Learn how to make clarified butter (ghee), an easy process that removes the water and milk solids from whole butter. Clarified butter tastes great, lasts longer in the refrigerator, and has a higher smoke point for cooking.

Learn how to make clarified butter (ghee), an easy process that removes the water and milk solids from whole butter. Clarified butter tastes great, lasts longer in the refrigerator, and has a higher smoke point for cooking.
When you make clarified butter, you skim milk solids off the top of melted butter and leave released water in the bottom of the pan. The stuff in the middle, the liquid gold, is 100% pure butterfat.

I had one goal the first time I made clarified butter: To make Hollandaise Sauce.

This means a higher smoke point, a longer shelf life, and a more versatile substance great for making everything from stir-fries to sauces.

Recipe ingredients:

Learn how to make clarified butter, an easy process that removes the water and milk solids from whole butter. Use it for Hollandaise and many other recipes.

Ingredient notes:

  • Better butter: The best butter for clarifying is European-style, imported butter. These butters usually contain more milk fat than American butter (82% to 86% milk fat in European vs. 80% to 82% in American). After clarifying some store-brand or other inexpensive butters, I was left with what looked like a pan of yellow water. Not appetizing! If you are clarifying butter to make a delicious Hollandaise Sauce, choose a delicious butter (since Hollandaise Sauce is mostly butter). But If you’re clarifying butter to make a stir-fry, the quality won’t be quite as important.
  • Butter solids: You can lightly brown the butter solids (the layer you scooped off the top) in a small amount of clarified butter to make “browned butter.” Then, add to cookies, vegetables, soups, mashed potatoes for extra butter flavor, or use as a condiment on bread.

Step-by-step instructions:

    1. Melt the butter over low heat. If the butter boils, the milk solids get dispersed throughout the fat and you won’t be able to skim them off. Skim off the foamy milk solids that rose to the top.
      Learn how to make clarified butter, an easy process that removes the water and milk solids from whole butter. Use it for Hollandaise and many other recipes.
    2. Last, ladle the butterfat from the saucepan in to a second (clean) saucepan or another vessel for holding. Be sure to leave the water in the bottom of the original saucepan (it will look like a white, milky substance).
      Learn how to make clarified butter, an easy process that removes the water and milk solids from whole butter. Use it for Hollandaise and many other recipes.

What you’re left with is pure butterfat. It doesn’t have the same rich, buttery flavor as whole butter, but it doesn’t turn rancid in the refrigerator, either. (At least not for several months).

Put clarified butter to work:

 

Learn how to make clarified butter, an easy process that removes the water and milk solids from whole butter. Use it for Hollandaise and many other recipes.

How to Make Clarified Butter

Learn how to make clarified butter (ghee), an easy process that removes the water and milk solids from whole butter. Clarified butter tastes great, lasts longer in the refrigerator, and has a higher smoke point for cooking.
4.96 from 22 votes
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 12 ounces
Course Pantry
Cuisine American
Calories 203

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound unsalted butter

Instructions 

  • In a small saucepan over low heat, warm butter without boiling or agitation of any kind.
  • As the butter melts, the solids rise to the top and water sinks to the bottom. Sometimes the solids appear to bubble up from the bottom.
  • When the butter is melted, skim the milk solids from the top using a ladle or slotted spoon (see notes for ideas of what to do with the solids).
  • When the skim solids have been removed, transfer the butterfat to a clean saucepan or bowl using a ladle. Leave the water in the bottom of the original saucepan.
  • 1 pound of whole butter will yield approximately 12 ounces clarified butter. The clarified butter can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Better butter: The best butter for clarifying is European-style, imported butter. These butters usually contain more milk fat than American butter (82% to 86% milk fat in European vs. 80% to 82% in American). After clarifying some store-brand or other inexpensive butters, I was left with what looked like a pan of yellow water. Not appetizing! If you are clarifying butter to make a delicious Hollandaise Sauce, choose a delicious butter (since Hollandaise Sauce is mostly butter). But If you're clarifying butter to make a stir-fry, the quality won't be quite as important.
  2. Butter solids: You can lightly brown the butter solids (the layer you scooped off the top) in a small amount of clarified butter to make "browned butter." Then, add to cookies, vegetables, soups, mashed potatoes for extra butter flavor, or use as a condiment on bread. 

