If Indian cuisine is on your family’s menu plan, you may want to stock up on your supply of ghee.
Even though butter and ghee are essentially identical for culinary purposes, Indian food just doesn’t seem quite right without it.
Ghee is generally a premium product, in comparison to butter, so purchasing a high-quality brand that is worth the additional cost takes some research.
What are the best ghee brands? The best ghee brands are made from butter which has been produced from grass-fed, pasture-raised, and organic cows. This yields the highest concentration of fatty acids and vitamins, the best flavors and colors, as well as the lowest concentration of hormones and antibiotics.
In this article, we’ll explain exactly what ghee is and how to choose the best ghee for your needs, and then we’ll share our top 7 picks for the best ghee brands out there.
What is Ghee?
Ghee is a type of butter that has been clarified to remove both the water and milk. The ghee is the oil that is left.
Without the milk solids, ghee doesn’t spoil as quickly as butter, even if it’s not refrigerated. In fact, when it’s cooled, it becomes solid, similar to coconut oil.
Most people store their ghee at room temperature and, though it won’t as long as carefully processed oils, like olive oil or vegetable oil, it can be safely stored for several weeks in a sealed jar or container.
Ghee Vs Butter
Aside from the consistency, ghee and butter share nearly identical nutritional profiles and culinary properties. This means that one is not necessarily healthier than the other, nor will it significantly change the way it reacts when you cook with it.
Ghee has slightly more fat than butter, gram for gram, mainly because the water and milk solids have been evaporated out, so it’s more concentrated.
A significant difference, however, is the fact that the milk sugar lactose and the protein casein are removed in ghee. Many people with dairy sensitivities can enjoy ghee without any of the adverse effects that they suffer when having butter.
Ghee Vs Clarified Butter
As mentioned, ghee is a type of clarified butter, meaning all ghee is clarified butter but not all clarified butter is ghee.
What is the difference between clarified butter and ghee? The difference is solely in how long the butter is cooked. Conventional clarified butter is heated just long enough for the milk solids to sink and the water to evaporate. Ghee is cooked longer, allowing the milk solids to start caramelizing.
Even though the solids are filtered out of the final product, the flavor remains in the ghee.
What Does Ghee Taste Like?
Ghee is a type of clarified butter so the overwhelming flavor is butter.
However, the process to clarify ghee involves cooking it long enough that it will start to caramelize. This gives ghee a signature nutty flavor, in addition to the creamy, buttery flavor you would otherwise expect.
Some ghee is enhanced with additional flavors or ingredients, though these will not be natural to the ghee itself.
For example, ghee is made from unsalted butter, but it’s common to find salted ghee that has been enhanced with pink salt or other premium salts.
You might also find garlic or turmeric flavored ghee or even ghee that has been sweetened with vanilla bean or other sweet flavors.
What is Ghee Used For?
Traditionally ghee was mainly popular in Indian cuisine because it could withstand the heat of a very hot, Indian summer.
However, it has become more and more popular in recent years and is now used as a substitute for butter in any application you can imagine.
Ghee has a higher smoke point than butter, so it is better to use for any high-heat cooking. It also adds a slightly nutty creaminess to baked goods, making it a tasty substitute for oil. Of course, you can also butter your toast, vegetables, or even popcorn with ghee as well.
Best Ghee Brands
When you choose your ghee, the main consideration to look for is the quality of the butter it is sourced from.
As we said before, the best ghee will be produced from grass-fed, pasture-raised, and organic cows. This will offer the highest concentration of vitamins and fatty acids, the richest flavor and color, and the lowest hormone and antibiotic concentration.
However, the best ghee will also typically come with the highest price tag, so you may have to weight your options accordingly.
Here are our top picks for the best ghee brands:
|1.||4th & Heart Ghee||16 oz|
|2.||Ancient Organics Ghee||32 oz|
|3.||Carrington Farms Organic Ghee||12 oz|
|4.||Bulletproof Grass-Fed Ghee||13.5 oz|
|5.||Organic Valley Ghee||7.5 oz|
|6.||Spring Sunrise Organic Ghee||32 oz|
|7.||Tin Star Foods Grassfed Ghee||29 oz|
Our top 7 choices for best ghee brands have a variety of premium benefits.
You can choose if you want only the best of the best, or if you’re willing to negotiate on certain qualities in order to benefit from others, such as lower prices, better packaging or local production, among others.
1. 4th & Heart Ghee
4th & Heart makes delicious ghee that is perfectly spreadable at room temperature and does not need to be refrigerated.
Not only do they have a rich and flavorful traditional ghee, but they also produce a variety of uniquely flavored ghee options, flavored with Himalayan pink salt, vanilla bean, garlic, and turmeric.
- Sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised New Zealand cows, free from hormones and antibiotics
- High smoke point of 485F
- Lactose and casein-free
Biggest Drawback: This brand recently switched to plastic containers, which require less packaging to ship safely but dramatically impacts the perceived value of the product. However, the actual product should not be affected in the slightest!
2. Ancient Organics Ghee
Ancient Organics is an artisanal brand that prides itself on using the highest-quality ingredients and offering personal customer service.
This ghee is made using traditional Indian methods to respect and improve the connection between mind, body, and the earth. And it will really add to your dish, too.
- Sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows
- Certified USDA organic and therefore hormones and antibiotic-free
- Lactose, casein, and gluten-free
Biggest Drawback: This ghee has a stronger carmelized and nutty flavor to it, which is great for some, and worse for others. At the same time, that flavor becomes much more mild in cooking. It may be worth noting that the scent may seem strong when you open it
3. Carrington Farms Organic Ghee
Carrington Farms may not have the flashiest packaging, but they make a delicious product and have set up their own social program that helps to feed children in the Philippines where their products are sourced from.
