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Coconut Butter and Coconut Oil – What’s the Difference?

gluten free coconut butter

I’ve only recently started using coconut butter in my raw foods recipes, but I’ve used coconut oil for years. It took me a while to figure out what the coconut butter hype was about, because I thought that coconut butter and coconut oil were the same thing. They are NOT. They are drastically different and yield different results when making raw foods.

What are the main differences:

  • Coconut oil is the pure oil extracted from the coconut. Coconut butter is the coconut meat ground into a creamy butter.
  • Coconut oil is used for cooking, just like any other oil, but it can tolerate high heat without smoking. Coconut butter is best used for baking or eating raw. It can be substituted for butter in recipes or whipped into a creamy frosting.
  • Coconut oil is solid at room temperature and melts clear when heated. Coconut butter is creamy white when at room temperature or heated.

A recent silly mistake gave me the perfect opportunity to give you a visual of the difference.

I was creating a raw frosting for two desserts, yesterday’s Raw Chocolate Pie and another dessert that I’ll be sharing at The Balanced Platter next week. Meanwhile, I was watching the season premier of The Bachelorette. Not exactly something that I need to give 100% of my attention to, but clearly it took more attention than my frosting did, because this is what I came up with.

Ick, right? It wouldn’t stir into the creamy frosting that I was trying to create. As soon as I tasted it, I realized my mistake. I had grabbed the coconut oil jar instead of the coconut butter jar while engrossed in Bachelorette drama.

Little black feet were also curious about my error.

Mama, that’s just not right.

So I made the frosting again using the contents of the correct jar, coconut butter, and I gave my task a whole lot more attention.

You can see that Max’s little nose knew the difference too. The coconut butter frosting on the right is creamy and scoopable instead of the crumbly mess that I got with the coconut oil.

Coconut butter makes a frosting that’s creamy like a pudding and easy to scoop and spread on tarts, cakes, cupcakes, or cookies.

Yes, much better.

The above frosting was used on this Raw Chocolate Cherry Pie and next week’s Raw Cherry Cream Cups.

Raw Cherry Cream Cups

Readers, dish!

  • Do you use coconut butter?
  • Do you use coconut oil?
  • Please share your favorite ways to use them.
  • Do you have a favorite brand?


Author Information Heather, Nashville, TN
Heather is a gluten-free blogger by night and a  Kindergarten teacher and fitness instructor by day.   She writes  about healthy, gluten-free living and shares gluten-free recipes, product  reviews, and restaurant reviews on her blog.

About Heather

Author Information: Gluten Free Cat Heather is a gluten-free blogger by night and a Kindergarten teacher and fitness instructor by day. She writes about healthy, gluten-free living and shares gluten-free recipes, product reviews, and restaurant reviews on her blog. Location: Nashville, TN Website: Email: Twitter: Facebook:
  • Elyse says:

    Hi Heather!

    Thanks for posting this! I am going on a grocery store tour with a client today and I was just looking this exact question up to make sure I was spot on! Those pies look devine!

    Elyse AKA My Kitchen Shrink

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