How to Clarify Butter


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Clarified Butter makes everything taste better, and allows you to cook on high heat without danger of burning. It’s the perfect dip for lobster and other seafood too! Using clarified butter is the perfect topper for popcorn… no more soggy kernels (because the water is removed from it)!

It imparts a full, rich flavor to sautéed vegetables, and mellows the spicy hotness of such recipes.

Melted clarified butter in a pot.

What Exactly Is Clarified Butter?

Clarified butter is the beautiful yellow liquid you see in the photos. Similar to ghee in Indian cuisine (a little bit different but close), it comes from ordinary salted or unsalted butter you buy at the grocery store.

Butter is composed of milk solids, fats and water.  When cooked, you remove the milk solids and are left with the fat which is golden delicious.

Sound complicated? Don’t worry! It’s super easy and pretty quick.

Two images showing butter sticks before and after being heated.

Why Clarify It?

Butter burns easily because the milk solids it contains cannot withstand high heat. Sometimes you want that browned butter taste, but other times you want to roast, fry or sauté on high and plain butter is out of the question. That’s when clarified butter becomes your cooking ally.

The other reason to clarify butter is that it prevents it from going rancid. You can store clarified butter for up to a year in the refrigerator, or in the cupboard for up to six months. Because it’s pure fat, it won’t spoil.

Melted butter with the foam partially skimmed off.

To Make Clarified Butter

Here’s how to get clarified butter:

  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan on low heat until it starts to bubble, skimming the foam from the top.
  2. Continue cooking on low until it stops bubbling and the liquid is clear.
  3. When all the milk solids have cooked out and sunk, tip the pan and carefully pour off the fat into a glass or ceramic jar, leaving the solids behind. Cheesecloth or coffee filters are helpful when making clarified butter.
  4. Cool and store in the refrigerator or cupboard.

How to Store It

Clarified butter should be stored in a tightly covered jar. It will solidify slightly in the refrigerator and will remain liquefied in the cupboard or countertop for use in cooking for months to come.

Use it for shrimp scampi, stir-fries or to for a drizzle over clams, mussels, and oysters.

Try Clarified Butter In These Delicious Recipes

Clarified Butter

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cooling Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 tablespoons
Author Holly Nilsson
Course How To
Cuisine American
It’s great in Indian cooking or the perfect dip for seafood too!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb butter

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Instructions

  1. Place butter in a small saucepan and melt over low heat.

  2. Cook at a low temperature ensuring the butter isn't browning while gently skimming the foam off the top. This can take a little time, be patient.

  3. Once the foam has been removed and you're left with a yellow liquid, allow it to cool/rest for about 5-7 minutes. You'll see some sediment at the bottom (these are the milk solids).
  4. Line a mesh strainer with a coffee filter or cheesecloth and gently pour the golden liquid into a container while leaving any solids behind.
  5. Refrigerate clarified butter up to 1 month.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 271, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 270mg, Potassium: 9mg, Carbohydrates: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Protein: 1g, Vitamin A: 945%, Calcium: 9%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword How to Clarify Butter
Clarified Butter in a white pot.
Clarified Butter in a white pot.
Top photo - Melted butter being filtered. Bottom photo - Clarified Butter in a white pot.

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About the author

Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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