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January 29, 2010

Coconut Oil and Ghee: Together At Last

By Worker Bee
148 Comments

You’ve heard about the virtues of coconut oil over and over again and just last week we were extolling them again. You know its got a ton of saturated fat, may strengthen mineral absorption and is associated with improved blood sugar and insulin control. The rich flavor of coconut that goes along with it is just another added bonus for most of us. We know, however, there are some of you out there who love everything about coconut oil except the flavor.

If you don’t always want to feel like you’re heading off to the tropics when you cook with coconut oil, but you still want the health benefits, try making “coconut ghee.” Reader Jeanmarie mentioned that this was her favorite fat to use in pretty much every cooking situation, so we couldn’t help but try it ourselves. Coconut ghee is a blend of coconut oil and clarified butter (butter with the milk solids and water removed).

Why remove the milk solids and water from butter? Separating the milk solids from the butterfat almost entirely removes the carbohydrates (lactose) as well as a protein that some people are sensitive to, casein. Evaporating out the water means the flavor of the butter is less diluted. Additionally, removing the milk solids and water also gives butter a higher smoke point, which means you can use ghee for sautéing, stir frying, or deep frying at high heats (375-485 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on purity).

Combining ghee with coconut oil is like having the best of both worlds. You get the nutty flavor of butter and the subtle sweetness of coconut oil to create one delicious saturated fat.

You’ll want to start with some unsalted butter. If you splurge a little and buy some higher-quality butter it will probably still be cheaper than buying already-made ghee, which can be quite expensive. In a small pot melt the butter over medium heat.

When it is bubbling and melted, turn the heat to medium-low and as white foam rises to the top skim it off carefully with a spoon.

Depending on how meticulous you are, this process can take at least 15-20 minutes.

During this time the butter will become a little darker and take on a richer flavor. You might also notice some darker clumps of milk protein sinking to the bottom. Next, if you really want to clarify the butter, pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel.

This will catch any last remaining milk solids and leave you with pure, golden ghee.

Using 1/2 pound of butter will give you about a cup of ghee. If you mix this with 1/2 cup of coconut oil, the ghee will have a very faint flavor of coconut. If you add a little less coconut oil, the coconut flavor will pretty much disappear.

As Jeanmarie says, “keep stirring or shaking the mixture of ghee and coconut oil in a jar so it stays blended as it cools and solidifies.”

Kept in a covered jar, coconut ghee will keep for months at room temperature without spoiling. It can be used in pretty much any cooking situation.

And how does the reader who inspired this post describe their coconut ghee?

“Neutral but yummy.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Will you be trying this? Do you have your own homemade fat making recipes? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment board!

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148 Comments on "Coconut Oil and Ghee: Together At Last"

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Geoff
Geoff
6 years 7 months ago

Coconut Ghee – the Primal “speedball”

My goodness that looks gloriously good.

Adam Kayce
6 years 7 months ago

Or, “two great tastes that taste great together”… wait, that one’s taken.

“Primal Speedball” it is!

Karen Vaughan
6 years 7 months ago

I have been making a coconut oil, ghee, palm oil mixture for some time. The palm oil by itself is a little too red for some foods because it discolors them. The coconut oil has a strong coconut taste. The ghee doesn’t have the carotenoids or virus shedding effects of the other two, but does have a nice buttery flavor. Mixing all three in roughly equal parts makes a great cooking oil that isn’t too pigmented or too coconutty for Italian spices.

Jeanmarie
5 years 7 months ago

Karen, I used some red palm oil in combo with ghee once and it was the only way I’ve found palm oil to be palatable. Too strong for me! So you’re right, a blend gives the benefits of each fat. Thanks for the reminder, I think I’ll try it again.

