• FREE Shipping on orders $50+

  • FREE Shipping on orders $50+

  • FREE Shipping on orders $50+

  • FREE Shipping on orders $50+

  • FREE Shipping on orders $50+

  • FREE Shipping on orders $50+

ghee or clarified butter in bowl on wooden background

Ever catch yourself staring blankly at the butter aisle, torn between those classic churned sticks and the fancy jars of ghee?

Both healthy fats have been used for generations in whole-food diets. But what's the real difference, besides the price tag? Is one more nutritious than the other? What does ghee taste like, anyway?

We're answering those questions and more as we dive into the delicious world of butter and ghee! We'll use science to separate fact from fad, exploring how these kitchen staples are made, which one's best for you, and how to use both to create culinary magic. ✨

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GHEE AND BUTTER?

Let's start with some clarification (pun intended). Both butter and ghee start their journey as milk, usually from cows. However, their paths diverge from there.

BUTTER: THE CLASSIC STARTING POINT 🧈

Like beef tallow, butter is one of the oldest animal fats known to humans.[*] It's made by churning cream, which separates the liquid buttermilk from the solid butterfat. This simple process results in pale yellow butter that contains fat, milk solids, and a bit of water.

GHEE: THE CLARIFIED CONTENDER 

Ghee is a type of clarified butter used in Indian cooking and Traditional Ayurveda practices. References to ghee have been found in Ayurvedic texts that are over 3,000 years old![*]

So, what is clarified butter? Think of it like butter that's had a spa day. You start by simmering regular unsalted butter over low to medium heat. As the water evaporates, the milk solids (lactose and casein) separate. These are then strained through a cheesecloth and removed. You're left with pure butterfat!

Ghee takes clarified butter to the next level. Rather than ditching the milk solids as soon as they appear, you let them brown and caramelize. This gives the concentrated liquid butterfat a rich, golden hue. Strain out those toasty milk solids, and you'll have pure ghee as your reward.

💁  The process is so simple you can make your own ghee at home in under 30 minutes — like many of our easy, tasty Bone Broth Recipes

SO, DOES GHEE TASTE LIKE BUTTER? 🤔

Since it still contains those milk solids, butter reigns supreme in the creamy, milky taste department. It adds a smooth, velvety sumptuousness to everything from warm cookies to a finished steak.

On the other hand, ghee boasts a deep, nutty, caramelized flavor profile, thanks to the browning of the milk solids during clarification. 

Ghee complements savory dishes beautifully. Think perfectly pan-seared scallops, next-level popcorn, or legendary roasted vegetables. It's also a fantastic option for those who find butter a little too "mellow" for their taste buds.

Psst! Want to know how to make bone broth taste better? Just add a tablespoon of butter or ghee! You're welcome. 😋

IS GHEE BETTER THAN BUTTER FOR YOUR HEALTH? 

Back in the 1950s, butter, ghee, and other saturated fats (like avocados and coconuts) were villainized for their supposed role in causing high cholesterol and heart disease, which still persists.

However, modern researchers have busted this myth, saying, “Saturated fats have no effect on cardiovascular disease or total mortality.”[*]

We need fat in our diet. Dietary fats:[*]

  • Skyrocket energy levels
  • Support optimal brain health
  • Keep your skin and hair looking their best
  • Help your body produce and maintain cells, cell membranes, and hormones
  • Allow us to properly absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are crucial for our vision, immune function, bone health, and more

Fats also keep us satiated — especially when doing a bone broth cleanse or curbing cravings on a weight loss journey. 🙌

Because ghee packs a more concentrated dose of these healthy fats, it gains a slight edge over butter in terms of health benefits.[*] Let's check out the science behind butter benefits vs. ghee benefits:

GHEE: POTENTIAL LIFESAVER FOR LACTOSE INTOLERANCE

Ghee may be an excellent substitute for butter for people with lactose intolerance or dairy sensitivities.

Since the milk solids are removed during the clarification process, ghee is virtually lactose-free and low in casein.

However, even though most ghee is dairy-free, it can contain trace amounts of lactose and casein. So, be careful if you have a strong dairy allergy.

GRASS-FED BUTTER AND GHEE: BOTH HAVE HIGHER AMOUNTS OF CLA

Standard butter comes from cows fed a grain-based diet. But grass-fed butter and ghee are made from the milk of pasture-raised cows.

Cows naturally eat grass; their stomachs are designed to digest grasses and other fiber-rich plant material.

Like cows, grass-fed butter benefits your health because it's closer to how nature intended your food to be. So both grass-fed butter and ghee are higher in vitamins than grain-fed butter or ghee, making them more nutrient-dense choices.

For example, research shows that grass-fed milk used to make butter contains up to 500% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-fed.[*] According to studies, CLA is a fatty acid that may:[*][*]

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve blood sugar levels
  • Encourage weight loss (specifically fat loss!)
  • Support heart health
  • Reduce symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Ward off cancer

Final verdict: Both butter and ghee win this round when they’re made from grass-fed dairy cows.

