Ghee vs. Butter: Which is Better?
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 is grass-fed ghee better than grass-fed butter?
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?
When you heat butter for a while, it separates into two parts: liquid butterfat and the milk solids that float to the top. Once the milk solids are removed, boom: you’ve got clarified butter or ghee.
Some people don’t necessarily differentiate clarified butter and ghee, but if you want to get technical, clarified butter contains more moisture and stays a liquid consistency. Ghee is clarified butter that cooks a bit longer until the milk solids are caramelized and more moisture evaporates. That’s what gives ghee its incredible nutty flavor, that is slightly sweet. It also gives ghee a longer shelf life than butter or clarified butter.
In terms of nutrition, clarified butter has less casein and lactose than butter, but slightly more than ghee. Read on to find out the importance of filtering out these proteins and sugars!
The nutrient content of ghee
Both butter and ghee contain small amounts of important fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins D, E, K, and beta-carotene. 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; an anti-inflammatory 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 include more resistant starch in your diet or use both butter and ghee in your diet.
Ghee has virtually no dairy protein in it
This is the biggest difference between butter and ghee and might be a game changer for you if you’re super sensitive to dairy protein. Butter is mostly fat and water, but it still has trace amounts of casein and lactose, the two compounds in dairy that most often cause allergies and sensitivities. Casein is what gives butter its wonderful creaminess. It can also cause symptoms like:
- Rashes and redness
- Wheezing, coughing, asthmatic symptoms
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, to name a few
Ghee has little to no casein or lactose, meaning even very dairy-sensitive people can usually eat it. It blends into Bulletproof Coffee well and is a decent substitute for butter in most recipes, although it’s more oily than butter and may change the consistency of a dish slightly. If you do make BP Coffee with ghee, know that it won’t foam the way butter does so you won’t get that frothy latte top. Don’t worry – it’s still tasty.
Ghee is great for digestion
Adding powdered herbs to a fat allows your body to assimilate them better. Ayurveda speaks of ghee as a vehicle, or anupana, that helps transport the medicinal properties of herbs, spices and nutrients to the organs and tissues needed for enhanced absorption. Ghee, or clarified butter, doesn’t clog your liver unlike regular butter, and it actually strengthens your digestive fire. Having strong digestion means you can actually intake the nutrients of your food properly and eliminate what you don’t need properly, too. Read more on The Healing Properties of Ghee which is reported to aid in fighting inflammation, reducing cholesterol, enhancing detoxification. strengthening immunity, boosting memory, wound healing as well as increased energy, libido and vitality.
Ghee is great for cooking
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 – far better than 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 of Indian and Thai cooking. Ghee also pulls fat-soluble flavors and nutrients out of spices when you cook the two together. It’s ideal for curries, sauces, and other 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.
In terms of what’s better, butter or ghee … what’s the verdict?
The consensus is, ghee contains many of the same nutrients that butter does, but without the casein and lactose that make some people sick. Ghee is also great for cooking because you can heat it to such high temperatures. Ghee also tastes amazing and compliments just about everything you would traditionally put butter on, especially complimenting spices and savory seasonings.
Give Bulletproof Grass-fed Ghee a try and let us know what you think by leaving comments below!
NOTE: In order to get the best health benefits from ghee you need to make sure that it is organic and has been made from grass fed butter. This is very important as many commercially produced ghee products have been found to contain high levels of hydrogenated vegetable fat.