I was looking at this question:

How do I butter popcorn without making it soggy?

And it got me wondering: is there any instance, either using melted butter for popcorn or in some other application, where simply melted but not clarified/rendered butter should be used?

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    If you were looking at this answer, note that it's not quite the same as clarifying - there's no mention of removing the milk solids, though they may have separated and sunk. If they get mixed back in, then the butter isn't really clarified.
    – Cascabel
    Jan 25, 2012 at 20:34
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    Your assumption is kind of odd, too. Clarified butter has no water in it, so this is like asking if it's always preferable to use pure fat instead of 80% fat 20% water. In the case of popcorn, maybe so. In the case of a recipe using melted butter that was created using melted butter, and knows that water is there, and will be changed if it's not?
    – Cascabel
    Jan 25, 2012 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


Essentially clarified butter is butter that has all it's water and milk solids removed. All that is left is butterfat.

Pros and Cons of Clarified/Rendered butter:


  • It can be stored longer than regular butter
  • It has a higher smoke point so can be heated higher without burning
  • Does contain negligible lactose for those lactose-intolerant


  • Effort. It requires so time to melt the butter, boil off the water, filter out the milk fat, and resolidify the butter again.
  • Taste. Because the milk solids are filtered out, it has a milder "butter" taste than unclarified butter. Of course it will still be much more rich and buttery compared to regular vegetable oil.

With this information in mind, I will leave it to yourself to decide when you should and should not use clarified butter.

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    Could you give any sources?
    – Mien
    Jan 25, 2012 at 20:06
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    This is actually the article I first used when I created my clarified butter. It's introduction provided me with most of the information I posted: joyofbaking.com/ClarifiedButter.html
    – Jay
    Jan 25, 2012 at 20:15
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    @Mien: This is reasonably common knowledge. The first sentence is basically a definition (which you can see in the snippet for the wikipedia page which is the first result on google for "clarified butter") and the rest is deduction from that, and can also be found on wikipedia or elsewhere.
    – Cascabel
    Jan 25, 2012 at 20:16
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    @CosCallis I didn't saw your comment till now (you wrote a mistake in my name). After looking it up, I don't disagree. But I never heard of those characteristics, so it wasn't common knowledge for me. I thought I wasn't the only one.
    – Mien
    Feb 8, 2012 at 19:02
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    @Mien, sorry for getting your name wrong... the mistake was all mien. ;)
    – Cos Callis
    Feb 9, 2012 at 5:18

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