How to Make Ghee
Ghee (also known as clarified butter) is delicious with a nutty aroma. It’s easy to make at home, perfect for those who are dairy-sensitive and cheaper than what you can buy in the store. Watch the tutorial video below!
I learned how to make ghee several years ago for my brother and a few friends who are dairy-sensitive. Up until then, I’d always bought it in the store. But it’s incredibly easy to make and great for those following a specific dairy-free diet like paleo or Whole30.
Why do I love ghee? It’s shelf stable and has a high smoke point. That means it’s a great cooking fat and you can fry with it. It also has a distinctly sweet and nutty flavor that’s just delicious in so many different recipes.
A jar of ghee is like liquid gold and even if you don’t have any dietary sensitivity to dairy, I think you’ll simply love cooking with it.
What is Ghee?
Ghee is similar to clarified butter, where all the milk solids are removed, but it’s cooked just a tad bit longer. Those extra couple of minutes allow the milk solids on the bottom of the pan to begin to brown, which gives ghee a slightly different, more nutty flavor profile to clarified butter.
Ghee is a traditional Indian food and has been enjoyed in the Middle East and Asia for thousands of years. It’s also frequently used in Ayurveda and other healing medicines.
Watch the Video to Learn How to Make Ghee
Is Ghee Dairy-Free?
Sort of. I know that’s not a definitive response, but it depends on your level of sensitivity. And honestly, how well it’s been cooked. Yes, the milk solids are removed, but unless it’s been tested to be 100% casein free, I’d be remiss to claim it as dairy-free. Invariably some microscopic milk proteins may remain.
Now, in saying that, most folks who are dairy sensitive (to lactose and casein) find they don’t have any problems with ghee. But it’s something you’ll have to try for yourself. If you do have dairy sensitivities, I’d recommend straining the ghee through a coffee filter (or two) which has a tighter weave, rather than use a nut milk bag or cheesecloth.
The Benefits of Ghee
If you’ve ever burned butter on the stove before, you know that smoky frustration. And what you’ve actually done is burned the milk solids in butter. Ghee doesn’t have those, it’s just pure butterfat. This means it has a high smoke point (making it perfect for sautéing and frying) and its a stabilized cooking fat, similar to rendered bacon fat.
Ghee is also nutrient-dense and contains vitamins A, K2 and gut-healing butyric acid. The great thing about homemade ghee is that because you’re starting with high-quality ingredients, you get a high-quality end product.
What Happens if you Cook Ghee Too Long?
Well, you’ll end up with brown butter. That just means those milk solids on the bottom became really caramelized and the butter starts to smell like toffee or butterscotch. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just different.
The first time I made ghee I cooked it too long and thought I ruined it, but realized, “hmmm, this smells an awful lot like toffee.” Thankfully I didn’t toss it (I couldn’t bear to waste all that organic butter), so used it on veggies and cauliflower rice. Oh wow, it was delicious.
How to Make Ghee (3 Easy Steps)
Remember to start with the best ingredients possible by using unsalted, organic, grass-fed butter.
- Add about a pound to a small pot and cook on low heat. Once the butter is melted and it starts to simmer, you’ll notice the ghee separates into three layers.
- Foam forms on the top and it’ll sputter a bit, which is the water evaporating. Skim that off with a spoon (you’ll have to do this several times). As the ghee continues to cook, that foam turns into clear bubbles and the middle layer becomes translucent. You should also start to see the milk solid sludge sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- After 25-30 minutes, your ghee should be done. Turn off the heat and let it cool for a couple minutes, then strain it into a glass storage container. The ghee will become opaque and light yellow as it cools.
Watch my tutorial video above to see exactly how I make ghee. You can store the ghee at room temperature in a cupboard (away from direct light) for a few months. If you plan to keep it longer, it’s best to store in the refrigerator where it will last about a year.
More Easy “How To” Recipes You’ll Enjoy
How to Make Ghee
- 1 lb organic, unsalted butter
- Slice the butter into cubes and place in a small pot on low heat.
- Melt the butter and bring to a simmer. After several minutes, foam will form on top and it may sputter a bit. Use a spoon to skim off the top foam. You'll need to repeat this a few times.
- Continue cooking the ghee on low for another 20-25 minutes, or until the middle layer is translucent and the smell is fragrant. You should also start to see some milk solids at the bottom of the pan.
- When the ghee is done, turn off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Then strain the ghee through a nut milk bag, cheesecloth or coffee filter into a glass storage container.
- The recipe makes approximately 2 cups of ghee.
Originally published February 2017, but updated to include new information.