Ghee is a type of clarified butter that’s been used for thousands of years in Indian cooking and Ayurvedic medicine. Clarified butter simply means that the water and milk proteins have been removed from the butter, by cooking.
There are various types of clarified butter. Ghee is cooked a little longer resulting in a nutty-caramel flavor and darker color. It also has very little, or no lactose or casein (depending on how it is made), so it may be better tolerated than regular butter by some. It also has a higher smoke point (around 450°), which means it works well for higher heat cooking.
Ghee can be used in cooking just like you would use any other oil. It will lend its slightly nutty flavor to whatever you are cooking, which is usually a good thing, but you may not want that for certain dishes.
You can purchase ghee at just about any grocery store now, but you can also make it yourself.Learn how easy it is to make delicious nutty, caramely #ghee at home. #saslife Click To Tweet
How is ghee made?
Ghee is very simple to make. You basically:
- Melt butter and simmer until the butter separates into liquid fats and milk solids. The milk solids fall to the bottom of the pan and the liquid is clear. This is clarified butter.
- Continue to cook a few more minutes until the milk solids start to turn brown and it smells nutty. The cooked milk solids give the ghee its flavor and color.
- Strain the solids out and you have ghee!
Watch the process for yourself in this video (step-by-step detailed instructions are below).
Tips when making ghee:
- Use the best quality butter you can find, preferably grass-fed and/or organic.
- Do not use salted butter. The salt is concentrated during cooking and will result in a very, very salty final product.
How to Store Ghee
Store ghee in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. It can be left at room temperature for up to 3 months in a cool dark place (if you were able to get all the solids out and you used clean, dry utensils in the jar). To extend its life, store in the fridge for up to 1 year. It will harden in the fridge but softens quickly when taken out.
Make it or buy it?
It is almost always cheaper to make something yourself and ghee is so easy to make too. Here is what I paid when making ghee recently.
From 16oz of butter, I got 14oz of ghee.
I paid $7.98 for 16oz of grass-fed butter (Kerry Gold Butter from Whole Foods - $3.99 for 8oz; also available at Target for $4.29 and Harris Teeter for $4.69- all in Cary, NC). Prices may vary depending on your location and store.
Basically, I paid $7.98 to make 14oz of grass-fed ghee, more than half the price! And it isn’t hard to make or too time consuming.
Recipe Adapted From: 101 Cookbooks
1 lb (16 ounces) of the best quality, unsalted butter you can source (preferably grass-fed and/or organic)
Heat, Melt and Simmer
- Cut butter into cubes and place in a medium-sized saucepan.
- Gently melt butter over medium heat. This should only take a few minutes.
- After melting, the butter will separate into three layers:
- Foam will appear on the top layer
- Milk solids will migrate to the bottom of the pan
- Clarified butter will float between the two.
- Let butter come to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low.
- Simmer until the middle layer becomes fragrant, more golden than when you started, and clear. Push the solids on top out of the way to have a peek. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
- Allow the solids to lightly brown or let it cook a little longer to brown further (just don’t let it burn).
Strain, Cool and Store
- Turn off the heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Carefully pour ghee through cheesecloth into a clean glass jar, leaving the milk solids behind.
- Allow to fully cool before storing.
- Store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid at room temperature for up to 3 months in a cool, dark place or in the fridge for up to 1 year.