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What is Ghee? A Guide to the Latest Trend in Butter

This clarified butter is trendy but can be confusing. We tell you how to incorporate ghee into your cooking the right way.

Photo: Shutterstock / espies

 

You’ve probably seen ghee used in a variety of ways on your Facebook or Instagram feeds, or seen your friends or fit foodie influencers posting about incorporating it into a coffee recipe or the latest healthy dish. (Psst! On a health-kick? Try our 7-day sugar-free meal plan.) But what makes it different from butter, you may ask? We’re here to “clarify” it for you.

 

What is ghee?

Commonly referred to as liquid gold, aka clarified butter, ghee is a versatile way to add flavor depth to an assortment of recipes. Butter is made of three key components—whey, casein and butterfat—and through the process of clarifying butter, only pure butterfat remains. Ghee is cooked just slightly longer than regular clarified butter through the same simple process.

So where did the name come from? Originating in Indian and Pakistani cultures, dating back thousands of years, the word ghee comes from the meaning of the Sanskrit word for “sprinkled.”

Ghee was originally created to prevent butter from going bad in the hot weather, and because the milk solids have been removed, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. You will find that it is generally stable at room temperature, with a texture similar to coconut oil.

 

How should I use it?

Since ghee has a higher smoke point than regular butter or cooking oils, it’s a smart alternative for slow-cooking recipes like roasted veggies or high-heat dishes like stir-fry. Thanks to it being pure butterfat, it allows favorite baked goods to bake and brown more evenly. Has your homemade hollandaise sauce not turned out quite right in the past? Try using ghee in place of the normal butter for a far creamier consistency. Using ghee in a recipe will add an even sweeter and nuttier taste to an already-delicious dish.

Research is still being conducted on the health benefits of ghee. But if you have dairy sensitivities and miss the richness that butter provides, incorporating ghee into your cooking might be something to try.

 

Where can I get it?

Since ghee is becoming more popular, it’s more readily available, especially at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or the like. You can find it online if it’s not in stores near you.

 

Go for gold with these healthy dinners.

Italian Hot Dish

My husband had a poor perception of healthy food until he tried this beefy casserole. The combination of pasta, oregano, mushrooms and green peppers make it a favorite in our house. —Theresa Smith, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

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Beef Roast Dinner

Because this healthy dish is slow-cooked, you can use less expensive roasts with results as mouthwatering as the more costly cuts. Change up the veggies for variety, nutrition or to suit your tastes!—Sandra Dudley, Bemidji, Minnesota

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Firehouse Chili

As one of the cooks at the firehouse, I used to prepare meals for 10 men. This chili recipe was among their favorites. —Richard Clements, San Dimas, California

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Fiery Stuffed Poblanos

I love southwest-inspired cuisine, but the dishes are often unhealthy. As a dietitian, I try to come up with nutritious twists on recipes, which is how my stuffed chili dish was born. —Amber Massey, Coppell, Texas

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Asian Chicken Thighs

A thick, tangy sauce coats golden brown chicken pieces. Serve them over long grain rice or with ramen noodle slaw. —Dave Farrington, Midwest City, Oklahoma

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Best Lasagna Soup

All the traditional flavors of lasagna come together in this heartwarming meal-in-a-bowl. —Sheryl Olenick, Demarest, New Jersey

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Turkey White Chili

Growing up in a Pennsylvania Dutch area, I was surrounded by excellent cooks and wonderful foods. I enjoy experimenting with new recipes, like this change-of-pace chili. —Kaye Whiteman, Charleston, West Virginia

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Slow Cooker Pork Chops

Everyone will enjoy these fork-tender pork chops with a creamy, light gravy. Serve with a green vegetable, mashed potatoes and coleslaw or a salad. —Sue Bingham, Madisonville, Tennessee

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Salmon with Brown Sugar Glaze

I was not a salmon lover until I tried this recipe. Now it is one of my favorite dishes to serve friends. —Rachel Garcia, Arlington, Virginia

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Sweet Potato Stew

Beef broth and herbs pair nicely with the sweet potatoes' subtle sweetness in this hearty stew that's perfect for fall. — Helen Vail, Glenside, Pennsylvania

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Honey Chicken Stir-Fry

I'm a new mom, and my schedule is very dependent upon our young son, so I like meals that can be ready in as little time as possible. This all-in-one chicken stir fry recipe with a hint of sweetness from honey is a big time-saver. —Caroline Sperry, Allentown, Michigan

