How To Make Ghee Four Ways — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

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Ghee is butter which has been clarified to remove water and milk solids, which imparts a toasty aroma and flavor in the finished butter. Even better? Turning butter into ghee makes it last even longer and makes it suitable for high-heat cooking and roasting, and it even renders it lactose-free for those avoiding it. Ghee is simply butter made even better by a long, slow cook.

Traditionally, butter is turned to ghee via the stovetop, but making ghee in the microwave, the slow cooker, or the electric pressure cooker all have their own advantages. Here are four ways to make ghee at home.

Here’s Why You Should Make Ghee

Ghee is a form of clarified butter cooked just a bit longer until the milk solids brown. Clarifying butter is a slow, steady process of driving out water and milk solids so that you’re left with pure butterfat. This butterfat keeps longer than butter and has a much higher smoke point (meaning it can cook at higher temperatures without burning), making it a useful fat to have in the kitchen.

Ghee, a traditional Indian preparation of clarified butter, has seen a new wave of popularity due to its inclusion in the Whole30, Paleo, and ketogenic diet movements. As a pure source of fat — and not to mention flavor — it’s strongly recommended by all these protocols.

Beyond the cooking benefits and reported health benefits, ghee is also delicious. It has a distinct warm and nutty taste and lends buttery goodness to dishes like stir-fries or pan-sears without any of the potential burnt, bitter tastes that can result from overcooking butter.

Read more: What Is Ghee?

Decoding the Shades of Ghee

A number of variables will determine the final color of ghee made at home, from the butter to the method for making it. Grass-fed butter generally results in a deeper hue because it has more milk proteins which brown during the clarification process.

Stovetop and Instant Pot methods also result in a richer hue, as they both use higher heat for cooking. Microwaving and slow cooking are the most commonly undercooked methods, since it’s trickier to check in on the process.

So how do you know you’ve made ghee and not clarified butter? The milk solids (these are white or cloudy in color) should drop to the bottom of the vessel before they brown, but they need additional cooking time to toast. Look for browning around the edge of the pot, dish, or crock before straining.

Key Steps for Making Ghee

There are three key steps that apply to all four methods for making ghee: Cutting the butter into even pieces so it melts quickly and evenly, cooking the butter over moderate heat to drive out moisture, and straining the ghee for storage. Each method below has one key step in addition to the universal three.

  • Stovetop: Skim It! Use a clean spoon to skim the foam that develops as the butter cooks. You can save this foam (it’s mostly milk solids) for another use. This helps the butter turn to ghee and is especially helpful when using grass-fed butter.
  • Microwave: Use a short, wide vessel. Hard lesson learned here — if you use a tall measuring cup or bowl you’ll basically make a butter geyser in the microwave. Smells great, but a pain to clean up. Using an 8×8-inch glass pan cooks the butter evenly without eruptions.
  • Slow cooker: Cook it a little longer than you think. The slow cooker is my new favorite method for making ghee because you can make a big batch without worry of overcooking it. The tricky part — especially if your slow cooker has a dark insert — is making sure the butter actually gets a little toasty. Let your ghee cook until it’s beginning to brown around the edges of the crock.
  • Instant Pot: Continues cooking off the heat. Cooking ghee in the Instant Pot is fast, even if it doesn’t use pressure cooking at all. Be sure to turn off the pot before the butter has browned as the residual heat will continue to cook the butter.

Storing and Using Ghee

Once strained, cool your ghee before covering for long-term storage. You can store cooled ghee in the refrigerator for about three months, or freeze it for up to six months. I tend to keep my ghee in the pantry, where it stays cool but pliable, making it easy to scoop out for cooking; it will keep well for at least a month.

Use ghee almost anywhere you’d use oil for cooking: for coating pans for oven roasting vegetables, for sautéing chicken breasts, or for stir-frying. Melting sweet potatoes are one of my personal favorite applications. And man, oh man, what ghee will do for your morning scrambled eggs or fried egg is nothing short of magic.


Ghee can be made with any type of butter you choose, though we recommend an unsalted variety. Keep in mind that the Whole30 asks that your ghee be organic and grass-fed, so you’ll need to start with organic, grand-fed butter. These butters tend to have more milk solids, so expect a slightly lower yield than with other butter.

