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What is clarified butter? How can I make it?

Clarified butter is butter that’s been heated to remove the milk solids and water.

It’s great for frying or sauteing, or used as a dunk for seafood.

Traditional unsalted butter is an emulsion of about 80 percent milk fat (also known as butterfat), 18 percent water and the rest nonfat milk solids. Clarified butter is pure butterfat.

That gives it a higher smoke point, which means you can heat it to a higher temperature without burning it. Clarified butter also has a longer shelf life than traditional butter because it contains less water, which can cause butter to go bad.

To make your own clarified butter, also called drawn butter, follow these easy steps:

  1. Melt unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over low-to-medium heat. (Note: You’ll need 1 pound (four sticks), or 16 ounces, of traditional butter to make 12 ounces of clarified butter.)
  2. Skim away any white froth that forms as the mixture cooks.
  3. Cook long enough so the butter liquefies and the remaining milk solids separate and settle at the bottom of the pan.
  4. Carefully pour off the clear, yellow butter – the finished product – and discard the milk solids.

Store clarified butter for up to one month in the fridge. If packaged in a clean and sealed package like a Mason jar, this can last up to 6 months when properly refrigerated.