If you enjoy using coconut oil as a regular part of your daily life, the discovery of coconut butter should come as quite a pleasant surprise. While it has a similar coconutty flavor to the oil, coconut butter is a totally different experience. Its texture is similar to that of a good all-natural peanut or almond butter. Also, because it is made from the actual meat of the fruit, coconut butter has a more potent coconut flavor than the oil.
To start off, we’ll take a look at a few good reasons we think you should give coconut butter a try. Then we’ll move on to some of the many ways to put it to use in the kitchen. Once you’ve whetted your appetite a little (or a lot) I’ll walk you through the fairly simple process of making coconut butter using just a few simple ingredients.
If you want to skip straight to the good part (sans kitchen mess) you can always purchase pre-made coconut butter here. But do take a look at the recipes and cooking tips listed further down to see just how awesome this stuff really is!
Why Use Coconut Butter?
You may be wondering (because I sure did when I first heard about it) why you would want to use coconut butter instead of your trusty jar of coconut oil. Or why use it in lieu of traditional dairy butter?
After trying it out for myself, the following are the six primary reasons that coconut butter is my new best friend in the kitchen.
1. Coconut Butter Is More Versatile For Cooking
It’s no secret that coconut oil has a great many uses in the kitchen, as well as outside of it. While coconut butter certainly can’t replace every function of coconut oil, it does have a wider variety of applications for cooking.
Just like with coconut oil, coconut butter handles high cooking temperatures beautifully, without oxidizing as the majority of unsaturated fats tend to do. This property makes it ideal for stir frying and sauteeing fresh vegetables.
Unlike coconut oil, coconut butter is made from the pureed meat of the fruit. For this reason, it can also be used for things like flourless baking and making candy-like substitutes which are both delicious and healthy. (We’ll explore this more in a just a moment!)
2. It Provides Fiber In Addition To Healthy Essential Fatty Acids
Coconut is naturally a very fiberous fruit; and fiber is something that most of us could use a little more of in our diets. The benefits of a fiber-rich diet include things like improved cardiovascular health, blood-sugar regulation, digestion and energy levels. Add this to the many health benefits of eating coconut oil (which is also natural present in coconut butter) and you have a win-win situation.
3. Coconut Butter Has A More Appealing Texture
Despite the potential benefits of doing so, putting a spoonful of plain coconut oil in your mouth is a pretty nasty concept for most people. Again, coconut butter is here to save the day! With a texture that is closer to peanut or almond butter, it is far more appealing to the touch. And because it contains the same mix of essential fatty acids, consuming coconut butter will still provide the same benefits as eating coconut oil.
4. It Contains Potassium, Magnesium and Iron
Because it is made from the flesh of the fruit, coconut butter still carries the same nutrients which are naturally present in raw coconut. These include the vital electrolytes potassium and magnesium which our bodies require for such things as cellular regeneration and fluid regulation, as well as healthy muscular, nervous and immune function.
Coconut butter also provides a small amount of iron which is needed to produce red blood cells and transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron also plays an important role in proper muscle and metabolism function, among other things.
5. Coconut Butter Spreads Like Dairy Butter
For anyone with a lactose intolerance or for those who simply choose to not consume dairy; coconut butter is the perfect substitute. It spreads just like dairy butter, tastes better and is better for you. And as previously mentioned, coconut butter has a wide range of culinary uses – many of which it is actually better suited to than its dairy counterpart! Read on to learn more.
6. It’s A Safe Alternative To Peanut Butter
Probably the best thing about coconut butter is that it’s a delicious alternative to peanut butter for those with a peanut allergy. Coconut butter can be used in the exact same ways as peanut butter (e.g., spread on celery sticks, sandwiches, crackers, etc). Not only that, but it actually tastes better and is much better for you than peanut butter. That’s good news for everyone!
15 Creative Uses For Coconut Butter
Now that we’ve gone over a handful of the benefits of using coconut butter, it’s time to get cooking! The following are 15 of the seemingly countless creative and tasty ways that you can put this delicious natural ingredient to work in your kitchen.
