Clarify Butter

Clarified butter is melted butter with the solids and water removed. It is a delicious, simple ingredient that is often used in sauces and as a condiment for lobster and other seafood treats. Best of all, making it only takes a few minutes! See Step 1 below to get started.


Method 1: Skimming the solids

  1. Melt butter. Place any quantity of butter in a saucepan and melt it slowly over low heat. Don't let it brown.
  2. Remove the butter from heat and let it stand. The foamy solids will gather at the surface of the melted butter.
  3. Skim the butter fat from the top. Use a spoon to remove the whitish solids, then strain the clear yellow liquid into a container.

Method 2: Straining through cloth

  1. Melt butter. Place any amount of salted or unsalted butter in a pan and melt it completely. Don't overcook it or it will brown.
  2. Let the butter stand for a few minutes. The solids will rise to its surface.
  3. Pass the butter through a cloth. Pour the butter through a clean tea towel or damp cheesecloth after melting. Let the liquid run through the cloth into a bowl.

Method 3: Using a plastic bag

  1. Melt butter. Melt whatever quantity of butter you wish in a saucepan over low heat. Don't let it get so hot that it browns.
  2. Let the butter stand. Remove it from heat and let it sit until the solids gather at the top.
  3. Pour the butter into a resealable bag. Use the type of food storage bag that has a zipper seal. Seal the bag, making sure it's locked.
  4. Let the butter cool. Two distinct layers will form in the bag; a liquid layer on the bottom, and a solid layer on the top.
  5. Snip off a corner of the bag. Snip off just enough of one of the bottom corners to make a small hole for the liquid to run through.
  6. Let the liquid run into a bowl. The solids won't be able to pass through the hole.

Method 4: Using a microwave and turkey baster

  1. Put unsalted butter in a standard tall and wide drinking glass.
  2. Put the glass into the microwave. Melt the butter slowly at mid-power until you see the three layers develop (top foamy solids; middle clear yellow liquid; and bottom heavy solids).
  3. Let the glass stand for a couple minutes. Leave until the layer separation is complete. Remove from the microwave.
  4. Squeeze the turkey baster bulb. Insert it into the middle layer and suck the clear yellow liquid (clarified butter) from the glass.
  5. Transfer it into a separate container. Repeat until all the clarified butter is extracted, leaving the solids behind.


  • Check the butter's package to see if the butter is salted or not and adjust accordingly the amount of salt added in your recipe.
  • Store clarified butter in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.

Things You'll Need

  • Butter
  • A pot of reasonable size
  • A heat source
  • A tea-towel or cheesecloth

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