Clarified Butter

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 29. Jul. 2020

Clarified butter tastes just like butter, but is easier to cook with and contains no lactose.

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Clarified butter...

  • ...doesn't burn.
    Clarified butter has an incredibly high smoke point of 482° F. The advantage of this is that, unlike most other fats, no harmful and carcinogenic substances are formed even when heating clarified butter to a very high temperature.
  • ...is rich in vitamin A.
    Just one tablespoon (15 g) covers around 15% of our average daily requirement of vitamin A, which can help protect the body’s cells against free radical damage.
  • ...is high in cholesterol.
    Clarified butter is comprised almost entirely of fat, making it high in cholesterol. If you suffer from high cholesterol, it's best not to eat clarified butter.
  • ...doesn't contain milk proteins.
    During the production of clarified butter, all milk components and water are removed from the butter by heating and processing. This not only makes clarified butter stay fresh for a very long time without refrigeration, but also makes it easily digestible for people with milk allergies.
  • ...is lactose-free.
    All milk content is removed from clarified butter, meaning even those who are lactose intolerant can usually eat it with no issues.
  • ...is high in calories.
    Like normal butter, clarified butter is an extremely high-calorie food, with nearly 900 calories per 100 grams serving.
  • ...contains abundant saturated fatty acids.
    The fatty acid composition of clarified butter makes it easy to heat and contributes to a long shelf life.

What You Should Know About Clarified Butter

First there was butter, and soon after, there was clarified butter; it's one of the oldest foods in the world and has survived as an integral kitchen staple for centuries. Although the modern production of clarified butter is a little different from that of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the principle has remained the same for thousands of years: fresh butter is slowly melted at a low temperature, the protein foam rising to the surface is skimmed off, and almost all the water is made to evaporate by repeating this process several times. What remains is a golden-yellow, soft fat that has a very long shelf life.

Origins

Clarified butter has been produced and consumed since at least the ancient Roman times. 

Flavor

Clarified butter tastes very similar to standard butter, with a slightly more intense flavor.

How Healthy is Clarified Butter?

Like standard butter, clarified butter is extremely high in calories, and is almost 100% fat. Only about 33% of its fat content is comprised of unsaturated fatty acids, which are better for the body than saturated fats. 

On the bright side, clarified butter is a good source of vitamin A. It's also a good option for those who are lactose intolerant, as it contains virtually no lactose, unlike butter.

CLARIFIED BUTTER NUTRITIONAL INFO (100 g)  
Calories 897
Protein 0.3 g
Fat 99.5 g
Carbohydrates 0 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
 
 

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Shopping

You can find clarified butter from brand manufacturers, but also in no-name or discounter quality in the refrigerated shelves of every supermarket.

Storage

In contrast to butter, clarified butter stays fresh for a very long time. Even without refrigeration, you can store it for several months in a sealed or re-sealed package. In the refrigerator, clarified butter keeps even longer. Unlike cooking oil or butter, clarified butter is not sensitive to air and light, so it rarely tastes rancid and only long after the best-before date has passed.

What to Make With Clarified Butter

One of the best things about clarified butter, apart from its taste and long shelf life, is its versatility: whether cooking, baking, frying or deep-frying, clarified butter is a wonderful fat to cook with. This is especially true because of its high smoke point  482° F, which means that no harmful and carcinogenic substances are formed even when heating clarified butter to a very high temperature. You can therefore use clarified butter as a substitute for almost all recipes that otherwise use butter, oil or margarine. When deep-frying especially clarified butter has two other advantages: it has a more rich, flavorful taste than edible oil, and many people find its smell more pleasant. 

For those who cannot tolerate lactose and do not like margarine, clarified butter is a great alternative when baking cakes, cookies and tarts. A quick tip: when baking, take the clarified butter out of the fridge an hour or two before you need to use it so it's soft and easier to cook with.

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