1. Egg-Free Mayonnaise
If slathering egg and animal fat on your food sounds a little less-than-appealing to you, this one is for you. Try making egg-free mayo with coconut butter and olive oil to use instead. You can find the recipe here, compliments of Empowered Sustenance.
2. Fruit & Veggie Dip
Coconut butter by itself makes a smooth, creamy and delicious dip for your favorite fruits and veggies. Try it with carrots, celery sticks or cherry tomatoes. Coconut butter also tastes great with pineapple, melon, strawberries and apple slices, (just to name a few).
3. Spread Over Breakfast Breads & Grains
If you’re a fan of oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, muffins or any other breakfast breads or grains, try adding coconut butter to your next morning meal. The flavor of the coconut will delight your tastebuds. At the same time, the medium-chain fatty acids in the butter will help keep your blood sugar balanced despite the heavy load of carbohydrates.
4. Top Your Baked Sweet Potato or Squash
One of my all-time favorite uses for coconut oil in the kitchen is as a topping for baked sweet potato or squash. Coconut butter works beautifully for this, as well. It’s a healthier alternative to butter and the oils in the coconut butter will help your body absorb the fat-soluable antioxidants from these types of veggies.
You can also add a pinch of salt to really bring out the flavor!
5. Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer
I’ve been adding coconut oil to my morning coffee for many years. While this is a great way to get that first tablespoon of energy-boosting CO, there’s just one little problem. A few seconds after stirring it in, the oil floats right to the top. (And yes, you can use a blender to solve this little problem. But first thing in the morning, a noisy appliance is the last thing I want to listen to.)
Adding coconut butter to coffee has a similar effect as using CO, but the texture of the coconut butter makes it much more appealing!
6. Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa
Just as with coffee, coconut butter can be mixed with cocoa powder to make a warm and delicious cup of hot cocoa. To make it, pour a mug about 3/4 full of hot water. Mix in 1 – 2 spoonfuls of coconut butter with a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder and add your natural sweetener of choice. Stir until well combined and all of the cocoa powder has dissolved.
7. Stir-Fry Oil For Veggies
Another task which coconut butter has taken over from my trusty coconut oil is that stir-frying veggies. Because it tolerates high temperatures very well, coconut butter (like the oil) is well-suited to the job. And you can stir-fry just about anything with it. My personal favorites: asparagus spears and fresh green beans. Add a pinch of salt to the mix to really bring out the sweetness of the veggies!
8. Creamy Tomato Sauces
Jazz up any and all of your tomato-based sauces (homemade or store-bought) by adding a tablespoon or two of coconut butter. It will enhance the flavor of your sauce while also boosting bio-availability of certain nutrients in the tomatoes and adding its own unique health benefits!
9. Add It To Curry
Coconut milk is a common ingredient in curry. You can use coconut butter for a similar effect. Just as with tomato sauces, the butter adds a little somthing extra, both nutrient- and flavor-wise.
10. Coconut Butter Fudge
When whipping up homemade desserts like fudge, swap out the dairy butter for coconut butter instead. This works beautifully for all kinds of chocolate delicacies. Feel free to let your imagination run wild!
11. Flourless Cakes & Breads
Because of its incredible texture, coconut butter can be used in baked goods to reduce or completely eliminate the need for wheat or other grain flours. This recipe for Toasted Coconut Butter Bread by Coconut Contentment is a perfect example – simple and delicious!
12. Healthy Stand-Alone Snack
For adults and children alike, coconut butter makes a delicious and healthy snack all by itself. It’s even good for infants who are just beginning to eat solid foods. The anti-microbial nature of the fatty acids in raw coconut can help to naturally fortify your little one’s developing immune system.
13. Coconut Blueberry Pudding
Real Food Forager serves up a delicious dessert with this dairy-free coconut blueberry pudding. The recipe calls for coconut butter and coconut oil, plus fresh blueberries and bananas. You can get the full scoop here.
14. Cranberry Orange Coconut Candy
Coconut butter makes a perfect addition to fruits when crafting homemade sweets. Check out this excellent recipe for cranberry orange coconut candy by Coconut Mama.
