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Make Your Own: Ghee or Clarified Butter

January 7th, 2010

We’ve been trying to find local alternatives to things we buy from far and wide. One of the things I purchase regularly is organic olive oil from California. I won’t quit buying and using olive oil since it’s a healthy and delicious, but I have been trying to find something to replace it in some recipes. A couple years ago I read about ghee. Ghee is basically clarified butter or pure butter fat. Because the milk solids have been removed it has a higher smoking point (won’t burn as easily as butter) and it is shelf stable, so it keeps much longer than butter. It’s super easy to make and it’s a delicious addition to many dishes.

Since you’re all making your own butter after yesterday’s post, I figure you’d need a way to use it up. To make ghee you need unsalted butter, you can use fresh homemade butter or store bought butter. I’d recommend finding some good quality local pastured butter of course, but you can use the regular stuff from the grocery. The final flavor and color of your ghee will depend on the quality of your butter. I generally use at least a pound of butter, usually two.

Put the butter in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, it will sputter a bit so you want some extra room and a taller pan. Then place the pot on medium heat and melt the butter without stirring.
When you first melt it, foam will appear. The butter will sputter a bit, this is the water boiling out of the butter. Gradually as you boil the butter the foam will disappear and you’ll end up with a beautiful golden liquid that smells wonderfully buttery! Keep an eye on your ghee, you don’t want to end up with browned butter ghee. It usually takes between 20-30 minutes depending on the temperature and the amount of butter you’re melting.

It’s time to remove from the heat when you see golden brown milk solids on the bottom of the pot. You can use a spoon to move some of the foam aside to keep an eye on the milk solids. You want to remove from heat before the milk solids become too brown. Pour through a strainer fitted with some several layers of cheesecloth to strain out the butter solids (which our pets love). Then pour the ghee into a jar or container of your choice, I prefer a wide mouth mason jar.

You’ll end up with the most beautiful golden liquid. This liquid will harden when it cools becoming opaque. Depending on the temperature of your home you final product can be between the consistency of a thick liquid that you can pour to a scoop able thickness. Your ghee does not need to be refrigerated, but you can if you want to. You can use ghee like you use oil, for frying eggs, making popcorn and sauteing veggies. It makes a wonderful addition to just about any dish.

Have you ever had or made ghee?

28 Comments to “Make Your Own: Ghee or Clarified Butter”
  1. tigress on January 7, 2010 at 5:55 am

    hi! i make ghee all the time! nothing beats the flavor it adds to vegetarian fare of of the indian persuasion – which i cook quite often in my kitchen. that said, it’s nutty delicious flavor adds to baking – cakes, muffins and teacakes. and ghee makes a great and flavorful quick pasta ‘sauce’ – just sizzle a few herbs of choice in it and toss in pasta. delicious!
    .-= tigress´s last blog ..welcome to tigress’ can jam! =-.

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  2. Mangochild on January 7, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Glad you posted this. My family has always made ghee – we’re from India, so its natural around our home to do so. I’m lactose intolerant, so I don’t get to eat it, but one of my fondest memories as a child was watching for that moment on the stove when the white froth of the melted butter would somehow magically subside, leaving a golden liquid. I was equally amazed that it could be stored outide, seeming to defy the rules of “close the door to the freezer/fridge so things don’t spoil!” I heard so often. I’m glad you’re enjoying this addition to cooking!
    .-= Mangochild´s last blog ..Wednesday Independence Days – Week 1 (again) =-.

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    • Mangochild on January 7, 2010 at 7:40 am

      Oh, I should also add – I’ve noticed in cooking that ghee has a slightly different smoke point than oil, so cooking temps might need to be adjusted a bit for some recipes when its used for searing or sauteeing. Of course, if its just added as a flavoring in a dish, no adjustment would be needed.
      .-= Mangochild´s last blog ..Wednesday Independence Days – Week 1 (again) =-.

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      • Susy on January 7, 2010 at 10:12 am

        Very true, it has it’s own specific smoking point like most oils do. I keep grape seed oil around for high temp searing, but generally I use a lower temp and use olive oil or ghee.

        to Susy's comment

  3. pam on January 7, 2010 at 8:04 am

    I’ve never made it, but I’ve always wanted to. Thanks for the great tutorial.
    .-= pam´s last blog ..Black-Eyed Peas and Collards = Good Luck and Prosperity for Me! =-.

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  4. Justin on January 7, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I think I might try making some ghee. I’ve known how but never considered doing it. Thanks for the step-by-step demo!

