Ghee: What is This Healthy Fat? |

Ghee: What Is This Healthy Fat?

Ghee…what is this healthy fat that’s becoming so popular in the Paleo & real food world?

Ghee: What is This Healthy Fat? |

Essentially, it’ss a type of clarified butter that’s been cooked a bit longer to give it a nutty flavor. It’s got some fantastic properties that make it both healthy and good to cook with.

But first, let’s settle something: Ghee, derived from butter, is technically a dairy product. Yep. There it is. Dairy.

Even if you’re a very strict Paleo-eater, don’t click away just yet. There are some reasons why ghee is a superior fat and one of the least problematic dairy products out there. Put simply, ghee is pure fat.

How is it Made?

Ghee (rhymes with “me”) is made by heating butter slowly until all the water cooks off and the proteins coagulate in the bottom of the pan. The ghee is poured off and strained, solidifying once it has cooled.

It’s cooked longer than traditional clarified butter which gives it a nutty, butterscotch-y aroma. Basically, ghee smells like victory. If you’ve ever caught yourself just smelling the jar for no reason, you’re not alone. Ahem.

It’s easy to find ghee is most large markets and health food stores, and if you’re feeling crafty, you can also make your own.

When it comes to purchasing or making your own ghee, make sure the butter is from grass-fed, organic cows: If the butter is white or very pale yellow, it’s probably not high-quality. The fat produced from grass-fed cows is superior for a few reasons which are mentioned in the next section.

To see my favorite brand, click here.

But, Isn’t It Still Dairy?

Technically. But. BUT.

The reason why dairy is not part of a rigid Paleo template is because it can cause inflammation, sensitivities and intolerances. (Milk is a complex brew of proteins, carbohydrates and fat of which folks are generally sensitive to either the proteins or the carbohydrates, not the fat.)

Ghee is pure butter fat without the components that can make dairy problematic for many people. Note: If you’re really dairy sensitive, trace amounts of these – such as casein – may remain and cause issues, but for most folks, it doesn’t.

If you’re sensitive to lactose, look for a pre-made, cultured ghee.

Need more convincing? Even my friends over at Whole30 have made it the only Whole30-approved dairy product.

So what’s so special about this delicious, golden butterfat? Cows that feed on grass produce butterfat with more conjugated linoleic acid (a fatty acid), vitamin K2, beta carotene (which is why it’s so vibrant yellow), vitamin A and a better Omega-3 fatty acid ratio than those fed on grain.

Try to go with ghee made from grass-fed butter when you can. I like to use Kerrygold butter for making my own.

And, butterfat is high in saturated fatty acids. In other words, it’s a healthy fat. Need to know more about saturated vs. unsaturated fats? Read here.

3 Reasons Why Ghee is a Star In My Kitchen

Besides the aforementioned, when it comes to cooking, ghee is my favorite fat to use in the kitchen for these reasons:

  • It has a really high smoke point: 485°F (252°C), far higher than coconut oil, olive oil, lard, butter, etc. This makes it ideal for high temperature cooking.
  • It’s incredibly shelf-stable. It will last for months without refrigeration, though it’s recommended that you store it away from direct light and heat and only use clean, dry utensils to remove it from its jar. Keep it tightly covered when not in use.
  • It has a rich depth of flavor and adds a complexity to many foods that can’t be achieved with other oils or fats. Plus, I know a lot of folks don’t like the taste of coconut oil so this is a great alternative.

Wondering what you can make with ghee?

Try these:

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Ghee: What is This Healthy Fat? |

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31 Responses

  1. Ghee is my absolute FAVOURITE! And I wrote a post about it earlier this year. I think I called my post Ghee 101 or something, but I loved learning from you, too, Steph!

    In my post I didn’t emphasize that the cows should be grassfed and I should have. I do have ghee in my fridge right now, but do not know if it is grassfed or not 🙁 I really wish I had omghee available to me!


    1. I will definitely check it out…how cool!

      Well, the way I see it, grass-fed > grain-fed > industrial oils. There’s a good—better—best going on there.

      If you can find your own grass-fed butter, it’s really easy to make ghee at home 🙂

  2. YES, just recently though. I love it. I tried it because butter doesn’t usually cause me a problem, but most dairy does. I opened it and the smell was so yummy, everything I love about butter and nothing that I didn’t. I also love the high smoke point and use it to do all my oven roasting!

  3. I loved this post Steph! I made my own ghee at home one time and I cooked it too fast so I think it was clarified butter, I will be doing this today!

    1. Yay! Glad you liked it.

      When you’re making it yourself, definitely keep the heat very low and once you see those milk solids browning, watch it like a hawk! Have fun 🙂

  4. I love the organic ghee made by Purity Farms. It is derived from grass-fed cows and delicious. I learned of this brand from my autistic son’s nutritionist and have been hooked ever since. Plus, they sell it right at Whole Foods, right up the street from me.

