Ghee or clarified butter is used a lot in Indian cuisines and can be used in place of vegetable oil or cooking oil in just about any recipe. This healthier vegetable oil alternative is much more affordable to make at home rather than purchasing store-bought and it's ready in under 20 minutes.
What is Ghee and why use it?
Ghee or clarified butter is a cooking oil that has been made from cooking butter until the milk has separated from the oil. The butter is "clarified" leaving a great oil that can be used for cooking. Ghee has a higher smoking point than many other oils such as olive oil and coconut oil which makes it ideal for sauteing and frying.
Clarified butter doesn’t taste buttery, but rather like a neutral oil, and is perfect when you want to use a neutral oil in cooking. It is easy to keep on hand and it is a perfect pantry staple.
How to make Ghee
Ghee is easy to make and is done in 15 minutes. It only requires one pack of unsalted butter, a saucepan, a spoon, and a mason jar.
Step 1. First, melt your butter on medium-high heat. Once the butter has come to a rapid simmer, bring down the heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally.
The ghee will sound loud as it simmers. If it pops out of the pan turn the heat down a bit more.
Step 2. Stir occasionally. As the butter cooks, it will have milky foam on the top. This is the milk separating from the oil in the butter. This milky foam is what is burning when you cook with butter in its natural form. While the butter cooks, the milk will start to harden and crystalize to the sides and bottom of the pot.
Step 3. In the next phase of the butter turning into ghee, the butter will look cloudy, with no foam, keep stirring.
Step 4. Eventually, after another five minutes, the butter will be clear and little bubbles will occur on the surface of the ghee. It will start to look foamy and you can see that the milk has completely crystallized. Once this point has been reached, you are done!
Step 5. Remove from the heat, then you can allow it to cool slightly or immediately pour it into a pint-size mason jar to use in everyday cooking. It will have the perfect light golden color.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is it cheaper to make or buy ghee?
It is definitely cheaper to make ghee rather than to buy it. 1 pack of organic unsalted butter is $5 - 6 and yields about 2 cups of ghee. I've seen the same amount or even less cost $10 - $17 at the store. Because ghee is our only cooking oil, making it at home is a much more affordable option, and it's super easy to make.
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Ghee or clarified butter can be used in place of vegetable oil or cooking oil in just about any recipe. It can be a healthier alternative to some of the other cooking oil at the grocery store.
- 1 lb unsalted butter* (1 package of unsalted butter)
- Melt butter in a saucepot on medium-high heat.
- Once the melted butter comes to a rapid simmer, bring the heat down to medium-low. Stir occasionally.
- The butter will sound very loud while it cooks. It will have milk foam covering the surface of the ghee for a bit, then it will start to crystalize on the sides and on the bottom of the pot. This will take 10 - 15 minutes.
- The ghee will sound quieter and it will start to look foamy and bubbly, and it will be completely clear of the milk foam. At this point, take it off the heat. You can wait for it to cool or immediately pour into a pint-size mason jar, for later use. It'll be hot, be careful!
- Once cooked, the ghee is perfectly fine to leave out on the counter for easy use.
*Use unsalted butter because the salt content in salted butter can cause the ghee to be salty.
If you don’t cook the ghee to the point where it looks foamy and bubbly, your final ghee can still have milk in it and cause your ghee to burn easily when cooking. You can cook the ghee for longer to solve this problem.
If you overcook your ghee and it has a dark golden color, it’s still ok the use. However, its flavor may taste a little nutty.
If your ghee separates after 24 hours in your mason jar, after you have cooked the ghee to point where it is foamy and bubbly with no milk solids, it’s still ok. You can take a spoon and mix your ghee until combined or leave it as is, it’s fine.
If your ghee solidifies after 24 hours and has a creamy golden color, it’s perfect!