Refined Coconut Oil vs Unrefined Coconut Oil – Difference and Comparison

What is Refined Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is obtained by extracting the fat from the inner kernel of the Coconut. This oil then undergoes bleaching by filtering it through clay to remove impurities and any remaining bacteria. It also undergoes deodorizing or chemical refining to improve the quality of the oil for cooking purposes. Since the oil undergoes a lot of processing, the Oil is known as Refined Coconut Oil.

Since refined coconut oil has been processed, it has lost its natural flavor. Thus, it does not taste or smell like coconut and has a less intense coconut flavor. It has a higher boiling point of 204°C to 232°C. It is better suited for high-temperature cooking techniques such as frying, searing, or sauteing.

Refined Coconut Oil goes through a heat-based extraction process which changes the chemical structure of the fatty acids found in the Coconut Oil. Thus most of the nutritional benefits, natural fatty acids, and antioxidant and antibacterial capacity of the oil are lost. 

Refined oil has low quantities of free fatty acids (0.015%), low moisture content, and small amounts of volatile matter. There are no amino acids present in it. There are very minimal quantities of antioxidants or tocopherols present.

What is Unrefined Coconut Oil?

After being pressed from the Coconut flesh, the coconut oil doesn’t undergo any additional processing. This Oil is thus known as Unrefined Coconut Oil. It is also known as virgin Coconut Oil. 

There are two different methods to make unrefined coconut oil. One is the dry method, where the fresh coconut meat is dried quickly with a small amount of heat and then pressed to remove the oil.

The second is the wet method, in which the fresh coconut is pressed to yield milk and oil. These are then separated to obtain the oil.

Since this Oil hasn’t undergone any additional processing, it has a pronounced characteristic flavor and smell. It is solid at room temperature. Its boiling point is around 177°C. Thus, it is suitable to be used for baking. 

Unrefined Coconut Oil is the purest and most natural form of Coconut Oil available. 

It has high quantities of free fatty acids (8 x more than refined, 0.127%), high moisture, and amounts of volatile matter. It also has small amounts of amino acids, antioxidants, and tocopherols (including α-tocopherols).

Difference Between Refined Coconut Oil and Unrefined Coconut Oil

Refined coconut oil has been processed after extraction from coconut flesh. Unrefined oil is not processed after being extracted from coconut flesh.

Refined oil has a less intense coconut flavor whereas unrefined coconut oil has the characteristic smell and taste of coconut.

Refined coconut oil has a higher boiling point than unrefined coconut oil. Thus, it is more suitable for high-temperature cooking techniques. The unrefined oil has a lower boiling point and therefore is more suitable for baking.

Comparison Between Refined Coconut Oil and Unrefined Coconut Oil

Parameters of ComparisonRefined Coconut OiUnrefined Coconut Oil  
Method of productionProduced by processing such as bleaching, deodorizing, or chemical refiningIt is extracted from coconut flesh by the dry or wet method. No further processing is done.
Physical characteristicsIt has a less intense coconut flavour.It has the pronounced characteristic taste and smell of coconut and is solid at room temperature.
Melting point204°C-232°C177°C
PurityIt has been changed from its natural form.It is the purest form of Coconut oil.
UsesIt is suitable for high-temperature cooking techniques such as frying, searing, or sauteing.It is better suitable for baking and also for skin care.