Ghee vs. Butter: What’s the Difference, and Which is Best?
By: Dave Asprey
April 14, 2020
- Ghee is like butter, but better. It has a higher smoke point, it’s shelf-stable and it tastes amazing.
- You can use ghee anywhere you’d use butter in your favorite recipes (including Bulletproof Coffee). It’s especially great for high-heat cooking, like roasting and stir-frying.
- Bring this tasty pantry staple to your kitchen with Bulletproof Grass-Fed Ghee.
Ghee is a clarified form of butter that’s been popular in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking for thousands of years. It has a host of benefits, including a solid nutrient profile and high smoke point, so you can really turn up the heat without damaging the fat.
But what about grass-fed ghee vs. butter — is one better than the other?
Read on to find out the difference between ghee and butter and why you might want to stock both in a fully Bulletproof kitchen.
What is ghee?
Ghee is a cooking fat, like butter or oil. It has a buttery, almost nutty flavor. The key difference is that ghee has a higher smoke point, so it’s great for roasting and high-heat cooking. It’s also shelf-stable, so it’s a great pantry staple.
What is the nutritional value of ghee?
One tablespoon of Bulletproof Grass-Fed Ghee contains:
- Calories: 120
- Total fat: 13 grams
- Total carbohydrates: 0 grams
- Protein: 0 grams
Ghee is made by heating butter, which separates liquid butterfat from milk solids. Once the milk solids are mostly removed, boom: you’ve got ghee. That’s why ghee has less casein and lactose than butter does.
Both butter and ghee contain small amounts of important fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin A and other carotenoids. While this is awesome, don’t throw out your supplements just yet. Neither butter nor ghee contain high enough amounts of these nutrients to depend on as your sole source.
Many people look to butter for its high butyrate content, a fatty acid that keeps your gut lining and metabolism in good shape. There’s some conflicting information out there on whether or not ghee contains butyrate, but the consensus seems to be … not so much. No worries. If you’re worried about your butyrate consumption, simply eat more foods with resistant starch, or use both butter and ghee in your diet.
How to use ghee
- High-heat cooking and baking
- Use it to replace butter in any of your favorite recipes
- Make Bulletproof Coffee with ghee — it’s delicious!
Smoke point determines how hot you can cook a fat before it oxidizes. Butter smokes at 350°F because the casein and lactose start to burn. Ghee, on the other hand, is one of the most stable cooking fats around. You can heat it up to a full 485°F, making it ideal for pan-frying or baking pretty much anything. It’s far more versatile than other cooking fats like butter, coconut oil, MCT oil or olive oil.
Ghee has a nutty flavor and tastes more buttery than butter itself. It holds up to strong spices well, which is one reason it’s a staple in Indian and Thai cooking. Like other fats, ghee pulls fat-soluble flavors and nutrients out of spices when you cook the two together. It’s ideal for curries, sauces and slow-cooked or simmered dishes. It’s also great drizzled over veggies with a bit of sea salt.
Oh, and you don’t have to refrigerate it. It’s shelf-stable and won’t go bad for years.
How do you make ghee?
Ghee is easy to make at home with a single ingredient and a couple of handy tools. Check out this recipe by culinary scientist Jessica Gavin.
Ghee vs. butter: What’s the final verdict?
The consensus is, ghee contains many of the same nutrients that butter does, but without as much casein and lactose. Ghee is great for cooking because you can heat it to such high temperatures. Ghee also tastes amazing and complements everything from roasted vegetables to Bulletproof Coffee.
Give Grass-Fed Ghee a try and let us know what you think!
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This is an updated version of an article originally published August 2016.