Food & Fitness

Product Review and Giveaway: Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil

I’m going to be honest: I don’t like the taste of coconut. I’ve had fresh coconut in Central America and I didn’t even like it when I tasted it at that point, so I figure that if I didn’t like it when it’s that fresh, I’m never going to like it. I love the smell of coconut for soaps and lotions and such, but I really don’t like the taste of it. If a baked good has coconut in it, I will be on the other side of the room. The only exception I make is coconut milk: I adore curry, and it is typically made with coconut milk. However, it doesn’t retain the taste of coconut, and that’s what’s important.

But I was still intrigued by coconut oil, which has been receiving a whole mix of reviews by various health experts. In my opinion, even though coconut oil is high in saturated fat, it has some healthy nutritional benefits because it is a real food. I am also fascinated by coconut oil because it is a solid fat (like butter) at room temperature, but it’s also an oil so it can be used in liquid form. Thus, it’s a great replacement for solid fats or for oils in any recipe. That’s pretty neat.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions sent me a gigantic jar of coconut oil for free to taste and review, which I was quite happy to do.

Recipe #1: Salad Dressing

Combine a spoonful of coconut oil, the juice of half a lemon, some freshly grated lemon zest, a few mashed blueberries (I used frozen), a drizzle of honey, and a pinch of salt. Warm in the microwave for just a few seconds so that it turns into a nice liquid before pouring over a salad.

This was my own creation, but I wouldn’t make it again. It had a lovely pink colour, but it was too “coconutty” for my taste. If you like coconut, however, I’m sure that you would love the taste of this salad dressing. It was decent enough and would be refreshing on a summer salad.

Recipe #2: Vegan Chocolate

Ever since I read about homemade chocolate on Charlotte’s blog, I knew I just had to try it. All you have to do is combine 1 tbsp melted coconut oil, and then stir in 2 tbsp cocoa powder and 2 tsp agave nectar. It’s kind of pudding-like at this point, but if you freeze it, it turns into hardened chocolate in just five minutes! The boyfriend tried it and said that it ranks up as one of the best dark chocolates he’s ever tasted. I’m picky with coconut, so it’s not something I would want much more than a small taste of at a time (but that’s probably a good thing ;)). However, it’s incredibly easy to make and great if you need a chocolate fix! This isn’t the last time that I’ll be making vegan chocolate. Next time, though, I want to try adding vanilla extract; I think that vanilla might be able to mask the coconut flavour.

Recipe #3: Scones

I took a scones recipe from the Light & Easy Cookbook and exchanged butter for coconut oil (a good way to veganize any recipe!). I was incredibly happy with these scones and I will definitely be making them again; they didn’t retain the taste of coconut, but the coconut oil worked beautiful to create an almost-flaky texture appropriate to scones (and there was only 1 tbsp of fats for the entire 8-scone recipe!).

The verdict: coconut oil is a fun fat to use in recipes, though I don’t expect I will be using it very often, simply because of my aversion to the taste.


You can enter to win your own jar of coconut oil by leaving a comment below, telling us about your favourite coconut oil recipe, your tricks for “veganizing” a non-vegan recipe, or your favourite kind of oil to use in cooking. Alternatively, share your opinion on the nutritional benefits or the taste of coconut oil. Or whatever the heck you want, so long as it’s something to do vaguely with coconut oil. As always, I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner unless someone comes up with something really creative/funny/touching. I like creativity, so you will be more likely to win if you add your own personal stamp to the comment. I also approve of silliness.

Tropical Traditions has also requested that for you to be eligible to enter this giveaway, you need to subscribe to their mailing list. The nice thing about subscribing to any mailing list is that if you decide later on *cough* when the giveaway winner has been chosen *cough* that you don’t want to receive newsletters, you can very easily unsubscribe! πŸ™‚ I like to make my giveaways as easy as possible for you, so please remember to subscribe to their mailing list when you leave a comment on this blog post; it just takes a click of the mouse to unsubscribe in a few weeks if you so desire.

Winner will be announced exactly one week from today, on Wednesday, May 12th!


