Can coconut oil used for frying be reused?

  • By: Emma
  • Date: May 19, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

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Can coconut oil used for frying be reused?

The internet is full of conflicting opinions on whether or not coconut oil can be reused for frying. The short answer to this question is both yes and no. This is because it depends on the type of coconut oil you are using and how it was stored between uses. If your coconut oil has been refined, it will likely hold up well for frying; however, if your coconut oil is unrefined, you should refrain from reusing.

These are not the only determining factors; there is a long list.

So, let’s get started!

To reuse the coconut oil or not – Factors that determine!

Coconut oil is indeed a healthy alternative to other oils for frying. But can you reuse the coconut oil in frying?

Well, there are a couple of factors that influence peoples’ decision to reuse the same coconut oil for frying. Let’s see what they are:

Quality of coconut oil

The first is the quality of their coconut oil. If it’s refined, then you can expect that it will hold up nicely to being reused, provided that it was used for frying at a relatively high temperature and then filtered well before use again.

However, if you use unrefined coconut oil, don’t even think of reusing it. This is because consuming an unrefined oil can cause digestive upset.

Type of frying

Another factor that would be considered crucial to reusing the same oil is the type of fat they fry in.

For example, it can be reused if the fat is used for frying high-temperature foods, like fish or chicken. But if you are not sure about the type of food you will be frying with coconut oil, this should serve as a warning sign to refrain from reusing it.


Adding to the factors that will determine whether or not coconut oil can be reused is cleaning. They must clean their cooking equipment well between uses if they are reusing the same oil.

Even after just one use, you should remove any debris, including crumbs of foods, so as not to contaminate your oil with any unwanted particles.


The last factor you should consider when deciding if coconut oil can be reused is contamination.

For example, if you are frying foods in their juices or butter, which aren’t healthy options, then it’s probably not a good idea to reuse the same coconut oil; because consuming a coconut oil that has been exposed to a lot of contaminants is not a good idea.

Flame of stove

Remember! Coconut oil is sensitive to high heat/ temperature. This is because coconut oil has a low smoke point of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

This means that if the temperature in your kitchen exceeds 350 degrees, there’s a chance that you’ll start seeing smoke rise from the pan and notice an unpleasant smell coming from your food.

So, we deduce that you need to be extra careful when frying with any oil with a low smoke point. Experts discourage cooks from cooking the food with coconut oil on high flame because they’ll end up burning it.

Storage of the coconut oil

This brings us to another important factor for consideration, which is storage. If you want your coconut oil to be reusable, you must store it properly so as not to allow bacteria or other contaminants from getting to it.

So, at this point, you might be wondering what the best way to store coconut oil is?

Well, here are some ideas:

Buy them in smaller quantities to mix up the batches of coconut oil that you use.

Wash your utensils and containers thoroughly after each use before storing the oil for reuse.

Keep them at room temperature because it’s best to keep coconut oil in a cool environment.

Color of coconut oil

So you opened the jar of used coconut oil and found it dingy. It can be because of two main reasons: the leftover food particles or bacterial contamination.

First, decide and analyze what’s the cause. If you always filter the oil before storing it, it means it’s the latter case. Leave it right away and grab some fresh oil.

If it’s just residue, then you can add a tablespoon or two of fresh oil and mix up the whole thing. But remember, if there are any signs of microbial growth, whether visible or not, discard it right away.

On a side note, some people may not know this, but many of the nutrients in coconuts start deteriorating after they are exposed to oxygen and light. This causes them to lose their effectiveness quickly.

How many times can I reuse coconut oil in frying?

Some people will tell you to reuse it thrice or even more. But it would be best if you reuse it only twice. If you think you have properly filtered it every time after using it, thrice is good but make sure not to overheat the oil in the process.

Why can’t I reuse coconut oil multiple times in frying?

The reason is straightforward: this oil is sensitive to oxygen and air and has a low smoke point.

At high heat, the fatty acid undergoes a process called Hydrogenation, where hydrogen atoms start attaching to the carbon backbone. This leads to the formation of new compounds, which compromises the oil’s purity.

It is always advisable to use fresh coconut oil for deep frying whenever you want to fry anything. For this, use less oil in frying instead of pouring a whole liter at a time.

Final Thoughts

Yes, coconut oil can be reused twice or thrice in frying, but it is advised to use fresh oil every time. If the oil is reused more than this for frying, it starts to degrade and negatively impacts health.

If you are accustomed to reusing oil, It’s better that you look into alternate cooking options instead of using coconut oil. You can choose other options like ghee, sunflower oil, etc., healthier alternatives to deep fry food items.

But keep in mind the above recommendations before you fry your favorite meal in used coconut oil – precaution first!

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