Photo: Shutterstock / uduhunt
Over the past few years, ghee has gained a lot of steam. Originating in Indian cuisine, it’s known that ghee—which rhymes with “fee”—was invented to prolong the shelf life of butter, as it’s stable at room temperature and doesn’t need refrigeration. With the milk solids removed, ghee (aka clarified butter) has a higher smoke point for cooking than regular butter and works well for those on a gluten-free or dairy-free diet (goodbye, milk solids!).
Here’s How to Make Ghee
Follow along, and I’ll show you how to make it in your kitchen—fast!
1) Start with the best butter.
Don’t skimp on quality here! Start with 1 pound of the best quality butter you can afford (Kerrygold, anyone?). Although there are many opinions about whether to use unsalted or salted butter, the choice is yours. Both will work for this process.
Test Kitchen tip: I prefer unsalted butter…it gives you the flexibility to add salt to taste later.
2) Heat it up.
Cut the butter into small pieces so that it will melt more quickly. In a heavy saucepan, which will help conduct heat evenly, melt the butter over medium-low heat. After about 10 minutes you will notice the milk solids separating from the butter solids, the white foamy stuff floating to the top. Skim and discard this surface foam with a spoon or strainer. Hey! You’ve successfully made clarified butter. (Wasn’t that easy?)
Test Kitchen tip: From here you could cool, strain and store clarified butter in an air-tight container…but we are taking it one step further to make ghee.
3) Cook it until golden.
Continue cooking gently until the butter fat is deep golden brown, but watch closely because it can burn in a flash. You may still occasionally be skimming away surface foam, but during this step you will notice the fat is clearer and small bits (milk solids) have fallen to the bottom of your saucepan. Eventually those bits will begin to turn brown in color and a delicious nutty aroma will fill your kitchen.
Test Kitchen tip: This additional cooking is what gives ghee the nutty, butterscotch flavor it’s known for.
4) Cool and strain.
Remove saucepan from the heat, then set it aside and let it cool. Strain the butter fat into an airtight Tupperware or glass container (a mason jar works great for this). Store at room temperature on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator (where it will become a super-smooth solid).
Test Kitchen tip: For straining, use something you have on hand…a coffee filter, piece of cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer.
5) Put it to use.
Ghee can be used in place of butter in most recipes. Spread it on toast, scramble eggs with it or whip up a quick weeknight stir-fry. Remember, for those lactose intolerant or dairy-sensitive family members, this is a perfect substitute.
Test Kitchen tip: If making ghee isn’t your thing or you don’t have the time, purchase it at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or on Amazon. Your local supermarket may have it in the oil or Indian aisle, too.
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