Ghee Vs Butter: Differences Worth Knowing

There are most discussions on Ghee and Butter. Well! Ghee is the Indian name to a clarified butter and is most popular in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking since ages. There are some noted differences between Ghee and Butter. In this article we will take a look on some of the differences between these two. Hope by knowing the differences between Ghee and Butter we can prefer taking the one that suits us and our health the most.

Ghee Vs Butter

Ghee Vs Butter: Basic Differences

The basic difference between the two is that Ghee is also known as clarified butter obtained when a large percentage of casein, lactose and other milk solids and water are removed from the Butter and only what remains is the milk fats; while Butter contains milk fat, water as well as milk solids and is an oil-in-water emulsion with the milk proteins acting as emulsifiers.

Ghee Vs Butter: Differences Based on Presence of Casein and Lactose

Ghee contains no casein or lactose or a very negligible amount of it. This means that even dairy sensitive individuals can usually eat it. However, butter though is almost a pure fat, it still contains trace amounts of casein and lactose which may cause allergies in most individuals. The casein present in butter gives its wonderful creaminess.

Ghee Vs Butter: Differences Based on the Alkalizing Effect

There is also difference between Ghee and butter when we look at the Alkalizing effect. Ghee has slightly alkalizing effect on our body, while butter has a slight acidifying effect on the body

Ghee Vs Butter: Differences with Their Use in Cooking

Now, let us look at the differences between the two on basis of cooking. Ghee is one of the most stable cooking fats and you can heat it up to 485 degree F, which makes it ideal for pan frying. However, butter smokes at 350 degree F because of the presence of casein and lactose which start to burn.

Moreover, Ghee is comparatively more buttery than butter and it holds up to strong spices well. Ghee pulls fat soluble flavours and nutrients out of the spices you use while cooking the two together.

Ghee Vs Butter: Differences Based on Nutrient Content

There are also differences in between ghee and butter based of their nutrient content. Ghee contains a large amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K than butter and also twice the short and medium chain fatty acids than butter. Apart from this, Ghee has more of an anti-inflammatory fat known as Butyrate that keeps your gut lining as well as body metabolism in good form.

Bulletproof Ghee is especially rich in nutrients as compared to butter as it comes from grass fed cows.

Ghee Vs Butter: Differences Based on their Characteristics:

Comparing the two on basis of their characteristics, here is what we have to mention.

Shelf life:

Shelf life of Ghee is better than shelf life of butter. It is more stable than butter because ghee does not contain water and can thus be stored easily in an airtight container. Ghee does not require refrigeration and can be kept safely without any change in its taste, flavour or color for 6-8 months in ambient temperature. However, butter requires being stored in refrigerator.

Apart from its low moisture content, ghee also contains antioxidants, phospholipids and low level of acidity than butter and this contributes to the extension of its shelf life.
It is also that compared to butter, Ghee is made at a higher temperature, and this kills most of the bacteria and microbes. This in turn resists spoilage.

Smoke Point:

Ghee begins to burn between 375 to 485 degree F, however butter begins to burn between 325-375 degree F. Ghee has a higher smoke point as compared to butter and thus is more suitable for cooking at higher temperature.

Ghee Vs Butter: Difference in their Health Effects

Here we will know about the differences in their health effects.

Serum Cholesterol Levels:

Research has found that pure ghee may have positive effect on the serum cholesterol levels. It is found that 10% ghee as a fat source in the diet may lower total cholesterol levels, LDL cholesterol or the bad cholesterol, VLDL cholesterols and triglyceride levels. Apart from this, Ghee has also shown to increase excretion of bile constituents and thus aid in lowering of serum cholesterol levels.

However, butter has been known to increase total cholesterol and also LDL cholesterol levels.

This is the reason ghee is a healthier option as compared to butter for healthy life.

Bone Health:

Vitamin K2 is essential for the body to aid utilize minerals including calcium and thus is important in improving bone health. Moreover, Vitamin K builds bone better than calcium. It is also found that appropriate levels of Vitamin K2 in the body aid in protecting against tooth decay and supports proper bone growth and development. As Ghee is rich in Vitamin K; it is a better choice over butter while considering bone health

Cardiovascular Diseases:

Today there are more incidences of deaths because of cardiovascular diseases. Thus, it is essential to restrict the unhealthy foods or the foods that can cause damage to the heart.

Ghee has shown to reduce the risk of several heart diseases. A diet containing 10% of fat as ghee has shown to increase the serum levels of oleic acid which in turn is known to enable LDL to resist oxidation. This again, prevents plaque formation and also lowers the risk of atherosclerosis.

However, there are small evidences which have shown that butter may increase the risk of heart diseases. Higher the cholesterol levels, greater is the chance of getting cardiovascular diseases. Butter is found to increase both total cholesterol levels as well as inflammatory markers, which in turn increases the risk of several heart diseases.

Lactose Intolerance:

Lactose intolerance is a medical condition where the individual affected cannot tolerate intake of foods containing lactose(a sugar present in dairy products).

Ghee does not contain milk solids like lactose or casein. Thus it is lactose free and safe for consumption for individuals with lactose intolerance.

On the other hand, Butter contains milk solids and thus people with lactose intolerance cannot consume butter


Short chain fatty acid Butyrate aids in supporting a healthy digestive tract. Thus, Ghee containing butyrate is known to be more beneficial in digestion as compared to butter. Ghee also benefits in increasing gastric acid and in efficient digestion.

Weight Loss:

It is known that energy from medium-chain fatty acids present in Ghee actually burn other fats in our body system and thus leads to weight loss. So, unlike butter, Ghee is known to be beneficial in weight loss.


It is believed that inflammation is the root cause of several diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, certain types of cancer, arthritis, asthma, high cholesterol levels etc. Ghee contains Butyrate in it which plays an important role in reducing inflammation in the digestive tract and also throughout the body. However, this is not in the case of butter.

Ghee Vs Butter: Differences Based on Ayurvedic Usage

There are also specific differences between Ghee and Butter when we look at the Ayurvedic point of view. As per Ayurvedic beliefs, Ghee that has been properly washed is highly beneficial in healing the skin. It is known that even a small amount of Ghee when applied to belly button, nourishes the entire body and is very much beneficial in healing dried lips. Moreover, Ghee is also used in Ayurvedic massages and Ayurvedic supplements. It is a Sattvic food while butter is Tamasic. Also, Butter increases Kapha; however ghee balances all the 3 doshas.


Now that we are aware of some of the most important differences between Ghee and Butter, it is worth enough for you to choose your own substance for cooking and eating. You can prefer taking both when taken in moderate amount. However, ghee has more of its health benefits so it must be your first choice.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 7, 2017

Recent Posts

Related Posts