Clarifying Butter

Clarifying butter for use at higher cooking temperatures.

Clarifying butter removes the milk solids from the butterfat, making it suitable for cooking at much higher temperatures than whole butter. Clarified butter can also be stored without spoiling, giving it a longer shelf life than whole butter. Use it for sautéing to add a unique, nutty flavor to your dish. Learn about the types of clarified butters, how to make them, and when to use clarified butters.

Clarified Butter

In a heavy pan, melt butter over low heat. Skim off froth and carefully pour the clear yellow liquid from the pan, leaving the residue behind. Discard the residue. Clarified butter will keep about three times longer and will not char as easily in sautéing applications.

Brown Butter or Buerre Noisette

Cook butter over low heat until it turns amber. Browning the butter gives it a "nutty" flavor. Brown butter can be used in sauces and icings.


Ghee is cooked longer than regular clarified butter and the milk solids are caramelized. Cook butter (unclarified) over the lowest heat setting and keep below a simmer; cooking time may be several hours. Pour the liquid portion from the pan and discard the browned milk solids.

Note: One pound of butter will yield about 1½ cups clarified butter. It will keep for about three months in the refrigerator and up to six months in the freezer.

  1. 1

    In a heavy-bottomed pan, melt butter over low heat. One pound of butter will yield about 1 and a half cups of clarified butter.

  2. 2

    Allow the butter to melt and separate. Gently skim off and remove the froth. (This is the part that would burn at high heat.)

  3. 3

    Carefully pour the remaining clear yellow liquid from the pan, straining out any lingering residue.

  4. 4

    Store the clarified butter in a sealed container and keep it in the refrigerator or freezer.