Ghee. Simple as can be, but wonderful beyond description. Made from butter (just butter!), ghee is my favorite fat for any high-heat application. Unlike butter, olive oil, or coconut oil (our other go-to fats) it has a high smoking point and so can tolerate the high heat of sauteing or stir frying. Ghee also provides lots of wonderful nutrients (like the X-factor, or vitamin K2) for healthy teeth and bones. That's the main reason we hit the dairy so hard around here, because of our history with early childhood decay.
Ghee is made by heating butter to remove the moisture and milk solids and it a solid at room temperature. It can be expensive to buy (like many things) but quite affordable if you make it yourself. Here is how I do it:
Begin with your butter. I made my own immediately before making the ghee because that's how I roll, but you can simply purchase good butter at the store. (I hear people do that – buy butter.) Making your own butter is totally unnecessary but adds something special to the whole process. At least for me. But I digress.
However you get your butter, go and get some.
Next, over low heat, melt your butter. High heat will result in burning, which you don't want. So exercise your patience here.
When your butter is melted allow it to simmer steadily. The milk solids will begin to froth a bit and float to the surface. Your butter will bubble noisily away. Skim the solids off carefully so as to not disturb the lower layers of butter. I add these to my dog's food for good fats, but I suppose you could either A) eat them like butter or B) throw them away. All I know is you don't want them in your ghee.
As you skim, keep in mind that there are two things happening in your pan – a sinking and a floating of what separated ghee from butter. Once that stuff is gone you've got ghee. You are skimming the floating bits without messing with the sinking bits. Make sense? Carry on.
Continue to simmer your ghee. You will see the solids reducing in quantity, and the thick yellow boiling butter slowly turn to a transparent amber. Keep skimming any time you see what I see in the photo below.
As soon as your butter is completely transparent and smells toasty and nutty and wonderful, your ghee is done. Skim off any remaining solids or add a tiny pinch of salt to help them sink. Allow to cool a bit before you transfer to your jar.
Not sure if yours is done? One trick is to carefully tip your pan. You will see small bumps sticking to the bottom. My flavor preference for ghee is to wait until these become a light brown, just toasted. It adds a wonderful nutty flavor to the ghee. If your bumps are still gooey and white and looking like melted cheese, you need to cook it for a bit more.
When your ghee is cooled a bit, carefully pour ghee into clean glass jars and allow to cool completely. Your cooled ghee should be a solid at room temperature and will keep for ages in the pantry.
Pretty. Healthy. And yummy. Can't beat that.
P.S. Our favorite way to enjoy ghee is stirred into a cup of gently warmed raw milk with a drop of honey. Our perfect bedtime treat. My kids call it "Ghee Tea" because it rhymes. There is no tea in there. But it's fantastic.
17 thoughts on “How to Make Ghee.”
Yum! The last time I made ghee it got all moldy after a few weeks. Does that mean I did something wrong? Or perhaps stored it in the wrong (a pyrex bread pan with lid) type of container?
I tried cooking with ghee for the first time when I visited my mother and father in August. We dug up little red potatoes from their garden and I sauteed the potatoes in the ghee. A little sea salt, a little rosemary added. Nice tutorial you’ve shared.
i love love love cream, butter, ghee and all things dairy. i prefer to make my own butter, but i have such a hard time finding local cream. i live in tennessee where raw milk is illegal to sell. while the farm that i get my milk from very minimally pasteurizes their milk, they do not sell their cream. ughhhh. so difficult. any suggestions??
Hmmm… Id guess there was moisture in your jar when you poured or somehow something weird got in there. The beauty of ghee (other than the taste and the high smoke-point) is that it lasts forever! Try again. Maybe it was just a weird batch. xo
It is so tricky. Raw is illegal here too. There are often underground raw milk groups you can find your way into, though of course that would be illegal. You can do it with pasturized dairy too of course, and raw milk and cream are only illegal if you pay for them. If you accept them for free from a friendly farmer and pay a lot for your eggs, that might be legal. Just sayin.
Hm… is this basically browning butter, with the added step of skimming? I just browned butter recently for making peach shortbread, and it sounds very similar.
Thanks for this guide! I’ve been meaning to make my first batch because, as you said, it’s so expensive at the store, and so wonderful to use in cooking. Looking forward to making it!
Good gravy, Rachel, this is part of why I love to read your blog – you are always offering up a tutorial just when I need it most! After years of not being able to find raw milk nearby I’ve finally found a new source and this was just what I needed next. Yay! As always, I love your tutorials. Thanks!
Hooray! So glad serendipity is on our side. ~ Rachel
The goal is different but the techniques are similar. Brown butter is just for the browned flavor. This is all about removing those milk solids!
Make sure the container is sterilized and completely dry. It likely had some trace amount of mold before you started, or there was a little water which did.
Thanks so much for this! I’ve been wanting to make my own ghee, but do better with photo tutorials. Your directions and photos are perfect! 🙂
Is it obvious to tell if you HAVEN’T removed all of the milk solids? I’m going to try an elimination diet to rule out food sensitivities – one of them being dairy – so I don’t want any milk to sneak in.
Hi Karla. As long as you take it through the full process until the milk solids adhere to the bottom of the pan and you liquid is clear and golden you should be set! Ghee is wonderful!
So, question (next blog post?). How do you make butter from raw milk? We have recently started getting it from a local farm, and I was wondering how easy/realistic making my own butter from that milk would be. We’ve done it from store bought cream, but not the raw milk.
This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try making some.