The microwave is a very useful kitchen appliance, used for heating up foods very fast. There are some foods it works better for and some that it doesn’t do so well – baked potatoes in the microwave, for example, are indistinguishable from the ones you do in the oven! But can you microwave coconut oil? Let’s find out!
What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is a very thick oil, made from coconuts (not surprisingly, given the name!) It comes from the flesh of the coconut, and contains very high levels of saturated fat.
Because of this, it is better than most oils at resisting rancidification, and can last up to six months at 24 degrees without going bad.
It has a slightly nutty, slightly sweet flavour, not all that much like the distinctive coconut flavour, but it is very palatable which makes it very popular for cooking.
Unlike most oils, coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so it can be helpful to heat it to make it more usable – for example if you are putting it in a salad dressing.
Read also: Can You Microwave Frozen Fries?
Uses for coconut oil
It is very popular these days, due to its health benefits and the fact that it is so versatile – you can use it for cooking, for beauty, as a health supplement – some people even use coconut oil for brushing their teeth!
Coconut oil is a staple for cooking in many Asian countries, and in the rest of the world it is becoming more and more popular as a healthy substitute for other fats like oils and butter (I have a vegan friend who spreads it on her toast!)
Coconut oil is also used in a lot of home remedies for improving hair and skin, in various different recipes and quantities – basically, there is very little that you cannot do with this versatile oil.
Does microwaving damage coconut oil?
Like all oils, coconut loses its health benefits when it is heated to extremes. Coconut oil has a “smoke point” of 175 degrees C, but luckily microwaves on the highest setting only go up to 110 degrees C.
It is still sensible to take care when heating coconut oil in the microwave, but at least you know that you’re not in danger of burning it!
If you over heat the oil, you run the risk of removing its health benefits and also of burning yourself, so take care if you have accidentally heated it too hot.
How to microwave coconut oil
Microwaving coconut oil is easy. Just remember that the amount of oil will reduce slightly as it heats, so add a bit more of the solid oil than you think you need, to make up for the lost amount (as a rough guide, 100g of solid coconut oil will become around 90g of liquid oil).
- Take a heat resistant container, and place the amount of coconut oil you need into it (plus a little extra, as mentioned above).
- Place the container into the microwave and heat it for 15 seconds, at full power.
- Remove the container and stir the contents well to mix it up.
- Return the container to the microwave, and heat for another 15 seconds.
- Remove the container, stir it again and check that the oil is at the desired consistency. If not, return it to the microwave and repeat the process above until you reach the runnyness you want.
Alternatively, you can heat your oil differently, whilst still using a microwave:
- Place a glass of water into a microwave safe bowl.
- Heat it on full power for 30 seconds.
- Remove it, and place your container of oil into the glass.
- Leave it for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until it has melted to the consistency you want.
Coconut oil is a delicious, healthy type of oil that has myriad different uses.
If you need to heat it enough to make it runny enough to use and you need to do it quickly, then you can microwave it – just take a bit of care so that you don’t overheat the oil and ruin those health benefits and the subtle taste. Standing it in a cup of water that has been microwaved is a safer way of doing it, although it does take a little longer.