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 greater nutrient density than butter and more versatility when you’re cooking.

Below is a quick summary on ghee – what it is, what it does for you, and how you can use it.

Ghee is more nutrient-dense than butter.

Really good ghee has a deep yellow-orange color that reflects its high vitamin A content. It’s also got a respectable dose of vitamins D, E, and K, and has twice the short- and medium-chain fatty acids that butter has. On top of that, ghee has more butyrate, an anti-inflammatory fat that keeps you gut lining and metabolism in good shape.

Ghee has virtually no dairy protein in it.

Butter is mostly pure fat and water, but it still has trace amounts of casein and lactose, the two parts of dairy that most often cause allergies. Casein is what gives butter its wonderful creaminess.

Ghee has no casein or lactose or a very, very small amount, meaning even very dairy-sensitive people can usually eat it. Ghee is a good substitute for butter in most recipes, although it’s more oily than butter and may change the consistency of a dish slightly.

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.

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 salt.

Oh, and you don’t have to refrigerate it. It’s shelf-stable and won’t go bad for years. When purchasing Ghee you want to look for grass-fed Ghee. I like to use either Pure Indian Foods or 4th & Heart.

Have you tried Ghee?