It is traditionally used in Indian cuisine for baking, frying, sautéing, dipping, and drizzling. You can also melt it and spread it over bread or crackers. The smoke point of ghee is 482º F and can also be used for deep frying, which requires 350º F to 450º F smoke point. The smoke point is the burning point of oil when used.
However, despite its popularity, many still look for alternatives to ghee. The common reasons can be dietary restrictions or price.
- Olive Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Sunflower Seed Oil
- Canola Oil
- Rice Bran Oil
- Sesame Seed Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
If you are a diet buff, chances are you know what ghee is. Ghee has been featured in many healthy diet recipes. But what is ghee and what are its health benefits?
12 Best Substitute For Ghee
Ghee is butter without the milk solids. It is the Indian version of the clarified butter of the French. Both employ the same process by separating the milk solids, butterfat and then straining.
However, ghee takes the step further by caramelizing the milk solids before sifting the butterfat resulting in deep-colored, nutty-flavored ghee.
Ghee is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and healthy fats. But despite the presence of healthy fats, a large portion of the fat content in ghee is saturated fats (about 60% of total fat), which is not healthy.
Vegans, vegetarians, and those who are lactose intolerant would prefer non-dairy substitutes. Price is another consideration for choosing ghee substitutes.
Ghee is considerably more expensive than regular butter and some oils, especially grass-fed ghee. Lastly, the calorie of ghee all comes from fat, and 60% of its fat is saturated fat.
Among our list of healthier alternatives, we find olive oil to be the best substitute for ghee. Olive oil has an almost similar total fat and calorie content as ghee and nearly the same smoke point. It can also replicate the nutty flavor of ghee. Their one big difference is texture; ghee is solid while olive oil is liquid.
Whatever your reason, whether it is the price, dietary restriction, or you want a healthier option, we have a variety of substitutes for ghee that you can use.
Olive oil is our top choice as a substitute for ghee. It is a common ingredient in most pantries, and a staple in European and Mediterranean cuisines.
Olive oil is extracted from its fruit. The flavor and color vary, depending on the type of olive, color, process, and acidity, which can be pure, virgin, or extra virgin. Its nutrition profile is similar to ghee.
It has about 70% monounsaturated fat and 10% polyunsaturated fat. Generally, olive oil has a peppery, acrid, bitter taste. It can replicate the nutty flavor of ghee, depending on its process.
You can use olive oil in sauces, marinades, dressing, baking, and pan-frying. For deep-frying, use the pure (refined) variety of olive oil because it has a higher smoke point of up to 470ºF.
While ghee is solid in form, olive oil is liquid and cannot be used in recipes that call for solid fat.
You can substitute 1 cup of ghee with 3/4 cup of olive oil.
Extracting olive oil from its flesh is a laborious process. It is better if you purchase it from your local store. Avocado oil is rich in minerals and vitamins like folate, potassium, and Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6.
Avocado has a unique nutrition profile composed of 73% water, 15% fats, 8.5% carbohydrates, and 2% protein. The carb in avocado is composed primarily of soluble fiber (79%), and the fat content is 70% monounsaturated fat.
You can use avocado oil in cooking, broiling, grilling, sautéing, and baking. Due to its light, neutral flavor, it will not overpower the natural flavor of any dish you make. Avocado oil has a smoke point of 520°F, making it suitable for deep frying and a good ghee substitute.
You can substitute ghee with avocado oil on a 1:1 ratio.
Sunflower Seed Oil
Like avocado oil, sunflower oil extraction is a laborious process. Sunflower seed oil comes from pressed sunflower seeds. Its high smoke point and nutty flavor make sunflower oil a good substitute for ghee.
It contains about 85% of good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). The sunflower seed oil has three types for cooking use – high linoleic, mid-oleic, and high oleic.
The best substitute for ghee is refined sunflower seed oil high oleic, which has a smoke point of 450°F. You can use sunflower seed oil to deep fry, cook, pan-fry, sauté, bake, and stir-fry.
You can substitute 1 cup of ghee with 3/4 cup of sunflower seed oil.
Canola oil is derived from canola seeds, a variety of rapeseed under the vegetable oil category. Its smooth texture, neutral flavor, healthy fat content, and high smoke point make canola oil a perfect substitute for ghee.
Its fatty acid composition is 68% monounsaturated fat and 28% polyunsaturated fats. This makes it a rich source of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. However, canola oil is highly refined, which causes it to lose some of its nutrients.
Canola oil is versatile and can be used for cooking stir-fried and pan-fried dishes. It is not highly recommended for baking because it has less fat than ghee, but it works perfectly for deep frying because of its high smoke point of 400°F.
