So this is going to be a really simple post with a couple pretty pictures.  Because making ghee in a crockpot is SO EASY!!!  Unless I have to, I will never make ghee on the stovetop or in the oven ever again.

As it turned out, making the latest batch of ghee in the crockpot was the result of one of my desperate attempts, when it is hot outside, to keep the indoors cooler without using A/C.  So I cook as much as I can on my sunporch, which means using a lot of electrical appliances – crockpot, rice steamer, egg steamer, etc.  So, when it came time to make ghee from 4 lbs of spring grass-fed butter, the crock pot came out!

It was so much easier, tho, than making ghee ever had been before, because I didn’t have to monitor the temp, or make sure it wasn’t overcooking – it was a perfect temp, and made a deeply-flavored ghee from all the milk solids that browned so nicely.  (Basically the method of making ghee involves boiling off any liquid that remains in the butter, cooking the solids so that they form clusters that can be easily strained off, and browning those solids to add rich flavor to the remaining butter oil.)

When finished, it was just a matter of ladling the finished oil into a sieve lined with a paper towel, to catch the browned solids, and letting it drain into the jar below.  So simple!  So nutritious – I can’t believe what a gorgeous color this is!  And SO delicious!

 

This post is part of Works for Me Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, and Paleo Rodeo.

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42 Responses to Making Ghee in a Crockpot

  1. Jill says:

    Did you set your crockpot on low or high? How many hours did it go? Thanks for sharing this great idea!

    • Megh says:

      That’s an excellent question! I can’t believe I forgot to put that in! It was on low — I don’t know if I’ve ever used my crockpot on high, to be honest–it gets pretty hot on low as it is! I think it went about 8 hours or so — I just left it and kind of forgot about it for most of the day, and when I got a chance to get back to it, it was perfectly done, with nice brown crispiness to the solids — which adds WONDERFUL flavor!

  2. Barbara Grant says:

    Thanks for posting this as I am getting to make ghee for the first time!

  3. Allan Jackson says:

    Oooh, I hadn’t ever thought of doing ghee in the crock pot. I’ll have to try that next time because I love the flavor from letting all the milk solids brown, but it’s a hassle to make sure it doesn’t burn.

    I just made a batch of cooking fat the other night. My recipe is 1/3 ghee, 1/3 beef tallow, and 1/3 coconut oil. It’s a good variety of high-heat fats that taste good together.

    • Megh says:

      That sounds like a really nice combo — might have to try it! I often times end up combining coconut oil and whatever other fat I’m using in the pan when I start cooking — but mixing them ahead of time would definitely save time in the cooking process.

  4. Kathryn says:

    This is perfect for me! I have several food intolerance’s and casein is one of them. Butter will leave me clutching my stomach but ghee doesn’t pose any threats for me. I’m going to bust out my crock pot right now!

    • Megh says:

      Awesome! I’d never tried ghee before we started GAPS, but I definitely will be using it extensively from now on — it cooks so nicely, and the flavor is so phenomenal! I still love me some butter, but now I love me some ghee too!!

  5. Jessie says:

    wow – super excited about this.

    just curious – how big is your crockpot? Mine seems to be bigger than yours & I am wondering if doing too little butter would create issues – like maybe cooking too fast or overheating, etc.

    • Megh says:

      I think it holds about a gallon; I pulled 3 1/2 quarts of stock out of it a couple days ago and it wasn’t quite full. I suspect you might want to watch it for the first time just in case, with a larger one/smaller amount of butter — plus I think they’re all individual, and will have different temp settings. But theoretically if it doesn’t burn, I don’t think it should burn, since the point of a crock pot is to hold something at a specific temp for a long time … at least I think that’s the point of a crock pot! Maybe not, tho … I did have some disappointing results with that stock I just mentioned, it tastes a bit burnt :( But I had that stock going for several days, so it probably did in fact overheat. Let me know how it goes — I’m interested to hear if it works as well in others’ crockpots as it did in mine!

  6. Melanie says:

    I’ve never made Ghee before, but I want to. You made it look so simple, I need to stop procrastinating and do it! :) thanks for sharing!

  7. Lili says:

    I have a question for you! Did you keep the cover on or off? I can see the condensation potentially beeing a problem, but maybe not?
    I have 2 lb. of perfect butter waiting to be turened into ghee. Thanks for a fantastic idea!!! I mix mine with coconut oil as well.

  8. Yolanda says:

    When your ghee is finished, do you store it in the fridge?

    • Megh says:

      It depends — I didn’t all winter, but now that it’s so hot, I decided to put it back in the fridge, partly because I made so much of it last time I made it, and I was worried that it might spoil if left out for as long as it was going to take us to finish it. But that may just be my paranoia! I decided better safe than sorry, I guess is what I’m saying. But if the fridge got over-full, I’d definitely take it out for a few days to make extra room for something more perishable. Theoretically you can leave it out indefinitely. I mean, it’s a staple in Indian food, and I’m sure most Indians don’t have (and haven’t had over the course of the history of traditional Indian cooking) a fridge to store it in!

