Ghee is basically unsalted butter that is heated till the milk solids separate, leaving behind the clear fat. Ghee has been a staple in Indian cooking for thousands of years. This is my simple recipe for making Instant Ghee in Instant Pot or stove, where I cook unsalted butter till the milk solids separate from the butter and get caramelized, leaving behind an aromatic clear fat, Ghee. Using this recipe, you can also make Clarified butter, in which the milk solids are removed as soon as they separate from the fat.
My Mother’s Recipe for Ghee
Ghee has been an integral part of Indian cooking for generations. My mother still makes it from scratch. She boils each batch of milk and skims off the fat layer when it’s cooled. After collecting enough fat for a week, she slow cooks it for an hour or so, till the clarified butter separates from the milk solids.
What’s left at the bottom of the pan are caramelized milk solids. Mom even has some clever recipes for the caramelized milk solids that get left behind…. but that’s another post!
I typically end up using these milk solids for kneading dough for Indian flatbreads, Roti and Parantha.
Popularity and Benefits of Ghee
Ghee has gained immense popularity worldwide over the last few years. Due to it’s health benefits and fat composition, it is a big part of many trending diets now . Thanks to it’s popularity, it is now widely available in supermarkets and grocery stores. Ghee is also available on Amazon.com.
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.
In a lot of recipes for soups, stews and curries, ghee and clarified butter are a great alternative to butter. They both have a higher smoke point than butter since the milk solids have been removed from the fat. So, they work great for sautéing, browning, searing and caramelizing foods.
Is Ghee the Same as Clarified Butter?
Till a few years ago, there wasn’t much clarity on the slight difference between ghee and clarified butter. The ‘English’ word for ‘Ghee’ is ‘Clarified Butter’. Due to that recipe makers and the food industry commonly uses the two words interchangeably.
Clarified butter is easy to identify, so a lot of recipes and labels mention both words . Ghee is clarified butter, cooked just a few minutes longer. The change is a subtle nuttiness you get in ghee vs. clarified butter.
It is not uncommon to see the two words Ghee and Clarified Butter used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference between the two.
Clarified butter is the clear fat that is left behind after the milk solids separate from the fat. After you strain out the milk solids you get clarified butter. That is what you typically serve with a seafood or lobster boil. Clarified butter has a more neutral smell and taste to it.
Now, if you let the milk solids cook further and caramelize, and then strain them out, that clear fat is called Ghee. The caramelizing of the milk solids gives it a stronger aroma and a nutty flavor.
Using This Recipe to Make Clarified Butter
If you want to make Clarified butter using this recipe, hit ‘Cancel’ as soon as the milk solids separate. Carefully, remove the inner pot from the base unit to prevent it from cooking any further.
Let is cool for a few minutes and then strain out the clear fat using a fine sieve. The clear liquid at this stage is called clarified butter.
Instant Ghee in Instant Pot
To me, nothing beats the taste of homemade Ghee– its creamy, rich and slightly nutty! Using this simple, fail-proof recipe, you can make this “liquid gold” in under 10 minute (for 16oz. of butter) using grass-fed, organic or any unsalted butter of your choice.
Double the Recipe
If you double this recipe and use 32oz of butter, the time will increase to around 15-16 minutes. In this video, I used my Instant Pot DUO 6QT for making Ghee. In a Instant Pot Mini 3 Qt, it takes me anywhere between 13-15 minutes for the same amount of butter, since Mini has a smaller surface area.
Why Make Ghee in an Instant Pot vs. Stove?
You can actually make Ghee in a sauce-pan, on the stove in just about the same time as the Instant Pot. However, whenever I have to pass on this recipe 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 will their butter be when they start.
Instant Pot just takes that “guesswork” out for me when I’m passing on my recipes. For example, if I have to delegate this task to one of my kids or my husband, I would feel confident with the Instant Pot version:-) The Instant Pot results are more time and heat consistent, which means lesser chance of burnt Ghee:-) Another huge plus is that you don’t have to stir the pot regularly.
I start by taking a heavy bottom and tall sauce pan. The heavy bottom provides even heat distribution and reduces the chances of burning the milk solids. The tall sauce pan comes in handy if the butter splashes in the beginning due to a temperature difference.
Start by adding butter to a cold pan, turn on heat on medium heat. Let it melt slowly and then monitor it till the milk solids separate and caramelize. Let the pan cool. Strain out the milk solids and store your ghee in a cool dark place.
So, I would say however you choose to make your Ghee, you’ll be happy with the result!
Flavor Variation: Saffron Infused Ghee
Once the ghee is done, I strain it into mason jars and add 1/2 teaspoon saffron strands in each mason jar. Since the ghee is still warm at this point, it gets infused with a subtle flavor and color of saffron.
I still want to be able to smell and taste the nuttiness of the Ghee, but now it has a nice floral hint, which takes it to another level.
Indian Recipes with Ghee
I have tons of recipes, many using the instant pot, for Indian dishes. Check out:
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Ghee is unsalted butter cooked till the milk solids separate, leaving behind the clear fat. Also called clarified butter, ghee is very popular in Indian cuisine.
- Turn Instant Pot on 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.
Depending on the butter and temperature around, it takes anywhere between 7-10 minutes for ghee to be done, so keep an eye starting at 7 minutes. This time is for the 6qt DUO for 16 oz. unsalted butter. In a 3qt MINI, it takes me about 12-13 minutes. Temperature in the house, temperature of butter also influences the total time.
When done, Ghee should be clear and you should be able to see the bottom of the pan. The milk solids at the bottom will be more grainy and caramelized (golden brownish), so don't worry. 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 refrigerate. Ghee stays good for a month at room temperature, and in the refrigerator for up to six months.
- 16 ounces of butter makes roughly 14 ounces of Ghee. If you like to double the butter and use 32 ounces, set a timer for 12 minutes and start monitoring. Depending on the butter and temperature around, It may be done anywhere between 12-14 minutes.
Heat a deep sauce pan on medium heat of your moderate flame/heat burner. Set a timer for 10 minutes for 16 oz of butter, stirring at half-way point. Follow all other instructions as-is.
Once the ghee is done, I strain it into mason jars and add 1/2 teaspoon saffron strands in each mason jar. Since the ghee is still warm at this point, it gets infused with a subtle flavor and color of saffron. I still want to be able to smell and taste the nuttiness of the Ghee, but now it has a nice floral hint, which takes it to another level.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.