How to Make Ghee (Clarified Butter) | Instant Pot/Stove

June 17, 2020 By Aneesha |

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Learn How To Make Ghee in this step-by-step guide that creates pure, golden butterfat with hints of nuttiness from caramelized milk solids. This version of clarified butter has an exceptionally high smoke point, is a staple in Indian cuisine, and easily prepared in the Instant Pot or on the Stove.

easy clarified butter recipe in two glass jars

Homemade Ghee From Scratch

Ghee has been an integral part of Indian cooking for generations.

My mother still makes ghee from scratch. She boils each batch of milk and skims off the creamy fat layer when it is cooled. After collecting enough cream for a week, she churns that into butter using a high-speed blender. Then, she slow cooks this fresh cream butter for an hour or so, till the clarified butter separates from the milk solids.

I took a more modern approach to homemade ghee from scratch, using my Instant Pot or stove. It’s faster, easier and doesn’t require as much effort or patience. All I need is four sticks of unsalted grass-fed butter and 20 minutes.

What is Ghee?

Ghee is butter that is heated until the milk solids separate and caramelize, leaving behind the clear butterfat with hints of nutty flavors.

Butter is composed of milk fat (at least 80%, depending on the brand), milk solids (about 1%), and water (16 – 18%). When butter is made into ghee, the water is evaporated and the milk proteins are caramelized, then strained to produce pure, golden butterfat. Browning the milk solids adds wonderful toasty flavors that infuse into the butter oil.

It has been a staple in Indian cooking for thousands of years but is also popular for those sensitive to dairy or people following a Paleo or Whole30 diet.

homemade ghee in two glass jars

The Difference Between Ghee and Clarified Butter

The English word for Ghee is ‘Clarified Butter’. Even though both terms are often used interchangeably by recipe makers and the food industry, there is a slight difference between the two:

Clarified butter is the clear fat after the butter’s milk solids separate from the oil while evaporating out water, without any further browning. That is what you typically serve with a seafood or lobster boil, since clarified butter has a more neutral smell and taste.

Ghee, on the other hand, is the clear fat after the butter’s milk solids separate from the oil and simmer further until the milk solids brown and caramelize. The caramelizing of the milk solids gives it a stronger aroma and a nutty flavor.

The best way to distinguish them – ghee is clarified butter cooked just a few minutes longer until the milk solids caramelize.

Health Benefits of Ghee

Ghee has gained immense popularity worldwide over the last few years.

Due to its health benefits and fat composition, it is a big part of many trending diets today, especially Paleo and Whole30. It contains vitamins A and K2. Plus, it provides slightly more butyric acid and other short-chain saturated fats, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and promote gut health.

Although one can find many articles ‘in favor of’ and ‘against’ the health benefits of ghee, if you are following a certain diet, it is always a good idea to check with your physician and form your own opinion.

Thanks to its popularity, it is now widely available in supermarkets and grocery stores. Ghee is also available on Amazon. But, as you’ll see in this recipe, it can be prepared at home easily, in around 15 minutes.

homemade clarified butter in two glass jars

High Heat Cooking Oil

The difference between butter and ghee is the lack of milk solids. In a lot of recipes for soups, stews and curries, ghee and clarified butter are a great alternative to butter.

Ghee and clarified butter both have a higher smoke point than butter since the milk solids have been removed from the fat. In other words, instead of the butter solids burning under high heat around 350°F, only the butterfat remains and can be heated to 485°F before breaking down.

This makes ghee ideal for sautéing, browning, searing and caramelizing foods.

Plus, it’s a stabilized cooking fat, similar to rendered bacon fat. Since all of the water has been cooked out, ghee is solid at room temperature and extremely shelf-stable, so bacteria won’t grow if it is kept out at room temperature.

Ghee in Instant Pot

To me, nothing beats the taste of homemade ghee – it’s creamy, rich and slightly nutty, and I know exactly what went into making it!

Using this simple, fail-proof recipe for ghee in the Instant Pot, you can make this golden butterfat in under 20 minutes with four sticks (16 oz) of butter. You can also easily double the recipe.

Since butter is the only ingredient, feel free to use grass-fed, organic, Irish-style or any unsalted butter of your choice. My preferred brand is unsalted Kerry Gold or Kirkland (Costco).

Why Make Ghee in an Instant Pot vs. Stove?

You can actually make ghee in a saucepan on the stove in just about the same time as the Instant Pot. I use both methods depending on the quantity of ghee I am making.

However, whenever I have to pass this recipe on to a friend, it’s hard to predict what “medium” heat on their stove-top will be like, how thick their “heavy bottom” pan will be or how cold their butter will be when they start. That’s when I go for the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot:

  • Takes the guesswork out when I’m passing on my recipes
  • Makes me feel confident if I had to delegate this task to one of my kids or my husband
  • Results are more time and heat consistent, which means lesser chance of burnt ghee. 🙂
  • Ensures you don’t have to stir the pot regularly

Easy 4-Step Recipe – Step by Step Instructions

Follow this simple step-by-step guide on how to make ghee in the Instant Pot:

1: Melt the Butter

melting butter in instant pot
  • Turn Instant Pot on to Sauté (normal) mode. If your pot tends to heat up faster, you can switch to “less” mode and proceed. Add butter to the pan and set an external timer (on your watch, oven, etc.) for 7 minutes.

