top of page

Pure Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil: What's the Difference?

Pure Palm (fruit) Oil and Palm Kernel Oil
Pure Palm (fruit) Oil and Palm Kernel Oil

Pure palm oil and palm kernel oil are both derived from the same plant, the oil palm. Despite being extracted from the same plant, palm oil and palm kernel oil have different properties and uses.

In this article, we will compare and contrast these two types of oils and explain how they are produced and consumed.

Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil Production Palm fruit oil is obtained from the flesh or pulp of the oil palm fruit, which is reddish or golden in color. The fruit is steamed and pressed to extract the oil, which is then refined to remove impurities and carotenoids. Palm fruit oil has a 50/50 ratio of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids and contains vitamin E in the form of tocotrienols.

Conversely, palm kernel oil is extracted from the soft inner part of the seed or kernel of the oil palm fruit. The kernel is cracked and separated from the shell, and then crushed and pressed to produce the oil. Palm kernel oil has a high content of saturated fatty acids, especially lauric acid, which makes it solid at room temperature. Palm kernel oil does not contain vitamin E or carotenoids. The color of palm kernel oil varies, depending on the extraction method. The oil extracted via the cold-press method is light yellow or clear, while the traditional method produces the dark brown colored oil. Palm kernel oil is more solid and has a lighter shade of yellow than palm oil, which has a richer, deeper reddish hue.