is time to toss the coconut oil. It is best not to take a chance and use it in your food.

Clear Glass Oil Bottle

How Do You Reduce the Oxidation of Coconut Oil?

The best way to reduce the risk of oxidation of coconut oil is to store it properly.

First, make sure that it is stored in an airtight jar or container. If you are using the oil, don’t leave the container uncapped for too long. Instead, scoop out the necessary amount and then replace the lid. Always screw on the lid tightly to limit contact with oxygen.

It is also a good idea to keep coconut oil away from high heat as this can slowly denature the oil as well. Now, if your coconut oil occasionally becomes liquid, this is nothing to be alarmed about. It simply means that the temperature in the surroundings has risen. Nevertheless, store at room temperature whenever possible.

On a similar note, you may want to store the coconut oil away from direct sunlight. Keep it in your pantry cupboard so that it is less likely to undergo any kind of chemical transformation or alteration.

As you can see, coconut oil can oxidize, but this isn’t a process that takes place very often and will not happen very easily. However, you can lower this risk by storing your coconut oil properly.

Did you enjoy this post? Then make sure to check out our Pinterest page. We have tons of other posts of coconut oil, including its benefits, properties, and everything else you may want to know!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Riya Borah
Nutritionist Educator | Riya Borah is a nutritionist educator and her job involves guiding people towards a healthier lifestyle. Growing up in India, Riya was aware of just how much coconut was used on a daily basis. This encouraged her to research the properties of this versatile drupe. It opened her eyes to both the limitation and possibilities of coconut. Her aim is to now educate as many people as possible about the best ways to utilize coconut in their own lives.
An Important Disclaimer
The information on this page should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a doctor if you wish to consume any kind of tea regularly for the purpose of treating any condition or illness.
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