2: Simmer Until Milk Solids Separate and Sink to the Bottom

milk solids separating from butterfat in instant pot
  • After a few minutes, ghee will start to look clear and you should be able to see the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the milk solids separate and sink to the bottom.

3: Let the Milk Solids Caramelize

milk solids caramelizing in butterfat
  • Keep simmering until the milk solids caramelize (turn golden brown) and appear more grainy. Keep an eye starting at 7 minutes, but it can take up to 10 minutes. Turn off IP and let the ghee cool for 5-10 minutes. Carefully, remove the inner pot from the base unit to prevent it from cooking any further.

4: Drain the Brown Milk Solids

ladle of homemade ghee over instant pot
  • Using a cheesecloth or a fine sieve, carefully strain the ghee into clean and dry storage bottles.

Making Ghee on the Stovetop

Ghee is a simple one-ingredient recipe that can be made using a heavy-bottomed, tall saucepan on the stovetop. The same 4-steps apply here too. Simply:

melted butterfat with caramelized milk solids in saucepan with ladle
  1. Add the butter to a cold pan and set over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt slowly.
  2. Stir and simmer till the milk solids separate and begin to sink to the bottom.
  3. Stir every 2-3 minutes and let it simmer till the milk solids at the bottom begin to caramelize. Turn off the heat and move the pan to another position on the stove to cool.
  4. When completely cooled, strain out the milk solids over cheesecloth or fine sieve into clean and dry storage bottles. Store ghee in a cool dark place or in the refrigerator.

Tip: For best results, use a heavy bottom and tall saucepan. The heavy bottom provides even heat distribution and reduces the chances of burning the milk solids. The tall saucepan comes in handy if the butter splashes in the beginning due to a temperature difference.

room temperature ghee in glass jar
Consistency of Ghee after cooling

How to Store Ghee

Ghee keeps best in clean glass containers or mason jars in a cool, dark place for up to 1 month or in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Since butter is saturated fat, it will naturally solidify at room temperature.

Variations To Try

Once the ghee is strained into mason jars and still warm, sometimes I like to infuse it with a few different subtle flavors.

A pinch or two of seasoning adds a nice hint of flavor while still being able to smell and taste the nuttiness of the ghee. Simply add the amount indicated below to each 8 oz jar of ghee:

  • Saffron Infused Ghee: 1/4 teaspoon saffron strands
  • Turmeric: 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Sea Salt: 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Use high-quality butter. The higher the quality of the butter, the better the ghee. Use the highest quality of butter appropriate for your budget. Grass-fed, organic, and Irish-style butters are all great options. My preferred brand is Kerry Gold.
  • The time set is for 6QT DUO Instant Pot and 16 ounces butter. Depending on the butter and temperature, it takes anywhere between 7-10 minutes for ghee to be done, so keep an eye starting at 7 minutes. In a 3QT MINI, it takes about 12-13 minutes. The room temperature in the house and the beginning temperature of the butter also influence total time.
  • For the stovetop method, use a heavy bottom and tall saucepan. The heavy bottom provides even heat distribution and reduces the chances of burning the milk solids. The tall saucepan comes in handy if the butter splashes in the beginning due to a temperature difference.
  • Ghee continues to cook after turning off the heat: So, if using the Instant Pot, remove the insert from the cooker base and let it cool. If using the stovetop, turn off heat and place the pan at another position on the stove.
  • Store in clean glass containers or mason jars. Ghee stays good for one month at room temperature and in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Commonly Asked Questions for Ghee

Is Ghee Dairy-Free?

Technically, ghee is not dairy-free because it’s butterfat. Although the milk solids have been strained, unless it is tested to be 100% lactose, casein and whey-free, I would say a few tiny milk solids remain. Most people who are dairy-sensitive claim they don’t have any problems with ghee. However, if you are very sensitive to dairy, I would use one (or two) coffee filters to strain the ghee since they have a tighter weave.

What happens if you cook Ghee for too long?

If the butter starts to smell like toffee or butterscotch and you’ve cooked it too long, you just made brown butter! In other words, the milk solids are deeply caramelized. Although different from ghee, brown butter is wonderfully rich, sweet and nutty. I love to use it in both savory and sweet recipes, such as cauliflower rice or easy oatmeal cookies.

How to double this recipe?

One pound (16 ounces) of butter makes roughly 14 ounces of ghee. If you’d like to double the butter and use 2 pounds (32 ounces), set a timer for 12 minutes (for 6QT DUO) and start monitoring. Depending on the butter and temperature around, it will be done anywhere between 12-14 minutes.

