What is clarified butter?

Also called drawn butter, clarified butter is an unsalted butter that is melted down to have the water and all of  the milk solids removed.   The result is transulcent, yellow, pure liquid butterfat. It has a bit of a nutty taste.


Clarified butter is often used in baking where creaming of the butter is not required. It is also used to make Hollandaise sauces.

Ghee is a type of clarified butter popular in Indian cuisine. It is cooked longer to remove all of the water, which allows it to be stored longer than regular clarified butter. It can even be stored at room temperature.

Clarified butter infused with various herbs such as garlic and ginger is popular in Eritrean and Ethopian cuisine.


  1. Can be stored in the refrigerator for many months.
  2. Has a high smoke point, which makes it suitable for frying and sauteeing without burning.
  1. Does not have the rich taste of regular unsalted butter.
How to make clarified butter

Use 25% more regular unsalted butter than the amount of clarified butter required, since the volume will be reduced as it is melted down and the solids are removed.   Melt the butter over low heat in a saucepan. Eventually, the butter will break down and three layers should form. The white foam on top are the whey proteins which can be skimmed off.   A layer of milk solids should form on the bottom of the pan.

After removing the mixture from the heat and letting it settle to allow more milk solids to drop to the bottom, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth or very fine sieve.  The result should be the pure liquid butterfat, which is clarified butter..

You can control the intensity of the flavor by how long you cook the butter. You get a more intense, nutty flavor if it is looked longer after it breaks down, with the milk solids on the bottom of the pan turning brown. Cooking too long, however, will result in a bitter flavor.