Clarified butter has become especially popular in French cuisine, although it also features heavily in American and English cooking.
Used primarily for frying, this type of butter has also become famous for acting as a dip. In some cases, it could work in baking as well.
What is the best substitute for clarified butter? The most suitable option available is ghee – a product that shares significant similarities to clarified butter. Ghee primarily works in baking conditions, and its health benefits make it an excellent option for anyone.
An Overview of Clarified Butter
Clarified butter is an anhydrous milk fat that you get from regular butter variants. It is made by separating the water and milk solids from your butter. The butter is usually melted, and the milk solids settle at the bottom of the pan. Then, the water evaporates.
While it is primarily famous in French cuisine, clarified butter has also gotten some additional application worldwide. It is especially great for deep frying, thanks to its incredibly high smoke point. Clarified butter also has a longer shelf life than regular butter, so it works if you need an option that lasts long.
Beyond frying, clarified butter also works as a condiment for shellfish and as a dop. Most chefs use it as a specialty ingredient, and it works pretty well. While it has a high calorie content, you can easily take it in moderation and ensure that this doesn’t cause much of a problem down the line.
Why Replace Clarified Butter?
- Milk allergies: Clarified butter usually contains a significant portion of casein – a milk protein. Some people might have allergies to this, preventing them from consuming clarified butter at all. This is especially true if the allergy is severe.
- Lactose intolerance: Most lactose-intolerant people can still accept a little lactose in their butter without any reactions. However, people with severe lactose sensitivities might have to avoid clarified butter altogether and find better substitutes.
- Health concerns: Some people avoid clarified butter because of its high content of saturated fats. A high intake of this is linked to increased cholesterol levels, and you also need to remember that butter comes with elevated calorie content.
Options for Clarified Butter Substitutes
Best Overall Substitute for Clarified Butter: Ghee
Ghee is a type of clarified butter in itself. It originates from India, and it is essentially a form of butter that is melted for an even longer time.
Many tend to believe that ghee and clarified butter are the same. However, this isn’t precisely so. Ghee is a separate product with its characteristics that differ from those of clarified butter. You can easily find it in well-stocked grocery stores and those that specialize in Indian cuisine.
Ghee comes with its distinct taste and aroma, as well as a nutty flavor that can easily spruce up your dish. Ghee also can last for a long time, even without refrigeration. So, you can purchase a sizable amount and not have to bother about storage for a while.
Ghee primarily works as a substitute for butter in baking operations that require higher temperatures. It also works for people looking for healthy substitutes, as it doesn’t have much content of fats and calories. You will also love the fact that ghee is easy to digest.
Ideally, ghee is a one-for-one substitute for clarified butter in baking and cooking. However, you might need to change the volume of ghee that you use in some recipes. This is because ghee contains more moisture than butter. So, you will have to account for that when you use it.
Best Substitute for Baking: Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another ideal substitute for clarified butter that provides versatile use. However, it is especially great for baking and making baked goods.
With coconut oil, you get a distinct taste, which might alter the taste of your goods. However, some refined options don’t taste like coconut at all. These are more ideal options. At the same time, many people love coconut oil because it provides impressive health benefits. It can help you to reduce your fat intake, so you can easily use it if you’re looking to watch your fat consumption.
Note that coconut oil is a one-for-one substitute for clarified butter. So, you don’t have any worries in terms of applicability.
Best Substitute for Cooking: Olive Oil
Olive oil has become especially popular in Mediterranean recipes. However, it has also risen as a substitute for clarified butter in recipes that will require some cooking on a stovetop. At the same time, it works well when sautéing meat and vegetables.
Since it is a liquid, olive oil doesn’t work so well when it comes to baking. Most baked goods will require that the fat remains solid – or, at least, return to solid as it cools. Still, you can make some baked goods – such as pancakes – with olive oil instead.
Olive oil is also beneficial to health since it primarily contains monounsaturated fat. This type of fat is good for your health and provides several benefits that you can’t get with saturated fats. Benefits include lowering cholesterol levels and improving your ability to control your blood sugar.
Note, however, that olive oil has a high content of calories. So, you want to consume it in moderation. Apply it as you see fit, although most experts recommend that you use ¾ quantities of olive oil as you would use one quantity of clarified butter.