How To Make Ghee At Home and Delicious Health Benefits
Traditional foods are making an overwhelming comeback and for a good reason – they have incredible health benefits and have been used for hundreds and even thousands of years in human history. One increasingly popular traditional food is ghee, or clarified butter, which is nutrient-rich and free of milk proteins, making it a good option for those with dairy intolerances.
What Is Ghee?
A staple in traditional Indian cooking and Ayurvedic medicine, ghee is made through a simple process of boiling butter and then pouring off the butterfat, eliminating the proteins (casein and whey) and the milk solids (which includes lactose). What’s left is also known as clarified butter.
Much like butter, ghee has gotten a bad reputation over the past 30 years due to its high saturated fat content. But research has revealed that instead of increasing the risk of heart disease, ghee actually decreases it — and that’s not the only trick it has up its sleeve. Ghee made from grass-fed butter is packed with vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as fatty acids CLA and butyric acid, leading to some interesting health benefits.
Health Benefits of Ghee
1. Ghee can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Despite the bad press it has received over the years, ghee may actually be protective against heart disease. Ghee is rich in conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, a fatty acid known to be protective against carcinogens, artery plaque and diabetes. Because of these benefits, researchers say ghee can potentially be used to help prevent cardiovascular diseases.
One unfortunate result of the war on saturated fats has been the replacement of traditional foods with highly processed alternatives. One study points to the increase in consumption of vegetable ghee, which contains up to 40 per cent trans fatty acids, for the increase in cardiovascular disease amongst Indians. A study on a rural population in India showed that men who ate higher amounts of traditional ghee had lower incidences of heart disease than those who ate less of it.
2. Ghee can help you make beautiful babies.
If you’re planning on trying to conceive anytime soon, vitamin K2 is an important nutrient to incorporate into your diet. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, vitamin K2 plays a crucial role in facial and dental development. Children born to mothers with high levels of vitamin K2 are more likely to have wide, symmetrical faces with plenty of room for straight, healthy teeth later on. Grass-fed ghee is a great source of vitamin K2, making it an important food for pre-conception and pregnancy.
3. Ghee can help heal your digestive tract.
Good digestion is the key to good health, and if you’re dealing with any sort of digestive issues, healing your gut lining is an important first step. Ghee is rich in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid that nourishes the cells of the intestines. According to Phyllis A. Balch, author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, butyric acid is “a monounsaturated fatty acid [that] reduces inflammatory conditions, reduces seepage of undigested food particles, and aids in repair of the mucosal wall.”
4. Ghee may be able to help you lose weight.
Remember our good friend CLA? On top of its cardiovascular benefits, it’s also been shown to help prevent weight gain and aid in weight loss. According to one study, CLA supplementation in overweight participants showed significant weight loss over a six month period. Further study is needed, but if you’re hoping to shed pounds, replacing rancid, highly processed vegetable oils with grass-fed ghee may be a good place to start.
How to Use Ghee
There are a multitude of ways you can incorporate ghee into your diet:
- Add ghee to your dairy-free elixirs.
- Use it as a healthy cooking oil for high-heat cooking like stir-frying, sauteeing or roasting.
- Spread it on your gluten-free bread, crackers, muffins or other baked goods.
- Incorporate ghee into this hemp chocolate spread (it’s great with ghee, or with a mix of coconut oil and ghee).
- Substitute ghee in any recipe where you’d normally use butter (baking, mac and cheese, popcorn, sandwiches, gluten-free toast, etc.).
- Melt it over steamed vegetables.
- Add it to savory or sweet oatmeal/porridge.
- Boost flavour of gluten-free grains by cooking them with some ghee.
- Use ghee in natural beauty care recipes.
- Eat it off the spoon!
How to Store Ghee
Since the milk solids have been removed, ghee is shelf-stable at room temperature (after all, there wasn’t refrigeration for most of our history). You can keep ghee in the pantry and it should stay good for months, unless you introduce extra moisture or ingredients – for example, spreading jam on your gluten-free toast and then dipping the same knife into the ghee, or swallowing a spoonful and then going back for more with the same spoon.
If you use ghee sparingly and won’t get through it in a few months to a year, or don’t want to worry about ‘double-dipping’, you can store your ghee in the fridge. It will firm up in cooler temperatures, but will soften if you take it out of the fridge a half an hour or so before you want to enjoy it.