How to make ‘regular” clarified butter using this recipe

The clear liquid at the stage just before the milk solids caramelize is called clarified butter. If you want to make clarified butter using this recipe, simply:
1. Hit ‘Cancel’ as soon as the milk solids separate.
2. Carefully, remove the inner pot from the base unit to prevent it from cooking any further.
3. Let it cool for a few minutes.
4. Strain out the clear fat using a cheesecloth or fine sieve into clean and dry storage bottles.

Instant Pot Recipes with Ghee

I have tons of Instant Pot main dish recipes with ghee. Check out:

  • Dal Tadka/Dal Fry – One of the most popular dal (lentil) recipes in Indian cuisine.
  • Dal Palak – Split lentils and baby spinach dal finished with ghee and warm Indian spices.
  • Misir Wot – Ethiopian-style stew with red lentils cooked in clarified butter, aromatics and seasoned with berbere, an earthy and floral spice blend.
  • Chicken Biryani – One-pot Indian chicken and rice flavored with herbs, saffron and cardamom.
  • Chicken Curry – Indian style chicken curry cooked with pot-in-pot cumin flavored basmati rice.
  • Tadka for lentils: Tadka is a Hindi word for a simple tempering made with ghee, dried chilies and heeng (asafetida), that is added to lentils before serving.

Indian Dessert Recipes with Ghee

Ghee is a wonderful addition to many Indian dessert recipes too, such as:

  • Moong Dal Halwa – Sweet lentil pudding made with ghee, mung dal lentils and sugar.
  • Kesar Badam Halwa – Saffron almond pudding considered the ‘king’ of Indian desserts.
  • Gajar Ka Halwa – Carrot halwa simmered with milk and sweetened with sugar and cardamom.
  • Carrot Burfi – Grated carrots cooked in flavored milk, then sautéed with almond flour till they form a fudge-like consistency.
  • Coconut Ladoo – Quick 10-minute microwave recipe made with coconut and sweetened condensed milk that’s soft and fudgy.

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easy clarified butter recipe in two glass jars

How To Make Ghee – Instant Pot/Stove

A step-by-step guide on How To Make Ghee that creates pure, golden butterfat with hints of nuttiness from caramelized milk solids popular in Indian cuisine.
4.5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 28 tablespoons (1 3/4 cups)
Calories: 116kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

Making Ghee in the Instant Pot

  • Turn Instant Pot on to Sauté (normal) mode. If your pot tends to heat up faster, you can switch to "less" mode and proceed. Add butter to the pan and set an external timer (on your watch, oven, etc.) for 7 minutes.
  • After a few minutes, ghee will start to look clear and you should be able to see the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the milk solids separate and sink to the bottom.
  • Keep simmering until the milk solids caramelize (turn golden brown) and appear more grainy. Keep an eye starting at 7 minutes. Turn off IP and let the ghee cool for 5-10 minutes. Carefully, remove the inner pot from the base unit to prevent it from cooking any further.
  • Using a cheesecloth or a fine sieve, carefully strain the ghee into clean and dry storage bottles. Store ghee in a cool dark place or in the refrigerator.

Ghee Recipe on the Stovetop

  • Add the butter to a cold pan and set over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt slowly.
  • Stir and simmer till the milk solids separate and begin to sink to the bottom.
  • Stir every 2-3 minutes and let it simmer till the milk solids at the bottom begin to caramelize. Turn off the heat and move the pan to another position on the stove to cool.
  • When completely cooled, strain out the milk solids over cheesecloth or fine sieve into clean and dry storage bottles. Store ghee in a cool dark place or in the refrigerator.

Video

Notes & Recipe Tips

  • Use high-quality butter. The higher the quality of the butter, the better the ghee. Use the highest quality of butter appropriate for your budget. Grass-fed, organic, and Irish-style butters are all great options. My preferred brand is Kerry Gold.
  • The time set is for 6QT DUO Instant Pot and 16 ounces butter. Depending on the butter and temperature, it takes anywhere between 7-10 minutes for ghee to be done, so keep an eye starting at 7 minutes. In a 3QT MINI, it takes about 12-13 minutes. The room temperature in the house and the beginning temperature of the butter also influence total time.
  • For the stovetop method, use a heavy bottom and tall saucepan. The heavy bottom provides even heat distribution and reduces the chances of burning the milk solids. The tall saucepan comes in handy if the butter splashes in the beginning due to a temperature difference.
  • Ghee continues to cook after turning off the heat: So, if using the Instant Pot, remove the insert from the cooker base and let it cool. If using the stovetop, turn off heat and place the pan at another position on the stove.
  • Store in clean glass containers or mason jars. Ghee stays good for one month at room temperature and in the refrigerator for up to six months.
  • Double the recipe. One pound (16 ounces) of butter makes roughly 14 ounces of ghee. If you’d like to double the butter and use 2 pounds (32 ounces), set a timer for 12 minutes (for 6QT DUO) and start monitoring. Depending on the butter and temperature, it will be done anywhere between 12-14 minutes.
 
If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 116kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 4mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 405IU | Calcium: 4mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: clarified butter, homemade ghee recipe, how to make ghee
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HEY! NICE TO MEET YOU!

Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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