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Difference Between Ghee and Clarified Butter

butterGhee vs Clarified Butter

Ghee and clarified butter are very similar. In fact, ghee is a class of clarified butter. It originated in southeast Asia, but it is commonly used by south and middle eastern Asian countries as well – particularly, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Egypt.

To make Ghee, unsalted butter is simmered in a large pot. The water is completely vaporized, and the protein and milk solids settle to the bottom of the pan. Sedimentation is an important part of the ghee making process, as it is the primary intention, as well as the boiling of water from the butter.

The cooked and clarified butter that displaces above the mixture, is typically separated by spooning. It should be carefully done so that the sediments are not disturbed, and mixed with the clarified butter once again. Sometimes there are solids that float and need to be skimmed off, and these are usually in the foam that is formed during boiling. Other processes may involve straining, but it is not usually necessary. Ghee, considering its Indian roots, comes from the butter usually made from buffalo’s milk.

Ghee is referred to more as a traditional sense of clarified butter. In India, it is often used in many rituals, particularly in the Hindu religion. The word ‘ghee’ came from Sanskrit. As part of Hindu tradition, ghee is also used as fuel for the Hindu votive lamp, referred to as the ‘diya’. Ghee is considered as one of the sacred substances, along with milk and honey.

Apart from the traditional and religious uses of ghee in India, ghee is extensively used in Indian and Punjabi cuisine. The rich and the poor utilize the food product in a wide variety of dishes, whether it is simple or fancy. The actual uses of ghee in the said countries are countless.

Today, in other places (particularly western countries), clarified butter is refered to as ghee. It somehow blurs the distinction between the two. Clarified butter can actually come from other types of milk, but it is made in a similar way. Clarified butter is called as ‘samnah’ in the middle east, and in Brazil it is known as ‘manteiga de garrafa’ (bottled butter). Strictly speaking, ghee is Indian clarified butter. The term was ultimately borrowed and embraced by the western culture.


1. Ghee is actually a kind of clarified butter, since there many varieties of clarified butter.

2. In the western world, ghee is accepted as another term for clarified butter.

3. Ghee is actually an Indian term, and it is widely used in their culture for traditional and religious practices, aside from their native cuisine.

4. Clarified butter can actually come from any kind of butterfat ,while ghee, by Indian tradition and convention, comes from the butter made from water buffalo’s milk.

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  1. Please check out the difference between ghee and butter on our website.

    • The description of ghee is fine. The lexical explanations are a bit off. Most westerners don’t what ghee is. To explain, we say it is “clarified butter” — which is rarely ever used in western cooking anyway. Samnah/Samne is an even rarer commodity and word in the west. But people who know what it is, don’t call it ghee, even if they may buy ghee in an Indian market because it is more readily available. And for the record, proper religious rites demand ghee from cow’s milk (true ghrta), not water buffalo.

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