  5. Well OK. Ghee is wonderful. But it isn’t Paleo. What a dumb name for a diet fad. What caveman had the time to clarify butter? Silly. Just silly.

    1. Hi Ray,

      Technically Ghee isn’t Paleo but it is a nutrient dense fat that is a bit more tolerable with the dairy solids removed. It’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for years because of it’s healing nature; It soothes the intestinal lining. At the end of the day what matters about said “fad diet” is how it works for you. We all get to choose what we eat and define it’s meaning. Eating whole nutrient dense foods is never a fad.

      1. Hey! Sorry, that didn’t come out the way I meant it to. Maybe because I’m recovering from major foot surgery and on some painkillers :). Anyway, I love “Paleo” and any other dietary concept that emphasizes eating REAL food. i just like to havr a little fun with the caveman element!

        1. Hi Ray,

          Hope you get well soon! I appreciate feedback and I agree emphasizing real food is what we should all be advocating for. 🙂

    2. Ray,

      I agree. Ghee and olive oil weren’t consumed by humans until after the paleolithic era. As you said, dietary concepts that emphasizes eating real food are a good thing. But ‘Paleo’ is a confusing name since people seem to have different ideas about what the diet would include or not.


  6. YES, Ghee has such a great flavor and is versatile enough to work in so many recipes. I love the grass fed ghee I got from – they even have different flavors. I’ve been putting french vanilla ghee in my morning coffee and now I’m addicted.

  7. Tried ghee for the first time today-had it in my oatmeal. The purest ghee is expensive. It made my oatmeal yummy really yummy and it’s good for you. Lubricates Connective Tissue that’s what I like about it.

  8. has anyone had it that is allergic to dairy proteins? My daughter is allergic to whey and casein, I have been trying to find alternatives. And she is not a fan of coconut oil. I’m a little hesitant since it is possible that it still has traces of casein. Thoughts?

    1. Yes! The buttery coconut oil is a frying favorite of mine when a recipe calls for melted butter. No coconut taste. So buttery! And Vegan!

  9. My daughter recently discovered Ghee and we all fell in love with it. I hadn’t eaten butter for several years, and having a healthy, and better, alternative is just great!

    I gather from previous posts that you can make Ghee in different flavors, French vanilla ghee, for instance. Where can I find how to do this, and other flavors, as well?

  10. So, ghee can be recommended to people who are dairy-free due to having no milk solids at all? I love this idea because it means that I can add more fat-soluble vitamins to the diets of my acne clients who might be lactose intolerant. I personally eat grassfed butter every day and I am so grateful for the valuable nutrients that it gives me. Considering that fat-soluble vitamins are so important in curing acne, this is a great idea. Thanks.

    1. It depends on your level of intolerance to dairy protein. If you’re extremely sensitive, you might not do well due to trace amounts of protein. If you’re sensitive to milk sugars, a cultured ghee might work better for them.

  11. Hello, Steph!

    Great read! Really convinced! Thanks for the good info.

    So yeah, by the way, I got some questions! Hope you don’t mind answering. I was wondering if ghee contains IGF like what I heard most dairy products do? IGF is mostly found in milk proteins, right? Like in yogurt, cheese, milk. Now I really want to try out ghee as I heard there are many health benefits of consuming it, like which you pointed out on this page but I’m just not sure about jumping in on it yet (mainly because of the trace protein, and don’t know if it contains IGF). If ghee does contain IGF, is there a lot?? Or not much at all to be worried about it aggravating skin problems like acne and such. Should I be concerned? Sorry for bombarding you with so many questions! Just really curious and cautious right now with ghee.

    Talk to you later? 🙂 Thanks a bunch in advance!

    1. William, if you’re concerned about any remaining dairy sugar I would look for a cultured ghee. Most manufacturers get a very pure product with little dairy protein remaining, but there will almost always be some trace left behind. I think they only way to know for sure if it works for you would be to try it, provided you don’t mind the potential outcomes. Acne often has its roots in subpar gut health, so if you’re not working actively on repairing the integrity of your gut, you’re more likely to have skin issues.

  12. Just googled to see benefits of Ghee vs grass fed butter and your blog came up. Nice! Found Kalepo brand grassfed Ghee at local TJX stores and bought all 3 jars. Came home, spread on Udis bread and WOW! Love the benfits too. A nice efa to incorporate into my healthy eating plan. Thanks Steph, Tom

    1. Hi Tom, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I’m sure you’ll find more valuable information exploring the site. Have fun!

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Hi, I'm Steph!

Lord of the Rings nerd, cold brew drinker, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.

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