Ghee is one of the famous cooking staples in India. It has also gained popularity in the Middle East and even in Southeast Asian countries. It’s another form of clarified butter used for cooking and even for ritual ceremonies.
This high-quality ghee might be hard to replace in most dishes but it’s good to know that there are a lot of alternatives available.
Best Ghee Substitutes
Let’s see how these 10 ghee substitutes can be used in some dishes.
1. Sesame Oil
One of my favorite cooking oils on this list is Sesame oil. Popular among most Asian countries, sesame oil likens the ghee because of its healthier benefits. It’s extracted from fresh sesame seeds hence the name sesame oil. It’s darker in color, thicker, and extremely fragrant and aromatic.
It’s not only perfect for substituting ghee for cooking dishes but it’s also an excellent topping. You can top it to salads, rice dishes, noodles, sauces and so much more. It’s a healthier option to use because of its ability to improve our blood sugar level and maintain a healthier heart condition.
2. Sunflower Oil
We all know that sunflowers are the perfect blooms during summer. But after it blooms, its flowers don’t go to waste. Its seeds are harvested for food such as sesame seeds for healthy snacks and extracting oil from sesame seeds which is now then the sunflower oil. It’s also highly aromatic, the same as sesame oil. No need to add spices to your dish to make it fragrant.
When substituting it with ghee, you can use this as the perfect cooking oil for pan-fried or stir-fried dishes. It’s also effective as a salad dressing mixed with balsamic vinegar. Just don’t use it for deep frying or long periods of frying since the oil burns quite fast. The food will taste burnt and less edible.
3. Soybean Oil
Soybeans are very rich in protein and are manufactured into many different products such as soymilk, soybean paste, and even soybean cakes. Another popular product made from these healthy beans is soybean oil. It’s another healthier alternative for ghee which is perfect for baked goods.
When substituting it with ghee, you can just follow the 1:1 ratio to any baked dishes. It adds moisture and a chewy texture to your favorite desserts and pastries. I don’t recommend it as a cooking oil because of its tendency to easily burn. Although it’s healthy, try to consume it moderately because of its high levels of polyunsaturated fats.
4. Canola Oil
There are different types of vegetable oils and one of which is the infamous canola oil. Harvested from the canola’s vibrant yellow blooms, this oil is also a perfect substitute for ghee due to its aroma and flavor. It’s also a healthier alternative due to its lower erucic acid and unsaturated fat which doesn’t harm our cardiovascular system.
Canola is so diverse and flexible to use. It’s perfect for pan-fried, stir-fried, and deep-fried dishes. It’s also effective to use for grilling meats and vegetables. However, I don’t really recommend it for baking because of its lesser fat content which makes the pastries or baked dishes less airy or soft.
5. Coconut Oil
No wonder coconut trees are considered a tree of life due to their many uses. From the roots to fruit, there’s no waste and you can use it for so many things both medicinal and home remedy uses. One of its highly recommended products is coconut oil. Coconut oil is not only good for food but has also medicinal properties. It can aid dry skin, scalp, or even as a hair conditioner.
For healthier baked goods, coconut oil is your safest bet. It has actually a fuller flavor and highly aromatic scent that beats ghee as a dessert ingredient. When using coconut oil, you need not to add cinnamon or vanilla extract just to make the dish aromatic. The coconut oil does it by itself, plus, it’s healthier and beneficial to your body.
Butter is by far the most common substitute in this list. It’s impossible to not have this in our kitchen. There’s a ton of choices when it comes to picking the best butter to use to substitute ghee. If you like it more flavorful, there are types of butter made of cow’s milk. To be on the healthier side, there’s readily available vegan butter to stick to your healthy lifestyle.
I like using butter because of its flexibility. It’s perfect as it’s own especially when paired with bread, excellent for baked dishes and for cooking savory food. You can also get it cheap in big blocks that can last you for a long time of usage.
7. Olive Oil
One of the most expensive but the healthiest alternatives on our list is olive oil. Popular among the countries in Europe and the Middle East, this oil is one of the perfect substitutes for ghee. It’s darker in color especially if you pick the extra virgin olive oil. It’s also highly aromatic and flavorful.
It’s highly recommended to use for salad dressings, sauces, cooking oil for healthy pan-fried and stir-fried dishes. I sometimes use it for baking like cookies and brownies. However, I don’t use it for cakes since I don’t find it effective for making fluffy cakes.
8. Clarified Butter
Clarified butter is more like the liquid form of the typical butter. It’s processed by separating its milk curds from the water. Then you just get a beautiful golden clear butter. It actually looks the same as ghee because of its bright yellow color however it doesn’t solidify when placed in cold temperature.
I like using clarified butter for making fried butter chicken and other crispy dishes. It’s an excellent choice for deep frying since it doesn’t burn immediately. It’s surprisingly flexible because it’s also effective to use as an ingredient for cakes, cookies, and other baked goods.
9. Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oil is the generic term for any plant-extracted oils that can be found in the market. One of the examples is olive oil, which is also the healthiest. If those are unavailable, other healthy variants are peanut oil, avocado oil, and safflower oil.
Vegetable oil is one of the most common cooking oils used in most kitchens. It’s readily available, easy to use, and affordable. It’s perfect for different types of cooking methods whether pan-fried or deep-fried. It’s a good substitute for ghee in most savory dishes.
10. Rapeseed Oil
Rapeseed Oil is just the same as canola oil that comes from the Brassicaceae family. The only difference it has from canola is its rich content of erucic acid. It’s highly advisable to consume it moderately and if possible, to be used in smaller contents.
You can use this oil for many dishes, especially for savory ones. When making soups or stews, you can saute your ingredients with a little amount of rapeseed oil. This is an excellent way to use the oil with just using the right amount of it.
Is ghee a healthy fat?
Yes, fortunately, it’s a healthier option instead of using regular cooking oils. It doesn’t have trans fats that can cause harmful health problems. It’s safe to use for a healthier and balanced diet for cooking dishes without harming your health. Still, it’s advisable to consume it moderately just like any food.
Does ghee have medicinal properties?
Yes, ghee has the ability to treat swelling or infection from your body because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It has a helpful compound called Butyrate that is good for the immune system to fight off toxins and harmful bacteria that can infiltrate the body. That’s why ghee can be a good medicinal or home remedy for minor burns or cuts.
Does ghee taste like butter?
As opposed to its physical appearance, ghee actually has a cleaner and fresher taste compared to butter. On top of that, it’s a healthier alternative that’s why it’s good for savory dishes. It doesn’t give you that after taste of oily food that you want to wash away with water. It’s more subtle and less obvious, especially when used in smaller quantities. Ghee has a higher quality because it comes from grass-fed cows.
There you have it! You’ve got 10 different and excellent alternatives the next time you run out of ghee. It’s up to you which one to choose from depending on how you’re cooking your dish. Before doing the substitution, it’s best that you get to know each of those and do an experiment if it works for you.
Most importantly, consult your doctor if you’re okay to use those alternatives especially if you have existing diseases that need a more careful diet. You could be allergic to some oils and it’s best to weigh your options before doing the substitution. Then again, you’ve got 10 choices to choose from and it’s best to pick the healthier ones on your next dish.