8 Surprising Facts About Ghee: Better Than Butter?

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Is ghee the same as clarified butter?

Sort of. Ghee is a specific type of clarified butter. Ghee typically refers to the South Asian style of clarified butter. This type of clarified butter, ghee, is left on the heat a little longer than standard clarified butter so that it reaches a darker color, and has more of a rich, nutty flavor. Most clarified butter you can buy at stores in the United States are called ghee, though.

Does ghee need to be refigerated?

Ghee does not need to be refrigerated. It has the milk solids removed, which is what would spoil in regular butter. So, it can be kept at room temperature for quite a while. If you prefer, you can refrigerate it, though.

Is ghee dairy-free?

Ghee is not technically dairy-free. It contains low levels of casein and lactose, which are milk proteins. Ghee is usually very well tolerated by people who are lactose intolerant, because there are very little amounts of lactose present. For this reason, ghee is often called “lactose-free.” Since it has such low levels of milk proteins, even people with milk allergies can sometimes tolerate ghee. If you have a severe dairy allergy though, it is not safe.

Can ghee be used on toast?

Yes, you can spread ghee on toast just like butter. Though, in my opinion, butter tastes better on toast than ghee. Since ghee is just the butter fat, it lacks the milky goodness of butter that really rounds out a crunchy slice of toast. But by all means, go ahead and give it a try!

Can ghee replace butter in baking?

This a difficult question. Ghee is butter without the milk solids and water. So in some recipes, these components of butter are important, and others, less so. Ghee can probably be substituted for butter 1:1 in many recipes, such as muffins, biscuits, scones, and even cookies. Though for more finicky doughs, like pie crusts or any laminated-type dough, I would stick to butter. It’s always interesting to experiment though.

Can ghee be frozen?

Yes, ghee can be frozen. Just divide your ghee up into freezer safe containers. I like Weck or Le Parfait jars, or Souper silicone trays. Be careful using mason jars with shoulders, like Ball jars, though– they’re more prone to cracking. You can deep freeze ghee for more than a year, but watch out for freezer burn.

Does ghee expire?

Ghee does expire, but it has a pretty long shelf life. You can likely safely use your ghee for a year after opening/making. You can likely use it for a month or two past the best-by date, too. If it looks separated or smells off, it’s safer to toss. To get the longest shelf-life out of your ghee, store it in a cool, dry place.

Can salted butter be used to make ghee?

Yes, salted butter can be used to make ghee. You can even add some other seasonings such as turmeric, cardamom, or cinnamon if you would like to experiment. The brand 4th & Heart has chocolate ghee, garlic ghee and even vanilla bean ghee. Traditionalists will say you should stick to unsalted butter, though.

If you want to read how ghee stacks up against other cooking fats, check out Tallow vs Ghee.

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