Ghee is pretty much butter’s super-fabulous cousin…it’s rich, slightly nutty, and great to have at parties.  In reality, ghee is made from butter that has been heated enough so that the dairy proteins separate from the rest of the mixture and what you have left is the butterfat.

the ghee pictured here is still warm...it lightens in color as it cools.

the ghee pictured here is still warm…it lightens in color as it cools.

Because it’s missing the dairy proteins, many people with dairy sensitivities find that it is easier for them to digest than regular butter (but please experiment for yourself because, as always, this is not universal).  This also means that ghee has a high smoke point which means it’s great for high-heat cooking (much like lard, tallow, duck fat, etc.).

Making ghee is actually super easy which is why I almost never buy it at the store.  It takes about 15 minutes to make and the cost is really only what you spend on the butter.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of grass-fed butter

Other stuff you’ll need:

  • medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot
  • cheesecloth
  • glass storage container with tight-fitting lid

Steps:

1.  Place your butter into a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot and turn on low heat.

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2.  Allow the butter to melt, swirling it around occasionally.

3.  Once the butter is melted, it will start to bubble and froth slightly.

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4.  As the butter bubbles, you’ll notice little brown chunks collecting at the bottom and the sides of your pot.  This is the dairy proteins separating from the butter.  It’ll also start to get a brown tinge to the bubbles.

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5.  Once the froth starts to decrease, your ghee is done. You might noticed that some of the dairy protein will have browned at the bottom of the pan.  Theoretically, this is overcooked but it has a “nutty” flavor and I think it’s absolutely delicious that way. If you don’t like it, you can just cook it a little less next time!

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6.  Place your cheesecloth over the glass storage container and pour the contents of the pot over the cheesecloth.  You should be left with just the ghee in your storage container.

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7.  Let your ghee cook to about room temperature before placing lid on the jar.  Notice how it get’s a whole lot lighter in color once it’s cooled (it looks a lot more like the store-bought version now, right?).

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You can either store your ghee on your counter or in the fridge.  Ghee should not go bad at room temperature as long as you don’t let any water get into the container.  (If it weirds you out to leave anything derived from butter on the counter, it’s perfectly ok to store it in the fridge…it’ll just be a little harder to scoop out of the container.)

You can use ghee anywhere you would use butter for cooking.  But it’s also got this wonderful nutty taste that makes it great for spreading on a paleo-friendly cracker or chip (plantain, sweet potato) like you would a nut butter.