  1. Shannon

    ooh, how fun! i most frequently go for EVOO, but I’ve used coconut oil a few times and liked it. I also used a bit when roasting sweet potatoes and carrots and that was pretty heavenly πŸ™‚

  2. Holly

    I still have yet to try coconut oil! My sister just bought a huge container of it and is going to let me try some. Usually I use olive or canola oil in my cooking, but sometimes sub applesauce in baking. πŸ™‚

  3. Sagan Morrow

    Shannon- Mmm roasted vegetables.

    Holly- Applesauce (or bananans) are my FAVOURITE fat replacer in baking! They really do the trick.

    RunRedrun- Zucchini bread is tasty. Adding coconut oil could draw out some interesting flavours.

  4. JavaChick

    I love coconut oil for sauteing or stir frying. It spreads out really well to coat the pan when heated, and can take a high heat so things don’t burn. It does have a sweet flavor, but since I like coconut that doesn’t bother me. I used it to make bread once, in place of shortening and you could taste the extra sweetness (though it didn’t taste like coconut).

  5. Michelle

    I used to use vegetable oil for my vegetarian stir fry dishes, but when I found cocnut oil I thought I would give it a try. I have found that since it so expensive a little goes a long way, and it gives the veggies the most incredible flavor. Love it!!!

  6. Andrea (Off Her Cork)

    Sagan I love coconut! And coconut oil is my newest best friend forever. Seriously! I use it all the time in baking and in cooking. It’s great for baking because it can be used instead of shortening (ew). The virgin unprocessed has a strong coconut flavor and smell but the processed coconut oil (that has a higher smoking point) isn’t so “coconut-y”, if that makes sense. I alternate between it and olive oil as my favorite oil to use in cooking. Vegan baking is super simple once you start experimenting, omitting butter and eggs is not a big deal at all. Someone commented on my blog not long ago saying they use beans as a fat replacer in recipes. I haven’t tried this but am thinking about it!

    P.S. I already subscribe to their newsletter.

  7. The Candid RD

    I’ve never tried coconut oil before! I know, it’s crazy, because it’s all over the blog world. I would probably make something with chicken, lentils, and carrots. OR, maybe ice cream? I think adding a little coconut oil to my ice cream would bring out the tropical flavor, which would be a nice summer treat!

  8. mary

    We are simpatico, because I don’t like the taste of coconut either. Fresh, shredded, coconut milk, all YUCK. The only thing I like is coconut water, and I have to be VERY thirstry. I can’t wait to try this, however, since I do “veganize” lots of recipes with margarine which is just as bad, maybe worse than, butter (depending on what nutritional fact you are looking at). The coconut oil would be a much better choice, since as you said it is a real food.

  9. Melissa W.

    I subscribe to their mailing list.

    I LOVE coconut oil. Amazing health benefits. If you can’t stand the taste, use it on your body and you’ll still absorb the benefits. I make homemade deodorant with it by mixing it with baking soda. I use it on scratches and cuts, as a lotion, to soften the dead-ends on my hair, as a lip balm, and in all my cooking. We also uses olive oil and palm shortening (good for you fat) in cooking. Tropical Traditions also sells the “non-coconut taste” refined coconut oil. Also, I’ve found that if you saute the oil in onion first, the coconut taste is gone, so use it with onions. The more you use the oil, the more you’ll love it. The coconut taste is mild now and we don’t even notice it anymore. Good stuff!

  10. joe

    Hey to EVERYONE you have to read two books about coconut oil it will change your lives. I’ve lost 12 pounds around my waste to start with. Get away from all other oils. Don’t take my word read 1. The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife,C.N. N.D. and Eat Fat Lose Fat by Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallen, you can read some if not all of second book online. P.S. canola oil is the worst oil you can use Coconut oil you can lose weight,prevent heart disease,cancer,and diabetes strenghen the immune systemand beautify the skin and hair.

  11. Jenny

    I love the taste of coconut but have never had the opportunity to try coconut oil. I did make some bread pudding yesterday and sprinkle coconut flakes on top before I baked it. I already subscribe to the Tropical Traditions newsletter.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. joe

    If you place an order at Tropical and you use code jk6062010 you can get a free book about coconut oil. This gold label oil will change the way you look at eating out. Good Health to all.

  13. joe

    P.S. People that have allergies of coconut ,can use this oil because the allergines are in the meat of the coconut not the oil. That’s in one of the two afore mentioned books listed by joe.