This company offers both a commitment to social endeavors and a great product, and we appreciate it. Don’t let the simple packaging fool you; it is one of the best quality ghee products you can find.
- USDA Certified Organic and made from grass-fed cows
- Medium-high smoke point of 350F
- Triple filtered to remove all traces of milk solids
Biggest Drawback: If you’re a ghee connoisseur, this ghee is not as thoroughly clarified as some other brands, leaving it with a lighter flavor and color. For some, this is a huge benefit as the flavor and texture are more similar to the butter they’re used to, but without the lactose and casein. For others, it’s a huge disappointment.
4. Bulletproof Grass-Fed Ghee
The Bulletproof brand is one of the main reasons ghee has enjoyed such a significant rise in popularity in recent years.
By raising awareness about the benefits of fatty acids and high-quality fat in the diet, and making Bulletproof coffee a staple part of the American day, ghee has become more than just an ethnic specialty item and is now an in-demand product around the world.
- Sourced from grass-fed New Zealand cows
- Naturally sugar-free, gluten-free and non-GMO
- High smoke point of 485F
Biggest Drawback: The Bulletproof brand doesn’t claim its cows are pasture-raised, or comment on it either way. The brand is at least organic; however, if sourcing your food from animals that have been well taken care of is important to you, this brand comes with fewer guarantees than many other ghee brands.
5. Organic Valley Ghee
Organic Valley is a brand that prides themselves on the quality of their cows, which then produce premium quality dairy products, including ghee.
They’re a farmer-owned cooperative made up of more than 2,000 organic farms across the USA. Their quality not only benefits your ghee but also the US economy and environment.
- USDA Certified Organic, promising no synthetic hormones, antibiotics, or artificial ingredients
- Artisanally made from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows
- Lactose and casein-free with no added salt
Biggest Drawback: This ghee comes in a rather small container, only 7.5 ounces. If you are planning on using your ghee to replace butter in all ways, it probably won’t last long. If you’re new to ghee and want a small size to test out the flavor, however, this might be a good starting place.
6. Spring Sunrise Organic Grassfed Ghee
Spring Sunrise makes their ghee in Iowa however they source the butter from cows raised in Northern California.
Cows in California are able to enjoy approximately 300+ days a year out in the pasture, enjoying their natural, organic grass happily. The supplementation with grain-food is, according to the manufacturer, less than 10% of their diet.
- Made from organic grass-fed California cows, primarily pasture-raised
- High smoke point of 485F
- Carefully packaged in glass jars
Biggest Drawback: The biggest drawback to this ghee is the lid. For some reason, it is significantly more difficult to open than any other type of jar. Even after it is first unsealed, it remains difficult to use. Having rubber jar grips on hand would not be a terrible idea.
7. Tin Star Foods Grassfed Ghee
The CEO of Tin Star Foods has her bio listed on their website, right above the photo of two rescue pups. This instantly creates a connection between the brand and its customers that is based on authenticity and real-life people, not massive corporations. It’s hard not to appreciate that when you’re cooking with a great bottle of ghee.
- 100% Grass-fed, pasture-raised and non-GMO ghee
- Made in Texas using a triple filtration process
- Hand-crafted in small batches in the USA using biodynamically farmed imported butter from New Zealand
Biggest Drawback: Because this ghee is produced in Texas, it is pretty much guaranteed to go through some melting and cooling that will affect the texture. This is super common, especially if you order online and it has to be shipped across the country, but it is nearly unavoidable with Tin Star Foods brand.
Does Ghee Have Lactose?
The process of clarifying butter into ghee separates the milk solids from the oil. Lactose and casein are both solids that will be filtered out and therefore, well-made ghee will be lactose and casein free.
It’s important to understand that ghee is not dairy-free. It is made from cow-milk butter. It also commonly has whey proteins remaining in the ghee, so if you’re highly sensitive or allergic to dairy products, you may still react to ghee.
As a product made from cow-milk dairy, ghee is never vegan-friendly.
Does Ghee Need to be Refrigerated?
Ghee does not need to be refrigerated unless otherwise stated on the package. The clarification process was designed specifically to create a product that will be safe to leave at room temperature longer than butter.
Ideally, you should store your ghee in a cool, dark location out of direct sunlight. If it is too warm, ghee will liquify. If it is too cold, ghee will solidify. To get the perfect, creamy, buttery texture you need to find a happy storage temperature medium.
Does Ghee Go Bad?
Yes, eventually ghee will go rancid. Every jar or container will have a best before date for you to follow as well as best storage recommendations. As long as you don’t notice any discoloration or unusual, unappealing smells, your ghee should be fine.
Store-bought ghee can last up to a year safely though, after being opened for 3 months or longer, you may want to refrigerate it.
Homemade ghee may or may not last as long as store-bought ghee. It’s harder to ensure a perfectly sterile environment and containers when you’re making it yourself. Try to consume homemade ghee within 3 months.
Is Ghee Good for Weight Loss?
We’re not experts on weight loss, but like many natural products, ghee seems to have a reputation for being useful in many healthy and proactive weight loss plans.
Healthy fats are known to help you feel satisfied for longer. So some advocate incorporating it into your diet to help curb hunger cues while also receiving its beneficial nutritional value.
Ghee is also very popular in Keto diets.
On its own, ghee is nearly 100% fat, although it is considered a healthy fat. It’s always a good idea to talk to a doctor or professional nutritionist when determining a healthy diet for your needs.
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