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Vegetable Lentil Soup

Here’s a healthy soup that's ideal for vegetarians and those watching their weight. Butternut squash and lentils make it filling, while herbs and other veggies round out the flavor. —Mark Morgan, Waterford, Wisconsin

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Seasoned Tilapia Fillets

If you need a healthy, keep-it-simple solution to dinner tonight, you just found it. This restaurant-quality dish relies on spices you're likely to have on hand to deliver big flavor. —Dana Alexander, Lebanon, Missouri

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Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops

When I found these pork chops and apples recipe online years ago, it quickly became a favorite. The ingredients are easy to keep on hand, and the one-pan cleanup is a bonus. —Christina Price, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Black Bean 'n' Pumpkin Chili

My family is crazy about this slow cooker chili because it uses ingredients you don't usually find in chili. Believe it or not, I discovered that pumpkin is what makes the dish so special. Cook up a big batch and freeze some for later; it tastes even better reheated. —Deborah Vliet, Holland, Michigan

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Pumpkin Lasagna

I especially like this comforting fall dish because it's vegetarian. Even friends who aren't big fans of pumpkin are surprised by this delectable lasagna. Canned pumpkin and no-cook noodles make it a cinch to prepare. —Tamara Huron, New Market, Alabama

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Black Bean Chicken with Rice

This spicy family favorite calls for just a few basic ingredients, so it’s quick and easy to stir up in your skillet on a weeknight. —Molly Newman, Portland, Oregon

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Cream of Wild Rice Soup

Tender cubes of chicken, fresh vegetables and wild rice make this soup hearty enough for a meal. You can't beat the down-home comfort of a warm bowlful. I like to serve it with whole wheat rolls. —J. Beatrice Hintz, Neenah, Wisconsin

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Egg Roll Noodle Bowl

We love Asian egg rolls, but they can be challenging to make. Simplify everything with this deconstructed egg roll in a bowl made on the stovetop. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas

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Slow-Cooked Stuffed Peppers

My favorite kitchen appliance is the slow-cooker, and I use mine more than anyone else I know. It does a great job with this good-for-you dish. —Michelle Gurnsey, Lincoln, Nebraska

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Slow-Cooked Lemon Chicken

Garlic, oregano and lemon juice give spark to this memorable main dish. It's easy to fix—just brown the chicken in a skillet, then let the slow cooker do the work. I like to serve this dish to company. —Walter Powell, Wilmington, Delaware

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Beef & Spinach Lo Mein

If you like a good stir-fry, this dish will definitely satisfy. I discovered the recipe at an international luncheon, and it's now a favorite go-to meal. —Denise Patterson, Bainbridge, Ohio

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Pan-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

This one-dish meal tastes like it needs hours of hands-on time to put together, but it takes just minutes to prep the simple ingredients. The rosemary gives it a very rich flavor, and the meat juices cook the veggies to perfection. So easy! —Sherri Melotik, Oak Creek, Wisconsin

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Shrimp Tortellini Pasta Toss

No matter how you toss 'em up, shrimp and thyme play nicely with any spring-fresh vegetable. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Pot Roast with Asian Black Bean Sauce

I love stir-fry with black bean sauce. This recipe takes the delicious flavor of black bean sauce and joins it with fork-tender pot roast. —Judy Lawson, Chelsea, Michigan

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Italian Turkey Meatballs

What's not to love about moist and tender homemade Italian meatballs? Because they're made with lean turkey, they're lower in saturated fat, too! —Mary Berg, Lake Elmo, Minnesota

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Lemon-Dijon Pork Sheet Pan Supper

Most nights, I need something that gets on the table with minimal effort and delicious results. Sheet pan suppers like this one have become an all-time favorite, not only because of its bright flavors, but also because of its speedy clean-up time! —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah

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Weeknight Chicken Chop Suey

If you'd like a little extra crunch with this colorful chop suey, serve with chow mein noddles. —George Utley, South Hill, Virginia

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Shrimp with Warm German-Style Coleslaw

We love anything that's tangy or bacony. With fennel and tarragon, this is a super savory dish. I use the medley from Minute Rice if I don't have time to make my own. —Ann Sheehy, Lawrence, Massachusetts

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Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

I've been working on developing healthier recipes that still taste delicious—and keep me satisfied. This squash tossed with beef, beans and kale has so much flavor it's easy to forget it's good for you! —Charlotte Cravins, Opelousas, Louisiana

