How to Make Ghee

Learn how to make ghee from cookbook author Maya Kaimal in this Howcast Indian food video.

Hi, I’m going to teach you how to make ghee. Ghee is an Indian form of clarified butter. It’s butter fat, but it has all the water evaporated out of it. It’s not hard to make, but it does take a certain attention to detail. You want to start out with unsalted butter, which you are going to melt in a pan, and I like to use a pan that has a stainless bottom, not a dark bottom, because it’s going to be really important to see the color of the melt solids as they start to brown.

The difference between ghee and clarified butter, which is something used in French cooking, is that clarified butter doesn’t take the melt solids to the point where they actually brown on the bottom of the pan. They just fall to the bottom of the pan, and they’re still in there, kind of white light stage.

But with ghee, you actually brown those butter fat solids, and in the browning you get a kind of caramel nutty flavor. It’s a really, really flavorful ingredient that makes a lot of north Indian food really delicious.

So, what we’re doing here, is we’re heating up our butter on a medium high heat. We’re going to start to hear the water sputter as it boils and evaporates. Now, you can buy commercial ghee, but usually it’s made with hydrogenated fats and it isn’t nearly as nice as your own homemade ghee.

A couple of things to know about ghee, is it has a really high smoking point, so you can fry in it at a rather high heat, and it won’t burn the way that it does. Another nice thing about ghee is it has an extremely long shelf life.

We’re starting to get some boiling action here. I’m going to turn the heat down, so it doesn’t go too quickly. We want to really be in control of this process. It can kind of run away from you, if you don’t watch it really carefully, and you want kind of an even boiling going on, so that’s it’s not just happening in one spot.

You can also stir it so it will circulate the mixture. So, keep pushing your foam aside, because you really want to see those bubbles. Keep track of the rate at which it’s boiling. So, you can see the surface of the butter is starting to change here. We’re getting a fine foam covering the top, and now you really want to pay attention, because this is the point at which, see now I will turn my heat down, that there those particles have settled on the bottom. And, they’ve turned brown, and we’re just going to make sure that all gets a chance to fall to the bottom.

Okay, and the smell changes too. You get that mm, really kind of toasty butter smell. Okay, so this is done and I’m going to decant it into a little container. I’m pouring slowly so that the solid stays settled on the pan. It’s okay some if the brown solids go into your container. You can leave most of them behind though. That’s how easy it is to make ghee.