Ghee is clarified butter — a fragrant, flavorful oil that is well suited for cooking, as it doesn’t burn easily. It’s more shelf stable than butter and can be stored outside of the fridge for up to 6 months.
In the process of turning butter into ghee, the milk solids are removed. So, even folks who have a milk protein intolerance can consume ghee without issue.
Ghee is made by gently heating butter until the water evaporates and skimming & straining out the milk solids so that only the liquid fat is left. Slowly heating the butter on low heat is important as it helps retain vitamins and minerals.
Ghee is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, and vitamin A. Cooking with fat-rich ghee may help improve bioavailability and absorption of certain nutrients in your food.
How to Make Ghee
Making your own ghee is quite easy. It usually takes about 20 minutes total. You will need:
- Good quality, unsalted butter from grass fed cows. I typically use about a pound of butter per batch and this yields a good amount of ghee (800 ml or so)
- Cooking pot
- Wooden spoon
- Cheese cloth
- Glass jar with a lid
Add your butter to the pot and heat gently. Once melted, simmer on low heat until a foam starts forming on top. Use the wooden spoon to skim the foam, and set aside to add to a soup or pet food.
Keep heating on low, stirring gently, and skimming the foam as it forms. You may need to remove the pot from the heat occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning. Just take the pot off the heat for a few minutes, continuing to skim the foamy layer on top, and return it to the heat when it has cooled slightly. You’ll want to keep this up til the foam stops forming and the liquid in your pot has turned a clear golden yellow.
Continue to heat gently for a few more minutes, until the milk solids that have sunk to the bottom of pan turn brown. This gives the ghee its deep golden color and rich, nutty flavor.
Remove from heat, let cool a few moments and strain the liquid into a jar. The ghee will solidify as it cools.
Ghee does not need to be refrigerated. To help prevent spoilage, always use a clean, dry spoon when enjoying your ghee.
How to Use Ghee
Ghee is a common ingredient in Indian cuisine and lends nutty, buttery flavor to a variety of dishes. Use ghee as a cooking oil, or substitute in for butter in any recipe. Drizzle melted ghee on popcorn or spread it on bread.
Ghee is also used in Ayurvedic skin care as a base for infused oils and salves to nourish and moisturize lips, skin, & hair.
One of my favorite ghee skin care recipes is a simple clay based facial mask. Green clay is exfoliating and balancing to the skin. Ghee moisturizes and nourishes. The addition of whey provides extra vitamins and minerals for healthy skin.
Ghee & Green Clay Facial Mask
- 2 tsp green clay
- 1 tsp whey (substitute milk or water if you don’t have whey)
- 1 tsp ghee
Combine ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Add a few more drops of whey, if needed, to get the consistency right. You want your mixture to be nice and creamy. Apply to face and let dry. Rinse with warm water, massaging face gently to remove clay and exfoliate skin.
Whether you slather it on your face or add it to your stir fries, enjoy finding many ways to use your homemade ghee.
- “10 Luxurious Ways to Use Ghee for Skin Care.” Banyan Botanicals. June 18, 2019.
- Carroll, Ricki. “Ghee.” Home Cheesemaking. Storey Publishing. North Adams, MA. 2002. 203.
- Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions. New Trends Publishing Inc. Washington, DC. 2001. 33.
- Gore, Labrada with Sandeep Agarwal. “On Fat, Raw Milk, and Ghee.” Wise Traditions Podcast Episode 41. Weston A. Price Foundation. September 12, 2016.
- Heid, Markham. “Is Ghee Healthy? Here’s What the Science Says.” Time. April 22, 2019.
- Railton, David. “Is ghee more healthful than butter?” Medical News Today. December 5, 2018.
- Tierra, Michael. The Way of Herbs. Simon & Schuster Inc. New York. 1998. 55.