10 Healthy Substitutes for Ghee in Cooking and Baking 

Substitute for Ghee

It has become an essential food in many of our everyday recipes. It’s a natural food from India and is better for those who are lactose intolerant and avoid using dairy products that contain high levels of milk protein. 

However, if you have run out of it and don’t know how to replace it, then write down this list of substitutes for ghee to take a look at whenever you need ghee in your recipes. 

A lot of people, who are lactose intolerant to digest, may prefer using some of these ghee substitutes

Best Substitutes for Ghee To Try

Vegetable Oils to Substitute Ghee

All the edible oils made from plants, fruits and vegetables are considered to be vegetable oils. There are a number of vegetable oils that work perfectly instead of ghee.

If you are a vegetarian then you may love to discover best vegetable oil substitutes for ghee. Let’s check this diet-friendly list and then pass on to other alternatives of ghee. 

Sunflower Oil

Between all the vegetable oils, sunflower oil is one of the most popular substitutes for ghee. It comes with a lighter texture and milder flavor than many other types of oils. 

You can use sunflower oil both in cooking and baking. It is ideal especially for stir-fried and pan-fried dishes. This oil is often used in salads and as a topping in small amounts. 

Since sunflower oil tends to burn quickly, you may avoid using it in long-cooked dishes or deep frying. 

Canola Oil

Canola oil is made of crushed canola seeds and it is low in saturated fats, which means it can reduce your cholesterol level. So, canola oil is good for heart health. 

You can use the same amount of this oil in your recipes calling for ghee. Long-cooked dishes best go with canola oil. 

Canola oil is flavorless which makes it a good alternative to ghee. However, there are people who prefer flavorful oils and if you are one of them, then you can add some spices for an additional aroma. 

Though it’s not as popular as sunflower oil, it’s still easy to find it in stores. You can always consider using it in cooking. It is also good in grilled and stir-fried dishes. Since it contains less fat than other oils, it may not be a good choice for baking. 

Sesame Oil 

Made of sesame seeds, sesame oil is flavorful oil with a toasty and nutty taste. It is used not only in Indian dishes but also in many Asian meals. 

There are two types of sesame oil: made from plain sesame seeds and made from toasted seeds. Both work well instead of ghee especially as a topping. 

Depending on your choice, the flavor of your dish will be either mild or strong. Toasted sesame seed oil comes with a darker color and more intense flavor. Therefore, if you use it in cooking your meal will have a stronger aroma. 

You can use sesame oil in sources, dips, soups and other cooked dishes. However, it’s not a good alternative to ghee in cooked dishes as it has a strong flavor. 

Olive Oil

Olive oil is made of fresh ripened fruits of the olive tree. This super healthy oil is widely used in many dishes, salads, sources etc. It serves as an amazing dressing and makes meals look more appealing. 

While olive oil is an expensive substitute to ghee, it’s a great alternative to consider for your ghee-based recipes. You can choose it instead of ghee especially in pan-fried and stir-fried meals. As for baked goods, you may sometimes substitute ghee with olive oil in cookies and brownies. 

Avocado Oil

Can avocado oil substitute ghee? In fact, there are several dishes where you can replace ghee with avocado oil. This is another healthy vegetable oil made of fresh pressed avocado. It contains fats that are good for our health.

Avocado oil comes with a strong buttery flavor. It can be used in sauces, soups, marinades and as a means of topping for salads. Since this oil has a high smoke point you can choose it for almost all cooking techniques. 

Soybean Oil

Made of crushed soybeans, soybean oil is a perfect substitute for ghee especially in baking. Compared to many other oils it is more affordable and popular. It is one of the most widely used vegetable oils in cooking. 

Like avocado oil, soybean oil also comes with a high smoke point which means you can safely use it in different cooked dishes including stir-fried and deep-fried meals. 

Thanks to its flexible binding feature, soybean oil is a favorite option for bakers. You can use it in a bakery if you need binding ingredients. It will provide your dough with a soft and flexible texture. 

Use it by 1:1 ratio when replacing it with ghee. Since it easily burns, you may avoid using it in cooked dishes. 

Coconut Oil

There are two types of coconut oil: unrefined and refined. The main difference between them is the flavor.

 Unrefined coconut oil has a stronger and more noticeable coconut flavor, and if you avoid it you can use refined coconut oil as a ghee substitute. However, refined coconut oil provides pies, cakes and other baked goods with a rich and pleasant coconut aroma. 

Use it in a 1:1 ratio when replacing it with ghee. Since coconut oil has a similar texture to ghee, it can be used in sauces, marinades, smoothies and dips to make them creamy and soft. 

Rapeseed Oil

Rapeseed oil is a great source of vitamin E and it also contains lots of unsaturated fats. It comes with a mild nutty taste. 

This oil is actually the same as canola oil only with a denser texture and stronger aroma. You can substitute rapeseed oil with ghee in small amounts. It best works with savory dishes, stews and soups. 

Dairy Ghee Substitutes 

Butter 

Finally, you have something more suitable to substitute ghee in baking. Butter is perhaps a better choice for a bakery than ghee, but they both are important ingredients in a variety of cakes, biscuits and other fluffy, sweet dishes. 

On the other hand, butter is a product we may always have in our kitchen. So, it’s a good option to replace ghee. 

When you use regular butter instead of ghee, keep in mind that butter tends to melt and burn quicker than ghee. It replaces ghee almost in all cooked dishes and baked goods. You may also find clarified butter in stores which is the liquid form of butter.

Although butter is not considered to be diet-friendly, you can still find vegan butters to substitute ghee. 

Homemade Ghee – How To Make Ghee

If you think that these substitutes are not a good match for your recipes then you can consider making ghee at home too. It may sound weird but actually it’s not that hard to have a homemade ghee in your kitchen as a healthy product without additives. 

All you need is unsalted butter. 1 lb. of butter is equal to 2 cups of ghee. Just slice it up into small pieces and melt on a low heat. Make sure you don’t stir the butter.

Once the butter is melted you’ll notice foam on the top of it. Skim the foam until the butter becomes transparent. After this, you’ll smell the nutty flavor of ghee. 

When you notice milk solids separating from the water, you can turn the heat off and let the ghee cool. Then store it in a jar. If stored properly, this ghee will last longer than the regular ghee bought from stores. 

FAQs on Ghee

Is ghee dairy free?

Ghee is not dairy free but it contains low levels of lactose and  milk protein. 

Is ghee vegan?

No, it is not vegan as it contains lactose, but you may find some vegan ghee options in stores. 

Does ghee need to be refrigerated?

You can keep it on the shelf or pantry as now bacteria grows in it. So, there is no need to refrigerate ghee. However, try to keep it away from the oven or stove. 

How does ghee taste?

Usually ghee tastes like butter but it comes with a nutty and slightly roasted flavor. 

Is clarified butter the same as ghee?

Clarified butter has a similar color and flavor as ghee but they are not the same. They are almost the same and you can use them interchangeably in many recipes.

Can you substitute ghee for coconut oil?

Yes, several recipes may work with coconut oil as a ghee substitute. 

How long does ghee last?

Unopened ghee can last up to 9 months. Once opened, it will last 3 months. If you store the open jar in the refrigerator it will last for a year.  

Where to buy ghee?

You can find ghee in grocery stores and supermarkets from the baking section or between oils and butter. 

Final Word

Ghee has a nutty aroma and is mostly used in cooking, frying, meat and veggie roasting. You can use it in soups, desserts, cakes and other baked goods too. Perhaps you may find other substitutes for ghee, but these are the best options to use in cooking and baking. 

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