The Best Ghee Substitutes for Delicious Cooking

Published Categorized as Journal

Originally an Indian cooking staple, the use of ghee is now gaining huge momentum in the Middle East and Southeast Asian countries. With a high smoking point and nutty flavor, it is a great ingredient to have in your kitchen. Saying that there are many alternatives to ghee, some of which you may have to hand already! Let’s check them out.

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Table of Contents

Olive oil butter substitute ghee in a glass jar surrounded by flowers

What is ghee?

Ghee is a clarified version of butter. With a nutty flavor, this is a type of butter that has been strained to remove the excess water. This results in a low-fat product with a high smoking point.

Ghee has a lower dairy content than regular butter.

Ghee is so popular in cooking thanks to its slightly caramelized flavor and nutty aroma, which is acquired from the browning process it undergoes to produce. The browning process also removes the uncooked milk solids, making it more suitable for people with dairy sensitivity and even giving it a longer shelf-life!

I don’t have any ghee at home, now what?

Homemade ghee

While this might sound a bit extravagant, making ghee yourself is actually pretty easy! To get best results, only use high quality ingredients, like organic, unsalted, grass-fed butter.

The following recipe will make 2 cups of lovely, homemade ghee.

How to make ghee

  1. Using 1lb of butter, cut into small cubes and melt over low heat. To help the butter melt, give the butter an occasional stir and bring the butter to a simmer, until foam forms.

  2. Using a spoon, scoop out the foam. This may need to be repeated a few times.

  3. Continue to cook the mixture for about 25 minutes, until the middle layer is translucent.

  4. At the bottom of the pan, you should see some remnants of milk solids. Let the ghee cool for a while and then strain, using a nut milk bag, coffee, filter, or cheesecloth. Your kitchen will be filled with a lovely fragrant smell of ghee!

The Best Ghee Substitutes

Butter

Of course, you can always just use normal butter! Normal butter doesn’t have the caramelized, nutty flavor that ghee offers. But if you are not lactose intolerant and prefer the neutrality and sweetness the milk contents provide, then you’re good to go!

If you’re doing some high heat cooking, butter may not be the best option as it has a much lower smoking point than ghee. Normal butter is not good for frying. BUT, if you’re adding it as a finishing touch, then butter could be your best option – it can transform any dish into creamy, rich goodness!

The Best Ghee Substitutes

Sesame oil

If you’re looking for an oil that is also popular in Asian countries and has great health benefits, then give sesame oil a go!

Sesame oil is good for regulating blood level sugars and a better oil for maintaining a healthy heart condition.

Light sesame oil

Toasted sesame oil

  • Darker, blackish in color.
  • Toasted sesame oil is a better oil for use as a topping! Its nuttier, richer flavor goes great on salads, rice dishes, noodles, soups, sauces, etc.
The Best Ghee Substitutes

Avocado oil

If you’re looking for a healthy alternative, avocado oil is the best you can use. Coming from pressed avocados, avocado oil is filled with healthy fats while providing a nice buttery flavor.

If you already love avocados, then this is a great oil for you. It works great as part of marinades, soups, sauces, vinaigrettes, etc. Avocado oil has a high smoking point of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so can be used for high heat cooking.

The Best Ghee Substitutes

Olive oil

A household classic, and one you’ll most likely have to hand. Olive oil is a great general-purpose oil and another healthy option.

If your ghee substitute doesn’t need to have high heat capabilities, then olive oil is a good choice. The smoking point of olive oil is between 375-405 degrees Fahrenheit.

Both olive oil and ghee have rich nutritional profiles, the one main difference is the form in which they come in – olive oil of course comes in liquid form, while ghee comes in a solid form.

The Best Ghee Substitutes

Coconut oil

Another oil with a low smoking point, coconut oil is a good ghee alternative, thanks to its solid form. This oil can be substituted in a one-to-one ratio, so no conversion calculations need to be done.

Sunflower oil

Coming from sunflower seeds, this is a very versatile ghee substitute. It has a high smoking point, is affordable and neutral in flavor.

If you’re looking for a sunflower oil with more flavor, virgin sunflower oil has a stronger, nuttier, buttery flavor. This has a lower smoking point, but is a great finishing oil, for vinaigrettes, dressings, etc.

The Best Ghee Substitutes

Grapeseed oil

Another very versatile ghee substitute is grapeseed oil. With a high smoking point and neutral flavor, grapeseed oil is great for baking, deep-frying, sauteing, etc. and a good finishing oil too.

Canola oil (Rapeseed oil)

Otherwise known as rapeseed oil, canola oil have a very high smoking point and is a very versatile substitute. Rapeseed oil has good health benefits too, due to a low level of erucic acid and saturated fat. Its higher levels of unsaturated fat is healthier for your cardiovascular system.

Canola oil is great for deep-frying, stir-frying, pan-frying, and even grilling meats and vegetables. While canola oil has great versatility for cooking, it is not so good for baking. Due to a lower fat content than other oils, it will result in pastries that are less airy or soft.

The Best Ghee Substitutes

Clarified butter

While ghee is a type of clarified butter, ghee will solidify at a certain temperature. Regular clarified butter does not. It comes in liquid form and is processed by separating its mil curds from the water.

Clarified butter is great for making fried butter chicken, or other crispy dishes. Clarified butter also has a high smoking point making it great for deep-frying, baking, etc.

Soybean oil

As a rather common cooking medium, this is one of the most widely used vegetable oils. With a high smoking point and good affordability, soybean oil is an extremely versatile ghee substitute.

Soybean oil is great for all cooking techniques, including deep-frying, stir-frying, and sauteing. As a good emulsifying agent with a neutral flavor, soybean oil is even great for baking!

The Best Ghee Substitutes

FAQs On Substituting Ghee In Cooking

What factors do I need to consider when choosing a ghee alternative?

With so many great ghee substitutions, you may be wondering how to choose the right one for you!
Firstly, you’ll need to consider the way you’re planning on using your ghee alternative. If you are using high heat, homemade ghee, canola oil, soybean oil, refined sunflower oil, clarified butter, grapeseed oil, and avocado oil are good.
If you’re using low-heat cooking techniques or finishing oil, then butter, olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, or virgin sunflower oil are good options.

What is ghee?

Ghee, simply put, is a type of clarified butter that has been strained to remove the excess water. It has lower fat and dairy content compared to regular butter. Ghee also has a higher smoke point that butter, and an extra nutty flavor.

Ghee Substitute – Abundant Choices!

So, by now you’ll have realized that ghee can be substituted for many different things!

Make sure you consider the application of cooking before making your choice. If you’re using high heat, make sure you choose one with a high smoking point.

Let me know which one you choose in the comments!

More substitutes you might like:

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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