How To Make Clarified Butter/Ghee

Clarified Butter and Ghee Recipe

Clarified butter is butter with the milk solids and water removed. To clarify butter, it is heated to break the emulsion, which causes its different components to separate according to density and chemical makeup. The milk solids turn into a foam at the top, which can be cooped away with a spoon. At the bottom lies a thin layer that includes proteins, phospholipids, and the aqueous layer, which is predominantly water along with some dissolved milk sugar (lactose) and minerals. This milky casein layer can be discarded after the butterfat solidifies a it cools. Clarified butter has a higher smoke point than while butter and will keep longer in the refrigerator (for three to four weeks) or the freezer (for four to six months) without picking up other flavors and odors.

Ghee takes the clarification process a step further by allowing butter to simmer until all the moisture is evaporated and the milk solids begin to brown, giving the butterfat a slightly nutty flavor and aroma. The product can be found in unrefrigerated jars at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, ethnic stores, etc.[1]

Directions for making Ghee

1-pound organic butter (most recipes call for unsalted butter)

Put the butter in a heavy, medium-sized pan. Turn the heat on to medium until the butter melts.

Turn down the heat until the butter just boils and continue to cook at this heat. Do not cover the pot. The butter will foam and sputter while it cooks. Whitish curds will begin to form on the bottom of the pot. The butter will begin to smell like popcorn after a while and turn a lovely golden color. Keep a close watch on the ghee, as it can easily burn. After a while it will become a clear, golden color. You will have to take a clean, dry spoon to remove the foam on top in order to see if the ghee is clear all the way through to the bottom. When it is clear and has stopped sputtering and making noise, then it needs to be taken off the heat. Let it cool until just warm. Pour it through a fine sieve, metal coffee filter or layers of cheesecloth into a clean, dry glass, ceramic or stone container with a tight lid. Discard the curds at the bottom of the saucepan. The ghee is burned if it has a nutty smell and is slightly brown.

1 pound of butter takes about 15 minutes of cooking time. The more butter you are using; the more time it will take.

Ghee can be kept on the kitchen counter, covered. It does not need refrigeration. The medicinal properties are said to improve with age. Don’t ladle out the ghee with a wet spoon or allow any water to get into the container, as this will create conditions for bacteria to grow and spoil the ghee.

Ghee can be used in place of butter and is an ideal cooking oil as it does not burn unless heated excessively.

Two pounds of butter will fill a quart jar with ghee.[2]


[1] The Science of Good Cooking

[2] The Ayurvedic Institut