How to Make Ghee

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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!

Ghee in a glass jar on a window sill.

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

Once you make ghee at home, it’ll be hard to go back to store-bought. Because it’s just so darn easy. Watch how I make it in the video below! 

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.

Slicing butter and cooking on the stove to make ghee.

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.

Pouring ghee through a cheesecloth into a glass jar.

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.

Two jars of ghee stacked on each other.

How to Make Ghee (3 Easy Steps)

Remember to start with the best ingredients possible by using unsalted, organic, grass-fed butter.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Kitchen Staple Recipes

(dairy-free) Homemade ghee is easy to make and cheaper than what you can buy in the store. Watch the tutorial video to see how to make ghee.

How to Make Ghee

4.99 from 54 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 32 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

Ghee is delicious and nutty with an aromatic smell. It’s perfect for those who are dairy-sensitive and easy to make at home. Just watch the tutorial video above! 

Video

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 pound unsalted butter

Instructions 

  • Slice it up. Slice the butter into cubes and place in a small pot on low heat. 
  • Melt and skim. 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. 
  • Cook. Continue cooking the ghee on low for another 20 to 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. 
  • Strain and store. 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. 

Lisa’s Tips

  • The recipe makes approximately 2 cups of ghee.

Nutrition

Calories: 124kcal | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 36mg
Course: sauce
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Ghee, Ghee Butter, Ghee Recipe, Homemade Ghee, How to Make Ghee, What is Ghee
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Originally published February 2017, but updated to include new information. 

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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153 Comments

  1. Good Morning, And Thank you so VERY MUCH for sharing your Wonderful and Beautiful Recipes on your website. I’m so Bless is seems like we have being FRIENDS for a LIFETIME. I LOVE ALL of your Recipes. I can’t to purchase your Book. And I also have printed All of your Recipes that you Posted on Line as well. Everything Looks for Beautiful I can’t wait to make your Recipes each and every day. My Husband and I work the Overnight shift and after we get our Rest and I awaken I find it Very Hard to find something different and Good for Dinner. Or order in for Dinner. I want to start to cook Healthy and Delicious meals for Dinner. I’m so Bless and Thankful for your KINDNESS that your sharing your Recipes to the World. Thank you so much. Keep on Posting and showing your Videos on your Website as well. Nankita5 stars

  2. Everything went perfect until I got to the filtering stage! First I tried the coffee filter it was painfully slow so I shifted to several layers of cheesecloth and the milk solids went through settling on the bottom of my beautiful golden ghee. Next, I tried more layers of cheese cloth, alas, the same result!! The final step, my nut bag still the same result. Could this have anything to do with how long it is simmered? Any suggestions would be gratefully accepted!

  3. I’ve made ghee many times, but have always discarded the foam that I skim off the top. Is there something else (yummy) that I should be saving it for?5 stars

  4. Nicely done recipe, easy to follow.

    I use the bits and butter at the bottom to make browned butter icing. Perfect for applesauce and spice cats.5 stars

  5. Best video I’ve watched on Gee. Got it perfect this time around. Too high a heat makes a mess, on low was perfect 👍😊 thank you for this video, most helpful.

  6. Just made this and it’s delicious! Bought ghee before but didn’t care for the taste. Thanks for the tutorial. (My husband bought unsalted butter blocks from Costco instead of the sticks so this is perfect)5 stars

  7. Hi Lisa,
    Does the amount of butter you start with affect the cooking time? For a trial batch I started with a quarter pound and cooked it gently for 2 minutes. Based on the color, I’m thinking I cooked it too long. It’s definitely quite a bit darker than yours. I used a metal mesh coffee filter so it might not be as clear as if I used a paper filter but it smell great and we’re going to use it to make Chicken Biryani in a couple of days. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  8. I’m making muffins for a dear, elderly friend who is dairy and gluten intolerant. I prefer baking with butter because of the yummy buttery taste that adds so much to every bite; however I knew she wouldn’t be able to eat and enjoy these if they weren’t dairy free. Thanks so much for this easy to follow recipe!5 stars

  9. Thank you for the video. It was very helpful.

    I made ghee for the first time today. My neighbor from India had said “just cook it on the lowest setting.” I did that initially, until the butter was completely melted but it wasn’t warm enough to simmer, as you show, so I turned the heat up a little bit until I got tiny bubbles — smaller than yours to avoid browning. At first spooning the scum off seemed a bit of a fool’s errand but after it had been simmering for several minutes, that became much easier, so that by the time I declared it done, I had obvious milk solids on the bottom and a clear yellow liquid. It’s been slooooowly making its way through two paper coffee filters, but the ghee is looking gorgeous – a lovely, clear yellow.

    Thanks!5 stars

  10. Thank you thank you!! I haven’t heard of ghee before. I am on my way to the kitchen to make some. The potential I see with this is amazing°°5 stars

  11. Thanks Lisa. I’ve never understood why people buy ghee. I’ve tried a couple of the commercially prepared brands and none of them have ever tasted anywhere near as good as home made. I wonder if the commercial stuff uses very inexpensive butter? Not that I’m a butter snob (I only buy the really nice stuff if it is BOGO – regular national brands are fine for us).

    A few notes here. Afterwards I keep the toasted solids with a bit of the oil in a small container in the fridge. It firms up well and small chunks can be broken off with a butter knife, and can be used to add a lot of flavor to (e.g.) scrambled eggs or when fry-warming gyro meat or what not.

    I used to skim as per your recipe (and many others) but have found that the surface bits will eventually settle out with the rest of the milk solids if you just let it happen or jostle the pan a bit after the first ten minutes. You might give it a try.

    Finally, note that the majority of the salt sequesters with the milk solids. So while using salted butter will result in more salt in the ghee than using unsalted butter, it’s really not that much.

    The milk solids, though – if you’re going to use them in other recipes like a mentioned above – are very salty when using salted butter. But the ghee itself only retains a bit.

    Thanks again!5 stars

  12. thanks for the info… i have made ghee just once and wanted to refresh my memory. nice clear instructions. can that skimmed off foam be used ?? like maybe in rice or mashed taters or something??

    1. 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.

    1. You can, but just be aware that it will be extra salty. I normally like to control the salt as I cook, which is why I use unsalted butter.

  13. Thank you for the excellent directions.
    Quick question: I am using a very heavy pot on lowest setting and butter has separated, foamed and solids have formed on the bottom…
    However it has not simmered.

    Is it critical to get the butter to simmer before transferring it to the jar, or can the steps be followed without the simmer?

    Thanks!  Will check back for an answer.  Want to make sure my ghee is the best it can be!5 stars

    1. It sounds like it’s still working for you without the simmer. I’d keep moving forward with it – and fingers crossed it turns out!

  14. I made this today.  I didn’t have organic butter, but I used what I had and it came out beautifully.  I’ve paid $14 per jar for ghee!  I did a taste test between the one I made and the one I bought.  Mine is better!  I may never buy butter to use as is ever again.  Thanks for the video.  5 stars