In the dry method, Chaudry adds, fresh coconut is heated, then a machine presses the coconut oil from the flesh. In the wet method, coconut oil is pressed out with the milk and then the two are separated.
You may also see unrefined coconut oil labeled as cold-pressed. This means the coconut oil was extracted from coconut milk without any heat. To do so, the outer husk of a matured coconut, which can yield more oil2 than young coconuts, is removed and then pressed to slowly pull out the oil.
Aside from having a better nutritional profile, this method helps reduce production costs and takes less energy, which makes it more environmentally friendly. The downside for producers is that cold-pressing creates lower yield than other methods of extraction. That’s why this type of oil is often more expensive than refined or expeller-pressed varieties.
“Because it hasn’t gone through a lot of processing, you’re still getting a strong coconut flavor and smell, so that means when you’re cooking with it or using it in recipes, you’re going to taste it,” says integrative dietitian Jessica Cording, RD.