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Thursday, April 21, 2022

Homemade Coconut Oil, 3 Easy Ways


Coconut cooking oil is quite popular for cooking, in addition to using palm oil or other cooking oils. This article discusses 3 ways to make coconut oil at home, namely:

1. heated with a stove while stirring

2. heated in a rice cooker without stirring

3. without heating to produce virgin coconut oil (VCO)


The process of making coconut oil by heating is the most popular, because this is the fastest process. But it requires heating and stirring. The heat will evaporate the water content in the coconut milk. So that the coconut milk runs out of water. And the coconut oil is left, with dregs contains: fiber, protein, and fat. This method is similar to how to cook Padang dishes such as rendang. Where coconut milk is used to boil meat, until the water in the coconut milk evaporates. Then the cooking method changed from boiling the meat, to frying the meat with coconut oil from the coconut milk.

The process of making coconut oil (Cocos nucifera L) by heating is as follows:

Choose an old coconut, peeled and cleaned the remaining hard skin from the coconut shell, take the flesh. The skin of the fruit flesh (testa) is a thin brown skin that wraps around the coconut flesh, usually not removed, to ensure coconut flesh contains more oil.

Grate the coconut meat using a grater. You can use a blender, juicer, and other electric tool (food processor). But make sure not to fill too much to avoid blender overload. Usually, coconut meat should be cut into small pieces, like dice about 1 cm in size. Then water is added to make it easier to chop and mix in a blender. Grated coconut is also available in the market.

Mix grated coconut with clean water, about 800 milliliters for 1 coconut, to form a good coconut milk. If you use coconut water (coconut juice) to make coconut milk, the coconut oil produced will taste a bit sweet. Suitable for making sweet foods such as cakes. Ready coconut milk is also widely sold in the market. Strain the coconut milk from the coarse coconut pulp. If you use a fine cloth filter, the oil will be cleaner. But it will also reduce the volume of oil produced. Because the oil is contained in the coconut pulps, and those pulps are also filtered.

Prepare a frying pan or wok and heat with a small flame then pour the coconut milk, stir slowly. If too much heat then it should be stirred more often. But too much heat will reduce the quality of the oil. The photo below shows that the foam that sticks to the pan is higher, while the foam on the face of the coconut milk is lower. Because some of the water has evaporated.


Due to the difference in specific gravity, the water will be at the bottom of the pan, because water is the heaviest. The oil will be on top, because it is lighter. Coconut dregs that still contain oil will be on top. Water will be difficult to evaporate because it is blocked by oil on top of it. So it needs to be lifted to the top by stirring it. The dregs containing the oil need to be directed downwards. So that they are exposed to the heat. And the oil is diluted, so that it comes out of the dregs. The dregs will stick together like foam, sometimes it is sticking to the pan if not stirred. If the water has been greatly reduced, the coconut milk will appear brown with a pool of oil on the surface, as in the photo below.


The photo below shows the golden color oil accumulating on a frying pan, with a dark brown dregs and slightly sticking to the pan due to high heat and insufficient stirring. After strain and pour into a container, the oil is ready to use.

With a small flame and continuous stirring, the results will be better. Even though it takes longer as shown in the photo below. Low heat process can take about 4 hours, depending on the amount of coconut milk, wide pan area to ensure water evaporates easily, stirring, and so on. Due to the long heating time, this method is less efficient if making less than 1 liter of oil.

The above oil on the frying pan comes from a single coconut. It can reach about 150 milliliters per coconut, so for 1 liter of oil it takes about 6 coconuts. Sulawesi (Celebes) coconuts can produce more oil per coconut.

If you want get a clear oil like water, then the heating should not be too long. Heating is immediately stopped when the dregs color is slightly brown. But the volume of oil will decrease slightly.

The coconut leftover (dregs, solids, pulp) is edible, tastes and smells good, and it is beneficial for health. Dregs can make dishes such as rendang, coconut oil fried rice, to be delicious. So those foods are included in the list of the world's most delicious foods (world best foods 2021). Coconut oil dregs is also called blondo (Indonesia) and latik (Philipines).

Blondo can also be used as a snack or processed into other foods like the recipes on Cookpad. If coconut milk uses coconut water, then dregs will taste sweet. Latik recipes are also available in Cookpad.


A rice cooker can be used to make coconut cooking oil. Coconut milk is put into a plastic bag. Then placed in a dark place at room temperature so that the fermentation process occurs.