You can substitute 1 cup ghee with 3/4 cup canola oil.
Rice Bran Oil
Rice bran oil comes from the husk or outer bran of rice grains. It is a popular oil used in Indian cooking, and like ghee, is zero carbs, zero fiber, and zero protein. It is rich in monounsaturated fats (35.7%) and polyunsaturated fats (34%).
Rice bran oil has a light flavor, so it will not overpower any dish you are concocting. It is often used in many Asian recipes and is suitable for high heat cooking such as roasting, searing, and deep-frying due to its high smoke point of 450°F.
Sesame Seed Oil
Sesame oil is derived from sesame seeds that produce three types – cold-pressed, light, and toasted.
Toasted sesame oil has the same nutty flavor as ghee but is more often used in flavoring soups, dips, and sauces, while light-type sesame oil is more suitable for cooking. Sesame oil fatty acid is 40% monounsaturated fat and 41% polyunsaturated fat.
Sesame oil is often used for baking and frying due to its subtle flavor, which does not overpower your dishes, and its high smoke point of 450°F. You can also use sesame oil for vinaigrettes, dressings, stir-fries, and soups, and add it to hot cereals.
You can substitute ghee with sesame oil using a 3:4 ratio.
Grapeseed oil comes from the by-product of grape seeds pressed to extract wines and should not be mistaken for rapeseed.
They come from two different genera and families of plants. Grapeseed oil can stand a wide temperature range, and has a high smoke point of 421°F.
Grapeseed oil has a high polyunsaturated fat content. It is an excellent oil for cooking, frying, and other cooking methods that call for high-heat temperatures.
Peanut oil comes from the seeds of peanuts. It is often grouped with other nuts such as walnut and almonds; a peanut is actually a variety of legumes from the bean family.
It is rich in monounsaturated fats (50%) and polyunsaturated fats (30%). It is also rich in vitamin E and antioxidants.
It has a smoke point of 437℉, and it replicates the nutty flavor of ghee, making it ideal for deep-frying, searing, roasting, grilling, and cooking.
You can substitute ghee with peanut oil using a 1:1 ratio.
Safflower oil comes from the processed seeds of the safflower and is different from the saffron plant. It is likewise cheaper. There are two types of safflower oil, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Monounsaturated (high oleic) is the more common type in the market. This is the better choice due to its high smoke point (510°F), making it suitable for deep-frying and any cooking method. It also has a more stable shelf-life
Polyunsaturated (high linoleic) is high in polyunsaturated fat and requires refrigeration. It is most suitable for uncooked dishes like salad dressing or other applications that would not require high heat.
You can substitute ghee with safflower oil using a 1:1 ratio.
Soybean oil is the second most used vegetable oil, and is extracted from the seeds of soybeans. There are two types of soybean oil, treated and untreated. The untreated variety has a green bean taste. However, the treated one has a mild, bland taste, making it a perfect substitute for ghee.
Soybean oil is the top polyunsaturated cooking oil (58%) with a high smoke point of 453°F, making it suitable for deep-frying and roasting. You can also use it for baking, pan-frying, stir-frying, and sautéing.
You can substitute 1 cup of ghee with 3/4 cup of soybean oil.
Sweet Almond Oil
Almond oil is extracted using the seed of the almond fruit. It has a smoke point of 420°F, but it is best suitable for stir-fries or light frying of vegetables. It is also good to use for baking or coating baking pans and cookie sheets.
Almond oil has one of the highest monounsaturated fat content (70%).
You can use refined almond oil for roasting, but refined oils lose most nutrients after processing. Substitute ghee with almond oil using a 1:1 ratio.
Macadamia oil is extracted from the nuts of the macadamia. It has a nutty and buttery taste similar to ghee.
Macadamia oil is rich in monounsaturated fat (80%) with a smoke point of 495°F, making it perfect for deep-frying and cooking that calls for high temperatures. Its high content of monounsaturated fat makes it very heart-healthy like coconut oil.
You can substitute ghee with macadamia oil using a 1:1 ratio.
Coconut oil is extracted from dried coconut kernels. It can be refined or unrefined (virgin). The refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point of 450°F, making it suitable for deep-frying and all-purpose cooking. You can use coconut oil in all recipes that call for ghee.
The one drawback to coconut oil is its fatty acid composition. One tablespoon of coconut oil contains 13.5 grams of fat, and 11.2 grams are from saturated fat. That is about 83% of the recommended daily total fat consumption.
Saturated fat is unhealthy, but a big chunk of that is Lauric acid, which is deemed to raise good cholesterol.
You can substitute ghee with coconut oil using a 1:1 ratio.