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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!

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.
5 from 8 votes

How to Make Ghee

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 32 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
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! 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb organic, unsalted butter

Instructions

  • 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. 

Lisa's Tips

  • The recipe makes approximately 2 cups of ghee.

Nutrition

Calories: 124kcal, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 36mg
Course: sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Ghee, Ghee Butter, Ghee Recipe, Homemade Ghee, How to Make Ghee, What is Ghee
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
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Originally published February 2017, but updated to include new information. 

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30 comments on “How to Make Ghee”

  1. I made this today & it turned out great. You always give great directions!

  2. Hi. Nicely explained. Eating ghee is part of our tradition. While preparing ghee I add tiny amount of turmeric and sea salt too. Next time pls try. 
    Jyothi from India

    • Hi Jyothi – Thanks for the recommendation! Will definitely try next time I make it. Thanks again for following :)

  3. I’ve never made my own, and now I can’t wait to try! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Such great info! Love all of the step-by-step instructions!

  5. As someone who grew up with ghee and watched it from milking, churning cream to the making of ghee, its so nice to be able to simply make it out of a stick of butter.

    • Wow, that’s awesome that you’ve witnessed the whole process! But, yes, utilizing a stick of butter at the store is much easier. :)

  6. I had no idea this was so easy but I’m totally hooked now! Thanks for explaining exactly what to look for.

  7. Fantastic tips! I’m a huge advocate of ghee and we use it regularly in our meals at home. Love your detailed recipe.

    • That’s awesome that you’re already a huge fan! Thanks for the kind comments, Shinta! :)

  8. Hi Lisa, I discovered your youtube channel only a week or 2 ago and I am already a huuuge fan!
    Meanwhile I’ve already watched all your videos, haha!

    Ghee is pretty expensive for a small container, here in Belgium. I had no idea I could make it so easily at home so i’m defenitely trying this!
    Just to know, you don’t stirr the butter while simmering? Just let it be and afterwords strain? (I saw the comment on your video that you shouldn’t skim off the foam? Have you tried it?).

  9. Hi there, I know this is a relatively old post but I’m just curious as to why one needs to use unsalted butter? Would it work fine with salted butter or does the salt interfere with the process?

    Ps. I’m a new subscriber to your YouTube channel and am absolutely loving the content you’re putting out. Keep it up :)

    • Hi Nadja – so happy to hear you love my YouTube channel! I use unsalted butter as I like to control the amount of salt for each particular recipe. But if you’d like a saltier ghee, you could absolutely use salted butter. :)

  10. Yay, congratulations on Video #1 in your new home! Gorgeous kitchen space. I love ghee; and while I’m happy it’s more widely available in stores now, I DEFINITELY love this homemade version/recipe. Thank you for sharing another helpful tutorial!

  11. Great tutorial on this! I have never made it before, but now feel like I should add it to the list!

  12. I have never considered making my own ghee before. I had no idea it could be so simple!

  13. Great job on the video! I love ghee because of its high smoke point. I also love that you suggest ways to use the messed up result if you cook the ghee too long!

  14. Oh wow I have never thought about making Ghee at home even though I love it very much. Thanks for the method, I am surely trying this one!

  15. Amazing photos! I love all of your commentary. It was incredibly helpful and I learned a bunch. Thanks for sharing!