Making ghee at home is super simple! I am sharing a classic recipe on how to make ghee, plus a fun variation in the video.
Once you start using ghee, you will be hooked to this delicious cooking fat! Besides, it’s dairy-free for those with food sensitivities. In addition, it’s suitable for many healing diets such as keto, paleo, whole 30, GAPS, gluten-free diets.
What is Ghee?
Ghee is a cooking fat traditionally used in India. It is very similar to clarified butter, which people use in other parts of the world as well.
To make clarified butter, we boil the butter until water evaporates and milk solids separate from the butter fat. Some milk solids will float to the top and some will sink to the bottom. Then we skim away the milk solids (foam) from the top and strain away the remaining milk solids. What’s left is clarified pure butter fat.
However, to make ghee, we will need to cook the butter longer to allow milk solids in the bottom of the pot to caramelize. This gives the ghee a distinct nutty aroma and a golden colour. As a result, it is so flavourful and quite addictive. In my opinion, ghee is so much tastier than butter and an ingredient I can’t cook without these days.
Is Ghee Healthy?
Yes, ghee is a healthy cooking fat. It has higher smoking point than butter, therefore more suitable for high heat cooking. Ghee is also a source of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, E and K. As the making process removes the dairy content from the butter, ghee became a great alternative for those who cannot consume dairy products. This traditional cooking fat is so popular among the keto, paleo, GAPS and whole 30 dieters.
How to Make Ghee?
The following images illustrate key steps of the cooking process.
- Place butter in a small pot.
- Melt the butter and then continue to simmer.
- Skim the foam from the top.
- Cook until the milk solids in the bottom of the pot caramelize and the butter fat is completely clear.
Spiced Clarified Butter (Niter Kibbeh)
In Ethiopian cuisine, a spice-infused clarified butter (Niter Kibbeh) is made similar to ghee. I included this fun variation in the recipe video. While I made a basic ghee, my friend Creag made a Niter Kibbeh.
To make Niter Kibbeh, you will simmer spices and herbs along with the butter. Added spices and herbs give the clarified butter extra aroma and flavour. This can be a very flexible recipe, because you can essentially add any herbs and spices you like. Typically, Niter Kibbeh uses onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, black peppercorns, cardamon, cloves, fenugreek, coriander, cumin, bay leaves. Be sure to use fresh herbs whenever possible and whole spices to avoid ground spices clouding the Niter Kibbeh.
You will generally need longer cooking time to make Niter Kibbeh. Plan to cook for 30 to 60 minutes, and watch the process to make sure you aren’t burning the ingredients or the butter. Personally I think it takes more time to evaporate the extra moisture in the onions, garlic, ginger and turmeric roots. Longer cooking at low temperature will extract the maximum flavours.
My friend Creag added whole chili pepper, fresh thyme and curry leaves for his own taste, and cooked his Niter Kibbeh for up to 90 minutes because he loves the onions slightly browned.
How to Use Ghee
In addition to traditional Indian dishes, you can use this delicious cooking fat in a variety of ways. I typically use mine for high temperature cooking and as a replacement of butter in dairy-free dishes. Here are some amazing recipes to make with ghee.
- Easy Chicken Liver Pâté (Keto, Paleo, Whole 30)
- Olive and Preserved Lemon Poached Shrimp
- Gluten-Free Sorghum Almond Cookies
- Injera (Fermented Ethiopian Teff Flatbread)
- Nourishing Lamb and Spinach Curry
How to Store Ghee
It turns solid once cooled down. Because ghee is pure fat, it has a long shelf life. You can store it in tightly sealed jars in a dark place at room temperature for 6 months. I keep mine in the fridge and they can last for more than a year.
How to Make Ghee (Easy, Plain vs. Spiced)
- 2 lb grass-fed unsalted butter
- Roughly cut the butter into large pieces, then place into a pot. Heat the pot on high heat to melt the butter.
- Once the butter starts to boil, turn the heat to medium. Continue to boil the butter as foam rises to the top.
- Cook the butter for about 25 minutes until the liquid turns clear. The milk solids should sink to the bottom of the pot and begin to caramelize. Turn off the heat.