How to Make Clarified Butter

What is the one most useful, indispensable, and versatile ingredient you have in your kitchen? If you guessed butter then bingo! But today we aren’t just talking about regular butter, we’re talking about clarified butter and why you should be making and using it in your cooking!

What is Clarified Butter?

Have you ever used regular butter on high heat, blinked, and then realized you have a smokey or burnt butter? That’s because regular butter tends to have a lower smoke point due to the high percentage of water in that big o’ stick. Store bought butter can have a fat percentage of low to mid 80s and the rest of it is basically water and a little bit of milk solids. Because of this, regular butter isn’t the best for frying or sauteing but when it’s clarified, the water is cooked out and milk solids removed, resulting in something that is much higher in fat making it more suitable for those high heat methods of cooking and also technically makes it lactose free!

While you’re separating the solids and the clarified butter, do not throw away the milk solids! You can use milk solids to add flavor all sorts of dishes: add it to mashed potatoes, spread it on bread, or top it on steamed veggies.

Why is Clarified Butter so Great?

There are 3 reasons clarified butter is amazing:

  1. Clarifying butter raises its smoke point from 350F (175C) to about 450F (230C), so it won’t burn when using high heat like frying and sauteing.
  2. Clarified butter has a more intense rich buttery flavor and smoother, silkier texture. You can use it just like regular butter but it shines with butter centric dishes like basted meats, pastas dishes, and even popcorn!
  3. Lastly, you get increased shelf life! You can store this for about a month at room temp, but its more likely you’ll use it up before then. Being able to leave out your butter means you’re ready to butter your delicate fresh bread in an instant, but be aware that butter left out will absorb any smells or flavors in the room. So you might still want to keep it in the fridge. And it doesn’t hurt to make a huge batch and store in your fridge/freezer.

Is Ghee and Clarified Butter the same?

Another form of clarified butter is ghee, which dates back to Ancient India. Traditionally ghee has lots of nuances (similar to wine or honey) but the general difference between (commercially made) ghee and clarified butter is that ghee is cooked over low heat until the the milk solids go brown before separating, which gives the ghee a nuttier flavor than regular clarified butter. Of course there are different techniques and it will also depend on what kind of butter you’re starting with, so choose a tasty quality butter!

With all the magic that clarified butter can do you may be wondering if it’s a difficult process or tedious to do, luckily it’s not at all!

how to make clarified butter at home

Ingredients

  • 1LB Unsalted Butter

Instructions

  1. Cut up butter into smaller chunks, they don’t have to be perfect, but the smaller the butter pieces, the faster the melting process.
  2. Cook butter in a small saucepan on low until it bubbles up and begins to cook off the water.
  3. Once the milk solids begin to separate and form a foam, skim the foam into a separate container.
  4. Skim until you’re left with a golden liquid. Strain this into a container, we prefer using glass or ceramic containers so they won’t have residual scents. Don’t skip this straining, as there will be milk solids at the bottom of the pan too. Save the rest of your solids here too!

That’s literally it! Now we have clarified butter but we aren’t done yet! Stay tuned, we’ll use this clarified butter to make really tasty better-than-the-theater, popcorn! What would you use clarified butter for? Let us know in the comments below!

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