Butter is an inevitable ingredient in most of dessert recipes. By definition, ghee is just clarified butter, but to me, the taste is completely different. The taste of butter is more close to heavy cream, while that of ghee is more close to cooking oil (at least to my tongue).

Is it good to use ghee instead of butter in dessert and pastry recipes`? Doesn't it ruin the taste to be far from the original standard?

  • 1
    If the exact fat content of the butter is important for the result, using different brands of butter may also ruin the result. Some countries have regulated a minimum milk fat content in butter (USA: 80%, EU: 82%), but butter may have a higher fat content that what's required to call it butter. Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 16:37
  • Butter has a certain amount of emulsifying power, which is lost when clarifying it. Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 17:28
  • Clarifying butter is used so that the butter can be used as an oil. Regular butter smokes when you heat but ghee has a much higher temperature at which it smokes which makes it suitable for an Indian tandoor.
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 12:53

11 Answers 11


moved here from a comment:

Ghee does have a different aroma and consistency, so, depending on the use of it in the recipe (wether it is used for frying or in the frosting for example), it will quite likely change the final result.

So in some cases substituting butter with some neutral flavored oil or margarine might be better than ghee. Which, I know, might not help if ghee is all you've got.

Also wanted to include what @rumtscho adds in the comment above:

in recipes where the fat ratio is important, ghee (which is 100% fat) can ruin the ratio because butter is 83% fat.

And as to standards, they can be quite relative (making something that tastes slightly different doesn't necessarily ruin it) ... if you are making the desert for an indian audience, using clarified butter might taste quite normal =)

  • Using butter or oil is not really interchangeable in terms of cakes. Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 9:19

Ghee is basically clarified butter. If a dessert recipe calls for "butter" then it's probably not going to work. If it calls for cold butter cut in pieces... it definitely will not work. If a recipe calls for melted butter... you'll be ok.. use a touch less and add a splash of cream. Ghee is butter with the milk solids removed.


I used ghee in an icing recipe because I ran out of butter, and the texture was all wrong. Added a little milk after reading this and boom - the texture immediately improved. Some of the fat content separated, but I just poured it off and the icing was fine. I can recommend the combination of ghee and milk as a good substitution, at least for icings.

  • Hello, and welcome to the site! We generally express thanks with upvoting only (you will be able to upvote with a little bit of reputation) and delete thanks-only answers. Yours also contained valuable information about a working substitution which is not so explicitely described in the other answers, so I edited it to leave that part only.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 17:36

I am not a professional baker and am still learning but I bake almost every week. In my country ghee is a main ingredient in our houses, whether its made from clarifying butter at home or just buying it.

I use ghee in all my bakes, even in making caramel sauce, brownies, cheesecakes or cookies.

Just be careful what the recipe calls for. If it is cold cubes , then freeze it and then take it out after 15 min maybe and cut it just like butter. I the recipe asks for room temperature, then use it as it is.

It works everytime for me. For the taste part, if the ghee is home made then you have nothing to worry about. If you bought it ready just make sure it has a good not overwhelming taste and smell.


No, ghee cannot be used in place of butter, because ghee is clarified. This removes the water from the butter, which is a key component of butter when used in baking. The water evaporating and creating steam pockets gives a lot of foods their fluffy texture. The removal of the water would create a lot of issues in getting your desserts to come out right, even if the taste of ghee was similar to that of butter (which it is not)

  • 2
    Can you point to further sources about the evaporating water theory? It doesn't fit with what I remember about rising mechanisms. Also, I'm quite sure I've eaten steam-leavened food (like Danish pastry) with a substitute fat which does not have water.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 6:20
  • Clarification does not necessarily mean that the water content has been removed (see for example this YouTube video). What is removed is the milk solids in the butter. Although in ghee, the water has also been boiled away (and the milk solids allowed to brown), as you point out. Commented May 25, 2021 at 22:24

I can't believe no one thinks Ghee tastes like butter. It tastes exactly like the fresh farm butter my grandmother used to use when I was growing up. Maybe slightly nuttier but not at all like any oil I have ever tasted. I can't say but think if the recipe calls for softened butter you could use equally I am almost sure but the rest I am not sure of. I know an earlier poster or two said that you can bake with it and I am sure you can there may need to be tweaks if it doesn't call for softened butter but according to the earlier post you can harden it in the fridge and use it has your cold butter in recipes calling for that.


You can bake with ghee as you would with butter. Like butter, ghee gets very hard when you put it in the refrigerator. Like butter, ghee gets nice and soft when you take it out of the refrigerator. Ghee lasts long than butter because the milk product is gone. Ghee has MORE fat than butter so the person who suggested you use butter and walk more has the information all wrong. You can use ghee in a microwave (but why would you use a microwave for anything) and in the oven. I think the poster who asked if margarine was being used instead of ghee was on to something. Go with the ghee. People in India bake with it all the time and you can find a truckload of websites and blogs written by Indians who use ghee in every way of cooking.

  • 2
    As others have said, you can't "bake with ghee as you would with butter", because ghee is pure fat, whereas butter is 80-85% fat. You may be able to substitute ghee for butter depending on the recipe, but the two are not interchangeable.
    – Dan C
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 14:40

To sub ghee for butter in a baking recipe you'd need to add a blend of water and ghee to make up for the water lost during the ghee making process. For my recipes, I use about 10% water to 90% ghee by weight when replacing butter.

That might not be required for recipes you're not baking, but for recipes that rely on steam to create layers it's important to put back in some of the moisture.


I have baked and cooked plenty of times with ghee, and I have made dozens of biscuits. Nothing wrong with it. Biscuits have the best flavor with ghee.


I used ghee added to brown sugar to make toffee. IT DID NOT WORK. The brown sugar didn’t congeal with the ghee so I had clear butter and a glob of brown sugar boiling separately in the pan. Never saw anything like it.


The point of using ghee for many people is to avoid dairy so adding milk is not solution for them. My daughter is dairy intolerant but because the milk solids are removed from ghee she does not react to it. Here in Australia the only other butter alternatives all contain hydrogenated vegetable oils like margarine so I do not want to use that. We used ghee in some gluten free shortbread we made the other day and they were delicious! Tasted just like shortbread should! Im searching to see if it would be ok for french macarons but as there seems to be much conjecture I might just have to try it and see. One site i read said it can tend to make things a little crispier. I didn't notice that with our shortbread. The brand we buy is just like softened butter when cool and melted butter when warm.

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