More Wisdom from our Experts
We make a wide variety of hormones that circulate throughout our bodies to help with growth, mood, sexual function and metabolism. It’s a complicated web…Read More
The world of plants is a powerful one. There are a wealth of components in plants that serve to protect them at various stages of…Read More
If you’ve ever experienced a burning sensation in your chest after you eat, you’re certainly not alone. Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is…Read More
You’ve probably visited restaurants that serve a handful of sprouts over salads or buddha bowls, or maybe you’ve purchased a container yourself at the grocery…Read More
When we think of ‘power drinks’, smoothies or green juices usually are the ones that spring to mind. Here at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition,…Read More
As you might imagine, we adore cooking from scratch here at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. Batch cooking, cooking cooperatives, recipe-free dinner bowls – we’re always…Read More
46 responses to “How To Make Ghee At Home and Delicious Health Benefits”
My grand mother and mother use to say one amazing benefit of pure ghee removes dirt from the brain cells and refresh the brain cells. Human body naturally admire hot lot by consuming 2-3 spoons of ghee reduces the heat on body and improves quality of life. Thanks for your articles which also i find very useful.
Butyric acid is not a monounsaturated fatty acid. Strictly speaking, it’s not a fatty acid at all but a simple carboxylic acid, but if you want to call it a fatty acid, it’s a saturated fatty acid.
I have just finished my first ghee. It was deliscious. I made it from butter which is made using grass fed cattle in NZ. I am about to make my second lot and was very pleased to learn its health benefits.Thank you.
I just bought organic valley ghee. I’ve used it about 4 times and I just can’t get past the taste. I love butter, but there is an aftertaste. Do you think it could be the kind I bought? It was the only one available in my grocery store.
It could be the type of ghee you bought. Try experimenting with different brands, or make your own using your favourite brand of organic butter.
If you still don’t like the taste, maybe you don’t like ghee and that’s OK! You can still get the health benefits by disguising it in soups, stews, elixirs and smoothies.
The raw butter available to us is always rancid. Does it take away from the nutritional content of the ghee to use regular, grass fed butter?
Hi Heather – we don’t blame you for wanting to skip the rancid butter. We don’t have raw butter available to us, so we choose organic grass-fed butter; you’ll get the benefits mentioned above from that.
Thank you so much! I appreciate your very personal and helpful response.
check out organic section @ http://www.njoydd.com. they have organic ghee produced right here in the US
The absolute best ghee I’ve ever had is Ancient Organics and you have to order it. It’s pricey but incredible and well worth it.
Can you order this from Canada? I’m on Ancient Organics website and it’s US only. I’ve tried other online sites with no luck as well.
It’s tough to get the Ancient Organics one in Canada. Visit your local grocery store for Canadian options, or try making your own!
Make your own ghee. Do not buy from the stores.
Hey Debbie, I am an Indian and my opinion may be biased because I am eating ghee (desi ghee or traditional ghee in english) for the past 20 years, but ghee itself should not have a bad aftertaste it may have a greasy bland taste but you will not feel it to be bad. It might be because of something you ate or because of the purification process used to filter the ghee.
In my house.. the traditional way of making ghee is used.. it is pretty simple..
Just get some pure milk.. no toned..
Boil it and let it cool down for some time up to room temperature.. get the upper layer of cream and fat obtained..
Collect this layer from several other milk samples.. gather all of them and let it be heated in a pan.. heat it.. a foul smell starts to come.. it boils and after a time.. the layers melt down to just oil and some solid material.. boil until that solid turns golden brown.. strain all of that after cooling down a bit..
The oil that u get is ghee. Let it cool down more.. u will have it condensed
Store bought ghee is totally different taste than homemade. I bought from the store one time, will never do that again. You won’t be sorry that you made it yourself. You can make it with unsalted butter from the store and it’s a lot cheaper.
In Afghanistan people believe it makes you strong! God bless my uncle, he used to tell me,”Oh you are the vegetables oil boy! If you want to be strong like stone eat Ghee,” or as we call it “Roghan Zard”, which literary mean yellow oil.
I was told by my doctor to avoid dairy. Since ghee is made from cow’s milk it is dairy, right? So do you think I could still consume it? I previously had no issues with dairy products, but when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s one year ago, my doctor advised me to exclude dairy completely from my diet.
Yes, you should be fine. If ghee is prepared properly it is pure fat – and does not contain the milk sugars or proteins that are most often the cause of reactions.
