Ghee: A Fat That’s Solid Gold

Butter is great for adding richness, but it burns under high heat. Which is why we love ghee, a staple of Indian and Pakistani cooking.

Ghee is butter slowly simmered to separate out water and milk solids (which burn easily). In this way, ghee is similar to clarified butter. However, ghee is cooked longer, so the milk solids caramelize before they’re strained out, imparting a deeper overall flavor to the finished ghee. What’s left behind is a golden-colored fat that is solid at room temperature and has a high smoke point (485°F), ideal for sautéing and searing.

A shelf-stable product, ghee can be found in supermarkets in the international aisle, with other cooking fats, or sometimes in the refrigerated case alongside butter. Once opened, ghee can be stored for up to three months in the pantry, or in the refrigerator for up to a year.

As you might expect, ghee is incredibly versatile. We love how it adds a special richness to rice dishes, curries and stews, even to a traditional hollandaise sauce. Or use it anywhere you’d use melted butter—as a dipping sauce for lobster, for making omelets, drizzled over popcorn or stirred into cooked greens. It’s also excellent for baking, and it makes stellar caramel.