I’ve often been asked if ghee can be used in place of butter but recently wondered how it works the other way around. I did some research to find out if butter can be substituted in dishes that call for ghee and this is what I learned.
Butter is an excellent substitute for ghee in some applications. However, there are some key differences to take note of, and the two products can’t always be used interchangeably. It might be better, in some cases, to use a number of other oils before using butter to replace ghee.
Now, let’s explore the topic further.
Can I Use Butter Instead of Ghee in a Recipe?
If a recipe calls for heating the ghee on the stove, it is best not to use butter as a substitute since the smoke point for butter is low and might burn and smoke excessively. Using any oil with a low smoke point can also ruin the nutrients in the oils and put harmful toxins in the air, besides destroying the flavor of one’s food.
However, if heating the ghee on the stove isn’t necessary, butter is an excellent substitute. One can use butter or ghee for baking, as a spread on baked goods such as bread or muffins, or to drizzle on seafood.
What Can I Use as a Substitute for Ghee?
One can use any number of oils as a substitute for ghee. As a replacement butter, one might try:
- Canola oil
- Almond oil
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
The taste difference will be mild enough that one can still enjoy a dish that might traditionally use ghee even if one doesn’t have ghee on hand. However, to enjoy a traditional Indian or Middle Eastern dish as originally intended, ghee might be the best flavor choice.
Can I Use Ghee in Place of Another Fat or Oil?
Ghee is a great cooking substitute for other fats, as well, and will lend a uniquely delicious flavor to many meals. Ghee can be used in place of shortening for baking, or for any dish that calls for sauteing or frying. Ghee works wonderfully as a butter substitute in baked goods that call for a higher cooking temperature.
What Is the Difference Between Butter and Ghee?
Ghee is a type of clarified butter. It has a slightly roasted, nuttier taste than regular butter, and it is less creamy. It is made by separating the liquid fats in butter from the milk solids and water, the latter of which is discarded. Because of this, ghee has less lactose than regular butter.
Ghee also has a higher smoke point than standard butter because it doesn’t contain water. It begins to smoke at 482 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to regular butter, which has a smoke point of 302 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it a better candidate for sauteing or frying.
Butter and ghee are similar in their nutritional content; they’re both high in calories and fat. Choosing one over the other shouldn’t significantly impact your health, but you should use both in moderation. Because ghee has no lactose or casein (a milk protein), it may be the better option for people with sensitivities to these elements.
Can I Make Ghee at Home?
Ghee is easy to make at home:
- Melt a pound of unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, let it simmer over medium-low heat until the milk solids float to the surface (about 10-15 minutes).
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the frothy milk solids from the surface of the skillet. This can be done as soon as you see the solids rising to the top.
- Continue to simmer the clarified butter until the milk solids on the skillet’s bottom are an amber color. The butterfat should be a deep golden color, and the ghee should smell nutty.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and let it cool for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Set a fine-mesh strainer over a heat-proof bowl or cup. Line the strainer with a triple layer of cheesecloth and pour the ghee through it into the container. Then transfer the ghee to a jar with a lid.
Ghee can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 months and will even last one year in the refrigerator. This can be a much more affordable option than store-bought ghee.
So there ya have it. When used selectively, butter can certainly be substituted for ghee. I hope you have found this article helpful.
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