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Butter Substitute: How Grass-Fed ghee be Used as a healthy replacement for butter?

Butter substitutes are replacements of butter as a food and a culinary choice.  Ideally, we should choose butter replacement considering the nutritional benefits and cooking advantages with the option.

Grass-fed or Organic Ghee clarified butter/ ghee butter is as nutritious as butter and offers dietary services.

It provides a higher smoke point than butter, thus suitable for high-temperature cooking like baking, deep-frying, sautéing, etc.

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butter substitute

butter substitute

Butter nutrition

Regular Butter is a dairy fat loved by many across the world. It is a popular breakfast spread. Besides using it on the morning toast or making bullet-proof coffee, you can use it to prepare sauces, dips, cake frosting, bakery items, or other foods with the complexity of flavor, taste, and texture as the prime requisite.

Butter is a rich source of saturated fat, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA – healthy fats), and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, B12, K2.

Butter substitute: why is it in demand?

Dairy experts prefer butter as a healthy cooking fat.  It’s tasty, but it offers a lower smoking point of 350 ° F in the cooking oil range.

Although it is an ideal cooking medium to enhance food taste, it is not safe for high-temperature cooking. Moreover, butter has a lower shelf life due to high moisture content.

You cannot store this dairy fat without the support of refrigeration. Apart from compromised shelf-life, butter contains a low amount of lactose and milk protein.

For lactose and casein presence, it is not suitable for people suffering from lactose intolerance.

Grass-fed ghee vs. Butter!

  • Ghee is also known in the name of clarified butter. This milk butter-made dairy fat offers a typical nutty caramelized aroma.
  • Popularly used in Indo-Asian, Middle Eastern, and African cuisines, that convention is still going on.
    • But what makes it a better butter?
  • Ghee is the purest form of milk fat, containing around 99.6% milkfat, thus slightly more nutritious than butter.
  • Ghee, when prepared from grass-fed butter, calls Grass-fed Ghee.
  • Being a trusted source of healthy saturated fats and fat-soluble vitamins, ghee nutrition is almost similar to butter.
  • But ghee has something more to offer than butter cannot offer when used in cooking.

For example, ghee’s therapeutic properties and nutritional benefits over regular butter are widely appreciated by chefs and nutritionists. Today, ghee is accepted as a superfood and is counted as a healthy butter substitute for some valid reasons.

Unlike butter, the high smoke point of 482 °F makes ghee extremely suitable cooking oil for various high-heat cooking processes.

Just like butter, it can also be consumed directly or can be used in baking processes.

Ghee is now widely used in world cuisines as a nutritious replacement for cooking oil/ butter and finished with bullet-coffee or smoothies for a healthy start of the day.

So, what is butter?

Butter is the dairy fat prepared by churning the cream of cow’s milk. The churning process results in the separation of the fat portion from the buttermilk.

The buttermilk is drained off. The milk fat is then further rinsed to drain off excess buttermilk and worked, pressed and, kneaded together to consolidate the butter granules into a solid mass.

This process breaks up the water particles into tiny droplets and spread throughout the fat phase of butter.

Thus, butter is basically water in oil emulsion, where the protein acts as an emulsifier. It has a rich, creamy mouthfeel and an enjoyable, delicious nutty flavor.

Butter contains not less than 80% butterfat, not more than 16% moisture, and 2% solids. Salted Butter or Table butter contains food-grade salt, not more than 3%.

The grass-fed butter contains a high amount of beta carotene, which imparts the yellow color of butter. Permitted food colors annatto and carotene are most commonly used in conventional butter to enhance the color.

Butter is perishable. Check the pack date at the store before you buy.

According to the USDA, we can store butter in the refrigerator for one to three months, but the taste, flavor (develops rancidity), and texture may deteriorate considerably with time.

Butter is in semisolid consistency at room temperature. It is versatile dairy fat, using as a spread, as a vital ingredient in baking, cooking fat for cooking, deep-frying, sautéing, etc., and in various foods, cake frosting, dips, and sauces to enhance taste, flavor, and texture.

Butter has the lowest smoke point of 350° F.

Thus, cooking at a higher temperature with butter needs high smoke point cooking oils to prevent the burning and generation of toxic Acrylamide.

