Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil: Nutrition, Cooking Tips, Health Benefits & Homemade Recipes Compared

Olive Oil for Constipation

Two of the most common cooking oils in the world are coconut oil and olive oil. Which oil is better for your health, gives more nutrition, is better for cooking, and easier to make? Before you decide, let’s look in detail at the benefits and cons of coconut oil vs. olive oil.

Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel or meat of ripe coconuts harvested from coconut palm trees (Cocos nucifera). Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olives, which are the fruit of Olea europaea, a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin.

The top six coconut oil-producing countries in the world are Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Mexico, and Sri Lanka. Together these six countries produce more than 3,441,000 metric tons of coconut oil every year.

In the case of olive oil, the top six producers are the European Union (28 countries), Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Syrian Arab Republic, and Algeria. Together they produce over 2,960,000 metric tons of olive oil every year.

Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil: Nutrition

Both coconut oil and olive oil contain nutrients in differing amounts. The below chart features the nutritional information for a single tablespoon serving of each.

Coconut Oil

Olive Oil

Calories 120


Vitamin E

1.9 mg (10% DV)
Vitamin K

8.1 mcg (10% DV)


0.1 mg (0% DV)

0.1 mg (0% DV)


0.1 mg (0% DV)

0.3 mg (0% DV)


            – 29.8 mg
Fat 13.5 g (21% DV)

13.5 g (21% DV)

Nutritionally, olive oil is much better than coconut oil. Olive oil provides important vitamins and minerals while coconut oil does not.

Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil Fats: How Their Fat Content Varies

Coconut Oil (1 tbsp) Olive Oil (1 tbsp)

Total Fat

14 g

14 g

Saturated Fat 12 g

1 g

Monosaturated Fat

0.8 g 9.8 g
Polysaturated Fat 0.2 g

1.4 g


0 g

0 g

Why Is the Saturated Fat in Coconut Oil Healthy?

Coconut oil’s saturated fat benefits its users in several ways:

  • Acts Like an Antioxidant Lessens Oxidative Stress – Coconut oil contains antioxidants like polyphenols and flavonoids, which can protect you from heart ailments.
  • High-Temperature Resistant – Coconut oil is resistant to high temperatures so the food won’t become smoked.
  • Reduces Hunger – If you eat food cooked in coconut oil, you will suffer from reduced hunger pangs. You will not feel hungry for extended periods of time.
  • Improves Metabolic Rate – Coconut oil increases your metabolic rate, which helps you burn fat faster and helps lose weight.
  • Benefits the Immune System – Saturated fats in coconut oil are composed of 50% lauric acid, which strengthens the immune system. It also has antiviral and anti-fungal properties that make it great for your digestive health.

Why Is the Monounsaturated Fat in Olive Oil Healthy?

Olive oil’s monounsaturated fat also has benefits for your health:

  • Heart-Friendly Fat – Olive oil contains a high level of monounsaturated fat, which has been certified as “heart friendly” fat by the American Heart Association.
  • Lowers LDL Cholesterol – Olive oil helps in reducing the low-density cholesterol levels (also known as “bad” cholesterol) in our body.
  • Contains Essential Substances – Olive oil is rich in antioxidants like vitamin E and polyphenolic compounds, which aid in reducing the systemic inflammation in our body.

Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil: Cooking Tips

How to Cook with Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is in liquid form for most of the summer months, and depending on your location, coconut oil may likely be liquid year-round unless refrigerated.

A High Smoke Point

Coconut oil has a high smoke point of 350 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it optimal for almost all cooking. A high smoke point is necessary because once it is reached, the oil starts to break down and burn, which leads to a major loss of the beneficial properties that are normally provided by the oil.

Also, burnt oil produces free radicals that, according to studies, are carcinogenic (can cause cancer cell development) and harmful.

If you need to melt coconut oil for a recipe, the best way to melt it is to heat it over low heat in a saucepan. Coconut oil will liquefy at 76 degrees F, so it will melt fairly quickly.

How to Store Coconut Oil

Coconut oil doesn’t need to be refrigerated. If you purchase coconut oil by the gallon, you can transfer some of the coconut oil to a glass jar or smaller container to keep with your kitchen supplies. This method is especially useful for those who don’t have a lot of counter space, and it helps to keep your counters free of clutter.

How to Cook with Olive Oil

Olive oil has a lower smoking point than coconut oil. It starts to smoke at around 280 degrees F and does lose flavor when it is heated, so it’s best used for uncooked dishes. You can use it to harmonize the spices in a dish, to enhance and build flavors, and to add body and depth.

Here Are Some Ways to Use Olive Oil:

You can drizzle it over salad, cooked pasta, or vegetables. You can mix it into salad dressing. It can also be used in marinades or sauces for meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables.

Olive oil can be used instead of butter or margarine as a healthy dip for bread. For an easy appetizer, toast baguette slices under the broiler, rub them lightly with a cut clove of garlic, and add a little drizzle of olive oil.

Replace butter with olive oil in mashed potatoes or on baked potatoes. For the ultimate mashed potatoes, whip together cooked potatoes, roasted garlic, and olive oil.

Make a tasty, heart-healthy dip by mixing cooked white beans, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor; season to taste with your favorite herbs.

How to Store Olive Oil

Thanks to olive oil’s high monounsaturated fat content, it can be stored longer than most other oils, but only as long as it is stored properly.

Heat, air, and light are the enemies of oil and help create free radicals, which eventually lead to excessive oxidation and rancidity that will leave a bad taste in your mouth. They also contribute to heart disease and cancer.

The best storage containers for olive oil are made of either tinted glass (to keep out light) or a nonreactive metal, such as stainless steel. Avoid metal containers because the chemical reactions between the olive oil and metals create toxic compounds.

