I would bet you have put butter in a hot pan, only to have it turn brown immediately and have little dark brown or black flecks in it.  That’s the milk solids burning.  Whole butter is about 20% milk, while clarified butter should have almost no milk, because you have taken those solids out by the clarification process.  This process makes the clarified butter much more stable and have a higher smoke point (the temperature at which it will burn) than whole butter– 350° for whole butter vs. up to 385° for clarified butter (depending on age, amount of impurities, etc).   This makes clarified butter much better for sautéing than whole butter. Clarifying butter is really very easy.  Be aware that you will lose some volume in clarification process.  16 oz of whole butter will yield about 12 oz of clarified butter, so always start with more butter than you will need clarified.  It is much easier to clarify a larger amount of butter anyway.  It freezes well and it withstands being frozen/unfrozen/frozen as you need it.  It also will keep longer than whole butter without going rancid.

Melting Butter to Clarify It

Skim the white film from the melted butter.

Here’s how you do it.  Place the whole UNSALTED butter in a wide pan (it makes it easier to skim if the pan is wide).  Slowly melt the butter over low heat.  You will begin to see white foam come to the top.  Skim it off with a flat spoon or ladle and discard.  Eventually, you will see the butter get a golden translucent quality and if you tilt the pan, you will see a layer of white at the bottom-these are the milk solids.   Carefully skim off as much of the remaining foam from the top as you can-the more fussy you are about it, the less impurities there will be and the higher the smoke point the clarified butter should have.  Be sure not to take too much of the clarified butter with the foam-this is a finicky process.  Slowly tilt the pan and decant (pour off) the clear butter into a container.  STOP as soon as the white solids in the bottom reach the pan’s edge.  Throw this out and the stuff in the container is your clarified butter. Easy.

Making Ghee is similar.
Ingredients1 LB. unsalted butter


Place butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring butter to boil. This takes approximately 5 minutes. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium. Stir a bit and the butter will form a foam which will disappear. Keep cooking gently.  Do not try to hurry this step or the butter will burn.  Ghee is done when a second foam forms on top of butter, and the butter turns golden-approximately 10-15 minutes. Brown milk solids will be in bottom of pan. Gently pour into heatproof container through fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Store in airtight container being sure to keep free from moisture. Ghee does not need refrigeration and will keep in airtight container for up to 1 month.