Even though regular butter has a pretty heavenly taste, believe it or not, you can make it taste better! You can do this by simply clarifying regular butter. I do this all the time as it enhances the richness of butter and makes my dishes taste even more scrumptious. So, if you are wondering how to make clarified butter, then read on to find out!

What Is Clarified Butter?

Regular butter is about 80% fat, while the other 20% is made up of water and milk solids. So, what is clarified butter? Clarified butter is 99 to 100% pure butterfat, without the water and milk solids in it. Unsalted butter is slowly melted to separate the water and milk solids from unadulterated butterfat that has a translucent golden hue. 

Clarified butter has a significantly higher smoke point (more than 400°F) and a much longer shelf life than regular butter (about 6 months at room temperature). You can easily find it in stores or make it at home.

Why Do People Use Clarified Butter?

The major benefit of using clarified butter over regular butter is its high smoke point. You can easily deep fry or sauté food without worrying about burning the butter. You can also line your baking dish or pan with clarified butter. Additionally, since it is concentrated butterfat, it has a much richer, silkier, and creamier taste than regular butter.   

Moreover, with clarified butter, you don’t have to worry about it going bad as it doesn’t have the milk solids present in regular butter that spoil it over time. You can easily store it at room temperature and use it in your dishes whenever you want. 

Is Ghee the Same as Clarified Butter?

If you are wondering, “Is clarified butter the same as ghee?” then you should know that even though ghee and clarified butter are pretty similar, they are not the same thing. Both ghee and clarified butter are prepared by cooking butter and removing the water and milk solids from it, which leaves you with pure butterfat. 

However, when preparing ghee, you have to add one more step to the cooking process. You have to lightly cook the pure butterfat for a little longer to remove all the moisture from it. The milk solids are also browned and later strained while preparing ghee. This gives ghee a deeper, nuttier taste and richer texture than clarified butter. Moreover, ghee has a longer shelf life than salted butter at both room temperature and when refrigerated. 

How to Use Clarified Butter

You can use clarified butter for dishes that require sautéing or frying as it has a high smoke point. The best way to use clarified butter is in dishes where you will really feel the taste of butter such as fried or sautéed fish, pasta dishes with butter as the star ingredient, roasted vegetables, steaks, etc. It’s also a great ingredient to use in making hollandaise sauce.

You can even add clarified butter in curry dishes to get a rich and creamy flavor. Additionally, you can use it as a delicious condiment or dip to go with cooked seafood such as shrimp or crab. Another great way to use it is while cooking popcorn— substitute the oil in which you would cook your popcorn with clarified butter to have deliciously buttery popcorn.  

Pro Tip: Use clarified butter in baking only when the recipe calls for it. If you use it in a dish that requires typical butter, you will likely end up with a greasy dish as clarified butter has more concentrated fat than regular butter.

How to Make Clarified Butter

Here are two simple ways to make clarified butter.

Microwaving

The first way is to microwave unsalted butter.

Things You Will Need

  • Butter sticks (4 sticks make a pound)
  • A tall microwavable glass
  • A sharp-edged metal spatula or spoon

Instructions

  1. Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and put them in a tall microwavable glass. You need to use a tall glass as the butter will foam up.
  2. Place the glass in your microwave and microwave the butter for 1 minute or until you see clean foam rising to the top of the glass.
  3. Remove the glass from the microwave and let the butter foam rest for a minute or two. By this time, the foam should separate into three layers from top to bottom – foam, clarified butter, and watery liquid.
  4. Remove the foam by using a sharp-edged metal spoon.
  5. Pour or spoon out the clarified butter into a container and leave the watery milk behind.

Heating on a Stove

Here’s how you can make clarified butter on a stovetop:

Things You Will Need

  • A pound of unsalted butter
  • A thick-bottomed pot

Instructions

  1. Place the butter in the pot and put it on low heat.
  2. Let the butter sit without stirring it. It will slowly begin to melt.
  3. Once it has melted, the butter will start boiling.
  4. The milk fat in the butter will start creating a foam.
  5. As the butter heats up, it will separate into 3 distinctive layers – foam, clarified butter, milk solids. The process will take about 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. When there’s very little foam left on the surface and the butter has a nice translucent golden color, you can remove it from the heat.
  7. Use a metal spoon to scoop out the top layer of foam.
  8. Pour out the clarified butter in a container and leave the milk solids behind. 

Tips and Tricks to Remember 

Here are some tips that you should remember while clarifying butter at home:

  • Always use unsalted butter if you want clarified butter. This is because, with salted butter, the salt will be concentrated when you reduce the butter, which will make it too salty. 
  • Use a large metal spoon with sharp edges to skim the foam off the top of the butter as it’s more convenient than using a thick wooden spoon with rounded edges.
  • When clarifying butter in a pot, make sure that your pot has a thick bottom as it prevents the butter from burning. If you use a pot with a thin bottom, then turn the heat down a notch to ensure your butter doesn’t burn.   
  • Remember that in the clarifying process you will lose about a quarter of the butter you started with. So, if you start with one cup of typical butter, by the end, you will have roughly three-quarters of a cup of clarified butter.
  • If you want 100% clarified butter, then use a cheesecloth to filter out the foam and milk solids.
  • Clarified butter lasts much longer than typical butter since you essentially remove all the parts that tend to go bad. So, you don’t even need to refrigerate your clarified butter, just make sure to keep it in an airtight container and use it for up to 6 months.
  • Keep your clarified butter as far away from water as possible. Water will promote bacteria, which will spoil the butter.  

The Bottom Line

Clarified butter enhances the flavor of dishes thanks to its signature creaminess. You can easily make clarified butter by microwaving or boiling regular butter on a stovetop. It has a higher smoke point and a longer shelf life than typical butter. You can use it to sauté and deep fry food items and line your baking pans. I hope you enjoyed reading this article on how to make clarified butter! 

About the author

Meet Go-Go-Gadget Renee'. Her passion for #kitchen gadgets is matched only by her love for tech. A real #foodie, she's all heart for red wine and delicious meals. #CookingChewTribe

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