Nutritional Benefits of Butter:
  • Butter is a rich source of saturated fat (about 70%), MUFA (25%), Vit A (most abundant), D, B12, E, K2. It contains a minimal amount of PUFA (2.3%) and MCT (6.8%).
  • About 11% of saturated fat in butter is Short-chain fatty acids, precisely butyrate. Butyrate is known to improve the digestive system, reduce constipation, and reduce inflammation.
  • Butter is the richest dietary source of dairy Tran’s fats, the most common of which are vaccenic acid and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA has various health benefits and helps in natural weight loss.
  • A higher proportion of fresh grass in a cow’s diet increases the number of healthy fats. Thus, grass-fed butter is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, fat-soluble vitamins, and beta carotene than regular butter. Hence Grass-fed or Organic butter is a healthier choice than conventional butter.
  • Moderate consumption of butter is healthy.

butter substitute

Downsides of Butter:

  • It may cause a dairy allergy. Butter contains lactose and milk protein at a low level; thus, it may not be suitable for individuals with a dairy allergy. (Lactose intolerant or allergic to milk protein. Lactose intolerant people should avoid it in the diet.
  • It has a low shelf life: Butter needs refrigeration for storage. It has a low shelf life at ambient conditions. The USDA recommends leaving butter out at room temperature for only a day or two.
  • It is prone to microbial spoilage: Butter is prone to microbial spoilage, especially by yeasts and molds. Surface decolorization and off-flavors are significant types of spoilages in butter.
  • It can go rancid even when refrigerated: Refrigeration can slow down the oxidation of butter during storage, but taste, flavor (develops rancidity), and texture may deteriorate considerably with time.
  • It has a low smoking point: Butter has the lowest smoking point of 350 degrees F. Thus, not suitable for high heat cooking processes.

What is Ghee? Why is it better butter?

Ghee is the clarified butter produced by heating unsalted cow milk butter above 100°C until almost all moisture evaporates and milk solids separate, leaving the pure butterfat on the top.

High-temperature cooking results in milk solids’ caramelization and gives ghee a typical nutty taste, aroma, and golden-yellow color. The heating process removes most of all the moisture, lactose, and milk protein from ghee. So butter is the raw material for making ghee.

Ghee contains around 99.6% fat, not more than 0.4% free fatty acids (as oleic acid).

Pure grass-fed or organic cow ghee (prepared from grass-fed cow milk butter or organic milk butter) doesn’t contain any additives or preservatives. Ghee is sometimes prepared with added flavor extracts (lime, garlic, etc.) or Himalayan pink salt for value addition.

Ghee can also be prepared from cultured butter for a more intense flavor and taste. Ghee can be prepared by churning yogurt (cultured milk) to extract butter, followed by boiling it to make pure ghee.

Ghee is not prone to microbial spoilage and has a long shelf life due to high-fat content and low moisture content (not more than 0.3%). It can be stored without refrigeration at your pantry for 12-18 months.

Ghee has several nutritional and therapeutic properties. It has a healthy fatty acids profile and fat-soluble vitamins essential for the human body.

These are characteristic short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, saturated fats, Omega 3, essential fatty acids like linoleic acid and arachidonic acid, carotenoids, and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Grass-fed or Organic Ghee, prepared from grass-fed or organic butter, is considered more nutritious than conventional ghee. Grass-fed or Organic Ghee contains a higher amount of beneficial fatty acid, CLA, Omega- 3, Butyrate, Fat-soluble vitamins, and beta-carotene.

butter substitute

Several Ghee benefits are: 

Nutritional Benefits: 

  • Ghee is rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which imparts health benefits like improved lipid metabolism, immunity enhancement, improved bone mineralization, and natural weight loss.
  • Ghee is rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Essential Fatty Acids), which are beneficial to the heart, brain, eye, and other tissue functions and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Ghee is rich in butyric acid or butyrate, which helps in digestion and releases constipation.
  • Ghee is rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant and the precursor for vitamin A in the human body. Vitamin A is essential for retina function.
  • Ghee is rich in saturated fat, which provides sustained energy. That’s why it is used in bulletproof coffee or morning smoothies as filler food.
  • Ghee is rich in Fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E, K. These vitamins are essential for immunity, skin, and eyes, and calcium metabolism in the human body.
  • According to Ayurveda, moderate consumption of pure cow ghee with an everyday diet is health-friendly. It boosts memory power, immunity, provides high energy, naturally rejuvenates the body, natural weight loss, and improves hair and skin.
  • Ghee is full of nutrition, thus known as a superfood. Moderate consumption of ghee with an active lifestyle imparts several health benefits.

Cooking benefits:

  • Ghee has a high smoke point and perfect for cooking, baking, sautéing, seasoning (over roasted veggies), and direct consumption (in coffee/ smoothies). It has a high smoke point, about 482 degrees F. Thus, ghee is suitable for high-temperature cooking, frying, baking, and roasting. Due to high smoke points, ghee doesn’t get burnt and produces much less toxic compounds (toxic Acrylamide, free radicals) than other cooking oils or butter while cooking on high heat.
  • Ghee has characteristics of taste and aroma: Ghee enhances food taste and is suitable for recipes from world cuisines.