      • Yolanda says:

        I made some, over night, and it worked beautifully, but I’m having trouble getting it strained. What kind of paper toweling did you use? I’ve tried what I have, as well, as 2 different paper coffee filters, a paper napkin and a cotton cloth. They all get clogged up quickly. Did you have any trouble with this?

        • Megh says:

          Hmm … I didn’t have any issues with that … let me cogitate … I used a pretty fine-meshed strainer, with a paper towel liner — there were two sheets, so the perforations between the sheets probably helped a little in the straining. I would pour in enough to fill to the edge of the rim, and leave it for a while, maybe half an hour or more, before pouring more in … perhaps the ghee is solidifying? If it’s not warm enough to keep the ghee at a liquid state, I could easily see how that would clog up. I usually end up with somewhere around 1/4 cup of solids left in the strainer for every pound of butter, if that gives you something to compare against. Does any of this help? I hope it does! Let me know.

          • Yolanda says:

            Mine is a typical stainless steel strainer. Next time I will use a different kind of paper towel and see what happens. Even with all the fiddling I had to do to make this work, it was quite worth it! The ghee is delicious. I put a little on my oatmeal this morning (I usually add butter) and oh my! Delicious!

          • Megh says:

            Yay deliciousness!!
            Yeah, I neglected to mention the type of paper towel I used, I realize — sorry! It’s Whole Foods 100% recycled.

  9. Yolanda says:

    We don’t have a Whole Foods here, but maybe I can find something similar. This batch will last a while, though. I did 3 # of butter and there are only two of us. :)

    • Megh says:

      Yeah, I would say whatever cheapo, preferably unbleached variety you can find! They’re not great paper towels, by any means! But they work for cleaning up after the cats, and filtering things, which is pretty much all I use them for. That batch that I have in the picture was 4 lbs — I stocked up on spring butter when the farm had it. And it’s going to last the two of us several months for sure!

  10. D. says:

    Instead of using a paper towel, use cheesecloth.

    • Megh says:

      True, this is definitely an option. I like the paper towel method because I can throw it away, to be perfectly honest. I don’t like to use soap on my cheesecloth, so I don’t want it to get all greasy … I suppose I could devote a cheesecloth just to ghee making, and store it in the freezer. Perhaps I’ll try that next time!

  11. Mindy says:

    That is such a great idea! I’m getting ready to make some more ghee and love the idea of not having to watch it on the stove. I’m definitely going to try the crockpot method.

  12. Kathi says:

    Thank you for posting this idea. I’ve been making ghee for nearly a year and doing it the time-honored way on the stove. I immediately tried your slow-cook way but I’m not sure how to know if it’s done. I left it on for about eight or nine hours and poured it off through fine cheesecake. But after a day it had not hardened like my other ghee. Though not liquid, it was like butter on a very hot day. Did I not leave it long enough? When I do it on the stove, I do a considerable amount of skimming off the top, and there is the lovely crackling noise of the water burning off. I didn’t have any of these “markers” in the slow-cooker so I couldn’t judge when it was done. Any thoughts on why it isn’t hardening?

    • Megh says:

      Hmm … that’s a good question! Were there lots of solids in the cheesecloth? Was the liquid clear? Were there different layers in the liquid, or was it all uniform? Is it warmer in your house right now than it usually is? Ghee can stay liquid at warm room temperature, say 75-80 degrees. As long as the warm liquid (when completely liquid right after straining, not once it turned to the butter-ish consistency) was clear, not cloudy, you got solids out of it, and the liquid was uniform, I suspect it’s done. Perhaps your crockpot doesn’t run as hot as mine does — I think mine runs pretty hot, actually hotter than I’d like some of the time! Because mine had lots of nicely browned solids strain out, which I think is a factor of slightly higher heat. Sorry you had this confusion! I hope you get it figured out alright!

  13. vanessa says:

    I feel empowered by your posts to try making ghee again. If I read correctly, you put the crockpot on low in the morning, without the lid on and check it throughout the day and removing in the evening?
    I’ve never cooked anything on the crockpot without a lid so I am a bit surprised.
    Kimberly Clark makes blue paper towels called Scott towels designed for handymen, I use them for draining fries, do you think they would work as a strainer or would they be too thick?
    Thanks for your blog, I’m looking forward to a good cooking fat!

