What is ghee?
Let’s start at the beginning, right? Ghee is a butter that has been cooked down and clarified, so that all you have left is the pure butter fat. By removing the water and milk solids you’re making it more shelf stable and lactose free, which means it’s much easier to digest for most people.
Ghee is a great alternative for anyone who is lactose intolerant, and I’d highly encourage you to make the switch if you’re currently using margarine (learn more about that here). Regardless of the type of buter you use to make ghee, it will be a healthy addition to your diet because you’re getting a quality form of saturated fats that is essential to vitamin absorption, maintaining cell structure, and more.
Is it better to buy or make ghee?
The answer to this is simply, whatever fits into your budget. Buying ghee is expensive, I’m talking $5-$10 for an 8 oz jar. The reason it’s so expensive is because most brands are using high quality, grass fed butter and the process to make and package all of the ghee is time consuming. If convenience is more important and cost for you, then there here are two of my favorite brands:
- Vital Farms – they recently launched ghee in a squeeze bottle! It doesn’t get more convenient than that.
- 4th and Heart Ghee – they have some fun flavors like garlic (yum) or vanilla bean (perfect for baking!)
Making ghee is the most affordable option – all you have to buy is butter! Of course, using grass fed and/or organic butter is ideal because then you’re getting more nutrients from the butter itself, but plain old Land O’ Lakes works just fine if that’s what’s in your budget. I prefer Kerry Gold unsalted butter because it’s grass fed, and I can get it at Trader Joes, so I’m saving a few bucks.
How do I make ghee?
It’s honestly easier than it sounds… you just simmer butter for awhile and then strain out the solids. I prefer to make several pounds at once because it’s shelf stable and it means I only have to make ghee every 4-6 weeks.
What you’ll need:
- Butter (duh)
- A medium sized skillet – I use stainles steal but ceramic would also work. I would not use cast iron because it may discolor your ghee or leach too much iron into it.
- A glass measuring cup – I have Pampered Chef measuring cups from my wedding and the larger ones is perfect because there is a bigger surface area to strain the ghee through, but a 4-cup measure works just as well.
- A fine mesh strainer – again, bigger is better because of the larger surface area, but make sure it fits well over your measuring cup.
- Cheese cloth or a nut milk bag – I used to use cheese cloth but then I’d run out and forget to buy more, so it was more convenient to spend the $12 on Amazon to get a nut milk bag that I could re-use.
- Glass jars – mason jars work great, just make sure they’re clean and dry to avoid contaminating your ghee.
Grab all of the tools mentioned above here
The key to making ghee is watching the bubbles – once the butter is melted it should get up to a steady simmer. At first, all of the milk solids will float to the top and look like a white layer of foam, but as it continues to simmer, they’re sink to the bottom.
Once most of the milk fats have sunk to the bottom, and started to turn a golden brown, you’re ready to strain! Slowly pour the ghee through the strainer layerd with either cheese cloth or your nut milk bag into the glass measuring cup.
From there, you can pour the ghee into your glass jars and let them cool for about 15 minutes before storing them in the fridge. They’ll keep in the fridge for up to a year, and will be happy on your countertop for up to 3 months.
Easy Homemade Ghee
- 3 lbs butter, grassfed and/or organic is best, but any butter works great
- Place the butter in a medium sized skillet over medium/low heat.
- Let the butter melt and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until most of the solids have sunk to the bottom and have turned a golden brown.
- Cover a fine mesh strainer with several layers of cheese cloth or a nut milk bag, and place the strainer over a glass measuring cup.
- Pour the ghee through the strainer slowely. Let the ghee strain through naturally (don't try to help it along by stirring the solids around or pushing them) to avoid any solids getting through the strainer.
- Pour the ghee into glass jars, and let them cool for 15 – 20 minutes before storing in the refrigerator. NOTE: It's important that the glass jars are completely dry to avoid any water touching the ghee. This will help prevent mold growing on your ghee when it's stored at room temperature.
- Once the ghee is set and solid, it can be stored in the refrigerator (up to 1 year) or on the counter at room temperature (up to 3 months).
- Always use a clean spoon when dipping into your ghee.
- Always store in glass containers that can be closed.
- If you live in a warmer climate you may want to store your ghee in the refrigerator as it softens and melts sooner than regular butter.