What's The Best Coconut Oil?

You want to buy coconut oil but there are so many different brands on the market, it's overwhelming! 

Are they all the same?  Does it matter which one you buy?  How do you know what the best coconut oil is?

Don’t feel bad . . . it is confusing!

In fact, you will find that even manufacturers have a difference of opinion on what the best method of extraction is for obtaining the best virgin coconut oil:

  • Boiling
  • Fermentation
  • Centrifuge
  • Cold pressed, etc.

But, what does seem to be agreed upon in the industry is that there are basically two main types of coconut oil:

  • Unrefined (Virgin) coconut oil
  • Refined (RBD) coconut oil

And the difference between these two main types of coconut oil (or other versions of them) will be: 

  • How much processing the oil has gone through
  • What type of coconut was used to produce it:                       fresh coconut or copra

These factors will ultimately affect the smell, taste, color, and overall quality of the oil.

Personal Preferences

When choosing the best coconut oil, you may have some personal preferences you want to consider:

Certified Organic

Maybe you only want to buy certified organic coconut oil in order to avoid any GMO's (genetically modified organisms), fertilizers, toxic chemicals, pesticides, additives, etc.  

Note: Any manufacturer can put "organic" on their label.  It may even be a part of the name. Check the label to make sure it states who the certifying agency is or look for a USDA certified organic seal of approval.

Glass or Plastic Containers

Do you only want to buy coconut oil that comes in a glass container? Or, would you consider a plastic container as long as it is BPA free.


Maybe you think the best coconut oil for you will be a raw coconut oil.

Note: This is another area that manufacturers' have a difference of opinion.  Some feel it is not possible to have a true "raw" coconut oil due to the temperatures they are exposed to during transportation from the tropics.

Or, there may be other things important to you that I have not listed.

Buying Coconut Oil Tips

In addition to your own personal preferences, here are a few general tips to give you an idea of what you can look for when picking out the best coconut oil.

Virgin/Extra Virgin

Why should you look for a virgin coconut oil? 

  • Least processed
  • Contains a higher amount of nutrients
  • Healthiest
  • Delicious mild flavor and aroma

A high quality unrefined (Virgin) coconut oil is produced using:

  • fresh coconut meat (non-copra)
  • Low temperatures
  • No chemicals

Because of this, more of the natural phytonutrients are preserved.  That's what gives coconut oil its delicate coconut aroma and flavor.

A good indication of a high quality virgin coconut oil will include all of these factors:

  • Mild coconut flavor
  • Delicious coconut aroma
  • Pure white when solid
  • Clear (like water) when fully liquid
  • Stable shelf life (2 years) or more

Note:  There are no official classifications or differences between "virgin" and "extra virgin" in the coconut oil industry.

Aroma & Flavor

You know what tastes good and smells good so, aroma and flavor are going to be important.  If you don't like the taste or you think it stinks, it's not going to be the best coconut oil for you because you probably won't use it.

  • High quality virgin coconut oil will have a delicious mild coconut smell and taste.
  • Poor quality virgin oils will have a "not so good" flavor or smell. (burnt, rancid, ash like)
  • Refined (RBD) coconut oil will have no smell or taste.

What is RBD coconut oil?

RBD oil is highly processed: Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized.  Usually  using high heat and chemical solvents that eliminate all of its natural phytonutrients and the reason why it has:

  • No Flavor
  • No Aroma

It is mainly made from copra.

What is copra?

Copra is dried coconut that has been kiln dried, smoke dried, sun dried, or a combination of the three.  But, most copra is dried outside in the sun for several weeks where it is unsanitary and exposed to bugs, bacteria and mold.  The oil has to be refined in order to remove impurities or it would not be suitable to consume.

Common uses for RBD oil include:  cooking, commercial food processing, cosmetics, industrial, pharmaceutical.


The color of the oil will give you one indication of its pureness.  A high quality virgin coconut oil is:

  • Pure white when solid
  • Clear (like water) when liquid

Note:  Refined RBD coconut oil is also pure white when it is solid and clear when it is liquid. (That's why color is only one indication of quality)

Lower quality oils that are not so pure will be yellowish or gray in color.  A sign of excessive heat used during processing or contamination from mold or smoke.


Not everyone can or wants to pay the premium price for a virgin coconut oil. Just keep in mind that a cheap price can be a good indication of a lower quality oil.

Your Decision

You may think the best coconut oil for you is only an organic extra virgin coconut oil.

Some people may opt for a little more refined coconut oil, like a good quality expeller pressed coconut oil.

While others might prefer an RBD oil simply because it doesn't have the taste or smell of coconut.

In the end, the best coconut oil is going to be the one that you like the best and that fits within your budget.

And, maybe this will help make your decision a little easier . . . according to a leading expert on coconut and health, Dr. Bruce Fife states in his book "Coconut Cures":

"Regardless of the method of processing, all coconut oils contain essentially the same amount of health promoting medium chain fatty acids.  These fatty acids are very resistant to heat and are not harmed in processing, even when high temperatures are used."

But, watch out for these . . .

Cheap, Low Quality RB Oils (Cochin)

You may even find some low quality oils made from sun dried copra that are labeled as “virgin” or even "organic".  Stay away from these, they are refined and bleached, but not deodorized.  They have a peculiar odor and taste plus they contain too many impurities.  Look for clues like:

  • Strong smell
  • Terrible taste
  • Shorter shelf life (6 months)
  • Discolored slightly yellowish or gray
  • Half the price of a true virgin oil


Hope this helps you pick out the best coconut oil!  You may also like:

Using Coconut Oil as a Supplement

Get the Most Coconut Oil Benefits

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

And, don't miss these quick helpful TIPS once you start using coconut oil!

Did you find what you were looking for? 

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