Macadamia Nut Oil vs Ghee: Which is best?

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Macadamia nut oil and ghee are both great healthy fats that are extremely versatile in the kitchen. They are healthy alternatives to vegetable oil, as they both are fairly neutral in flavor and can withstand high heat. But is one better than the other? And which purposes are they best for? How do macadamia nut oil vs ghee stack up?

What is Ghee?

Ghee is simply clarified butter, which is just butter that has been simmered and strained of water and milk solids. It’s just the fat content of regular butter. Ghee is always stored in a jar and has a delightfully rich yellow hue, and a silky spreadable texture. Ghee is a very traditional cooking oil of Indian cuisine.

What is Macadamia Nut Oil?

Macadamia nuts are indigenous to Australia, but have since been grown in Hawaii and South America. The oil has only recently been readily available in most US supermarkets as people become more interested in healthy fats. It is simply the oil that results when macadamia nuts are pressed. It’s a very stable oil that is not prone to oxidation and has a long shelf-life, which sets it apart from other fragile, easily-spoiled nut/seed oils. Macadamia oil is also liquid at room temperature so it’s very convenient for a variety of uses, as you don’t have to melt it first (like coconut oil or ghee). To read more about macadamia nut oil check out All About Macadamia Nut Oil.

Macadamia Nut Oil vs Ghee Comparison

Smoke Point

Smoke point is simply the temperature when the fat will start to smoke and burn. It is not advisable to use fats at temperatures past their smoke point, as it will usually produce a burnt and off taste. When fats surpass their smoke point, they generally will not be as healthy or tasty as the fats have been broken down by the heat.
Ghee has a smoke point of 375 to 485°F depending on purity [1]. Anyone with even a little experience cooking will know that butter burns pretty easily, as it only has a smoke point of 350°F [2]. Ghee’s high smoke point allows it to be used in so many ways.

Macadamia nut oil has a smoke point of 410°F [3]. This makes the oil very stable and suitable for high heat uses such as frying and searing. It won’t burn or smoke when used at temperatures below410°F.

Macadamia Nut Oil vs Ghee Taste

Ghee often has a slight nutty flavor, especially if it comes from grass-fed butter. Ghee could be used in a variety of sweet and savory recipes and would not throw the flavor off much. Though I wouldn’t use it in certain Asian recipes and soups.

Macadamia nut oil has a very neutral taste. It’s much more neutral than olive oil or unrefined coconut oil, or even ghee. This makes it perfect for baking, as it does not have a savory taste that could throw off a sweet baked good. It can be used as pretty much an all-purpose oil, as one might use vegetable or canola oil.

Recommended Uses

Ghee is great for any high-heat frying and sauteing as well as roasting. I’ve even used ghee in recipes where olive oil is more conventional and had great results. For example, I’ve browned ground beef in ghee before making chili and I’ve found it adds a great richness to the chili without altering the flavor and tasting “buttery.” I also love ghee for making pancakes, because although pancakes are low heat, the ghee ensures there is never a burnt flavor (which sometimes develops with butter even on low heat) which can really ruin a pancake. Ghee makes exceptionally crispy and rich hash browns.

Macadamia nut oil is perfect for frying, sauteeing, and roasting. Additionally, because the oil has such a neutral flavor, it’s great for baking, too. It’s perfect for the base of a salad dressing, and to make homemade mayo! You can use it to air fry, and grease a baking pan. Not to mention that it’s also a great oil for moisturizing your skin and hair. The uses are pretty much endless. It has all the convenience of vegetable oil (neutral taste, liquid at room temperature) while being a much healthier alternative these rancid and highly-processed industrial vegetable oils.

Vitamin Content

In general, one teaspoon of ghee will contain 8% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, 2% of vitamin E, and 1% of vitamin K [4]. Vitamin K is rarely found in other foods, and all of these vitamins are fat-soluble which increases absorption.

Macadamia nut oil is a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that is essential to health. [5]

Fat Makeup

Per one tablespoon of ghee, it contains 9 grams of saturated fat, 5 grams of monounsaturated fat, and less than one gram of polyunsaturated fat [6]. This is a very good fat profile, as saturated fats are better for you than the others.

Macadamia nut oil is mostly composed of monounsaturated fat. In a 15 ml serving of macadamia nut oil, it has 2 grams of saturated fat, 11 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat. [7]

The Importance of Sourcing

When looking for ghee it is important to use high-quality, grass-fed butter to bring maximum health benefits and the best flavor. Some very good brands that I’d recommend are Organic Valley, 4th & Heart, Carrington Farms, and Ancient Organics. Or you could very easily and thriftily make your own ghee with high-quality store-bought or homemade butter, a mason jar and a cheesecloth.

It’s best to get cold-pressed or expeller-pressed oil, preferably organic. This is because in cold-pressing, more antioxidants are preserved that prevent oxidation and spoiling. Some good brands are Olivado and Milkadamia. I especially like the Milkadamia macadamia nut oil in a spray bottle, which is very convenient for baking and when using the air fryer. It’s also important to make sure you are using macadamia nut oil that is food grade, because many macadamia oils are sold for cosmetic use.



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