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So you’ve decided to eliminate dairy? Does that mean you have to give up butter? Yes and no. There is ghee! If you haven’t heard of ghee, you’re in for a treat. If you have heard of ghee but don’t know why you would use it or what it is, here’s the 4–1–1.

Ghee is butter. It’s just clarified of the milk solids that remain in traditional butter. It means that in essence, it is considered to be “dairy free”, but allows us to continue making foods with that yummy buttery taste.

For those who want to be dairy free and are willing to pay the price, ghee is available to buy in most grocery stores. Walmart actually has a brand that they carry and can be found in the baking aisle, just near the oils. Other stores carry it often in the dairy case by the butters. Trader Joe’s sells ghee in the oil aisle, for a bit of a lower price than most others around. It’s not my personal favorite, but it works if you’re looking for a good value.

If you are a bit sticker shocked by the price of ghee and just can’t get yourself to spend the money, I wouldn’t blame you. Good news! You can make your own ghee for a fraction of the price. The best part is, it really isn’t difficult at all.

And, if I told you it could be made in your crockpot, would you do it? I thought it sounded crazy, until I tried it. The first time I made my own ghee I was amazed to see that it actually worked! The milk solids literally fell to the bottom of the dish, leaving a clear, golden, buttery liquid on top. Ghee is that liquid left on top. Once you can separate out the milk solids, ghee can be stored in the refrigerator, just like butter.

The biggest question people seem to have is what kind of butter do you use to make ghee? Do you need to use grass-fed butter? No, but anything from grass-fed cows is always better. However, if you can’t find grass-fed butter to start with, buy the highest quality butter you can find. I use Kerrygold Unsalted Irish Butter.

Watch out for my recipe my first video to come soon to show how to make ghee. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is, and how it helps out the grocery budget.

So does ghee replace those great buttery spreads you like to put on your toast in the morning? Not really. We have tried that, but it just isn’t the same. The bigger question is do I actually need to be eating that toast in the first place? Probably not. That’s a conversation for another time, but if you intend to still enjoy toast and want to be dairy free, there is another alternative. Try Earth Balance Soy-Free spread. It works great for those who just can’t see to get toast out of your diet.

So if you haven’t found a good substitute for traditional butter in your kitchen and are trying to live dairy-free, give ghee a try.