  14. Jeanetta Reed

    I’ve been using Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil for a few years now. I use it in all my bread recipes, all my cooking and baking, and when I’m frying eggs, chicken, etc. It tastes great melted over broccoli, green beans, oatmeal, and just about anything else! I usually lick the spoon after I’ve added it to whatever I’m using it for — YUM!

    My custom is to use Virgin Coconut Oil to whatever is hot or heated and Extra Virgin Olive Oil to whatever will not be heated.

  15. Jeanetta Reed

    I’ve been using Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil for a few years now. I use it in all my bread recipes, all my cooking and baking, and when I’m frying eggs, chicken, etc. It tastes great melted over broccoli, green beans, oatmeal, and just about anything else! I usually lick the spoon after I’ve added it to whatever I’m using it for — YUM!

    My custom is to use Virgin Coconut Oil to whatever is hot or heated and Extra Virgin Olive Oil to whatever will not be heated.

    It’s my face moisturizer as well!

  16. Melody

    We’ve only just begun using coconut oil in cooking. I’ve been using it for about 8 months on my daughter’s bum – it’s GREAT for keeping the rash at bay! (Of course, we’re still working on the underlying cause….yeast!)

    Everyone but me loves coconut in my family. I’ve been drinking coconut milk … a bit each day … to try to get used to the flavor. It’s working! I’m not as repulsed by the taste as I was a few short months ago!

    I subscribe to their newsletter.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  17. Rachel

    This is so cool!! I’ve never used coconut oil to cook with before but I have used it as a moisturizer on my skin and LOVE it!! I’d love to try some recipes out though!!! And I am subscribed to their newsletter!! Thanks so much!!!

  18. Geosomin

    I’ve been curious about cooking with coconut butter and oil for a while now. I’ve recently discovered that altho I thought I hated coconut, it was the sweetness that I disliked. Hints of it in curries and coconut rice and the like are tasty. I’ve been interested in trying coconut oil for cooking, but held back for similar reasons – I didn’t know how coconutty things would be and I wasn’t sure if I’d like it.
    I’d love to have some to try out L)
    Readign the comments above makes me wonder if I should put some on my face too.

  19. Jane Van Asten

    Tropical Traditions is a wonderful site. I’ve been subscribing to the newsletter for some time now, but there’s not always enough time to read thru everything. I’ve printed off many scrumptious recipes and tried several. I use coconut oil in all my cooking and baking and on my skin. One great recipe is Tropical Traditions CHOCOLATE BARK. The rest are waiting for me to try. I’ve never had the time to read thru blogs before. Some higher power must have led me to this site today. I’ve just got to BARK to you about this.
    I simply LOVE coconut oil. And I love THERAPEUTIC GRADE essential oils. So, they’re a perfect match. The oils can be used for aromatherapy, massage, diffusing, cooking, baking, & in your water, but the most amazing is their medicinal qualities. To stretch the essential oils, I mix a drop or two in with coconut oil and rub on my feet. Or for a headache, combine peppermint oil with coconut oil and apply to the temples and across the forehead. So coconut oil and essential oils are good from head to toe and inside and out! You can’t beat that combination. And they’re all natural! Hallelujah!!!

  20. Sheri

    I purchased a big jar of coconut oil years ago for the health benefits. I had a hard time adjusting to the taste. My daughter, however, discovered what a great natural moisturizer it is and confiscated the entire bottle to slather on her skin. Now I’m on a diet and coconut oil is recommended for it. Those chocolates sound yummy!

  21. Kathleen, @LiveStartled

    How do I love coconut oil? Let me count the ways: in my protein smoothie, in cooking when I need a fat to cook at higher temps. I like coconut oil because if I get it on my hands, I just rub it in good and it helps my Utah-desert dry hands! I use coconut cream concentrate to smooth out soups and sauces. I DON’T like adding coconut to things. Isn’t that weird? Chewing coconut grosses me out. Seems to never end. BUT coconut oil is my go-to product. i’m a big fan of coconut milk (canned) for replacing dairy. Yum.

  22. Amy F

    I’d love to try this coconut oil. I’ve tried others but heard Trjopical traditions is the best! I’d use it to replace EVOO and shortening in my recipes.