Stovetop Ghee

What You Need

Ingredients

  • Equipment
  • Small saucepan

  • Spoon or ladle for skimming foam

  • Heat-proof bowl

  • Strainer

  • Cheesecloth or coffee filter

  • Jar for storage

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, preferably light colored, over medium-low heat. Once all the butter has melted, you want the butter at a very low and gentle simmer. Adjust the heat as needed.

  2. Simmer the butter and skim the foam. Continue simmering the butter over low heat. Skim off the foam as it rises to the surface. Solid particles will also start dropping to the bottom of the pan; these can be strained out later. Don’t worry about skimming every last bit of foam; the remaining foam can be strained out later.

  3. Continue to cook until the butter is golden-brown. Continue simmering over very low heat until the butter changes color from light yellow to deep gold, turns clear, and the remaining foam clumps together and falls to the bottom. Keep a close eye on things so that the butter doesn’t start to burn. Some lighter foamy bubbles may form after the solid white foam falls — that’s OK!

  4. Strain the ghee, cool, and store. Place a strainer over a heat-proof bowl, then line the strainer with cheesecloth or a coffee filter. When no more foam forms on the surface, remove the butter from heat and pour it through the strainer, leaving the solids in the bottom of the pan. Once the butter has cooled a bit, transfer it into a jar and seal.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months or freeze for up to 6 months.

Microwave Ghee

What You Need

Ingredients

  • Equipment
  • Microwave-safe bowl or dish, preferably an 8×8-inch glass dish

  • Plastic wrap

  • Cheesecloth or coffee filter

  • Strainer

  • Jar for storage

Instructions

  1. Cube and melt the butter on high for 1 minute. Cut the butter into cubes. Place in a microwave-safe 8×8-inch baking dish and microwave on high for 1 minute.

  2. Clarify the butter in 30-second intervals at half power. Continue to clarify the butter in 30-second intervals at half power in the microwave, for a total of 5 minutes.

  3. Cool and strain. The butter is finished when it’s just beginning to brown on the edges of the dish. Cool for 1 minute in the microwave. Place a strainer over a heat-proof bowl, then line the strainer with cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Pour the ghee through the strainer, leaving the solids in the bottom of the dish. Once the butter has cooled a bit, transfer it into a jar and seal.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months or freeze for up to 6 months.

Slow Cooker Ghee

What You Need

Ingredients

  • Equipment
  • 3.5-quart slow cooker

  • Cheesecloth or coffee filter

  • Strainer

  • Jar for storage

Instructions

  1. Cube the butter. Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes. Place in an even layer in a 3.5-quart slow cooker.

  2. Set to low for 30 minutes. Cover and melt the butter on the LOW setting for about 30 minutes.

  3. Uncover and continue cooking for 2 hours on high. When all of the butter is melted, uncover and turn the slow cooker to the HIGH setting. Cook for 2 to 3 hours more.

  4. Strain the ghee when it is slightly brown around the edges. The ghee is ready when it is slightly brown around the edges. The bubbling will slow and the milk solids will be sitting in the bottom of the crock. Place a strainer over a heat-proof bowl, then line the strainer with cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Pour the ghee through the strainer, leaving the solids in the bottom of the crock. Once the butter has cooled a bit, transfer it into a jar and seal.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months or freeze for up to 6 months.

Instant Pot Ghee

What You Need

Ingredients

  • Equipment
  • Instant Pot or multi-cooker

  • Cheesecloth or coffee filter

  • Strainer

  • Jar for storage

Instructions

  1. Cube the butter. Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes. Place in an even layer in an Instant Pot or multi-cooker.

  2. Melt the butter. Turn the Instant Pot on to sauté and cook for 9 minutes, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Let the butter continue cooking with the heat off. Turn off the Instant Pot and continue to “cook” with no heat for 8 to 10 minutes more. The bubbling will slow and the milk solids will be sitting in the bottom of the insert.

  4. Let cool before straining and storing. Remove the Instant Pot insert to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Place a strainer over a heat-proof bowl, then line the strainer with cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Pour the ghee through the strainer, leaving the solids in the bottom of the insert. Once the butter has cooled a bit, transfer it into a jar and seal.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months or freeze for up to 6 months.

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