Making Clarified Butter: {How-To}

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Sounds a bit intimidating for those of us that aren’t gourmet chefs or fancy cooks, but cooking with clarified butter is a great habit to get into if you fry or saute dishes since it doesn’t brown quickly (it’s great to dip seafood into too).

Dipping King CrabWhat is it? It’s melted butter fat with the milk solids and water removed. This is easy to prepare and you can make it ahead of time, just store in refrigerator to use as needed.


  • Using a heavy pan, melt butter over low heat. Once it’s completely melted let it simmer for about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat then skim the surface to remove the foam that has formed on top and discard.
  • Let sit for a few minutes (5 to 10) and allow it to cool a bit, this will give the milk solids time to settle on the bottom.
  • Next, slowly pour the golden liquid into a dish, making sure to leave the bottom milky layer behind. Discard the milky layer.
  • The golden liquid that you poured into a separate dish is clarified, use this for recipes as needed.

Method #2:

  • Once melted and cooled for a few minutes, pour liquid through a cheesecloth to strain out the foam and solids.

Method #3:

  • Melt then pour all the liquid in a container. Refrigerate and once solid again, remove from container. Scrape off foam and milk solids on the top and bottom.

Method #4:

  • Once melted, pour into a gravy or fat separator to pour out the liquid and leave milk solids behind.

Quick Microwave Method:

  • Melt it in microwave, let sit for a couple minutes and then pour through cheesecloth or coffee filter to strain the solids.

You could also try melting it in a cup and then use a large spoon to hold solids inside cup while you pour out the clarified part.


  • Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate, can be kept for several weeks.

Rule of Thumb: One stick will lose approximately 1 tablespoon of volume once clarified.

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What Readers Are Saying:
5 Comments to “Making Clarified Butter: {How-To}”
  1. kwil says:

    Don’t discard the foam and the settlings. Just keep them in the fridge and use them then next time you feel like adding a butter flavor to a dish. Even yummier if they have browned a little.

  2. Mary Anne says:

    The milk solids are great for topping on popcorn!

  3. Vicki Lynn says:

    personally i prefer the clairfied butter on the popcorn.. the solids makes the popcorn soggy..(i use a hot air popper to cut down on fats) the light golden liquid they refer to is pure flavor and well.. in my mind less fattening.

  4. Rivahcat says:

    This is even easier with a small one-quart slow cooker. You don’t have to watch the pot to keep it from burning. Just cut the butter into chunks, place in the slow cooker, and set it on High. Once it’s melted, just follow the instructions above to skim, let settle, and pour off. Also, I recommend making clarified butter from unsalted butter, so that the saltiness doesn’t get concentrated in the final product.

  5. John Robin says:

    Clarified butter is extensively used in Indian cooking and is readily available at Indian grocery stores. It is called – GHEE.

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