Judy
Judy
4 years 7 months ago

Can the coconut ghee be stored in aluminum? And what’s best use for solids skimmed off?

anu
anu
2 years 10 months ago

solids have the nutty flavour simply dust with little jaggery(better)/Honey(Best) or sugar(not recommended and eat warm…superb fudge…
best food, i remember how ghee/ghrit(Sanskrit root word) and all by products are extolled in India.
Ayur veda says mixing coconut ,sesame and Ghee in equal proportions is the best elixir when eaten with a diet rich in vitamin c (Amla,lemon& turmeric) to fight ageing.

Pikaia
Pikaia
6 years 7 months ago

Coconut oil + ghee = fantastic.

If your grocery store carries Kerrygold brand butter, try that. Their cows are grassfed, and though they aren’t organic certified, they don’t use hormones or antibiotics.

Bret M.
6 years 7 months ago

I happen to work at Whole Foods, and we just put Kerrygold on sale last month. I tasted it, then stocked the hell up! It’s fantastic stuff. At the time, it’s cheaper than my usual butter choice, which is Organic Valley Pasture Butter.

PrimalGrandma
PrimalGrandma
5 years 5 months ago

The Costco in our area has started selling Kerrygold brand butter. They have it in 3# packages for a reasonable price.

Alicia
Alicia
6 years 7 months ago

Wow what a great idea! I just might have to suggest that to my husband. Thanks for sharing, Jeanmarie.

DThalman
DThalman
6 years 7 months ago

This post couldn’t be more timely and custom tailored. i just bought coconut oil for the first time…and i’m sensitive to the carbs in milk. so I am going to make this FOR SURE. It’s pretty cool how Mark skims off the best wisdom and experience from his primal readers and his research, strains it carefully and mixes it together into this useful blog!

Aaron Blaisdell
6 years 7 months ago

And his worker bees do, too!

Mark Sisson
6 years 7 months ago

No doubt that MDA readers are a wealth of information and inspiration for me and the Worker Bees. Obviously the community deserves a ton of credit for the success of this site and movement. Thanks to Jeanmarie and everyone else that visits, comments, speaks up in the forum, and shares their experiences and knowledge!

Tal
Tal
6 years 7 months ago

I’ve been using this product for quite a while now:

http://www.stfrancisherbfarm.com/product.aspx?ID=180

I have a hard time finding good pastured butter or ghee where I live so this is the next best thing. I use it for almost everything. The only other oils I use are lard or olive oil, occasionally bacon grease.

Rodney
Rodney
6 years 7 months ago

Looks like another fun project to experiment with. I have about ten pounds of raw milk butter from a local farmer who has three Jerseys.

I notice that sometimes the butter tastes a little spoiled if I leave it out on the counter with a loose cover for more than a week or so. I am wondering if this new mixture will sit out ok as long as I keep it in a truly sealed container? It is just easier to work with when it is room temp! Any thoughts?

Jeanmarie
6 years 7 months ago
Rodney, I keep my coconut ghee on the counter, near the stove, as I generally use it in any and all cooking every day. (It’s good straight from the jar, actually!) So far mine has kept very nicely, but I use it up pretty fast. (I use 2-3 pounds of butter at a time when I make it, and I don’t actually measure how much coconut oil, but approximately the amount as the finished ghee, or slightly less.) If you’re in a hot climate, it could melt a bit and possibly start to separate, so if that happens you can… Read more »
Rodney
Rodney
6 years 7 months ago

Thanks Jeanmarie,

I now have a weekend project to add to my to do list. Sounds like fun!

Luann
Luann
6 years 7 months ago
Rodney, your butter spoils because it is from raw milk(unpasteurized) and it is the leftover milk solids that are spoiling. The good part of that butter is that it is not pasteurized so it still has all the good “bugs” in it. Making ghee will take care of the spoiling problems because the milk solids are removed and heating is what pasteuriztion is. Is your local farmer willing (or able) to sell you raw milk? If you can get a gallon of raw milk, let it seperate, laddle off the cream on top, chill and then spoon it on top… Read more »
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[…] Original post by Worker Bee […]

Kishore
Kishore
6 years 7 months ago

You can buy ghee at any Indian grocery store.
Mark, do you think a lot of saturated fat in your diet would put your gall bladder in nitrous mode?

bfaber87
6 years 7 months ago

I am definitely going to try the ghee + coconut oil. Looks like a great addition to the PB!

