The Making of and Health Benefits of Ghee

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Ghee is a clarified butter that is often used in Indian cuisine. Sanskrit for clarified butter, one of the main benefits of making ghee at home is that, if stored in an airtight container, it does not need refrigeration. And each batch can be stored for up to one month!

The ghee has a lovely flavor that’s reminiscent of toasted nuts. Ghee’s high smoke point has also led to its use in deep frying, as it also adds a buttery flavor to the fried foods. And it’s also great for developing that initial seasoning on cast iron.

How to make Ghee | Foodal.com

Health Benefits

In Ayurveda, ghee is said to be beneficial for the three basic types of biological humors (Dosha) that contribute to a person’s general constitution. Yogis consider it a satvic food (pertaining to Satva Guna) and believe it to contribute to tranquility, and peacefulness of the mind.

Since the process of clarifying butter removes the impurities and water, this leaves you with a purified fat. Ghee is lactose free, since the milk proteins are removed during the cooking process – and it’s an excellent fat for use in making a roux, or other types of cooking.

The clarified butter is primarily saturated fat, but it lacks additives, preservatives and trans fats. Because of the increased intensity of the flavor, a smaller amount of ghee can be often used to achieve the same effect as other fats. In fact, the general guideline is one tablespoon of ghee to a full four tablespoons of any other cooking oil or butter.

The Health Benefits of Ghee | Foodal.com

Ghee is believed to stimulate stomach acid secretion, aiding in digestion. Ongoing research in India notes its potential ability to help with constipation and other intestinal issues, as well as the treatment of ulcers and the health of skin and eyes.

Indian folk remedies state that ghee improves memory, and it is often used in beauty creams and as a treatment for burns.

Making Ghee

The process of making ghee is actually exceptionally simple. It’s really worth it for the wonderful flavors that may be added to any recipe, particularly Indian dishes.

To make ghee, you only need two things: one pound of unsalted butter, and a saucepan. I promise, this has to be the easiest recipe you will EVER find!

The quality of the ghee does depend upon the quality of the butter, so organic butter is best.

Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, and place the butter in the pan. You can slice up the butter to expedite the process, but putting full sticks into the pan works just as well. The key thing to remember when making ghee is DO NOT STIR!

As the butter melts, a white froth will develop on top and sediments will begin to settle to the bottom. Keep the butter boiling at a steady rate until the bubbling noise lessens, and the sediment at the bottom of the pan begins to turn a golden brown. This will take about 20 minutes.

You may be able to see this sediment by gently tilting the pan, and the liquid under the froth should now be turning an amber color. You will also notice that the scent will change to something akin to fresh pastries – some say it smells like croissants. Yum!

Turn the flame off immediately and leave the ghee to cool off the heat for half an hour. During this time, line a strainer with cheesecloth. Prepare your sterilized jars or other airtight containers for quick movement under the strainer.

After half an hour, place the jars or containers under the strainer and pour the ghee through the strainer into the jars. The sediment will be trapped in the cheesecloth, leaving only the ghee in the jars. Discard the cheesecloth and sediment, and seal the jars of ghee.

Once completely cooled, the ghee will be hard at room temperature. But it will liquefy easily when exposed to heat.

This Ancients Organics brand 100% Organic Ghee from Grass-fed Cows is a top seller on Amazon

Not ready to make your own? There are many brands available via Amazon, including pure organic varieties.

Most importantly, be adventurous! Enjoy the health benefits and the lovely spices and mouth pleasing flavors of ghee in Indian food, and other types of cuisine.

What will you prepare with your homemade ghee? Let us know in the comments!

The staff at Foodal are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications or remedies.

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About Lynne Jaques

Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!

29 thoughts on “The Making of and Health Benefits of Ghee”

  1. I’m really impressed by all the research you did about Ghee. I had no idea that it was so good for digestion. It’s surprising healthy, too, but like all fats, even if they are healthy, it shouldn’t be consumed too often. The recipe is a lot less complicated than I expected, and I’ll try making it on my own someday. Ghee would probably go great with stir-fried vegetables.