  23. Susan R

    I use Tropical Traditions coconut oil for everything. I had gotten so used to it I forgot it had an odor until my g/daughter’s friend told her that every time she hugged me, I smelled like coconut! You see, when I said everything, I meant EVERYTHING. I put it on my damp skin after a shower. And it’s the only deodorant my husband and I have used for quite a few years. πŸ™‚

  24. Tanya

    I use coconut oil in a lot of my baking: bread, cookies, cakes, etc. I also spread it on bread and drizzle with lots of honey….whoa baby…..flavor explosion in my mouth! My mother rubs it on her swollen arthritic joints. I use it as a lip moisturizer. We also add a couple of teaspoons in the bath during winter months – it’s a great skin moisturizer.

    (I am a subscriber to the Tropical Traditions newsletter.)

  25. Cynthia Sternberg

    I use coconut oil in any recipe calling for butter. I am dairy-free and it makes an excellent substitute without loosing texture or flavor like you would if you used shortening or even non-dairy margarine. I try to avoid lots of soy, as well. The first time I went dairy-free, I wasn’t using coconut oil and it was a miserable experience.

  26. mary

    We are simpatico, because I don’t like the taste of coconut either. Fresh, shredded, coconut milk, all YUCK. The only thing I like is coconut water, and I have to be VERY thirstry. I can’t wait to try this, however, since I do β€œveganize” lots of recipes with margarine which is just as bad, maybe worse than, butter (depending on what nutritional fact you are looking at). The coconut oil would be a much better choice, since as you said it is a real food.

    GAH! Forgot to tell you, i did subscribe to the newsletter

    I was just gonna cook with it, but after reading everyone else’s posts, I guess I’ll use it externally as well.
    Do I want to smell like a coconut? HMMMMMMM – maybe.

    GAH again, I don’t know why my first post showed up here as well. I’m not what you call tech-savvy. Don’t hold that against me!!!

  27. Robbfamily7

    We use coconut oil in our baking recipes. Adds great nutritional value. I do NOT like the taste of coconut either, but baking with it doesn’t seem to retain the taste.

  28. LaDonan

    I got the free coconut oil, and I haven’t tried to in recipes, looking forward to it. BUT, I HAVE BEEN PUTTING IT ALL OVER MY SKIN…. woohoo, feels soooo good, and my skin is not so dry anymore… thank tropical traditions!! AND I SMELL GREAT!

  29. Kristin

    Oh how I love coconut oil. I use coconut oil in absolutely EVERYTHING… protein bars, smoothies, oatmeal, gluten free bread making, on my face, hands, and hair. I found out about it on accident I guess. I was very sick for several months and just read every natural healing book I could find. I was lead to coconut oil books and found it is healing in just about every way, as well as helping one to lose weight. Who would have thought something so fatty would encourage weight loss. I decided to try it, and I am hooked for life.

  30. Anna

    I try to use coconut oil in about everything that calls for butter or oil.

    I also like to use coconut oil in my bath. I makes my skin feel so soft and clean after.

    recipe for bath salts:
    1 c sea salt
    2 Tbsp coconut oil melted
    10 drop lavender essential oil

    mix together and then pour into bath when filling

    Relax and enjoy

  31. Catherine

    Coconut oil rocks! I use it on toast, in baking (yum), and on my skin. Just about anything you can use butter for, coconut oil will substitute for. I don’t fry with it. I use palm lard (also available from Tropical Traditions) for my occasional frying.

    The above candy recipe is much appreciated. I have a lot of dietary restrictions and it’s always neat to come across recipes for homemade treats.

    I already subscribe to Tropical Traditions newsletter. Their products are great quality.

  32. Melissa Andujo

    I am placing my first order for your products today…I cant wait to start using your coconut oil….I am fully aware of the many health benefits of virgin coconut oil…I have read everything you have put out there on the subject…..thank you so much for your priceless information and products.

  33. Janet

    I’m a coconut lover! I find coconut is like cruciferous vegetables. Love it or HATE it! Anyway, I’m working on making a great protein bar, using coconut oil, coconut flour, unsweetened coconut, various protein powders and other yummy ingredients. So, I NEED this coconut oil, ya see? Heh, heh…
    I saw that one could use coconut oil for hair, and a “hair product” is sold. Well, being cheap, I just tried the skin and body cream–Baby Silk fragrance is terrific!–a pea size mixed with my regular conditioner. My hair is so silky now. I love it. So, I REALLY NEED this coconut oil, ya see? Tee hee πŸ™‚
    Okay, I’m just being silly now. I subscribe. Have a wonderful, coconutty day!