    When we were in California, we ran across a wonderful little shop called the St. Helena Olive Oil Company (sholiveoil.com). They’re obviously not local to Ohio, but they are a small business, run by a single mother, and they buy as many of their products from local farmers and suppliers as they can–working with the farmers to choose just when to harvest the olives. They keep oils and vinegars in wine barrels in the back of the rustic store (looks like an old garage) and fill bottles for sale from the barrels.

    They’re a bit pricey and even more pricey to ship, but the quality of the product is worthwhile and the woman that runs it is a real hoot and knows her stuff. She recently moved her and her two daughters to Italy to spend a year or so really learning about Italian food, the language, and food products. She writes blogs and emails about her experiences that are fun to read.

    Oh…and may I suggest the 19 year/old balsamic vinegar. It’s probably the most you’ll ever pay for a bottle of food that size but it’s great drizzled on any green veggies or used in place of salad dressing. Using a barkeeper’s pouring spout to keep our pours small, we’ve been able to make it last over a year and a half. Same with the olive oil.
    .-= Justin´s last blog ..Thrifty Cooking – Grind It =-.

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    • Susy on January 7, 2010 at 10:47 am

      Thanks for the recommendation. These are the kinds of places I like to buy from.

      I do love a good balsamic, I have a pretty pricey bottle of 25 year balsamic in the pantry I usually eat it with a spoon, it’s too go to dilute, although it occasionally graces my homegrown strawberries or ice cream.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. HappyHermit on January 7, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I love making ghee , i also make my own paneer. Its one of the weird things I do that my husband thinks is odd , but never complains about.

    NUmNum
    .-= HappyHermit´s last blog ..Day 6 of 7 @ Skirt / Dress Challenge =-.

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    • Susy on January 7, 2010 at 12:24 pm

      MMM, paneer is good.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. MAYBELLINE on January 7, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Interesting. I’ve never heard of ghee. Please continue buying California olive oil. My state needs the income!

    BTW – a little olive oil on your cuticles really improves the damage gardening does to your hands.
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Christmas Cactus =-.

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  7. Frugal Trenches on January 7, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Wow, this is amazing! I love your creative ideas, they constantly inspire me!
    .-= Frugal Trenches´s last blog ..21 Suggestions for Living well in 2010 =-.

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  8. Ria on January 7, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I haven’t made my own ghee before, but I have heard of it. Apparently some nomadic cultures use a small dollop of it in tea in place of milk and/or a sweetener. The taste apparently takes a bit of getting used to, but I think I’d like to try it someday, just to say I have.
    .-= Ria´s last blog ..Meal planning. =-.

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    • Susy on January 7, 2010 at 2:34 pm

      I like to put a spoonful in my morning oatmeal and sometimes in my soup (especially if it’s a cream soup, like butternut squash or cauliflower). Never thought of putting it in tea, but I might try it sometime.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Kendra @ A Sonoma Garden on January 7, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I’ve made my own butter, but we haven’t made ghee before. I’m definitely going to give it a try. Thanks for the tutorial.
    .-= Kendra @ A Sonoma Garden´s last blog ..Mushroom Hunting on the Sonoma Coast =-.

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  10. Seren Dippity on January 7, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    You just keep upping the bar, don’t you?

    Because of your inspiring posts on using raw milk and making butter, I got brave and purchased my first gallon of raw milk today.
    We have a local dairy that sells it fairly close to us, but with me being lactose intolerant I never really considered it. We have wanted to try the cheeses and yogurts but just never actually stopped by to do so. So this afternoon I actually drank about 1/2 cup of raw milk. I was scared to try even that much, but because I tolerate butter, good quality (meaning real live cultured) yogurt and hard aged cheeses I thought I might be a candidate for the raw milk.
    I’m happy to report that all is well. No tummy upset at all.
    I will experiment with this and see how it goes. Mostly though I want to make butter. So tomorrow I will skim the cream and give it a try.

    I was a bit startled at the cost of raw milk. I paid $8 for the gallon. I have been reading about the controversy of the high cost of organic and “real” food. I understand why it can cost more but that still makes it difficult. I have been trying to get my daughter to consider more grass raised beef and free range chicken/eggs. Between her cooking and her two year old twins they go through about 2 – 3 gallons of milk a week. At 2.5 times the cost, I know there is no way she’d consider raw milk.

    Thanks for the butter and ghee tutorials. Looking forward to trying them.

    Reply to Seren Dippity's comment

    • Susy on January 8, 2010 at 12:06 am

      That’s about how much I pay for our raw milk as well, but that’s what I would pay for organic milk at the grocery store. Food is one of those areas I’m willing to pay more to get quality. Although I’ve found the more locally & organic I eat the less processed food I buy and I’m actually spending less on my grocery bill (I think part of the reason is also that I’m picking up things at the farm, they have milk/eggs/meat, I’m not tempted to buy snacks/cookies/ice cream etc).