    • Megh says:

      Good question about the lid! I believe I left it on, but propped a little to the side so that the steam could escape, but covering enough to retain some heat. Thinking of that, maybe that’s the reason one of the previous commenters had issues with it not getting hot enough! The things I forget to say …
      In terms of the paper towels, I’ve never used that kind. The ones I use are the Whole Foods brand recycled kind; they’re pretty thin, single-ply, and the sheets are perforated in shorter sections, so I need two sections still held together to line my strainer, and I suspect the perforation holes help with the drainage. So I suspect the brand of towels you have may be too thick. You can also use cheesecloth; if you use the kind you buy at the store (not what most cheesemakers actually use, which technically is called “butter muslin”), you’d probably need 2 or 3 or maybe even 4 layers I’d think to get proper straining, since the weave is so loose.
      Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

  14. Rachael says:

    Would this work in a rice cooker? My slow cooker is pretty big and I’d like to start small!

    • Megh says:

      Unless you have a low-temp option on the rice cooker, I would think it might not — I think a rice cooker would just get too hot and burn things. You would definitely have to watch it like a hawk. You can do it in a pretty thin layer in a crock pot, although I would think less than a pound of butter probably might not work great. And even with only a pound of butter, you would want to watch the crock pot carefully as well, to make sure things didn’t burn, depending on how hot your crock pot runs. The other problem with rice cookers is that they’ve usually got non-stick coatings on them, which introduce toxins into the food, so they’re best avoided if at all possible. Sorry to rain on your idea! If you had a mini-crock pot that might work better! :) But if you do try it in the rice cooker (watching it very carefully — at which point you might just want to do it on the stove!), let me know, I’m always interested in hearing how things work for people!

  15. Amy says:

    Tx so much for sharing. Just wondering how much butter did you put in your crock pot? How long did you run your crock pot? How did you know it was done?

    • Megh says:

      Good questions! The time I made this batch, I did 4 lbs of butter, but I’ve done it just fine with 2 as well. It ran for probably 5 hours or so on the lower setting. You know it’s done because it has lots of brown crusties on the top, and has a very deep, rich smell; there may be some creamish-brown looking solids still on the bottom, I usually don’t wait until they’ve all crisped up and turned into darker brown crusty like things before I strain it.

  16. Maria says:

    I wished I had read your post earlier. I tried to make ghee in a crockpot and figured it would take 8 hours so I left it overnight and it burned. I’m trying again today, but watching it more carefully because as you say not all crockpots are the same.

    Thanks for all the information.

    • Megh says:

      Thanks for commenting! Yeah, it definitely can vary significantly. I’m sorry your first batch burned! Better luck this second time.

  17. Nora says:

    I’m allergic to Coconut Oil and someone suggested that I try Ghee as an alternative. I’m excited to try this. Thanks for the tips.

  18. Devonavar says:

    I’m also curious about using a rice cooker … I would think a rice cooker would be quicker and safer because it’s designed to turn off automatically when all the water is boiled off.

    My theory is this: Rice cookers work by applying heat until the temperature rises slightly above 100°C (boiling point of water). Because water boils at 100°C, the temperature doesn’t rise above this point until all the water is boiled off (i.e. the rice is done).

    Making ghee should be the same I think — the important part is to cook the water out of it. So, by the same theory, ghee should be done when the water is boiled off and the oil is able to rise above 100°C.

    So that’s the theory … what I’m wondering is has anybody actually been able to verify that this actually works? All I’ve been able to find so far are the comments in this post: http://jayakula.org/how-to-make-ghee/

    Has anyone had success in a rice cooker? Was the ghee clear when you poured it? The photo in the original post doesn’t look very clear to me…

    • Megh says:

      I have not myself used a rice cooker, however, I think that it probably would not work as well as a crock pot for two reasons:
      1) The crock pot is ideal because it doesn’t heat up very quickly. This slow heating is ideal because it gives you a very wide window in which to catch the ghee at that “perfect” stage — whatever you decide that to be — between full evaporation and over-browning/burning the milk solids. One of the problems that I’ve heard people have with cooking ghee on the stovetop is that it goes from almost done to way-over-done way too quickly, you have to keep an eagle eye on it. With the crock pot, I’ve found that I can smell when it’s at that “sweet-spot” of perfect done-ness, and not have to worry if I have to finish something for a few minutes before turning it off. I’ve found that my rice cooker cooks VERY quickly, maybe even more quickly than my stove, so I would think you would have to be extremely diligent to catch it right away.
      2) Most rice cookers that I’ve encountered have been nonstick. I personally try to avoid nonstick cookware as much as possible; the WAPF cautions against using it because of the toxins that can be released into air and food when heating them to cooking temperatures. I would love to find a rice cooker that used a material other than nonstick surfaces, tho, because I miss using mine!!

      That being said, if you do experiment using your rice cooker, I’d be interested to hear how it goes!

      Oh, and as for the ghee being clear — it definitely comes out very clear from the crockpot method, if you strain it properly; it may have already been starting to cool a bit in the picture, or perhaps the air bubbles from pouring it made it cloudier. But it’s definitely quite clear, I can attest!

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