  34. Tracey C.

    Hello! I am like you, dear blog author, and I do NOT like the taste of coconut! No thanks! BUT after reading about so many health benefits of coconut oil in so many different places I bought a jar of organic coconut oil. I have used it for high temp cooking (since it doesn’t burn at high temps as easily as most oils) a few times and it was fine. But here is the best part….my husband LOVES coconut! He really LOVES it! Since the jar said great as a moisturizer, and I know many people and cultures use oil to moisturize, bless, stimulate the circulatory system with massage..I thought I would try the oil on my skin! (I know, not that original, but it was to ME) Well, lets not forget that though it is a great moisturizer, it is FAR superior to lotions and creams. Most of these are made with tons of non-organic non-natural products. We slather these on our largest body organ…our skin!!! Use coconut oil to soften your skin, and to feed it these great nutrients without chemicals, without artificial good for you! And your love life may improve too because if your spouse loves the smell like mine does? Look out!! I am a walking coconut love factory!! NOW you’re cooking with coconut oil! πŸ™‚

  35. Beth

    Having used coconut oil for the last 5 years, I have found it to be quite versatile. Easy to substitute for butter in all recipes, or when using the skillet. Great as a skin moisturizer. Good to use as a shaving cream. Amazing as a hair conditioner, especially in the cold months of winter.

    I love making my own vegan chocolate with coconut oil. I’ve added the following things at different times: peppermint extract; chopped almonds; slices of ginger; flax seeds.

    I am also subscribed to the TT newsletter.

  36. Susan Ussery

    I really need to win this jar because my husband threw out a jar that was 3/4 full because it liquified and he thought it was an empty olive jar!!! He didn’t even read the label!!! So if you are new to coconut oil make sure everyone around knows that it is still perfectly good when it liquifies and that it is NOT an empty olive jar.

    I love the coconut oil. I use it mostly in smoothies which makes them taste so good. I am not a “health food nut” but when there is something that is healthy and also tastes good, then I’m all for that and coconut oil really fills that bill.

    I am subscribed to the TT newsletter.

  37. Katie

    I love coconut oil. I use it (and coconut cream concentrate) to make my “fudge ball” recipe. The recipe isn’t written down and changes every time it’s made, but roughly it’s a blend of tahini, ground walnuts, coconut cream, coconut oil, stevia, cocoa powder, carob powder, and salt (and sometimes pepper). It’s VERY good.

    I subscribe to the TT newsletter.

  38. Cindy

    I have been using coconut oil for a few months now, surprising since I don’t like coconut! I do like the health benefits that I’ve read about. I cook with it, put it on my popcorn, put in on my face (as a pre-treatment before using TT moisturizing cream), drizzle it over salad (with garlic and onion powder added), add it to my oatmeal or dry cereal. My kids tease me, assuming that any health problem I have will be cured by using coconut oil! I’m hoping to prove them right.

  39. Sophia Rhoades

    Hey there! I’m new to the world of coconut oil. I used to hate coconuts with a passion–and then I found out there is more to the world of coconut than that nasty, flaky dried stuff they sell as coconut in the stores. Since I got coconut oil I’ve used it for everything. On my face (it helps with both both dryness and acne issues), in my yogurt shakes, as a lotion, and in various other recipes. I’ve even converted my mother, and she wants to start using it as well. I’d love to try out Tropical Traditions, as I’ve been told it’s the “best of the best” in the world of coconut oil.

    Oh, and I subscribe to TT.

  40. Elizabeth Lorenz

    I have used the coconut oil bin my cooked greens and boy did it make them taste better than when I was using virgin olive oil. I also take a teaspoon every morning and I feel great all day and my weight is not going up either.

  41. Reuben Benedix

    Interesting stuff! I went to Britain this summer and had some afternoon tea with scones , and it was absolutely delicious I figured I’d try make my own last week. I might have deviated from the norm maybe – I found a site full of random scone recipes here and made 4 different ones! My friends were so happy when I invited them round for tea and scones. Great fun!

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