15. Piña Colada Sorbet
This recipe by Empowered Sustenance calls for four simple ingredients. You’ll need a cup of finely chopped frozen pineapple, a tablespoon of organic coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of coconut butter and a pinch of salt. Begin by blending the pineapple and coconut milk for about 5 minutes in a food processor. Once the mixture is smooth, mix in coconut butter and salt. Again, blend until smooth. It’s super easy and delicious! (You can find the full instructions here.)
There are easily hundreds more ways to use coconut butter for cooking (way too many to list here for certain!) But hopefully this list will give you some great inspiration for future culinary adventures. And now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
How To Make Your Own Homemade Coconut Butter
This is a pretty simple recipe, though it make take some practice to get it just right. (But even if it isn’t perfect the first couple of times you make it, guaranteed your coconut butter will still taste delicious!)
Step 1: The Prep Work.
Before you begin, of course you’ll need to gather your ingredients and equipment. Here’s what you’ll need.
– a food processor (I use this little beauty.)
– a silicone cake spatula (something like this.)
– raw, unsweetened coconut shreds (Bob’s Red Mill is always a safe choice.)
– a pinch or two of salt (optional)
– a resealable glass jar for storage (You can get them here.)
Step 2: Transform Coconut Into Butter.
This whole process takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, once you begin pureeing your coconut shreds. So start off by tossing about 2 cups of coconut into the food processor. Secure the lid and hit puree.
About every minute (or less) you’ll hear the blades begin to whir as though they’re chopping nothing but air. This happens because they are doing just that. When you hear it: stop the blades, open the lid and scrape the coconut off of the sides. Remove spatula, replace lid, press puree. Repeat.
You will do this many, many times.
Along the way, you should notice a couple of specific changes to the coconut as it is being food-processed. After a few minutes have passed, the coconut will become clumpy and will look nothing like paste. This is okay. Keep going.
About 5 – 10 minutes in, your coconut will take on the consistency of a very grainy paste. (Now we’re getting somewhere! Stop, scrape, lid, press, repeat.) Keep going. You’re almost there.
Finally, after about 20 minutes, your coconut will have transformed into velvety white butter. The texture will be that of a high-quality, natural nut butter – still slightly grainy, but spreadable.
Step 3: Store, Chill & Enjoy!
Transfer your finished coconut butter into a clean glass jar and store it in the refrigerator. As with coconut oil, your butter will be solid and quite hard when cold. However, heat it up to around 76ºF / 24ºC and it will become melty and spreadable once again.
(Please Note: It has been recommended by many to NOT use a large blender for this project. The side-scraping every 30 – 60 seconds is apparently much more difficult in a tall carafe. So, if you have a food processor, use it. If you don’t, you may want to consider getting one before attempting this recipe.)
Okay, Got It! What Now?
Once you get good at making regular coconut butter, consider trying your hand at Toasted Coconut Butter for a little flavor variation. It’s as easy as toasting your coconut shreds before adding them to the food processor. Remember, all things in moderation. Coconut butter (toasted or regular) is delicious, but it’s also highly caloric. So enjoy your new tasty treat, but also enjoy it responsibly!
Rather Buy Coconut Butter Than Make It?
No problem! Coconut butter may not be terribly easy to find on the shelves at your local grocery store. However, it is readily available from many online retailers at a modest price. Artisana Organics Raw Coconut Butter and Nutiva Coconut Manna are the two most popular brands currently available.
You can also get super-scrumptious Toasted Coconut Butter made by My Coconut Kitchen. Or take it a step further and go all out with their Coconut Butter Sampler which includes four sinfully delicious flavors: Divinely Dark, Roasty Toasty, Naked, & Eat Your Oatmeal.
Who knew that coconut could taste so good?!
Because You Can Never Have Too Much Coconut…
Be sure to check out some of these other great guides for using coconut – oil, that is!
And of course, 10 Ways To Replace Your Personal Care Products With Coconut Oil!