Difference Between Ghee and Clarified Butter

Butter is an essential part of cooking – whether it’s frying, sautéing, or simply applying it to bread or other dishes to enhance their flavor. Every geographical region invented its kind of butter over the past.

Now that we are all well connected, these distinctive “butters” have traveled all over the world and have somehow started to be confused with each other.

Ghee vs Clarified Butter

The main difference between Ghee and Clarified butter is that Ghee is a little more caramelized than Clarified Butter. It is also safe to say, that all Ghee is clarified butter but not all Clarified Butter is Ghee. The initial process of their production is same, but Ghee is roasted more than Clarified Butter which gives it a nutty flavor.

Ghee vs Clarified Butter

Ghee is prepared by heating butter till all the liquid inside it evaporates and milk solids settle down and turn dark brown. Then, the remaining liquid is strained into a container after it cools down.

Unlike traditional butter, Ghee is soft and fluid at room temperature which increases its shelf life. Originated in the Indian Subcontinent, Ghee has now traveled to the plates of people around the world.

Clarified butter is made by simmering the butter only till milk solids are golden and then it’s left to cool down a little. After that, it is transferred to a heatproof container and can be kept at room temperature as it doesn’t solidify.

Clarified Butter originated in the country of France and later made its way to the mainstream cuisines.

Comparison Table Between Ghee and Clarified Butter

Parameters of ComparisonGheeClarified Butter
TasteNutty tasteRoasted taste
OriginationIndiaFrance
AvailabilityWidely available in grocery storesLess available in grocery stores
Smoke PointAround 260 CAround 252 C
PreparationGhee is simmered more than clarified butterClarified Butter is simmered less than Ghee

What is Ghee?

Ghee, originated from the Sanskrit word Ghrita, is a type of butter. In order to make Ghee, we first need to heat traditional butter till all the liquid inside it evaporates and milk solids settle to the bottom.

Then, the liquid is roasted until the solids turn from golden to dark brown, and after that, it’s left to cool down a little till its mild warm. Now it is transferred to a container and kept at room temperature.

Traditionally, Ghee was used in Ayurveda and Indian Cuisines. It holds a higher point in the Indian culture and its cooking methods too.

Due to the reason that all the liquid is vaporized, it doesn’t start to burn when exposed to higher temperatures. That is the reason for its high smoke point.

Also because of the low levels of water, Ghee doesn’t solidify at room temperature but if kept in a refrigerator, it loses its fluid state.

Ghee contains Vitamin A, E and K. Other than that, it also has saturated and unsaturated fat, protein, carbohydrates, omega 3 & 6.

As known widely, Omega 3 & 6 are responsible for brain and heart health, and the fact that Ghee has them both makes it a healthy food item.

For those who are lactose intolerant, Ghee might be the only dairy-product they can consume as it contains less than 2 mg / 100 g of lactose.

What is Clarified Butter?

Traditional butter contains 80% butter fat and 20% water. So when it is simmered, it loses the 20% water and now the liquid contains 100% fat. This new liquid is called “Clarified Butter”.

The traditional butter is heated until the milk solids that settle to the bottom are golden brown and then it’s left to cool down. After that, it can be transferred to a container and kept at room temperature. In cold weather, Clarified Butter gets solidified.

Invented in the French region, Clarified Butter has since then advanced its reach. Clarified Butter contains Vitamin A, E and K, saturated and monounsaturated fat, protein, omega 3 & 6 and other nutrients.

As the amount of water present in Clarified Butter is negligible, it is suitable for high-flame of high-temperature cooking. Clarified Butter has a high melting point than traditional butter and more fat which gives a rich taste.

Main Differences Between Ghee and Clarified Butter

  1. The initial process of producing both Ghee and Butter is same. The difference is that Ghee is simmered longer than Clarified Butter.
  2. Due to the reason that Ghee is heated for a longer duration, Ghee tastes nuttier than Butter.
  3. As Ghee is simmered for a longer duration, the water concentration is lower in it than Clarified Butter. Therefore, Ghee has a high smoke point than Clarified Butter.
  4. Ghee was originated in the Indian Subcontinent whereas Clarified Butter is the product of France.
  5. Ghee is easily available in the local market than Clarified Butter is.
Difference Between Ghee and Clarified Butter

Conclusion

As Ghee and Clarified Butter both nearly have the same properties, many people think they are the same thing. The irony is that they can actually be used interchangeably in cooking as they yield the same results.

But, that doesn’t mean that they are same, it simply means that some properties of both the substances are same. To better understand the complexity of this topic, you can think like this: all Ghee is Clarified Butter but not all Clarified Butter is Ghee.

To summarize, Ghee is made by heating butter until the milk solids turn dark brown and Clarified Butter is prepared by heating butter until milk solids turn golden.

Due to the extra roasting, Ghee gains a nutty flavor which is missing in Clarified Butter and also, Ghee has a high smoke point than Clarified Butter.

Though the reason is unknown, Ghee is easier to find in the markets than Clarified Butter. Ghee was originated in India. On the other hand, Clarified Butter was originated in France.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13197-021-05335-7
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Dhirajsingh-Rajput/publication/330507908_Physico_-_Chemical_Analysis_of_Purana_Ghrita_Old_Clarified_Butter_with_special_reference_to_Fatty_Acid_Profile/links/5c448d25458515a4c7341dfc/Physico-Chemical-Analysis-of-Purana-Ghrita-Old-Clarified-Butter-with-special-reference-to-Fatty-Acid-Profile.pdf
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