Whether you know it as coconut butter or coconut manna, this creamy spread is delicious on everything from dark chocolate to spicy curry.
Just when you thought coconut didn’t have any more amazing tricks up its sleeve, it turns out that it can also become butter.
You won’t miss dairy butter once you get your hands on the coconut version, which is just as rich and just as creamy, and is packed with impressive health benefits.
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What Is Coconut Butter?
Coconut butter is made by blending coconut meat until it resembles a buttery spread. It’s dairy-free, making it a popular butter replacement in the Paleo community, and an awesome DIY that can save you time and money.
However, if you don’t want to DIY your own coconut butter, it’s still readily available in most health food stores and online.
6 Benefits of Coconut Butter
You’ve probably heard of the many benefits of coconut oil, and coconut butter possesses all of those benefits and more. That’s because coconut butter contains all parts of the coconut, including the water, meat, and oil.
Here are the top six reasons to start using coconut butter regularly.
1. Boosts Immunity
Coconut is a rich source of lauric acid, an antimicrobial compound that regulates your immune system, while also helping ward of viruses and bacteria. This is the same compound abundantly found in human milk to help a developing baby grow healthy and strong. (1)
After human milk, coconut is considered the next best source of lauric acid. (2)
2. Fights Viruses and Bacteria
Along with helping to regulate your immune system, lauric acid is a potent antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. Studies show that monolaurin specifically can help inhibit stomach viruses and potent bacteria like E. coli and staph, as well as fight urinary tract infections. (3, 4, 5)
3. Aids in Weight Loss
Coconut is rich is medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs), which are used by your body for immediate energy instead of being stored as fat. MCTs can also boost your metabolism. One study showed that just one or two tablespoons of MCTs a day increased the amount of calories burned in participants by five percent, or roughly 120 calories a day. (6)
In addition, other studies show that medium-chain fatty acids help you feel fuller and more satisfied after a meal, even compared to other types of fat. This makes it a natural appetite suppressant, which could possibly help you lose weight indirectly. (7)
4. Boosts Athletic Performance
Since medium-chain fatty acids are used right away by your body for energy, it makes for a great, readily available fuel. Studies show that MCTs are used just as quickly as glucose for exercise fuel, which could help increase your endurance during workouts. (8)
5. Lowers Cholesterol
Coconut may also be good for your heart. Studies reveal it lowers LDL “bad” cholesterol while raising HDL “good” cholesterol in as little as eight weeks. (9) Considering cholesterol levels play a huge role in the development of heart disease and other heart problems, giving coconut butter a try may help prevent heart conditions.
6. Enhances Brain Function
Research shows that ketones produced in your body by consuming medium-chain fatty acids can help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s and even boost brain function. Researchers believe that ketones provide an alternative energy source for the brain when it is having trouble using its normal energy source, glucose. In Alzheimer’s disease, brain cells struggle to use glucose for energy, which can lead to cell death. Thus, providing them with an alternative fuel can potentially keep brain cells functioning more efficiently. (10, 11)
How to Find a High-Quality Coconut Butter
Store-bought coconut butter can also be labeled as coconut manna and coconut spread – they’re all the same thing.
The key to finding a quality coconut butter is to look for one that doesn’t have any additional ingredients aside from coconut, or perhaps vanilla. Ideally, coconut butter should be raw and organic, meaning it has gone through minimal processing aside from blending the coconut into a butter.
How to Make Coconut Butter at Home
It’s easy to make your own coconut butter at home. All you need is shredded coconut and a food processor or high-speed blender. Yes, it’s that simple.
While you can make smaller batches, we recommend starting with 12 ounces for the best, smoothest butter. For an easy recipe on how to make coconut butter, click here.
Note: Keep in mind that coconut butter is solid at room temperature, but will turn back to butter when heated. Be sure to heat it gently to avoid burning.
15 Ways to Add Coconut Butter to Your Diet
Coconut butter is extremely versatile in a variety of recipes. Try any of these 15 ideas!
- As a topping on toast. Spread coconut butter onto warm almond flour bread as a replacement for regular butter.
- As a fruit dip. Serve fresh fruit with warm coconut butter as a dip alternative.
- Blended into smoothies. Add extra creaminess to shakes and smoothies by adding a dollop of coconut butter to the blender.
- Frosted over baked treats. Frost Paleo cupcakes and cakes with coconut butter (wait for them to cool first so it doesn’t melt).
- Made into fudge. Mix coconut butter with equal amounts of nut butter to whip up a DIY fudge. Blend the two, then put in a loaf or glass baking dish in the freezer until solid.
- Use as a coffee creamer. Add a dash of coconut butter to your coffee in place of milk.
- Over pancakes. Spread coconut butter on Paleo pancakes in place of regular butter.
- Blend into a jam or fruit purée. Add a tablespoon of coconut butter to your favorite fruit jam recipe for an ultra-buttery texture.
- Drizzle over curry. Add one or two tablespoons of coconut butter to savory curries to add a rich texture.
- Stuff in dates. Stuff coconut butter into dates for a quick, satisfying snack or dessert.
- Use in salad dressings. Melt a tablespoon of coconut butter and add to DIY salad dressings to thicken the texture.
- Add to chocolate. When making your own chocolate, sub ½ coconut oil for coconut butter for a thicker, chewier chocolate texture. Or try these dark chocolate mint maca coconut butter cups!
- Drizzle over squash and sweet potatoes. Skip the dressing and just drizzle a little melted coconut butter over roasted veggies.
- Spread on Paleo crackers. If you’re craving a quick sweet and salty snack, this will do the trick!
- Eat it with a spoon!
The Bottom Line
Coconut butter is a delicious alternative to dairy and is filled with powerful health benefits that can keep your immune system and brain functioning at its best. Try making your own and spreading it over baked goods, using it as a fruit dip, or drizzling it over soups and stews.
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