Light can cause photodegradation (decay by light) so that unwanted changes occur in: fats, pigments (colors), proteins, vitamins, aromas, and others.

After about an hour, the coconut milk will separate to become two parts, the top part is coconut cream (curd), and below is water. As the photo below. 

In order to be used as cooking oil, coconut cream needs to be heated. Remove the water by making a hole in the bottom of the plastic bag. 

The coconut cream left in the plastic bag is then put into the rice cooker. Set the rice cooker to the cooking position. The rice cooker will heat the coconut cream to a relatively constant temperature of 100 degrees Celsius. Because the rice cooker has an automatic heat regulator.


No need to stir the coconut cream often, you can even leave it like cooking rice. Non-stick Teflon coating on the rice cooker pan prevents dregs from sticking to the pan. The rice cooker does not need to be closed, so that the steam escapes easily.

Water absorbs more heat than oil. If all the water in the coconut milk evaporates, the temperature will rise suddenly beyond 100 degrees Celsius. And the rice cooker detects that temperature rise, it will automatically change from the cooking setting to warm setting. So what is left in the pan is coconut oil and dregs.

But the dregs produced by the rice cooker is still a bit moist, so it is less tasty when eaten. So dregs needs to be fried again to make it more tasty, or other food process.

This method with a rice cooker is more practical and less troublesome, because there is no need to stir continuously. Also because the water has been separated and removed from the coconut milk, the heating will be faster. In places where there are lots of coconut trees, the price of coconut is usually cheaper. So the process of producing coconut oil with this rice cooker can be cheap.

The oil produced by heating coconut milk has a smoke point of about 204 °C. The smoke point is the temperature when the oil evaporates releasing volatile compounds, so that the bluish-white smoke is clearly visible. The cooking process should not exceed this smoke point temperature. Because oil produces toxic compounds if the smoke point is exceeded. Aroma and taste can also change.

Above the smoke point temperature there is a flash point, the point at which vapors from oil can ignite in air, if in contact with a fire or spark.


Coconut cream of the 2nd process can also get the oil out without being heated. If you leave it in a dark place long enough, the coconut cream will separate the oil. This oil is virgin coconut oil (VCO). But this process can take more than 12 hours, and it produces less oil. VCO can be drunk and efficacious for health.

The coconut cream, which has been separated from the water, is transferred from a plastic bag into a glass container, filled to the brim. Then covered with plastic and rubber, so as not to be exposed to outside air. Store in a dark place. 

After about 12 to 24 hours, the coconut cream will separate into 3 parts. 

The very bottom is a slightly cloudy water. The clear middle part is VCO. And the top white and slightly yellow is the fine coconut pulp. There is also coconut pulp or solids that settles to the bottom, if the oil contained in the pulp has been released.

Prepare a wide screener, put a thin layer of cotton to become a fine filter. Thicker cotton makes cleaner filtered oil. If the cotton is too thick, then the oil will be difficult to drip. If you use a funnel, the filtering will take longer, because the funnel is blocked. The cotton and dirt accumulate in the narrow hole, so the oil is difficult to drip.


Tissue paper can also be used to filter oil. But the paper is easily damaged and perforated if there is still water contained in the coconut pulp.

VCO has low smoke point around 177 °C. So VCO may not suitable for frying food, especially foods that require high temperatures. VCO is suitable for cooking by sauteing, or frying with a little water. Or other cooking methods with temperatures lower than the VCO smoke point.

Making VCO does not produce dry solids, because there is no heating. There is only the remaining coconut pulp containing minimum oil, or wet solids. The water used for coconut milk VCO is also not hot water. Because heat can reduce the quality of the VCO. But the water for the coconut milk must be boiled water, drinking water standards. So that there are no bacteria that contaminate the VCO.

Although it takes longer, to let the coconut milk in a dark place. Making VCO is actually easier and simpler, than other coconut oil manufacturing processes. Because it does not need heating and stirring. So that the working hours required are much less. Making VCO can be done as a sideline while doing other work, or even while napping or sleeping at night.

The coconut oil produced by the rice cooker can be seen in the following photo, in the glass on the left about 125 ml. Coconut oil is slightly golden yellow in color, with the remaining dregs settling at the bottom of the glass. 

While in the glass on the right is the resulting VCO about 80 ml, it is clear like clear water. The oil in each one glass is produced from one old coconut.

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