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North African Chicken and Rice

I'm always looking to try recipes from different cultures and this one is a HUGE favorite. We love the spice combinations. This cooks equally well in a slow cooker or pressure cooker. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas

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Makeover Beef Stroganoff

I trimmed the calories, fat and sodium in a classic Stroganoff, and my comfy, cozy version still tastes like a Russian masterpiece. —Candace Clark, Connell, Washington

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Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

Here's a kid-friendly dish so flavorful and fun, nobody is likely to guess that it's also lower in fat. It's a great family supper for busy weeknights! —Anne Thomsen, Westchester, Ohio

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Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles

My husband loves the spicy Thai flavors in this speedy, simple dish and often breaks out the chopsticks for a more immersive experience. — Jennifer Fisher, Austin, Texas

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Slow Cooker Pea Soup

This slow cooker soup is one of my favorite meals to make during a busy workweek. When I get home, I just add the milk...and supper is served! —Deanna Waggy, South Bend, Indiana

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Oven-Fried Chicken Drumsticks

This fabulous recipe uses Greek yogurt to create an amazing marinade that makes the chicken incredibly moist. No one will guess that it's been lightened up and not even fried! — Kim Wallace, Dennison, Ohio

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Sausage & Vegetable Skillet Dinner

I threw this together to use up produce before going out of town. Who knew it was going to be such a hit! It's great when you don’t have much time to cook or wash dishes. —Elizabeth Kelley, Chicago, Illinois

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Fabulous Fajitas

I've enjoyed cooking since I was a girl growing up in the Southwest. When friends call to ask me for new recipes to try, I suggest these flavorful fajitas. It's wonderful to put the beef in the slow cooker before church and come home to a hot delicious main dish. —Janie Reitz, Rochester, Minnesota

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Slow-Cooked Caribbean Pot Roast

I put this sweet potato recipe together throughout the fall and winter seasons, but considering how simple the dish is to prepare, anytime is a great time to enjoy it! —Jenn Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California

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BLT Skillet

This quick weeknight meal reminds me of a BLT, with its chunks of bacon and tomato. The whole wheat linguine gives the skillet dish extra flavor and texture. —Edrie O'Brien, Denver, Colorado

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Chipotle Shredded Beef

This beef is delicious whether you serve it all rolled up in a tortilla, with corn salsa in a burrito, in a bun or over rice or mashed potatoes. So many options! —Darcy Williams, Omaha, Nebraska

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Chicken Florentine Meatballs

Served over squash and a chunky, mushroom-tomato sauce, these tender meatballs are tops when it comes to great flavor. —Diane Nemitz, Ludington, Michigan

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Chili Tortilla Bake

A homestyle Tex-Mex casserole is all it takes to gather the whole family around the dinner table. With its popular flavors and bubbly cheese topping, there is never a need to worry about leftovers. —Celine Weldy, Cave Creek, Arizona

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Korean Beef and Rice

A friend raved about Korean bulgogi—beef cooked in soy sauce and ginger—so I tried it. It's delicious! Dazzle the table with this tasty version of beef and rice. —Betsy King, Duluth, Minnesota

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Quinoa Turkey Chili

This heart-healthy chili is not only tasty, it's a vitamin and protein powerhouse! —Sharon Giljum, San Diego, California

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Seasoned Chicken Strips

These strips are designed for kids, but tasty enough for company. The tender strips are moist and juicy and would also be great on a salad. —Becky Oliver, Fairplay, Colorado

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Lemon-Olive Chicken with Orzo

This quick skillet recipe is a healthy all-in-one meal. I just add a tossed salad for a menu the entire family loves. —Nancy Brown, Dahinda, Illinois

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Mushroom Burgers

Ready to turn over a new burger? I guarantee no one will be missing the beef after tasting these vegetarian burgers. They're moist, tender and full of flavor. —Denise Hollebeke, Penhold, Alberta

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Hearty Navy Bean Soup

Beans were a commodity you did not survive without in the '30s. This excellent navy bean and ham soup is a real family favorite of ours and I make it often. —Mildred Lewis, Temple, Texas

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Zesty Horseradish Meat Loaf

You’ll love the bit of heat in this tasty meat loaf. Make sandwiches out of the leftovers to get double duty out of the classic comfort food. —Nancy Zimmerman, Cape May Court House, New Jersey

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