  2. I’m lactose intolerant and didn’t know that this was lactose free, especially as I do like buttery flavored dishes, eggs and potatoes in particular.

    I may have to try some first before I make my own, but it looks like a good alternative for me to use for frying and keeping my buttery flavors.

  3. I had no idea this was lactose free as Bella said. That will be good news for a several people I know. I’ve never made Chee before but I think I’m going to try. For some reason I thought the process would be a lot harder!

  4. Am not so keen on fatty foods/butters…its only recently i opened up to cheese, as for ghee..am tightly zip lipped!…especially after reading an article that its quite…on ‘ghee’ when put in coffee helps to keep the chest in good shape for those who suffer from asthma…how true that is i don’t know!

  5. This is my first time being exposed to Ghee. Though I’m not a big fan of butter in the grand scheme of things because it’s overall a large source of saturated fat, it’s good to know that it can help bring tranquility and peacefulness to the mind and can stimulate effective digestion, giving it a few positives. It sounds like one of those products best used to cook with than to actually use to directly consume with food we eat like bread, as each measurement of it is like four times the amount of butter.

  6. I recently came across ghee in a recipe and used the alternative ingredient because I didn’t know what it was. I wish I had done some research because it seems like ghee is a great ingredient to use! It also seems fairly easy to make on your own, so I will definitely try it myself next time! What are some good dishes to use ghee in?

  7. I’ve never heard of Ghee, but it’s health benefits has seriously considering adding it to my cooking oils. I can think of a few recipes I’d like to try using it, including veal. Recipe added! I see it has skin care benefits. Does anyone know if it is good to use for removing dark spots or lessening the scarring on your face?

    • Ah yes definitely! I’ve been using it for a couple of years now. I take a small amount of ghee and pour a little bit of water and mix these two in a bowl for about two minutes. Keep adding small amounts of water and mixing it until it becomes sort of white-ish. After this, you just apply it to the area you want and leave it on for 10 minutes and wash it off with warm water. You should see results in about 10-20 days. Hope this helps!

  8. We always have ghee at home but we’re usually too lazy to make our own ghee so we always buy it. Since I live in India, you can find it anywhere in local shops and they even have different flavoured ones like garlic, cinnamon, ginger, etc. Sometimes I even use it to fry my eggs in the morning or mix it with rice and it tastes wonderful! Hmmm, maybe I’ll try to make it, it doesn’t seem as hard as I thought it would be.

  9. I had heard of ghee often, but I had no idea what it was, I just dismissed any recipe with it as out of my league since I knew for sure I did not have the ingredient! Looks like I’ll have to go back and maybe try it out. I do not have a cheesecloth strainer. Would a normal thin cloth do?

  10. I’ve seen ghee listed in many Indian recipes but hadn’t a clue where to buy it from so just used everyday butter. Looking at the Amazon link provided, it seems it is far cheaper to make your own. I had no idea that it would be as simple as melting, then straining the butter!

  11. I have to admit I am not that well-versed in all things concerning Ghee. This article really encouraged me to look into it a tad further. I’m definitely going to give making it a shot if primarily for seasoning my cast iron. That sounds like a great idea. I do have a question though: Is there a specific type of pot I should be doing this in? I mean is it better to do this in a stainless steel pot or can I use Teflon?

    • Joan,

      Ghee can be made in any type of pot; it’s non reactive. Non-stick would work (although I’m not a big Teflon user – it does have its place), cast iron, stainless steel – pretty much anything that will hold a liquid and that is safe to heat!

  12. This is the very first time I’ve heard about ghee, so thanks for this. I never knew it was lactose free! How long can we store it for, does anyone know?

