Clarified butter should be called “liquid gold.” It’s a secret weapon in the kitchen. Once you know how to make it (and why you should), you’ll always have some on-hand.
So, What is Clarified Butter?
First, butter is made up of three things: butterfat, water, and milk solids. Milk solids are the reason butter starts to burn at a lower temperature than something like olive oil. When you clarify butter, you remove all the milk solids and water, but are left with the butterfat. This creates a higher smoke point, which makes clarified butter ideal for cooking and sautéing. The process is simple; it just takes a little time because of the low cooking temperature. Clarified butter can only be made from butter, not milk. We recommend using unsalted butter so you have only pure butterfat with no salty flavor at the end but if you only have salted butter it will work.
What is the Difference Between Drawn Butter and Clarified Butter?
There is some controversy over what drawn butter actually is. By definition drawn butter is just another term for melted butter. Some chefs believe drawn butter is clarified while others say it isn't clarified, only melted. If a recipe calls for drawn butter check to see if there is any more information listed. If it's for any kind of seafood, like dipping lobster, melted butter is just fine. If it's for frying or sauteing, clarifying butter would be a better option.
How to Clarify Butter
Start with butter. You can use salted or unsalted. Melt it in a skillet over low heat.
Continue cooking over low heat, without stirring, while the butter foams and bubbles. The spattering (if there is any) is a good sign the water is evaporating. Not stirring is important, as you want the milk solids to sink to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and let stand about 5 minutes.
Carefully skim the foam off the top of the butter. Slowly strain the butter through cheesecloth over a fine mesh sieve to catch all of the milk solids that were at the bottom of the pan.
When Do I Use Clarified Butter?
Use clarified butter to dip cooked seafood, like crab or shrimp. It is great for sautéing fish, cooking vegetables, or making hollandaise or other sauces. It's also perfect for delicious buttery popcorn. Clarified butter can be stored it in your refrigerator for about a month. Let us know how you use clarified butter in your kitchen.