Avoid most plastic too, as oil can absorb noxious substances such as polyvinyl chlorides (PVCs).

Keep It Cool

Experts recommend storing the oil at 57 degrees F, the temperature of a wine cellar. A room temperature of about 70 degrees F will be fine. If your kitchen is routinely warmer than that, you can refrigerate the oil.

Olive oil will keep well if stored in a sealed container in a cool, dark cupboard for about one year. If unopened, the oil may keep for as long as two years.

Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil: Health Benefits

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

  • Increases Good Cholesterol – One of the major coconut oil health benefits involves its high healthy saturated fat content, which helps increase the “good” HDL cholesterol in your blood and in turn reduces the risk of heart disease.
  • May Help with Weight Loss – Coconut oil contains short- and medium-chain fatty acids that help in shedding excess weight.
  • May Help in Preventing Diabetes – The medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil help maintain insulin sensitivity in muscle and fat tissues.
  • Protects Your Skin and Hair – Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture content of their skin. It can also reduce eczema symptoms.

Coconut oil can also provide protection against hair damage as it can block about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

  • Good for Heart Health – Studies show that olive oil can benefit your cardiovascular system by lowering LDL cholesterol levels, boosting endothelial function, decreasing blood pressure, reducing platelet aggregation, and lowering the risk of thrombosis.
  • Can Reduce Risk of Depression – It may lower your depression risk by replacing diets that are high in trans fats.
  • May Fight Alzheimer’s Disease – The oil may help stop buildup of so-called beta-amyloid plaques inside your brain cells.
  • Good for Liver – Olive oil may protect the liver from oxidative stress.

Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil: Uses

You can use both coconut oil and olive oil for cooking vegetables or meat at low temperatures. It is best to use regular olive oil for cooking at low temperatures because cooking at high temperatures will destroy its precious vitamin E and polyphenolic compounds.

The taste of olive oil does not work well with baked goods, but coconut oil gives them a good flavor. You can just replace the fats in your usual recipes, whether it is margarine, shortening, or vegetable oil, with the same amount of coconut oil, and you will get similar results.

DIY Recipes to Make Coconut Oil & Olive Oil at Home

How to Make Coconut Oil

  • Use a knife or meat cleaver to slice the coconut in half and drain the coconut milk into a jar. (Be sure to keep your fingers away from the blade.)
  • Use a spoon or chisel to scoop out the coconut meat and transfer it to a bowl.
  • First measure the coconut meat, and then add 50% more water to the bowl than the amount of coconut meat you’ve obtained.
  • Pour the coconut mixture into a blender. Use the “chop” setting for one minute, then switch to “blend” for two to three minutes, leaving the contents with a smooth, creamy consistency.
  • Stack three layers of cheesecloth over the bowl. Pour the coconut mixture onto the cheesecloth.
  • Wrap the sides of the cheesecloth around the coconut blend and wring out all of the milk.
  • Grab a clean jar with a lid and pour in the coconut milk. Allow the coconut milk to ferment, with the lid tightly secured, in a dark place for two days.
  • Next, transport the jar of coconut milk to a warm, lighted area for six to eight hours. This time will allow the coconut oil to separate from the coconut milk.
  • To solidify the oil, place the jar in the refrigerator for three hours.
  • Scoop out the oil with a spoon and place it in a container with a lid. Allow the oil to thaw in a room temperature environment and then use the oil as you choose.

How to Make Olive Oil

  • Choose ripe or unripe olives that are fresh and not canned.
  • Wash thoroughly by rinsing them under cool, running water.
  • After allowing the excess water to drain, use clean paper towels to pat the olives dry.
  • Crush the olives into a paste using a clean mallet. Transfer the paste to a tall drinking glass but fill only one-third of the glass at a time.
  • Combine the paste with hot water. Pour about two to three tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) of hot water into the glass per one cup (250 ml) of olive paste. Stir the contents rapidly to ensure even distribution of the water, then allow it sink to the bottom of the glass.
  • Next, grind the olive mash with an immersion blender until you can see beads of oil rise to the surface. Do this for at least five minutes.
  • Stir the crushed olives forcefully for several minutes until the oil separates, with the small beads of oil turning into larger ones.
  • Cover the glass loosely with a clean paper towel or dish cloth. Let the contents sit for five to 10 minutes without disturbing them.
  • Drape a large piece of cheesecloth over the opening of a large strainer. Pour the mashed olives into the cheesecloth, and wrap up the sides. Make sure the bundled olive mash is secure.
  • Place a weight on top of the bundle and let the olive oil, olive juice, and water drain through the cheesecloth and the strainer for at least 30 minutes. Place a large bowl beneath the strainer to collect this liquid as it drains.
  • Siphon the oil. Draw out the top layer of liquid, and leave the remaining layers behind. Transfer the siphoned oil into a separate glass.
  • The oil will form its own distinct layer naturally, which should rise to the top of the bowl.

Final Thoughts on Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil

So which oil is better, coconut oil or olive oil? Both are excellent cooking oils and have their own advantages and disadvantages. Olive oil has more nutritional value as it contains several vitamins and minerals that coconut oil does not. Coconut oil contains more saturated fat than olive oil, which means it should only be used moderately. On the other hand, olive oil contains more monounsaturated fats, which makes it healthier than coconut oil.

It is easier to cook with coconut oil as it has a higher smoking point, 350 degrees F, as compared to olive oil’s, which is 280 degrees F. It is easier to store coconut oil than olive oil because it doesn’t need to be refrigerated due to its high saturated fat content, which makes coconut oil resistant to oxidation.

Both coconut oil and olive oil can provide you several health benefits, so both can be used for cooking. What oil you use also depends on your taste and budget, so keeping that in mind, you can choose any of the two oils and make delicious, mouth-watering dishes for yourself and your family.

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