  13. Wow! I never knew that Ghee could aid in digestion and well being. This is big news for me. My husband and I have gastrointestinal issues that affect our daily lives. We are always on the lookout for healthy alternatives, but we just can’t get away from dairy. I’m definitely going to replace our butter with ghee now. Thank you for sharing this!

  14. I remember seeing ghee featured on a Travel Channel food show, and I was really interested by it. It’s such a staple in that region. I’ve never considered making it myself, but I do love Indian food so I might have to give it a go. Awesome post.

  15. I am sure it will take every ounce of will power I have to resist stirring! I have been hearing about ghee way too much lately I swear it’s the new quinoa. I didn’t realize it was cheap and easy to make too!

  16. Who would of thought that eating butter could be so good? LOL Sorry for the ignorance, but I never knew Ghee existed! It looks utterly creamy and delicious. Making Ghee is going to be my next undertaking! Thanks so much Lynne for another amazing recipe. You are always sharing with us the coolest recipes. I love them because I get to learn new skills, and learn more about history and culture. Thanks to you and your great recipes, I’ll be a Sous Chef in no time! LOL. Thanks again.

  17. Stumbled upon this post and had to see what it was all about. Never ever heard of Ghee before until now. What other things are you able to make with Ghee…is it just for Indian cuisine? This is very interesting..I never knew there were more than a few “fats” in existence. Thank you for introducing me to something different.

  18. I had actually no idea what ghee was and how easy it is to make. It is really interesting to read about the health benefits and that it is lactose free! Would it be possible to use the ghee for baked goods? I have a friend that is lactose intolerant and I wonder if I could use the ghee as a substitute to butter when baking for her? Thanks

  19. This is something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time. One of my close friends growing up was from India and her mother used ghee in everything. It really did add an extra dimension of flavor that I’ve never been able to replicate. It’s been years since I’ve eaten at their house now, so I’m looking forward to trying out this recipe and seeing how close I can get to some of her old recipes 🙂

  20. One is never too old to learn something new. My husband took an Ayurvedic class at the local Elder College this last year and started bringing ghee home with the rest of the groceries. I love it, but I am not impressed by the plastic jars it usually comes in. I think I will give this home-made recipe a try and pour it into glass jars. There are many advantages to doing your own from-scratch food preparation apart from saving money! Thank you for the recipe!

  21. Currently, we mix unsalted butter with grapeseed oil to make it both spreadable and increase its heat tolerance. After reading this article I have got to try ghee. It sounds so easy to make and may be much more healthy and beneficial then the way we are making it now.

  22. It sounds really easy to make, although I’m a bit wary about the high fat content. It might make a good alternative to oil for cooking, and sounds like it gives a very good taste.

    I do have a couple of questions about making it though. Can it be made from salted butter, or only unsalted? Also I sometimes make butter at home from cream, and don’t add salt, so would that be suitable for making ghee, or should I stick with store-bought? (I only make butter ‘sometimes’ because of the mess and effort. Hand churns are a pain to clean.)

  23. It’s interesting how things seem to have come full circle. Ghee and lard became demonized during the low fat era, however, fat is making a comeback with the MCT oil movement and increasing popularity of grass fed butter. How much of this is down to Dave Asprey?

    Seems the ancients knew more than we give them credit for.

  24. My mother used to make ghee all the time, and I don’t even know how she heard of it, but she has access to the secrets of the universe, apparently. The stuff lives up to its accolades and it was great to find this article as I now know more about the history of clarified butter and its uses. I think one of the reasons my mom made this stuff was because of its talent as a digestive aid. She used to have a lot of stomach trouble and the ghee helped a lot with that.

  25. I had no idea about Ghee, but it seems to be such a great alternative to regular butter, and I also really enjoyed the fact that it contributes to the peacefulness of the mind, peace is essential for mental health!
    And when it comes to the process of making it, I was shocked by how easy it is, I will try it right now, I’m not even kidding, let’s see how this turns out.
    Thanks for sharing!

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