Is there a difference between using raw butter and pasteurized butter when making ghee? Raw butter seems like it would be more beneficial to pasteurized butter if we eat it in its raw state. Otherwise, is there really a difference between using raw grass-fed butter to make ghee versus using a pasteurized organic butter?

Jeanmarie
6 years 7 months ago

Personally, I use pasteurized butter just because raw is so pricey that when I buy it, I want to consume it raw. I’ve been pleased with Kerry Gold, Organic Valley’s pastured butter, and Sierra Nevada Vat-Cultured Butter, what’s available in Mendocino County, CA. Strauss Organic is also very nice.

gregandbeaker
gregandbeaker
6 years 7 months ago

What an awesome idea!

Bryan Larsen
Bryan Larsen
6 years 7 months ago

If you have an Indian grocer in your town, it’s probably cheaper to buy ghee than it is to make it.

Leah
Leah
3 months 18 days ago

Totally going to check into this! Thanks for the tip. I bought ghee the other day at my locally grocery store, but definitely don’t care for the price. (And life is waaaay to busy to stop and make some). Going to check out my Indian grocer!

darienx19
darienx19
6 years 7 months ago

I know what I’m doing this weekend =)

maba
maba
6 years 7 months ago

When I cook, I use equal amounts of CO and ghee to get both the yummy flavors. I second Pikaia. I make ghee from Kerry Gold butter and it tastes awesome.

Grok
6 years 7 months ago

*burp* Recipe approved 😉

Bobby Fernandez
6 years 7 months ago

Great idea! When you make ghee at home, you can ensure that it is sterile. It is a great ointment for dry eyes (should you be so brave). I put some aside fresh from the stove and keep it in a sterile glass medicine jar for opthalmic use before bed whenever my eyes are dry and irritated. Note, I am talking about pure, sterile ghee before any addition of coconut oil.

hypnotikk
hypnotikk
6 years 7 months ago

I’m definitely going to try this real soon!

FoodRenegade
6 years 7 months ago

Brilliant idea.

I don’t mind that coconut flavor, but I know that if I cook with it too often my husband starts frowning at dinner.

I can’t wait to try this!

Matt
6 years 7 months ago

When you clarify the butter after would it be safe to say its dairy free?

C
C
6 years 7 months ago

It isn’t dairy-free, but you can call it lactose-, casein-, and whey-free.

Jeanmarie
6 years 7 months ago

That makes sense, thanks for the clarification.

Caveman Sam
6 years 7 months ago

Brilliant pun.

You get 1000 points for the recipe and 100,000 points for the pun. If the pun wasn’t on purpose you get a million points because you’re subconsciously awesome.

Terri
Terri
2 years 7 months ago

Clarification. Too funny

dada
dada
6 years 7 months ago

“If you have an Indian grocer in your town, it’s probably cheaper to buy ghee than it is to make it.”

Be careful at the Indian grocer’s. The most widely used form of Ghee is an artificial substitute which is basically Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil. It is touted by big companies as ‘healthier’ and it is certainly cheaper than the real thing. Dairy Ghee is commonly labeled ‘Asli’ (real, as opposed to fake), but even this is no legal guarantee of quality or provenance. Make your own. Millions of South Asians used to.

Jeanmarie
6 years 7 months ago
In “Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes,” Jennifer McLagan says that traditional dairy ghee is called usili ghee and the kind made from vegetable oil is vanaspati ghee, so definitely be sure you have the right kind if you get it from an Indian grocer. It’s hard to see how it could be cheaper than homemade unless they’re cutting corners, and ghee is so easy to make (especially with the aid of Mark’s great photos to guide you if you haven’t done it before). I have bought it before and it’s ridiculously expensive at the grocery store.… Read more »
kuno1chi
kuno1chi
6 years 7 months ago

dada,
I noticed this on my last shopping trip. One brand of Ghee listed “Ghee, and pure ‘Ghee Flavoring'”

WTF??? Why would Ghee NEED ‘Ghee Flavoring’?

