Cooking with Palm Oil: Nutrient Rich & Delicious

This is the third post in a series uncovering Palm Oil – what it is, where it comes from, how and where it’s used, the health benefits and the often-confusing controversy around the topic.  Given that it’s so prevalent in the supply chain, it’s important to understand the impact of palm oil in order to make informed choices, for the environment, for social justice, and for your health. Learn more about the positive benefits of sustainably sourced palm oil by visiting    

Red Palm oil makes an excellent cooking oil for baking, sautéing, dips and medium heat frying. Unrefined red palm oil is not only nutrient rich, it’s also delicious. A mild carrot-like flavor, with a rich, buttery texture makes unrefined red palm oil the perfect ingredient for many recipes including savory soups and stews, mixed with vegetables or nuts for roasting and for making light and flaky baked goods to name a few. The fatty acids in palm oil are very stable and are excellent for medium heat cooking temperatures.

Since the early 1950’s, the food industry has moved away from animal based fats and oils which had been replaced by plant based sources including tropical oils and partially hydrogenated liquid oils like soy and canola. With rising concerns by the FDA of the harmful health effects of Trans-Fats from hydrogenated oils, palm oil stands out as the most functional and naturally occurring semi-solid alternative.

Nutritional Benefits

Red Palm Oil has both powerful nutritional and therapeutic properties. Its rich orange color reveals the presence of antioxidant vitamins A and E, in the forms of beta-carotene, rare tocotrienols and tocopherols of the vitamin E family.  Beta Carotene, which converts to Vitamin A in humans, provides color to vegetables and fruits such as carrots and tomatoes as well as red palm oil in much higher concentration. Red palm oil also contains at least ten other carotenes, and two forms of Vitamin E antioxidants, tocopherols and tocotrienols.

Using Red Palm Oil

As an ingredient, Red Palm brings an earthy, nutty taste and creamy texture to finished dishes. Natural Habitats uses a proprietary organic process to make red palm oil more stable, functional and palatable as an ingredient, while retaining all the incredible nutrients.

Unrefined Red Palm Oil is a viscous oil, with a consistency similar to softened butter. Alone, it’s terrific stirred into sauces as a flavor booster and thickener. Because of the stabilizing antioxidants, red palm takes well to moderate heat. For baking, opt for a Red Palm or Red Palm and Palm Fruit Oil based shortening. Red Palm can be used interchangeably or with coconut oil in the same quantities you’d use for butter – simply cream for longer and at a lower speed than you would for other oils or butter (Source: The Nourish Evolution).

Temperature Guidelines

  • Palm Oil has a smoke point of 350°
  • Excellent for low to medium heat sautéing or light heat frying
  • Red Palm Oil contains over 40% monounsaturated fat, the same healthy fat as olive oil


Check out some terrific Organic Red Palm Oil Recipes courtesy of our partners Nutiva and Aunt Patty’s:

It’s important to buy sustainable, organic palm oil to ensure that what you are buying is sourced in a way that nurtures animals, people, communities and the environment. Done right, palm oil can be one of the most sustainable oils in the world. Our goal is to raise awareness, increase education and maximize the practice of growing palm for good. To learn more, visit

Stay tuned for our next post where we will talk more about the health benefits of palm, the newest superfood.

Neil Blomquist has over 40 years of hands-on success building brands and companies in the natural products industry. Neil has practical experience in retailing, distribution, brand marketing, product sourcing, product development and organizational management. Formerly President and CEO of Spectrum Organic Products, Neil is the current Managing Director for Natural Habitats USA. Neil_Headshot[1]An expert in in the development and marketing of sustainable business solutions for natural products, Neil provides oversight of all business activities in the U.S. for the Natural Habitats Group. An expert in fats and oils as well as sustainable business practices, Neil is the spokesperson for Palm Done Right, an international campaign on a mission to change the conversation around palm oil and working to prove that palm can be grown for good.