Nutrition

Calories: 203kcal
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Meggan Hill

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Comments

    1. Hi Jason, no. Clarified butter is really similar (but not identical) to ghee. Once you take out the protein and water, you are left with pure butter fat which lasts longer. I’ve actually seen other websites say that once you clarify the butter, you can leave it at room temperature, in the pantry, for a month. Personally I don’t feel comfortable doing that. They also say you can keep it in the fridge for up to a year… I wouldn’t do that either. But it lasts longer than regular butter. Thanks! -Meggan

    1. Hi Sarah, you don’t. I need to fix that. I used to be of the opinion that salted butter is better because “every company makes salted butter differently, you don’t know how much salt is in there, blah blah blah control the salt in your recipe by starting with unsalted butter.”

      I now have the unpopular opinion that salted butter is just fine everywhere. My main reason is, I hate running out of salted butter and having to use unsalted butter on my toast. And furthermore, have you ever tried a butter and felt like – WOW THIS IS JUST TOO SALTY. No? Me neither. They pretty much all taste the same, I’ve never had an overly salty butter. Yes the companies make them different but it’s just a commodity and no one is jarringly different.

      This opinion isn’t reflected in every post yet, but I’ll go update this recipe. Sorry for that and thanks for listening. /end rant -Meggan :)

  1. I always wondered how they made ghee, I sure have eaten a lot of Indian food that contained it but I never knew the process of how to make it. Thanks for your description!5 stars

  2. So what’s the CLARIFIED BUTTER? The stuff you skim off the top or what’s underneath it?
    Fifty years ago I was taught to melt the butter and skim off the top. What you skim off the top is the CLARIFIED BUTTER. However, you don’t specify.

    1. Hi Elissa, sorry this wasn’t clear. You skim off the top of the foam (milk solids) and discard it, and the yellow liquid (which looks a lot like oil), the fat, is the clarified butter. I hope this helps! Sorry for the confusion. I’ll fix the post. Thanks! -Meggan

  3. Can homemade butter be clarified? I just made some last night from whipping cream. Can I clarify it now? I can’t see why not, but I just want to be sure. Thank you

    1. Like you, I can’t see why not! I never tried that but it seems like it would work just fine. Good luck!

  4. Happy to be explore your webpage! Clarified Butter is base for lot of Indian Cooking. It has lot of health benefits. Thanks for this post.5 stars

  5. Get Danish “Lurpak”, it is the worlds best Butter, a pretty good reason, why most Bakery’s around the world use it ;)5 stars

  6. Hi Meggan, thanks for the “how to” and what to use to achieve a really great result!  Imported, unsalted is available in my city so, no problem.  Thanks for listing the butterfat content – that is very helpful.  How do you use the skimmed off milk fat and “water” so I don’t have to throw it away?  Thank you again.

    1. Hi MaryAnn! Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment. I honestly haven’t figured out what to do with the extra butter products (water and fat), but now that you mention it, I should definitely figure that out. I will comment again as soon as I have some ideas! Working on it now. :) Thank you!

    2. Continue browning them until you have toasted butter solids. Those can be added to everything: Cookies, Vegetables, Sauces, anything where you want a little delicious browned butter flavor :)

  7. 1) Will this work for butter on popcorn? 2) Does the butter have to be unsalted? We get no name butter from the store but its always salted b/c the unsalted one is always sold out or too expensive….3) Also, i know you said that the brand of the butter is important but I’m from Vancouver and the general grocery stores don’t have too many different brands -i havent paid too much attention but Im not sure if we would have the european ones here. 

    Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Rehanna! Thanks for your questions! Yes, this butter would be AMAZING on popcorn. The butter does not have to be unsalted. In the US salted and unsalted butters are typically the same price, but I would probably never buy unsalted if it cost more, ha ha! Regarding the brands, I only said that because when I clarify expensive butter vs. cheap butter, there is a huge difference in how it behaves and looks and tastes. But, it’s not a deal-breaker by ANY means, so if you clarify some butter and you like it, that’s really all that matters! And if you’re putting it on popcorn, it’s going to be delicious no matter what! Please let me know if you have any other questions. :)

    2. I would assume that if you can’t find the more expensive butter in the store that if you make your own with heavy/whipping cream it would be like getting the more expensive imported butter because it is probably a higher fat content. I do know that homemade butter tastes better than storebought even the expensive stuff. Here’s s question is raw milk/cream any better for making butter than the pasteurized/homogenized stuff? And is pasteurized and unhomegonized better or worse?4 stars