Asli Ghee, it is. Thanks for the tip!

Meredith
6 years 7 months ago

Fat-tastic!

Todd Dosenberry
6 years 7 months ago

I may have to give this one a try!

Rachel Allen
6 years 7 months ago

Consider it done. O M G!

Rodney
Rodney
6 years 7 months ago

Hey, I just noticed the recipe calls for Unsalted butter. What happens if I use salted? Deal buster, or minor difference? Thanks!

Jeanmarie
6 years 7 months ago

I’m not certain I’ve never accidentally made it from salted butter, and I don’t remember any catastrophes. Probably not a deal buster, but it’s just more versatile if unsalted.
You can read about how my worst screw-up of ghee-making unexpectedly turned into the most awesome caramel-scented ghee, on my blog:
http://jeanmarietodd.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/coconut-ghee-the-perfect-cooking-fat/

rik
rik
6 years 7 months ago

sound very yummy…..I might have to try it

Jenny
Jenny
6 years 7 months ago

Hmmm, might try it with storebought butter, but I sure wouldn’t want to make this with my raw milk butter!!

Dogs
6 years 7 months ago

If you really wanted to go all out, you could always get some organic cream, churn it (shake it in the bottle it comes in) and make your own fresh butter that way.

DThalman
DThalman
6 years 7 months ago

how do you do that? mine comes in a little carton, do i just put it in a bottle and shake it? since it’s heavy organic cream, no carbs, i’d be assured of no bad reaction from that butter!

anand srivastava
anand srivastava
6 years 7 months ago

If you have a blender, use it. Works perfectly.

gn
gn
6 years 7 months ago

my favourite way of eating butter or ghee for that matter is too mix it with raw egg yolks (i choose those that have more pronounced orange color) + some salt, and use it as dip for some other stuff

Richard Shelmerdine
6 years 7 months ago

Anyone else think those pictures remind them of fight club? lol. Nice post. I LOVE coconuts.

Bobasmurf
Bobasmurf
6 years 7 months ago

sounds like a great recipe..I’ll give it a try. Thanks Mark

Suzanne
Suzanne
6 years 7 months ago

can you use salted butter?

Jeanmarie
6 years 7 months ago
Most of the sources I consulted — Fat: A Misunderstood Ingredient; On Food and Cooking; Nourishing Traditions; The Joy of Cooking — specify unsalted butter, but don’t say why. Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Julia Child) is unclear. It says French unsalted butter and American salted butter are interchangeable in cooking, then goes on to talk about clarified butter without specifying unsalted or not. Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for the Food, 2.0, doesn’t specify. Salt is used as a preservative in regular butter “but changes the flavor,” as Joy of Cooking notes. I suspect using salted butter won’t… Read more »
Shebeeste
Shebeeste
6 years 7 months ago
I think the only place it really matters is in baking (which often calls for unsalted) and I used to prefer salted butter on bread, but likely most PBers don’t do much of either one anymore. I believe it was Cook’s Illustrated that said recently if you need to substitute unsalted for salted, it’s approximately 1/4 teaspoon of salt per pound of butter, but that the amount of salt added to commercial salted butter will vary with the season, so be sure to taste as you go. If a recipe calls for unsalted butter and all you have is salted,… Read more »
Marissa
Marissa
6 years 7 months ago

I’m very excited about making this. We’ve used coconut oil to cook up some coconut shrimp and pineapple chicken, but every once in a while the coconut flavor isn’t favorable for the other meat dishes. Typically, we turn to our rendered pork lard (that we got from a local butcher with our half pig) to cook our other meats, but this ghee + butter solution offers variety to our menu!

Ethan
6 years 7 months ago

I concocted this recipe this morning, easy enough, can’t wait to try it.

