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Ghee Clarified Butter the Indian Way

Ghee is clarified butter, but not every clarified butter you find in the market is Ghee; let me tell you why. Clarified butter is butter cooked on medium heat until the milk solids separate from the fat and take less time to cook, while to get Ghee, you have to cook the butter for a long time until the milk solids turn brown and sink at the bottom of the pan. When in a liquid form, it’s more transparent than regular clarified butter and has a golden color. 

Ghee. Clarified butter made from scratch. You can use it the same way you use oil but it will add amazing flavor to your cooking. Perfect in savory and sweet dishes. letscookingmam.com | @Arinacooking #ghee

Good news to those who are lactose intolerant, it has a lesser amount of lactose than what is found in butter! The video in the recipe card shows you exactly how simple it is to make it at home, plus many tips in this post to avoid making mistakes.

Freshly made golden color ghee.

What is the difference between Ghee and butter?

You can use it in the same dishes that have butter. Butter has a high amount of fat plus water and milk solids. Both taste amazing in cooking, but Ghee has a more intense flavor than butter; it also has a high smoking point of 250C – 482F; this means you can use it for deep fry and it will maintain it’s flavor while butter burns faster because of the presence of milk solids.

As I have mentioned earlier, it has less lactose than butter. Still, there is another good side of it over butter, you can store unopened jar at room temperature for up to 9 months after opening the jar; it is good for up to 3 months, and for a longer time of storage, refrigerate it, and it will last for 1 year.

The only downside I see in Ghee compared to butter is that it has higher calories. One tablespoon of butter has 100 calories, while one tablespoon of Ghee has 120 calories.  

Ghee in a solid form.

Ingredients you need

Make it at home is much cheaper than buying it from the store. You will only need butter. It’s best to use unsalted butter since cooking the butter will eliminate the water and the milk solids will be discarded, hence, it will be salty when you use salted butter.

How to make Ghee?

Use unsalted butter, salted butter will result in salty Ghee, and it will interfere in seasoning the food you are cooking.

In a pan, add the unsalted butter and let it melt on medium to medium low heat.

Thick white bubbles will appear when the melted butter simmers. To ensure that the milk solids do not burn at the bottom of the pan, push the foams aside regularly.

The foam’s color will get paler. When the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan, and its color turns brown, then it’s ready.

Strain it and pour it in a glass jar. When it cools, close the jar with an airtight lid. (Read the recipe card below for more detailed steps and notes).

Spooning out ghee from a glass jar.

How to store it?

Use a clean and dry glass jar with an airtight lid. When you pour the Ghee in the jar, make sure to close it only when it has cooled. If you close the lid while the Ghee is hot, the steam will spoil it quickly. To maintain the freshness of the Ghee, keep it away from water and moisture.

Make sure to use a clean and dry spoon to spoon out the Ghee. The last thing you want is to contaminate it after all the hard work you have put in!

On the kitchen shelf, an unopened jar of Ghee will last up to 9 months. Once open, it is good for 3 months.

Place the Ghee in the fridge to store it for up to 12 months.

To freeze, pour it in a plastic container that’s freezer friendly and place in the freezer.

How do I know when it is gone bad?

To know if the Ghee is still good to use, check its color. If the color is white or much lighter than its original color, get rid of it. If the smell changes or it tastes sour, it’s not good to consume.

Close image of solid homemade Ghee.

How to use Ghee?

You can use Ghee the same way you use butter except in some cookie recipes. It is perfect when searing steaks; it won’t burn like butter and will maintain the same unique flavor. You can also add a tablespoon of Ghee at the end of your cooking to enhance your dish’s flavor.

Because of its high smoking point, you can also use it in deep frying, but I wouldn’t suggest that. Ghee has more fat than butter, so it’s best to use oil in deep frying, it is cheaper.

Shall I use high quality butter?

You can, but you don’t have to! Ghee tastes a little different from butter, so it will taste different from the butter no matter what brand you use. I would recommend that you use high quality butter in making cookies and cakes.

Tips to make a good tasting Ghee

  • Use a heavy bottom pan; it will prevent the milk solids from burning quickly and will spread the heat evenly.
  • Use unsalted butter instead of salted.
  • Be patient when making Ghee, it will take a little time, but if you increase the heat or leave the pan unsupervised, it will burn.
  • Keep the heat on medium or medium low.
  • If possible, use a pan with a white or light color bottom; this will help you see the milk solids when it turns brown. Cooking the Ghee too long leads to burnt milk solids, which could ruin its flavor and color.
  • While cooking the Ghee, you have to pull the foam to the side to check if the milk solids are browning at the bottom of the pan, don’t stir the Ghee, and don’t let the spatula touch the bottom of the pan.
  • This recipe is for 1 cup of Ghee, it’s a good start to practice making Ghee at home.

You can use Ghee in these recipes

Authentic Chicken Curry Recipe.

Chicken Empanadas.

Creamy Garlic Chicken.

Gajar Ka Halwa.  

Watch me make it on YouTube and don’t forget to subscribe!

Ghee. Clarified butter made from scratch. You can use it the same way you use oil but it will add amazing flavor to your cooking. Perfect in savory and sweet dishes. letscookingmam.com | @Arinacooking #ghee

This post was originally published in December 2016. It is now updated with a video and a more detailed recipe.

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  1. I use to get store bought ghee all the time. Till recently due to lockdown our Indian store was out of ghee. We made it at home. It taste just like store bought. We use it all the time now. Arina loved your golden color ghee. Ours turn brown. Thanks for sharing all the tips.

    • Arinacooking

      The lockdown changed us in so many ways, I guess mostly in a positive way though 🙂 Thanks for your kind comment!