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What Is Clarified Butter?

By William Woys Weaver


Tags: clarified butter, ghee, William Woys Weaver, margarine, real butter, congealed butter,

What is clarified butter? I see it in recipes all the time. Is that something I have to buy, or can I make it at home from real butter? Will margarine work?

Theresa James
Lincoln, Nebraska

Clarified butter is butter that has been heated in a pan and gently boiled so that the butterfat rises to the top. The fat is then skimmed off leaving only the clear liquid. That liquid is poured into a container and allowed to congeal. It is used extensively in cooking, and is nearly the same thing as Indian ghee. Margarine is not a suitable substitute, and in fact it is much less healthful than real butter.

 William Woys Weaver, contributing editor, MOTHER EARTH NEWS and Gourmet magazines