Ingredient Comparison: Coconut Oil Versus Butter

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Are you ready to make the switch from butter to coconut oil? Whether you're going vegan or just interested in healthy living, coconut oil is a fantastic alternative to animal fats. Better still, it's easy to substitute coconut oil for butter in your baked goods!

At the beginning of the 20th century, coconut oil was a popular cooking fat. Then, saturated fats became taboo and coconut oil when out of style. Although butter and coconut oil consist of saturated fats, coconut oil contains more medium-chained fatty acids (specifically lauric acid). Coconut oil withstands higher temperatures than butter and doesn't turn rancid nearly as easily. Yet, the body actually processes coconut oil more efficiently than butter.

Switching out butter for coconut oil is simple-when a recipe calls for melted butter, melt the coconut oil or let it remain in a liquid state, when it calls for solid butter, cool the oil down until it solidifies. Make sure you measure the oil in the state in which it will be used. Remember, coconut oil does have a slight coconuty taste, so this substitution works best in recipes where that coconut flavor will be appreciated. Try making Whole-Wheat Sweet Potato Coconut Muffins using coconut oil instead of butter.

Curious about other cooking oils? Read Stocking Your Kitchen: A Guide to Oils for Cooking.

Photo: on flickr