It is a nutritious replacement for cooking oil and butter.

Other benefits:

  • Ghee has a longer shelf life: Ghee is a self-stable product and significantly less prone to change its characteristics over time. Ghee is safe from microbial spoilage and has a long shelf life due to low moisture content (not more than 0.3%). Therefore, it can store it without refrigeration for 12-18 months.
  • It is suitable for individuals allergic to the dairy product: Ghee contains almost no lactose and milk protein (lower than butter), thus idealizing individuals with a dairy allergy.
  • It is suitable for KETO and Paleo diet.

Therapeutic benefits: 

According to Ayurveda, Moderate consumption of ghee with a regular diet imparts several health benefits.

  • Boosts natural immunity of the body
  • Contain MCTs, which may help with natural weight loss if coupled with exercise, balanced diet.
  • strengthening of bone health
  • Improvement of eyesight
  • Ghee in the pregnancy diet, according to Ayurveda, was believed to ease labor pain.
  • Offers support of retaining natural memory power
  • significantly decreases harmful LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Aids in brain development and boosting concentration
  • Act as a carrier of ayurvedic medicines and absorbed quickly in the body

Butter substitute

How does ghee can use as a butter substitute?

Nutritionally, ghee and butter are almost dairy twins. But a few features make ghee even a better choice than butter. According to Ayurveda, moderate consumption of ghee is undoubtedly beneficial and may consider as a butter substitute.

Some supportive practical reasons for using ghee as a butter substitute are as follows: 

  • the fat profile and nutritional benefits of these two are very similar. Ghee has a higher concentration of fat than butter. Therefore, it contains a slightly elevated amount of healthy fats, vitamins and offers more calories. One tablespoon of ghee offers 120 calories, while butter provides 102 calories.
  • On the other hand, unlike butter, ghee is suitable for people suffering from lactose intolerance or allergies due to milk protein.
  • Ghee has a higher smoke point, so less likely to burn and produce toxic Acrylamide. Unlike butter, ghee is hugely suitable and widely used in high heat cooking, frying, and sautéing various recipes from world cuisines. The unique nutty taste and pleasant aroma of ghee boost up the taste of food. This is one of the primary reasons why ghee makes an excellent cooking fat.
  • Ghee can be used in baking and bakery products just like butter to produce a strong buttery flavor. It can also be used as a seasoning ingredient, spread on toasts, or in morning coffee/ smoothies to make a high-calorie drink.
Apart from nutritional and cooking benefits, ghee is: 
  • Unlike butter, ghee has long shelf life at ambient conditions (shelf-stable) and does not need refrigeration.
  • Suitable for Ketogenic diet (keto diet/ no carbs diet) and Paleo-friendly diet.

Therefore, although nutritionally ghee and butter are almost the same, ghee contains a slightly more elevated amount of healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins than butter due to a higher fat concentration. It is suitable for people suffering from dairy allergies. It is ideal for high-temperature cooking and making delicious meals. So, ghee can indeed be used as a butter substitute.

Butter substitute: How to replace butter with ghee in cooking:
  • You can use ghee as a butter substitute while baking a cake, cookies, or bread to get an intense buttery aroma.
  • You can use ghee for bullet coffee, spread on toast, or food to enrich the taste, flavor, and texture.
  • Unlike butter, use ghee for high-temperature cooking processes like deep-frying, roasting, pan-frying, etc. Hence, it is a healthy replacement.
Summing up:
Good Quality Ghee is a healthy choice as a butter substitute because:
  • Ghee is a tastier and a nutritious option for cooking fat.
  • Ghee is free of the risk of allergy.
  • It has therapeutic usages.
  • It is suitable for individuals with lactose intolerant/ allergic to casein.
  • It is ideal for high-temperature cooking processes.
  • Ghee has a buttery texture, nutty taste, and a pleasant aroma, thus enhances the taste of any recipe from world cuisines.

You may go for Milkio Grass-fed ghee or organic ghee from Milkio Foods Limited, New Zealand, for the best quality ghee. Milkio ghee is prepared from 100% grass-fed/ Organic butter. It has no added additives or preservatives.

Milkio organic grass-fed ghee is certified “Non-GMO & Organic (USDA Organic) by BioGro NZ Ltd, New Zealand.

It is a natural product and does not contain lactose, casein, gluten, and sugar, and works as a versatile cooking oil.

You can replace butter with ghee. Hence Ghee clarified butter is an ideal butter substitute.


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