Lupe
6 years 7 months ago

This looks good! I wonder how it would be in more traditional (but low carb/paleo) Hispanic cuisine? I have never used coconut oil. I started my new lifestyle just a few weeks ago and am learning all kinds of things.

Please Don't Diet
6 years 7 months ago

Given this is a base common to multiple Indian dishes, it had been a staple in my diet until I went off to college. Tastes good and it’s easy on the health!

Primalchild
Primalchild
6 years 7 months ago

I made some but haven’t tried it yet. Does it smell kind of like caramel to anyone else? Can’t stop sniffing it.

Jeanmarie
6 years 7 months ago

Yes, it will smell caramelly if you cook it long enough, perhaps at a slightly higher temperature. Congratulations if you got to the caramel! According to my sources, that means higher anti-oxidants, curiously enough.

My best ever ghee was a batch that I almost burned because of not keeping a close enough eye on it. It ended up being the most heavenly caramel-smelling and tasting ghee ever. (I don’t remember whether I added coconut oil to that batch, it was about the same time I started doing that.)

Iceskater
Iceskater
6 years 7 months ago

The batch I just made smells like caramel too….mmmm..every whiff reminds me of creme brulee…

DThalman
DThalman
6 years 7 months ago

my eggs tasted so good this morning scrambled up in this!

Clay
Clay
6 years 7 months ago

I just made this and I wonder if I overcooked. When I was done my butter looked almost like iced tea. I actually had the burner down low and it barely cooked over 10 minutes. I used unsalted Kerygold. It seemed to me to be done around 7 or 8 minutes but I kept going. Is there a problem if it is light brown?

Jeanmarie
6 years 7 months ago
Wow, I don’t know how it could be done so quickly. I tend to go slowly and it could take an hour. The water has to evaporate, so don’t put a lid on your saucepan. Did you use a heavy-bottomed pan? The butter should be bubbling until the water is gone, and by that time the whey should have risen to the top, froth at first until it dries out and forms a slight film (if you don’t skim it as it froths up), and the milk solids (mostly casein protein) should drop to the bottom. So essentially, all the… Read more »
Clay
Clay
6 years 7 months ago
I used a thick bottom pan (Wolfgang Puck) I had the temperature on low on my burner to try not to burn it. I strained it through a paper towel and metal skimmer. I could not find cheese cloth in the store and apparently among this economic recession they can’t afford someone on the floor because I walked the Vons around the corner from me three times and did not stumble across one courtesy clerk. Run on sentence I know but I was a little steamed and decided a paper towel would suffice. The mixture is now drying and has… Read more »
Clay
Clay
6 years 7 months ago

BTW the butter cooked down to just over 1/2 cup after I strained it. Started with 8 oz.

Peggy
Peggy
6 years 7 months ago

you can usually find cheese cloth at hardware stores! it’s used to strain paint and stuff like that.

Genie
Genie
2 years 4 months ago

Same here. I added the coconut oil 1/4 cup at a time to get it to my taste.

Sherissima
Sherissima
6 years 7 months ago

I keep a jar of coconut oil and a tin of ghee right next to my stove anyway – they often end up mixed together in the pan. But I do like to use just one in certain recipes, so I don’t think I’ll be trying this ‘merger’!
Brilliant idea, though, for people who don’t like the taste of coconut but want the health benefits 🙂

chocolatechip69
chocolatechip69
6 years 7 months ago

Great idea! I just bought half a case of organic grass-fed ghee from Pure Indian Foods and will use one of the jars to make this blend.
By the way, the studd from Pure Indian Foods is by far the best tasting ghee I’ve ever tried and it comes out pretty inexpensive if you buy it bulk.
http://www.pureindianfoods.com

DThalman
DThalman
6 years 7 months ago

k i’m not saying this idea is healthy or primal but the primal speedball comment got me thinkin…i boiled some water, put it in a mug with a big slab of the ghee, a bunch of cinnamon, some nutmeg and a couple shots of fine dark rum…even put in a little sugar, which I NEVER do. hopefully that little bit won’t cause me a problem. I don’t think Grok would have turned this down around the campfire. hot butter-ghee rum. wow

