What is Refined and Unrefined Coconut Oil?

what is refined coconut oil

When it comes to cooking oils, coconut oil is undoubtedly a popular choice. Among the different types of coconut oil available, refined coconut oil stands out for its unique characteristics and wide range of applications. 

In this article, we’ll explore what is refined coconut oil, its production process, uses, benefits, and the difference between it with unrefined coconut oil

What Is Refined Coconut Oil?

Refined coconut oil, often referred to as “RBD coconut oil” (Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized), undergoes an extensive refining process. This refining process involves several stages to eliminate impurities, flavors, and odors.

Refined coconut oil is typically:

  • Odorless
  • Flavorless
  • Light in color
  • Has a higher smoke point
  • Longer shelf life

What Is Unrefined Coconut Oil? 

Unrefined coconut oil, also known as “virgin” or “extra-virgin” coconut oil, is made from fresh coconut meat without undergoing extensive processing. It is considered a purer form of coconut oil.

Unrefined coconut oil is typically:

  • Retains a coconut aroma and flavor
  • Ivory or white in color
  • Contains more nutrients and antioxidants
  • Lower smoke point
  • Shorter shelf life

Related Article: What are The Benefits of Baking with Coconut Oil?

The Difference Between Refined And Unrefined Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a versatile and popular ingredient known for its various culinary and cosmetic uses. When shopping for coconut oil, you may come across two main types: refined and unrefined (also known as virgin) coconut oil. 

These two variants differ in several key aspects, making it important to understand their distinctions. Here are the primary differences between refined and unrefined coconut oil.

A. Refined Coconut Oil

1. Production Process

Refined coconut oil is processed through a more extensive method. The process begins with drying the coconut meat, followed by mechanical pressing to extract the oil. 

Subsequently, the oil undergoes refining steps, which may include bleaching and deodorizing to remove impurities, odors, and flavors.

2. Appearance

Refined coconut oil typically has a clear, colorless appearance, and it remains in a liquid state at temperatures above 76°F (24°C).

3. Taste and Aroma

One of the notable characteristics of refined coconut oil is its neutral flavor and odorlessness. It does not possess a strong coconut taste or aroma, making it versatile for various culinary applications.

4. Smoke Point

Refined coconut oil boasts a high smoke point, typically ranging from 350°F (177°C) to 450°F (232°C). But it also depends on the specific refining process. This high smoke point makes it suitable for high-heat cooking methods like frying and sautéing.

5. Uses

Refined coconut oil is a preferred choice for cooking when you desire an oil with a mild flavor that won’t overpower your dishes. It’s well-suited for frying, baking, roasting, and as a general-purpose cooking oil.

Snippet Banner RBD Coconut Oil

RBD Coconut Oil

  • RBD Coconut Oil has a high smoke point
  • Can withstand higher temperatures without burning or producing harmful compounds
  • Enable to achieve delightful textures and flavors in your dishes

Related Article: How to Use Coconut Oil for Cooking? A Complete Guide

B. Unrefined (Virgin) Coconut Oil

1. Production Process

Unrefined coconut oil, often labeled as virgin or extra-virgin, is extracted from fresh coconut meat using methods such as cold-pressing or expeller-pressing. It undergoes minimal processing, preserving more of the coconut’s natural flavors and aromas.

2. Appearance

Unrefined coconut oil maintains its natural coconut flavor and aroma and appears solid and white or slightly off-white at temperatures below 76°F (24°C). It becomes a liquid when exposed to higher temperatures.

3. Taste and Aroma

Virgin coconut oil has a distinctive and robust coconut flavor and aroma, which can be a rich tropical essence to your recipes.

4. Smoke Point

Unrefined coconut oil has a lower smoke point, typically around 350°F (177°C) or lower, depending on the specific product. Due to its lower smoke point, it’s best suited for medium-heat cooking and as a flavor enhancer in recipes.

5. Uses

Unrefined coconut oil is a preferred choice for those seeking the authentic taste and scent of coconut in their cooking. It is commonly used in baking, sautéing, as a topping for popcorn, and in dishes where the natural coconut flavor is desired.

Snippet Banner Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin Coconut Oil

  • Virgin Coconut Oil has a fresh, delicious tropical coconut scent and flavor
  • It can be used for cosmetics, ayurvedic, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical applications, and healthy food

Have You Understood What Is Refined Coconut Oil?

Refined coconut oil is neutral in flavor, suitable for high-heat cooking, and doesn’t have a strong coconut aroma. In contrast, unrefined coconut oil retains the natural coconut essence, making it ideal for recipes where the coconut flavor is a desired component. You can choose the one that suits your cooking style and meets your dish’s requirements.

If you are currently searching for RBD coconut oil, you can purchase them from Sari Coconut. Sari Coconut Indonesia is a company that provides processed coconut products ranging from coconut oil, desiccated coconut and many more. 

You can find the finest quality coconut products at Sari Coconut including RBD coconut oil. Go contact Sari Coconut for further information about the products!


  1. Can I use both refined and unrefined coconut oil interchangeably?

Yes, you can, but keep in mind that they have distinct flavor profiles. Choose based on the dish you’re preparing.

  1. Does refined coconut oil contain any coconut flavor?

No, refined coconut oil is typically odorless and flavorless.

  1. Is refined coconut oil the same as fractionated coconut oil?

No, they are not the same. Fractionated coconut oil is a specific type of coconut oil that remains in a liquid state at all temperatures, while refined coconut oil is solid at cooler temperatures.

  1. Can I use refined coconut oil for frying at high temperatures?

Yes, refined coconut oil’s high smoke point makes it an excellent choice for frying and deep frying.

  1. What is the difference between refined and regular coconut oil? 

The main difference between refined and unrefined coconut oil lies in the processing. Refined coconut oil undergoes extensive processing to remove impurities and flavors, making it colorless, odorless, and suitable for high-heat cooking. Unrefined coconut oil, on the other hand, retains its natural coconut aroma and flavor but is less processed, preserving more nutrients.

  1. Which is healthier, refined or unrefined coconut oil?

Health-wise, unrefined coconut oil is often considered healthier due to its nutrient content, making it a popular choice among health-conscious individuals.

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