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How to Clarify Butter

Clarified butter is an indispensable cooking ingredient—it's pure butterfat, void of milk solids. This makes the smoke point higher and prolongs the shelf life. Follow this simple step-by-step tutorial on how to make clarified butter.


For clarified butter, slowly melt unsalted butter over low heat. Don’t let the butter come to a boil, and don’t stir it. This allows the milk solids to separate from the liquid butter.


Once the butter has separated into three layers—foamy milk solids on top, clarified butter in the middle, and milk solids on the bottom—turn off the heat. Skim the foamy white solids from the top.


Then ladle off the clarified butter. Be careful not to disturb the milk solids at the bottom of the pan. Clarified butter can be used immediately. Or, let it solidify and keep it in the refrigerator for up to three to four weeks. Just remelt to use.


One pound of unsalted butter yields 1¼ cups clarified butter.

VARIATION: For a completely hands-off (albeit longer) approach, use the oven to clarify butter. The heat is so gentle that it easily keeps all the milk solids separated. Here's how to do it: put a pound of butter in an oven-safe bowl in a 300° oven. The butter separates in about an hour. Spoon milk solids off the top to get the clarified butter. Transfer the butter to a separate container.

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