Ghee is a clarified better so it’s dairy free, it’s safe for people with dairy allergies
I consumed some ghee (2 lbs) over a period of time, can’t remember how long, but I started losing weight again (I eat whole food plant based no oil) and have continued losing even now many months later. I wonder if any of your readers have experienced anything like this?
How does Ghee affect high (bad) cholesterol? I was told to avoid dairy for this reason.
Hi Laurie, thank you for your question! We recommend that you speak to your natural health care provider to determine if ghee is a good addition to your diet.
Ghee is rich in conjugated linoleic acid- a natural fat cutter, a fatty acid known to be protective against carcinogen, artery plaque and diabetes. It helps in the metabolism of lipids thus reducing bad cholesterol. In addition it boost our immune system because it aids in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins- vitamin a,d,e and k, hence these get readily available in the body
I just made my first homemade batch of Ghee. In comparing regular, unsalted butter to a jar of ghee I purchased, I see there is no real significant difference between ghee and unsalted butter in comparing fat and calories. So is ghee really better than unsalted butter?
Hi Jason! It isn’t about the fat grams or calories, but rather the way ghee is prepared. Boiling and separating the milk solids allows for the many nutritional benefits Josh explained above. Ghee is better for people who have sensitivities, is a denser source of nutrients and has a different flavour.
Very informative. Thank you.
What should a daily serving of ghee be, based on the health benefits? I have GI issues (post infectious IBS-C left over from a nasty infection I picked up in Mexico while on vacation) I am slowly getting better but I’m left with awful constipation issues ( which I’ve never had) :[
Hi Deb. We’re sorry to hear you picked up an infection while you were away! We hope you continue to heal.
As for ghee serving sizes, since everyone’s health situation is unique we recommend you speak to your favourite health care practitioner about what amount might be right for you.
I think ghee will help with the constipation, in India we even consider ghee as a grease for your body. Also ghee is good but a small amount of exercise with it in you diet will make your days golden.
Ghee works fine in baking, but some recipes really need that 15% or so of water that butter has in it, so adjust accordingly.
My unsalted butter does not show vit d in nutrition facts,so my ghee made from it too will not contain vit d right? Can you suggest any other brands of unsalted butter tht contain vit d?
Hi Sam! Brands will vary depending on location, but you can read more about Vitamin D and butter here: https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/4/4/453/4259632
Thx fr reply.lks like all butter have vit d although on label it is not specified
I have a question about ghee. My doctor recommended that I take out sugar and dairy out of my diet due to severe flare up of eczema. I was researching about ghee as a substitute for butter/dairy, but isn’t any processed foods not good? Like sugar is a natural food but when processed becomes very harmful for body, because it has been altered from it’s natural wholefood form. In the same way, I would think butter, altered from their natural form, esp when heat process is involved, is then harmful to our health. Butter when melted and boiled is already harmful. I have learned that it is best to eat is melted naturally instead of cooking and boiling it. Can anyone comment on that?
We agree with you that foods as close to their natural state are beneficial to our health. Still, some foods maintain health benefits when they are cooked. Our method of making ghee doesn’t involve boiling at high temperatures for long periods of time, and we are comfortable using it as part of our diets. However, everyone needs to do what’s best for them and there are plenty of other nutritious fats to choose from!
Thank you for that response. Good to know!
I liked your comment Jackie in regards to natural foods versus processed foods. It made me think that we do alter most foods from their whole food form. I suffered from asthma as a child (asthma is eczema in the airways), my parents believed it linked to dairy. I am looking at finding alternative foods from dairy. I don’t have asthma anymore but I still get seasonal hay fever. I am a teacher and I am stunned with the higher number of babies and children now with eczema! 2 out of 3 of my nephews and niece have had eczema as babies, their mum
I was astounded in watching documentary ‘What the Health’ on Netflix. I am truly amazed me just how food can affect our bodies in ways I never even knew about!
Ghee or clarified butter has been used in traditional Indian cooking and Ayurvedic medicine for its good balance of fats and ability to solubilize lipid-soluble vitamins, medicines and phytonutrients, which can be easily absorbed. It acts as a vehicle to transport these nutrients through the lipid membrane bilayer of cells and into deep tissues, which may account for some of its beneficial and cleansing effects. The butyrate in ghee is also a good source of energy, especially for children.