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Seren Dippity on January 8, 2010 at 11:51 am

        I totally agree with you. But I can also see a young couple’s overwhelm in coping with a budget. I am slowly getting her to read more about it and she is changing to better fats and cutting out soy. She feels like she is doing a lot because she cooks mostly from scratch and does focus on healthy choices. And truthfully, some of the things she tells me about her friends eating/cooking choices are frightening. I’m not talking teens here, but 30 year olds with families.
        I’m still at the point of paying more for better quality products and spending too much on junk food (DH is seriously bad.) I’m trying to include more home made sweets to wean him off the junk because at least I can control the ingredients and to some extent the choices.

        to Seren Dippity's comment

      • Miranda on January 9, 2010 at 12:01 pm

        I agree that it is a lot of money – but it’s spent locally, responsibly, and i can attest that there are so many things you can do with the milk i think it’s cost effective. I’ve made from one gallon of raw milk: cheese, sour cream, milk to drink, milk to bake with, whey to ferment things and increase shelf life (kim chee, mayonnaise, soaked grains) and a little dollop of butter! If you have the time you can really spread the goodies out.
        .-= Miranda´s last blog ..More Raw Milk Projects =-.

        to Miranda's comment

    • Stephanie on October 17, 2011 at 9:53 pm

      $8 a gallon is nothing compared to medicine, Raw milk can heal many things!! So much healthier with it. Don’t take it for granted, I can no longer get raw milk (not legal here) but I will find a way!! So happy you tried raw milk even though you are lactose intolerant ~ Tell the world!

      Reply to Stephanie's comment

  11. Catalina on January 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    The ghee looks very nice, but…..
    Mmmmm that is beautiful butter!
    It’s so yellow and creamy looking!
    .-= Catalina´s last blog ..Banana Chocolate Coffee Cake =-.

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  12. talia on January 11, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Thats a great idea: I’d been trying to think of a substitute for olive oil that i could get locally. A couple of years ago I did a strict 50mile diet for a month and the two things I really wanted were flour and oil, now i can get the first and make ghee instead of oil… I might try another month soon!

    Reply to talia's comment

  13. [...] Your Own Posts from Chiot’s Run. Make Your Own: Brown Sugar Make Your Own: Baking Powder Make Your Own: Ghee Make Your Own: Butter Make Your Own: Preserved Lemons Make Your Own: Ketchup Make Your Own: [...]

    Reply to A Few Resources for the Real Food Challenge « Not Dabbling In Normal's comment

  14. [...] how-to: chiotsrun.com/2010/01/07/make-you-own-ghee/ Share Weight Loss Success Butter, Clarified, Ghee The Paleo Diet – Explained [...]

    Reply to Ghee or Clarified Butter | Diet and health solution for you's comment

  15. [...] you’re interested), and source some from a small local dairy. I also make my own ghee, I have directions on my blog. Finding ways to incorporate coconut oil into your diet is also a good move. Read this post on my [...]

    Reply to Sunday Photos…Healthy Fats « Not Dabbling In Normal's comment

  16. Jodiana on January 22, 2012 at 12:05 am

    I made ghee for the first time today. It is very dark, brown butter ghee I guess :) I wasn’t sure if the foam on top was suppose to go away, I kept waiting for it to. Also it was so thick that I could not get a look at the butter under it. By the time enough foam went away, the butter solids were quite dark and crispy looking. Kinda like coffee grounds….
    Considering it is the first time I’m not to upset about the results, it’s still usable. Next time I will use a better butter and a lower temp!

    Reply to Jodiana's comment

    • Susy on January 22, 2012 at 12:40 am

      Don’t worry about your ghee turning brown, I occasionally have a batch that does that too. Brown butter ghee is still perfectly OK to us, it just has that yummy brown butter flavor. Will work perfectly over pasta with some sage and butternut squash. It also makes great popcorn.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  17. Angi on June 20, 2012 at 8:38 am

    I made ghee once unknowingly while browning butter for another recipe. I had no idea how much would be left – the solids were used in the recipe. I couldn’t bring myself to toss all that was left so I poured it in a jar and saved it. Later a friend told me what it was and how good it would be to use. I just needed some inspiration on where/how to use it.

    Reply to Angi's comment

  18. cecilia on October 17, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Impressive. i will be milking my cow again in about 5 months and making butter again, what an excellent way to store it. Thank you for the clear tutorial.. c

    Reply to cecilia's comment

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