Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is a delicious and paleo-friendly fat that has deep Indian roots. This caramelized, liquid gold is used in a variety of Indian soul food dishes, especially curries. The purpose of making ghee is to boil off the milk proteins so you can cook with the fat and preserve the butter for longer. It also smells amazing when you cook it, and has a savory sweetness that average butter can't hold a candle to. Let's get started with our first batch!
4 sticks of butter, salted or unsalted
glass jar with a lid
Step 1: Cube the Butter
Cut four sticks of butter into small cubes and heat them up in a heavy-bottomed pan. Those with thin pans will need to adjust the heat and timing of this recipe.
Step 2: Help It Melt
Melt the butter over medium heat (medium-low if you have a thin pot), and stir until fully melted. Keep stirring and checking for pieces of butter. You'll want to get the stirring out of your system now because once the butter is melted, you can't touch it for a full 15 minutes (10-12 for those with thin pots).
Step 3: Watch It Boil
This part is fun because the butter transforms before your eyes! It takes a few minutes to start boiling, but after about 5 minutes, you'll start to hear popping and bubbling. The milk proteins have started to burn and separate from the fat of the butter. This will get gradually more and more intense until it starts to look like the ghee is about to over-boil. This is normal and necessary. Whatever you do, let the butter boil untouched for the full 15 minutes or you will risk burning your batch. I learned this the hard way when I blew on the ghee as it was boiling. Even a sneeze could disrupt the process!
Step 4: Wait for the Second Boil
The butter will boil two times before it's done. About 8 minutes in, the butter will calm down before it starts to boil again. At 15 minutes, take the butter off the heat and set it aside for an hour to cool. Please be careful here because the butter can seriously burn you if you're not careful. If that happens, stop what you're doing immediately and submerge your burn in a bowl of cool water to stop the pain and prevent blisters.
Step 5: Prep Your Container
Use boiling water to sterilize your glass jar: fill it up with boiling water and let it stand for one or two minutes before dumping the water out. Now you need to secure the cheese cloth to the rim of the jar and get ready to strain out the burned bits of butter.
Step 6: Scoop and Strain
Take a slotted spoon and scoop out the crispy, yellow top layer of the ghee. Discard these crumbs and then strain the ghee through a double layer of cheese cloth. Pour slowly over the cloth so that your ghee doesn't overflow. It takes some time for it to pass through the cheese cloth.
Step 7: Seal It Up
The ghee may still be a little hot, which is ok. Once you pour all the ghee in the jar, discard the cheese cloth and seal the jar. It will look like a dark yellow oil for the first 24 hours and then it will thicken like a spreadable butter. You can use the ghee right away, but it tastes much better after it cures for a day.
That's it! Your ghee is done and you can use it for weeks without refrigeration. I use it in just about everything in place of butter, and it's especially wonderful for roasting veggies. Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions!