How to Differentiate between Refined and Unrefined Coconut Oil? – Organic Gyaan
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Refined v/s Unrefined Coconut Oil What’s the Difference - Organic Gyaan

Refined v/s Unrefined Coconut Oil What’s the Difference

In the last few years, the edible oil industry is going through several revisions and transforming shifts. Increased health awareness among the people led them to try different versions of edible oil depending on the benefits they offer. The use of coconut oil has not been limited to just a few regions of the world for the sake of hair nourishment. The canvas has spanned across the world and consumption purposes have advanced as edible oil, in the cosmetic industry, and for medicinal use. Diet regimes like Keto have already boosted people for consumption of high-fat food and coconut oil fits the best. Let’s see how coconut oil gets manufactured. Coconut meat is processed to extract oil from it. This manufacturing process and use of coconut flesh derive two types of coconut oil and they are:

  • Refined Coconut oil

  • Unrefined or Virgin coconut oil

Let’s learn the differences between these, so that you can make the right choice for yourself & your family!

What is Refined Coconut Oil and Unrefined Coconut Oil?

The widespread popularity of coconut oil is the result of the latest health trends, like Keto, which focuses on high-fat and low-calorie intake. Coconut oil with high medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) best fits the criteria.

Refined coconut oil is made by pressing dried coconut meat and later undergoing several processes, like degumming, neutralizing, bleaching, and deodorizing. Thus, it is highly processed with a higher smoke point of 400-450℉. With this higher smoke point, refined coconut oil is best for high-temperature cooking like frying and baking.

On the contrary, unrefined coconut oil is manufactured with both dry and fresh coconut meat and mostly doesn’t undergo further processing. You may have come across one more term virgin coconut oil made from fresh coconut milk which doesn’t further the refining process. This virgin oil is further divided into expeller-pressed and cold-pressed virgin coconut oil which again differs at the point of use of heat in the manufacturing process. The elimination of heat in the wet-pressed virgin coconut oil makes it more suitable for regular consumption.  

What Is the Difference Between Refined and Unrefined Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil has different variations, but refined and unrefined coconut oil are the major two types.

Refined coconut oil is a type of oil that has undergone a process of refinement to remove impurities and improve its quality. The refining process typically involves a combination of chemical and physical treatments, such as degumming, neutralization, bleaching, and deodorization. These treatments help to remove unwanted substances such as free fatty acids, phospholipids, and pigments, which can affect the oil's taste, colour, and shelf life. Refined coconut oil is widely used in cooking, and baking due to its neutral flavour and high smoke point. However, the refining process may also remove some of the oil's natural nutrients and antioxidants, which is a downside of consuming refined coconut oil.

On the other hand, unrefined coconut oil is oil that is minimally processed and retains its natural flavour and nutrients. Unlike refined coconut oil, unrefined coconut oil is subjected to high heat, chemicals, or solvents during the processing stage. Instead, they are simply extracted from the source and filtered to remove impurities. One of the main benefits of using unrefined coconut oil is that it contains more nutrients and antioxidants than refined coconut oils. For example, unrefined coconut oil is high in medium-chain triglycerides, which can improve metabolism and support weight loss.

Refined v/s Unrefined Coconut Oil

Sr No.

Refined Coconut Oil

Unrefined Coconut Oil


Made by processing dried coconut meat through a machine to extract the oil

Produced by pressing fresh coconut meat to extract oil from it.



It uses steam or heat to deodorize the product which is later bleached and filtered to remove impurities.

It is further divided into two categories: expeller-pressed and cold-pressed. Expeller-pressed oil uses steam or heat along with the machining process. Cold-pressed oil eliminates heat from the manufacturing process.


It has a neutral aroma and taste.

It retains the natural aroma and has a mild nutty flavour taste.



The smoke point is relatively higher and falls in the range of 400-450℉.

Has a lower smoke point than refined oil and is about 350℉.


Has a shorter shelf life

Can last two to three years when stored properly


Good for baking, sauteing, and cooking.

Best for low heat sautéing or baking, or salad dressings


Does not keep vital vitamins like E and sterols

Retains the Vitamin E and Sterols, making it more nutritional.


When To Use Refined and Unrefined Coconut Oil?

People who have started consuming coconut oil may get confused about refined coconut oil and unrefined coconut oil. The answer to this confusion depends on several things like what you are planning to use of coconut oil for, individual preference, dietary needs, and the quality of coconut oil. When we look at the differences, we consider both options are worth considering. But depending upon the above factors, we recommend you buy a jar of each of them and use them as per your choice to reap the best of them.

1. Baking Process

One can use both types of coconut oil in the baking process which is a popular vegan substitute for butter. Follow the recipe thoroughly so that you can identify whether the aroma and nutty mild taste of coconut are required or not. There are some recipes like pumpkin pie, and strawberry cupcakes, which demand refined coconut oil which doesn’t last an aroma and taste to rise the core taste. While some recipes like coconut banana bread require unrefined coconut oil to amp up the aroma.  

2. Aesthetic Process

The use of coconut oil other than cooking is gaining lost fame, especially in the aesthetic process- skin and hair care. If you want to reap the benefits of coconut oil, dermatologists recommend the use of cold-pressed unrefined coconut oil. Coconut oil can work best on your split ends, dry scalp, and hair care problems. With in-built moisturizer features, unrefined coconut oil can get antibacterial and antimicrobial benefits.

3. Cooking

The latest diet regimes like Keto cause people to understand coconut oil benefits and consider it as core edible oil across the world. Both refined and unrefined coconut oil have different smoke points, and their application in cooking is also gets differ. Cooking processes that work on high smoke points, like frying, use refined coconut oil. On the contrary, cooking processes like sauteing, which require low smoking points use unrefined coconut oil. Also, with a difference in taste, unrefined coconut oil is used in savoury recipes like curry and soup with its strong coconut taste and aroma.

One may get confused over refined, unrefined, virgin oil and hesitate about which one to use. Although the popularity of the keto diet has brought the fame of coconut oil back in these recent years, one should get advice from a health practitioner before replacing edible oil with coconut oil. Decide which one to use after learning the differences between refined and unrefined coconut oil. Visit our website or drop yourself at our stores to buy pure organic coconut oil and get ready to avail yourself of the health benefits!