Sarah Bell
Sarah Bell
6 years 7 months ago

STOP – ghee is entirely saturated fat! Whilst we all need some saturated fat, if you use this all the time you’re just waiting for a heart attack to happen. Just check out the statistics for coronary heart disease in Indian families… Butter and more particularly ghee should certainly not be a large part or indeed any part of anyone’s primal diet!

mm
mm
6 years 20 days ago
If that were true you’d see animal predators dying left and right from eating too many saturated-fat laden organ meats, and anyone losing significant amounts of weight would be dying of heart disease as your body stores fat in the highly oxidant-resistant saturated form and once released into the bloodstream (so the liver can slice it down to simpler carbohydrate molecules that cells can burn), it would surely clog up your arteries and kill you… why isn’t the American Heart Association lobbying to get dangerous artery-clogging weight loss companies to stop peddling their poison, just like tobacco companies? Unless… heart… Read more »
Jeanmarie
Jeanmarie
6 years 20 days ago
I forgot to mention… I think the stats about heart attacks among Indians reflect the switch in recent years to vegetable oil instead of traditional ghee. If you’re concerned about it, you should really look for details on the kind of fat being consumed. Vegetable oils are the least “primal” fat of all, and nothing could be more natural than animal fats, whether you’re following “primal” or not. Most vegetable oils (olive oil and a few exceptions aside) are products of 20th century manufacturing technology married to agribusiness: they’re all about profit for the producers, not health, and they don’t… Read more »
Jeanmarie
6 years 7 months ago
Sarah Bell, apparently you’re unaware of the considerable scholarship on the lack of a link between saturated fat and heart disease. Many books have summed this up, none more comprehensively than Gary Taubes’ masterpiece, “Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health. While “cavemen” may not have made ghee, natural animal fats and coconut oil have been healthful components of the human diet for many, many generations. Indians nowadays eat a lot of processed vegetable oil, which is implicated in cancer and heart disease, and there is a lot of obesity and diabetes, which… Read more »
Jeanmarie
6 years 7 months ago

All natural fats are a combination of fatty acids, and nothing, including butter, is 100% saturated. Butterfat is about 65% saturated, 32% unsaturated (poly- and monounsaturated), with a trace amount of naturally occurring trans fats (not to be confused with industrially hydrogenated oils), and the single most ample fatty acid in butter is oleic acid, the same as in olive oil. (According to Butter Through the Ages; Wikipedia has palmitic acid first and oleic acid second.) These are averages because it varies depending on the cows’ diet.

Luann
Luann
6 years 7 months ago

Wow, a major “DUH” for me on this one. I have used coconut oil for years in skin care products and never thought to use it in cooking. Like olive oil, what is good for the outside is also good for the inside! I can hardly wait to try it out.

Valerie
Valerie
6 years 7 months ago

I attended the Weston A. Price conference in November. I purchased coconut ghee from Green Pasture, which was a vendor.

Then I used it to make fudge http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2008/12/easiest-healthiest-most-scrmptious.html

Pure Indian Foods was another ghee vendor there. I asked them about buying ghee from a local Indian store. They said all that ghee was factory farmed.

Allison
Allison
6 years 7 months ago

I am so excited! I made a wonderful batch of coconut ghee today. I then put some of it on the bottom of the pan to cook Son of Grok’s cracklin chicken. It smells wonderful!

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 years 6 months ago
When I made ghee, I heated it real slow then filtered it through a papertowel (I peel a two-ply apart into single-ply) into a coffee cup. I put the coffee cup in the fridge over night and let it harden. Then I warm the outside of the cup a little and use a fork or spoon to hook the hardened fat and lift it out in one big piece. There is always whitish water/milk in the bottom of the cup. I pour that out and put the ghee back in the cup (or a new cup). I thought about mixing… Read more »
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