We all know that butter is a combination of fat and milk solids, but did you know that it is the milk solids that burn and turn black when you cook butter at too high a temperature. If you clarify the butter, you have just the fat, with the milk solids taken out, which means you can heat it to a much higher temperature without it burning.
Clarified butter is great for higher-heat cooking like pan-frying and roasting, and it’s super easy to make at home.
I suggest making a large batch of clarified butter, storing it in the fridge, and using it as needed.
Clarified Butter Recipe
- In a small saucepan, melt 1 pound cubed unsalted butter over medium-high heat.
- Continue to cook over medium-high heat; an even layer of white milk proteins will float to the surface.Bring to a boil; the milk proteins will become foamy.
- Lower heat to medium and continue to gently boil; the milk proteins will break apart. As the butter gently boils, the milk proteins will eventually sink to the bottom of the pot, and the boiling will begin to calm and then cease.
- Once boiling has stopped, pour butter through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or through a coffee filter into a heat-proof container to remove browned milk solids.
- Let cool, then transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Clarified butter should keep for at least 5 months in the refrigerator.
In my opinion, clarified butter has an advantage over regular butter: intensified flavor. Because the clarifying process removes water, milk solids (and possibly other impurities), clarified butter tastes silkier, richer, and has a more intensely creamy, buttery taste.
You can use clarified butter the same as you would regular butter, although I tend to reserve clarified butter for dishes where you’re really going to taste it: risotto, simple pasta dishes that use butter as a main ingredient/finishing touch, fish, roasted vegetables, deglazing a pan after I roast a chicken. And, my all time favorite, lobster or prawn dipping – yum!
Note, I do not use clarified butter when baking; simply because approximately 20% of the solids and milk have been removed. So, if the baking recipe calls for butter I use regular butter.