GHEE BOASTS A BIT MORE BUTYRIC ACID (BTA)

You've probably never considered the amount of butyric acid in ghee vs. butter, but it's worth knowing. BTA is a short-chain fatty acid that may:[*]

  • Lower inflammation
  • Support healthy digestion and elimination
  • Upgrade your overall gut health
  • Relieve gastrointestinal symptoms from IBS, IBD, and more

The butyric acid in butter is around 2–4%. The butyric acid in ghee is just a hair higher, clocking in at 6-8%.

GHEE CONTAINS MORE MCTs

Many online sources claim that ghee is loaded with medium-chain triglycerides

MCT oil and its health benefits infographic

(MCTs), but that's not entirely true. Here's how the MCTs in ghee vs. butter actually shake out:

  • Coconut oil: 60–70% MCTs
  • Ghee: 25% MCTs
  • Butter: 4-6% MCTs

So, even though ghee contains a higher percentage of MCTs, it's relatively small compared to coconut oil — the king of MCTs by a long shot.

Why all the debate about MCTs in butter? Because MCTs are like a magic potion for your health and wellness.

See, most fats are long-chain fatty acids, which (you guessed it) take longer for your body to digest. MCTs are shorter, so they're rapidly absorbed by your body and immediately put to work for energy.

Studies reveal that MCTs may help you:

  • REACH YOUR WEIGHT LOSS GOAL. They've been shown to ignite your metabolism while suppressing your appetite, so you can burn more calories at rest, torch fat, and shed more LBs.[*][*][*][*][*]
  • RAISE YOUR FITNESS. MCTs may decrease fatigue, boost endurance, improve muscle strength, enhance walking speed, and make you feel unstoppable during your sweat sessions.[*][*][*]
  • LEVEL UP YOUR BRAIN POWER. Since MCTs cross the blood-brain barrier, they may elevate your mental performance, concentration, memory, and thinking.[*][*]
  • PROTECT YOUR BRAIN HEALTH. MCTs may prevent memory decline and delay the progression of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other neurodegenerative diseases.[*][*]

⚡ Pro Tip: Consider adding a tablespoon of ghee to your morning coffee or afternoon bone broth to reap these MCT benefits and score a quick pick-me-up!

GHEE HAS A HIGHER SMOKE POINT

A smoke point is the temperature at which a fat or oil starts to break down (oxidize) and visibly smoke.

Heating fats or cooking oils above their smoke point degrades their nutrients and gives your food a burnt, bitter, gross flavor.[*] Worse? It also produces harmful carcinogens (known cancer-causers) and free radicals.[*]

Free radicals create systemic inflammation and oxidative stress that destroys your cells. This oxidative damage has been linked to faster aging, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, neurodegeneration, cancer, and other chronic health conditions.[*][*]

Butter's milk solids give it a much lower smoke point of 350°F, which is why it easily burns at high temperatures. Heating it above this threshold may trigger those unwanted compounds.

Good news? Since those milk solids are virtually nil in ghee, it reigns supreme in the world of high-heat cooking. With a smoke point between 450–485°F (depending on purity), ghee is ideal for searing, stir-frying, and deep-frying.

GHEE VS. BUTTER: WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Just like the beef vs. chicken bone broth debate, there's no clear winner here! Choosing ghee or butter all depends on your dietary needs and taste preferences — just make sure to grab grass-fed versions of either.

👉  GO FOR GHEE IF:

  • You have dairy sensitivities.
  • You love high-heat cooking.
  • You dig a nutty, caramelized flavor profile.
  • Your gut could use some TLC.
  • You want an MCT boost but dislike coconut oil or MCT oil.

👉  OPT FOR BUTTER If:

  • You're on a budget (it's usually less expensive).
  • You prefer a classic, creamy taste that doesn’t compete with your favorite recipes or bone broth flavors.
  • You're baking. Because butter retains its milk solids, it gives structure, lift, and that melt-in-your-mouth texture to baked goods like cakes, cookies, and pastries.

💙 Want to experience a more satisfying bone broth bliss? Swirl in some ghee or butter for a creamy comfort that keeps you feeling fuller for longer!

GHEE VS. BUTTER: ANCESTRAL FOODS WORTH STOCKING

Why choose one when you can have both? Both ghee and butter are healthy, whole-food ingredients worthy of being staples in any diet. Each option brings different perks to the table and offers unique flavor combinations.

So now that you know the difference between ghee and butter, you can experiment with both, find what tickles your taste buds, and use them to create delicious, nutritious meals and snacks!

💡 Need a few ideas to get started? Keep it classic by adding butter to our Beef Bone Broth or Chicken Bone Broth, or add a deep, nutty richness to our Thai Coconut Bone Broth with ghee. Or reverse them! 🙃 The possibilities are as endless as your willingness to try something new to better your health.

Our mission at Bare Bones is to meet you where you are and nourish you with real, whole-food-based nutrients in the form that best fits your lifestyle.