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How to Make Ghee

By Cook's Illustrated Published January 2013

Ghee, typically used in Indian cooking, may also be used as a slightly richer, more buttery substitute in any recipe that calls for clarified butter.

The clarified butter known as ghee is indispensable in Indian cooking, but it’s also a handy ingredient to have around for other uses. Ghee is made by slowly simmering butter until all of its moisture has evaporated and its milk solids begin to brown. These solids are then strained out, and the remaining pure butterfat has a nutty flavor and aroma and an ultrahigh smoke point (485 degrees). It can be used as a slightly richer, more buttery substitute in any recipe that calls for clarified butter (such as baklava) and can even be used for high-heat applications—such as frying and making popcorn—in which regular butter (with a smoke point of 250 to 300 degrees) would burn. Another benefit: Its pure state means that unlike regular butter or simple clarified butter (which contains water that contributes to rancidity), it doesn’t have to be refrigerated, and it will keep for at least three months. Traditionally ghee is made on the stovetop, but we like this hands-off oven method.

1. Place 1 to 2 pounds unsalted butter in Dutch oven and cook, uncovered, on lower-middle rack of 250-degree oven for 2 to 3 hours, or until all water evaporates and solids are golden brown.

2. Let cool slightly and strain ghee through fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Pour into clean glass jar, let cool completely, and seal. Ghee can be kept, sealed, in cool, dark place for up to 3 months or refrigerated for up to 1 year.