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How To Swap Out Butter For Nutritious Ghee During Festival Cooking

  • By Swati Gaikwad - Content Writer
  • •  Sep 27, 2022

Festival cooking and baking has many joys, but lots of challenges as well. First off, there is just so much of it: You've barely cleaned the kitchen from one culinary adventure before everything is back out on the counter for the next project. Any smart shortcut or hack that eases your mess, your time, your steps, is worth its weight in gold. Which is why I'm here to share my one ingredient swap that has made my festival cooking and baking so much easier. And it will do the same for you, too.

I replace regular butter with ghee. 

What Is Ghee?

Welcome to your new magic ingredient! Ghee is clarified butter that is shelf-stable and has been cooked long enough to have a slightly nutty flavour. It is used in a lot of Indian cooking because it has a high smoke point and therefore you can do things like blooming spices in it over high heat or pan-frying things without a danger of it burning. Clarified butter, also known as "liquid gold" or simply ghee, is made by separating milk solids and water from the butterfat. 

Enjoy the smoke point advantage when considering whether or not to use ghee in your recipes. This is one of the biggest reasons to choose ghee over butter. It is that very feature that makes ghee my best friend for festival cooking. Because I want all that buttery flavour in my festive dishes, but butter is fussy and can turn on you, which is not ideal when a lot of your festival cooking is multi-tasked or distracted by company.

Here's how ghee can make festival cooking so much easier. I can caramelise onions or brown vegetables without worrying that if I walk away for 30 seconds, the butter will burn. I can grease baking dishes and pans with it easily, since it is always soft, and not worry that the bottoms of my precious gingerbread men will blacken. Having houseguests over the holidays means big morning meals. Ghee is ideal for everything from frying eggs to griddling pancakes or French toast: You get all the flavour, none of those burnt black bits.  

You can also use ghee as a butter substitute when you have people to feed who are lactose intolerant or following a dairy-free, paleo or Whole30 diet plan, because the milk solids are removed. {I told you, it's a miracle ingredient!} Substituting butter for ghee is always a good idea because ghee is better butter. Since butter and clarified butter are not very similar, they cannot be used interchangeably, so ghee can be substituted for butter but not vice-versa. Only consider that the two’s dietary values differ, with ghee being the healthier alternative.

Ghee is used as a butter replacement in a one-to-one ratio. When baking with ghee vs. butter, remember that ghee lacks some solid elements that make regular butter such an excellent binding agent. On the other hand, Ghee contains a lot of moisture, so you will need to apply more flour to even it out and serve as a binding agent.

If a recipe calls for ghee to be heated on the burner, butter may not be substituted since butter has a low smoke point and can burn and smoke excessively. In addition to losing the taste of food, using any oil with a low smoke point will kill the nutrients in the oil and start releasing harmful pollutants like free radicals that prove harmful to health.

Ghee has made its comeback into the Indian grocery in the past few years, and what a magnificent comeback it has been. After being known as weight-gaining and unhealthy for many years, ghee is now trending as a new superfood. The truth is, it keeps your stomach healthy, it’s a good source of good dietary fats, and it works like magic for your skin too. The appropriate doses of ghee are in fact being recommended by nutritionists across the universe.

But, what’s wrong with Butter?

Is Ghee really better than butter if you compare them nutrition wise? And what about the taste and usage? The butter or makkhan is taken right out of the manual churning of curd or malai. The churning process makes sure that all the water is separated and the result is delicious and light white butter. The residue water is Chhas or Buttermilk which is also preferred in Indian grocery and kitchen. Today, the butter we get in the market is either an emulsion of milk fat with milk proteins and its processes with added salt.

If you are thinking to swap good old Indian Ghee with Butter, here is a little guide for you to start with. Here are 3 ways to swap Ghee with Butter:


For baking all those pumpkin pies and loaves of bread, it’s unbelievably easy to make the switch to ghee. After all, this can be simply a refined, processed version of what you’ve already been using. Once making the swap, use a basic 1:1 ratio. As an example, if the formula calls for three tablespoons of butter, use three tablespoons of ghee instead. For dough recipes, add an additional tablespoon of flour to help counteract the additional moisture ghee can create.

When baking with ghee, since the water content is also removed, use about 25% less ghee than your recipe calls for, and if your batter seems drier than usual, just add some water until the consistency seems like what you are used to. Ghee bakes will often crisp more than regular butter, since the missing water is a tenderizer, so while it works well in any recipe that calls for melted butter, like brownies or financiers, be careful when you have recipes calling for creamed butter. Any recipe that calls for shortening, you can substitute ghee in a 1:1 ratio with terrific results, especially pie crusts.

Stovetop Preparation

From mac and cheese to mashed potatoes, many dishes involve butter to add savoury taste and texture. Like baking, make the switch using a similar 1:1 ratio as a suggestion.


That same high smoke point also makes ghee nice for shallow frying. Simply add the correct quantity to the pan and heat, then fry—try brussels sprouts to make them further crispy, shallots for a savoury topper, or perhaps the turkey drumsticks for a unique take on deep-fried chicken.

Now that you have your answer to whether you can substitute butter for ghee, it’s time to look for the best quality ghee. Praakritik ghee is made from 100% grass-fed cow milk butter; it is 100% pure and non-GMO verified. Praakritik 100% organic ghee is certified organic by USDA and keto and Paleo diet friendly. It can be the best choice of ghee brand for you.

So when you're making your holiday grocery shopping list, add some ghee to the program! You'll look like a genius and decrease your stress at the same time. Want to make your own ghee? I’ll share the recipe in my upcoming blogs, so keep reading and stay healthy.

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