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Smoky yet refined, bold yet restrained, ghee adds layers of flavor to just about any dish that calls for butter. Unlike regular butter, ghee has a high smoking point, so you can use it to deep-fry, saute and shallow-fry without smoking or burning. Ghee and clarified butter are essentially the same fat; however, ghee cooks with milk solids longer during preparation, so it has a stronger infusion of the caramelized, nutty flavor. You can substitute ghee for butter using a one-to-one ratio. You can check out other cooking substitutions here.

Use the same amount of ghee in a recipe that calls for butter in a 1-to-1 ratio. Substituting ghee for butter does not work in cold recipes or one that requires the butter to act as a binding agent, such as cereal treats. Switching out butter with ghee works best in a warm dish where a buttery aroma and nutty flavor are desirable.

Taste test the dish prepared with ghee to compare its consistency and texture. Because ghee is basically liquid, your dish may be more moist than if made with regular butter. If you are preparing a dough recipe, add a tablespoon or so of extra flour to counteract the moisture.

Optional: Add a pinch of salt to taste; however, if salt is essential to the dish's flavor, add it because ghee contains no salt at all.

While cooking, watch the heat closely to prevent overcooking. Ghee does not burn as quickly as butter, so if you wait for smoking as an indication of readiness, your food could overcook. Instead, check meat using a meat thermometer, test vegetables for firmness with a fork, and taste sauces as you cook.


Sauteed and fried dishes benefit most from this substitution, as ghee does not burn as easily as butter.

Do not use vanaspati ghee as a substitute for butter. The product is similar to vegetable shortening and does not yield results that resemble butter.

About the Author

Suzanne Akerman

Suzanne Akerman began writing in 2000. She has worked as a consultant at Pacific Lutheran University's Writing Center and her works have been published in the creative arts journal "Saxifrage." Akerman holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in education from Pacific Lutheran University.