Macadamia Nut Oil vs Coconut Oil

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Macadamia nut oil and coconut oil were previously little known cooking oils in the mainstream Western diet. Today, they can readily be purchased at any grocery store- gone are the days of just “vegetable oil.” But when examining the differences between macadamia nut oil vs coconut oil, how do they stack up?

What is Macadamia Nut Oil?

Macadamia nuts are indigenous to Australia, but are also grown in Hawaii and South America. The oil from these unique nuts has only recently been sold to US consumers as interest in healthy fats has peaked. Macadamia nut oil is simply the oil that results when macadamia nuts are pressed. It’s a very stable oil that is not prone to oxidation and enjoys a long shelf-life, which sets it apart from most volatile, easily-rancid nut/seed oils. Macadamia nut oil is most similar to olive oil than any other plant oil. Macadamia oil is liquid at room temperature, which makes it a very convenient choice for a variety of uses, as it doesn’t need to be melted first (like coconut oil or ghee do). To find out more about this amazing macadamia nut oil, check out All About Macadamia Nut Oil.

What is Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is an oil that extruded when the flesh of fresh coconuts is pressed. Coconut oil can be unrefined (often labeled virgin) or refined. Virgin coconut oil is pressed from fresh coconut meat, while refined coconut oil is pressed from dried coconut meat. The dried coconut meat is called copra. The pressing of the coconut meat is either done without heat (sold as cold-pressed) or aided by heat and/or steam (sold as expeller-pressed). Some claim that cold pressed oils retain more nutrients that would otherwise get destroyed by the heat, though this is up for debate. It’s important to know that there is actually no difference in coconut oil labeled as “virgin” and “extra virgin.” It’s just marketing. You’ll almost always see coconut oil sold in jars or tubs, as it is solid at room temperature, and only melts over 76°F. Coconut oil always is white in color, but can be waxy and gritty, or smooth and buttery in texture, depending on the source.

Macadamia Nut Oil vs Coconut Oil: Comparison

Smoke Point

Smoke point is simply the temperature when a fat or oil will start to smoke, and therefore burn. Oils shouldn’t be used at temperatures past their smoke point, as this usually produces a burnt taste and color and isn’t healthy to eat. Temperatures higher than the fats smoke point will cause the fats to degrade and not have ideal taste or health value.

Macadamia nut oil’s smoke point is 410°F [1]. This high temperature makes the oil very stable and suitable for high heat applications, which include deep frying, light broiling and searing. The oil will not burn or smoke as long as it is used at temperatures below 410°F.

Coconut oil’s smoke point depends on whether the oil has been refined. Refined coconut oil has a smoke point of 450°F, while virgin coconut oil’s smoke point is only 350°F [2]. Though lower, even virgin coconut oil’s smoke point is considered fairly high, and suitable for a variety of culinary uses. Refined coconut oil is more suitable for deep frying, while unrefined coconut oil’s smoke point is similar to ghee, which makes it perfect for baking, sautéing, and stir-fry.


Macadamia nut oil has an incredibly neutral taste. The taste is much more neutral than that of olive oil or unrefined coconut oil, or even ghee. This makes it perfectly suited for baking, as it does not have a savory flavor that could ruin a sweet treat. Macadamia oil is pretty much an all-purpose oil, and should be used as one might use generic vegetable or canola oil.

Unrefined and refined coconut oil differ in taste. Unrefined coconut oil has a pronounced coconut flavor, while refined oil has no coconut flavor and considered to be a neutral tasting oil. Refined coconut oil is very multipurpose in this way, as it can seamlessly be incorporated into a variety of different cuisines and courses, without tasting like coconut. It can essentially be used just like vegetable/canola oil would, but as a healthier alternative.

Recommended Uses

Macadamia nut oil is perfect for frying, sauteeing, and roasting. Additionally, because the oil has such a neutral flavor, it’s great for baking, too. It’s perfect for the base of a salad dressing, and to make homemade mayo! You can use it to air fry, and grease a baking pan. Not to mention that it’s also a great oil for moisturizing your skin and hair. The uses are pretty much endless. It has all the convenience of vegetable oil (neutral taste, liquid at room temperature) while being a much healthier alternative these rancid and highly-processed industrial vegetable oils.

Coconut oil is great for baking, frying, stir-frying, and general cooking. Refined coconut oil is more versatile than unrefined virgin oil, as the coconut flavor is removed. Refined coconut oil is a great oil to deep fry with, as it behaves just as well as any vegetable oil, and is fairly cost effective. The oil used for frying can even be reused if you strain impurities out. Coconut oil is amazing for stir-frying and using in place of vegetable oil in desserts, as well as making homemade mayo and sauces.

Vitamin Content

Macadamia nut oil proves to be a good source of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that is essential to health. [3]

Coconut oil has some vitamin E, but it lacks in many other vitamins [4].

Fat Profile

Macadamia nut oil is composed of mostly monounsaturated fat. In a 15 ml serving of macadamia nut oil, it has 2 grams of saturated fat, 11 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat. [5]

Per one tablespoon of coconut oil, it contains 13.5 g of fat, in which 11.2 g of that fat is saturated [4].

Macadamia Nut Oil vs Coconut Oil: The Importance of Sourcing

The best choice of macadamia nut oil is cold-pressed or expeller-pressed, and preferably organic. But really, the best oil is the freshest oil, though that information may be hard to find. Some good brands are Olivado and Milkadamia. I especially like the Milkadamia macadamia nut oil in a spray bottle, which makes using the air fryer and baking easy. Ensure that you are using macadamia nut oil that is food grade, because many macadamia oils are sold for cosmetic use.

The best coconut oil is pure, organic coconut oil. In my opinion, I don’t think labels such as “expeller pressed” or “cold pressed” matter much, especially if the coconut oil is refined (heated) anyway. Some reliable brands are Nutiva, Carrrington Farms, Wildly Organic, Garden of Life and Spectrum. Be sure to avoid any brands that hydrogenate their coconut oil in order to extend shelf life, as this process creates those dreaded trans fats.

Macadamia Nut Oil vs Coconut Oil: Verdict

Macadamia nut oil and coconut oil are in some ways similar cooking oils. They both are neutral oils easily pressed from fatty fruits/nuts. Both oils are great for multi-purpose kitchen use, and especially high-heat cooking. What sets these oils apart from one another is that coconut is mostly saturated fat, and therefore is solid at room temperature, and macadamia nut oil is mostly monounsaturated fat and is liquid at room temperature. So macadamia oil could be a wise choice is you are wanting to limit saturated fat, or just prefer the convenience of oil in a liquid form. Otherwise, coconut oil will satisfy all your needs, and for less money.



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