Is coconut oil liquid or solid?

Coconut oil is supposed to be liquid, rather than solid. It's an oil after all. The reason why you see some coconut oil solid and some liquid at room temperature (generally 70°F or 21.1 °C) is due to different freezing point of the coconut oil.

For instance, virgin coconut oil, which is a pure coconut oil has a freezing point of about 76 °F (24.4 °C). This means that it'll start to change from liquid to solid at temperatures below 76 °F (24.4 °C).

RBD coconut oil is another type of pure coconut oil that goes from liquid to solid below 76 °F (24.4 °C). It has almost the same properties as that of virgin coconut oil except for the naturally-occurring coconut odor. That's why the name RBD – refined, bleached and deodorized.

But not all refined coconut oils have the same freezing point as that of virgin coconut oil.

Fractionated coconut oil, a type of refined coconut oil has a freezing point as low as 5 °F (-15 °C). Because it can stay liquid at such low temperature, fractionated coconut oil is also known as liquid coconut oil. It won't become hard so easily even when ambient temperature drops to say, 50 °F (10 °C) in winter, unless you put it in the freezer.

Why does pure coconut oil have such a high freezing point whereas the refined fractionated coconut oil so low?

Fractionated coconut oil typically comprises only MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids). Whereas pure coconut oil like virgin or RBD contains not just MCFAs but LCFAs (long-chain fatty acids) as well.

The longer the fatty acids, the higher the freezing point. It's also worth noting that the more saturated a fatty acid is, the higher the freezing point.

How fatty acids affect freezing point

No wonder soybean oil, which contains predominantly LCFAs can remain as liquid at room temperature. The LCFAs in soybean oil are mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.

Note
SFA includes SCFA, MCFA and LCFA. But SCFA and MCFA can never be unsaturated. For example, caprylic acid, capric acid and lauric acid in coconut oil are all medium-chain saturated fatty acids.

LCFA includes SFA, MUFA and PUFA. For instance, myristic acid is a long-chain saturated fatty acid while oleic acid is a long-chain monounsaturated fatty acid and linoleic acid a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid.

To make your coconut oil liquid again in case it has turned solid at room temperature, just heat it to above its freezing point.

You might also like to find out...

  1. Is virgin coconut oil acidic or alkaline?
  2. What's the difference between virgin and extra-virgin coconut oil?
  3. Can you eat refined or unrefined coconut oil?
  4. Can you eat coconut oil raw?
  5. Is coconut oil high in fiber?
  6. What can you eat coconut oil with?
  7. Can you add coconut oil to coffee and is it good?
  8. Does coconut oil raise cholesterol?
  9. What happens when you eat too much coconut oil?
  10. Does coconut oil make you poop a lot?

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