Liquid Gold (a.k.a. Clarified Butter and Ghee)

Liquid Gold (a.k.a. Clarified Butter and Ghee)

We’re big fans of clarified butter in Brain Food Kitchens, which means we go through a lot of it. Every few weeks we make a batch so that we always have it on hand.

Clarified butter and, the closely related, ghee are simply butter that has been cooked to remove any water and solids. Besides making the kitchen smell amazing, turning butter to clarified butter also gives the fat a higher smoke point (this just means you can cook with it a high temperatures) and lengthens the shelf life of the resulting fat.

Both clarified butter and ghee begin with melting over low heat. And they are both heated until the water evaporates and the milk solids settle and then the clear fat is poured off. Ghee is heated just a wee bit more until the milk solids are browned, giving the resulting fat a nutty flavor and aroma. The difference is subtle.

We use clarified butter for frying and sauteing it is excellent for cooking eggs, popping popcorn or cooking steak. Clarified butter also makes a mean hollandaise. Ghee is often associated with Middle Eastern and South Asian cooking so its very much at home in dal, curries or stir fries. Ghee is also amazing for making sauces or for a dip with crab or lobster.

Clarified Butter
Melt a pound of unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat and slowly cook until the bubbling ceases and the liquid turns clear, 30 to 40 minutes. Strain and cool, being sure to leave any solids in the bottom of the pan. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.

Melt a pound of unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. As soon as it liquefies, turn the heat up to medium. When it finishes foaming, turn up the heat a little bit more and wait for it to foam a second time. Ghee is done when a second foam forms on top of butter, and the butter turns golden, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Brown milk solids will be in bottom of pan. Gently pour into heatproof container through fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Store in an airtight container, being sure to keep free from moisture. Ghee does not need refrigeration and will keep in airtight container for up to one month.

So this may come to you as a shock, but I’m not the only culinarian around here (here being Brain Food Industries my test kitchen) generating life-enhancing recipes, tips, and advice for American cooker-folk. In fact, my Director of Culinary Ops, Meghan Splawn, has been working behind my scenes for years. Every week she’s sharing her wisdom from our test kitchens nothing classified mind you, but she can cook up a storm so you might want to pay attention. 


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  1. 1

    Yikes Alton ! Never mind, ” … They can both be stored, covered, without refrigeration in a glass or earthen jar for about six (6) months … “

  2. 2

    Yikes Alton ! Everyone is going in the wrong direction when it come to talking about storage of clarified butter. I have a French Butter Holder. I want to know at what temperature does clarified butter turn to a solid. Water might but doesn’t always turn to a solid at 32 degrees. If both are in the same container will the clarified butter go solid first ? Side note; Clarified butter might not even need the water if left on the counter due to its milk solids being removed. My question is at what temp does clarified butter go to a solid ?

  3. 3
    Karen Bricker

    Your comments are very difficult to read. Not enough contrast between the light grey font and white background is hard on “old” eyes. Sorry to say, the comments are lost on me.

  4. 5
    Sam H.

    By a long experience in making and consuming ghee I don’t agree with the conservation time. Ghee could be stored at room temperature over 6 months.

  5. 6

    I Love your Show’s & how you teach, the wealth of information you teach about the science of cooking/baking. Thank you to your staff that works behind the scenes to make it all look easy from your “director of cooking op’s Meghan Splawn” to whoever gets all your food & equipment prepped to whoever cleans up after you, you all are a awesomely amazing team & I thank You all!

  6. 9

    When consuming ghee on a daily basis for schizophrenia, it is a contest to see what will kill you first – the heart disease or schizophrenia.

  7. 10

    May I recommend, the removal of the potentially harmful comments, suggesting ghee as some magical cure. Schizophrenia is a serious disorder and needs proper medical treatment. The promotion of alternate remedies, often results in people, with good intentions, not seeking a much needed medical professional.

  8. 11

    When straining the butter, I used a very fine mesh strainer and it worked wonderful! I think it is a Pampered Chef product

  9. 13

    Eric…I use a turkey baster and squirt into a coffee filter and funnel. Probably don’t need the filter until you get near the bottom, but better safe than sorry.

  10. 14

    I am having trouble getting rid of all the milk solids. After cooking I am straining through 2 coffee filters. I tried cheese cloth and everything was getting through even though I used 8 layers. After the ghee cools and sits in the mason jar for a while the solids settle to the bottom. I have been trying to strain again through the filters, but the solids block the oil from coming through. Does anyone have a better way to strain?

  11. 15

    Just made Clarified Butter and was going to try Ghee, is there a lot of difference in the taste?
    Also, how often and what method would you give someone ghee, to help with schizophrenia??

  12. 17

    Ghee will apparently keep “indefinitely.” Some Ayurvedic medicinal recipes call for 100 year old ghee. Supposedly cures schizophrenia and other emotional disorders, gets rid of demons (yo, everyone’s got ’em!) and improves intelligence. One year old, ten year old, and 100 year old ghee all have different healing properties, apparently. The older the ghee the more powerful the healing. Make some liquid gold ghee today and put it in the bank vault for your great-grandkids! Health is our greatest wealth . . . (P.S. Thanks, Alton! 🙂

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