Ghee is a great staple for Paleo, Whole30 or Keto because it offers quality fats, a rich butter flavor but without the dairy! This DIY slow cooker homemade vanilla ghee recipe is a really budget friendly option, espeically where vanilla ghee is concerned. Vanilla ghee is popular for being used in morning bulletproof coffee for the hint of vanilla flavor, and this option gives you that without the price tag!
I just truly can’t spend $14.99 on a 9 ounce jar of butter. I just really can’t get myself there, and yes I know it’s delicious. The reasoning behind that hard no for me is because I use ghee so much. Every day and often multiple times a day, like in my coffee and then cooking eggs or roasting veggies. I would go broke at that price. Just being honest here.
So, that being said, when I heard one of my friends saying that the popular vanilla ghee wasn’t even “that” vanilla-y, I said, “well, why don’t you just make it yourself and add the amount of vanilla you’d rather it had?”
Then I thought about it and realized I know how to make ghee in the slow cooker, instant pot and the stovetop, I know it’s much cheaper, makes a ton more, and most people have access to vanilla beans or vanilla bean powder. It was one of those moments I felt really dumb for not having made a DIY flavored ghee before.
What is Ghee?!
Ghee is probably my favorite thing in my kitchen to cook with and to put into my coffee (bulletproof coffee!). It’s clarified butter, meaning the butter has been cooked down so that the milk fats separate from the liquid solids. The milk fats are then removed, leaving the new product – ghee. Ghee is considered a lactose free butter option and is a great Paleo and Whole30 substitution. I use it to cook eggs, make creamy buttery sauces, put on baked or mashed potatoes, roast veggies, make butter sauce for seafood or steak.. really, you name it. Whatever butter can do so can ghee!
You can totally buy ghee in stores. Almost all stores nowadays actually! Target, Whole Foods and Walmart all carry my favorite non-homemade (not vanilla) brand Organic Valley, and Fresh Thyme carries their own brand I like. I also love the Thrive Market ghee and keep it on hand quite a bit.
Check this post for all of my Whole30 Shopping Lists for these stores and more!
Back to the budget issue, making your own really is much more affordable. I use a pound of Kerrygold butter from Costco for $11 and got 3 of these 8 ounce jars worth. I didn’t fill them all the way being I left space at the top, but you get the point. It’s a much more affordable option. Vanilla bean, in the bean form can be a bit pricey but a little goes a long way. 1 vanilla bean equals 3 teaspoons vanilla extract.
That means that 1 bean would be plenty for 1 pound of ghee, and you could cut the vanilla bean in half if you are wanting to use less than 1 pound of butter. Going the vanilla bean route, the cost breakdown is about 4 dollars of vanilla per 1 pound of ghee. I’d recommend getting this one, or ordering from a spice shop before getting them from Whole Foods, although that’s an option as well, just more spendy.
Alternatively, you can use vanilla bean powder instead of getting the bean whole for this slow cooker homemade vanilla ghee. Vanilla bean powder is going to be more expensive than the bean, but you get more in the package for other uses. I personally really prefer the actual bean myself, but if you have vanilla bean powder at home, I want you to know that works too! Vanilla is one of the most expensive things to source, especially when pure and not mixed with sugar alcohol. If you’re using vanilla bean powder, you’ll use 1/8 teaspoon for every 8 ounces of butter.
To make your own homemade ghee, or, in our case vanilla ghee, you’ll need a slow cooker, cheese cloth and some glass jars that have lids and can be stored in the fridge. Weck glass jelly jars are my favorite jars ever for ghee, and homemade sauces and dressings. If you don’t have cheese cloth but you do have a nut milk bag, you could use that instead. You’ll also need a funnel or large measuring bowl with a spout that you can use to pour ghee through the cheesecloth and into the jar.
You’ll cook the ghee into the slow cooker on low for 3 hours, or until the milk solids fall to the bottom and turn brown. It will be done when that happens, and when it’s not bubbling as quickly as before. You could also boil on the stovetop, but slow cooker ghee is my favorite method.
Adding Vanilla and How to Store
You’ll want to let the ghee cool in the jars and begin to solidify prior to putting into the fridge. Once it’s soft but not solid is when you’ll want to mix in the vanilla. If you mix it in too early the vanilla bean will sink to the bottom and only be in the bottom of your ghee. When it’s soft you can make sure you evenly distribute it. You can also decide to only put vanilla in half of the batch of ghee here, so you end with some regular homemade ghee and some homemade vanilla ghee.
You do not have to keep opened ghee in the fridge. You can store it in a cabinet away from the light for up to 3 months, then after that it’s good in the refrigerator for up to a year. This is where you should store the extra ghee (the jars you aren’t currently using yet) until you need them. Ghee will become hard in the fridge, but will soften again once it’s at room temp.Print
- 16 ounces kerrygold butter, or any unsalted grass-fed butter
- Seeds from 1 vanilla bean, sliced down the middle and scraped with a spoon to get all of the “seeds”, OR 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
- Place butter into slow cooker on low and cover with the lid
- Cook for 2-3 hours until milk solids fall to the bottom and turn brown, do not stir during cooking
- Place a double layer of cheesecloth over the mouth of the storage jar (Mason or Weck glass jars recommended)
- Carefully pour liquid from slow cooker into the jar through the cheesecloth (you can do this best by using a funnel, measuring bowl with spout for pouring or even a large baster)
- The milk solids will accumulate on the top of cheesecloth. These can be discarded, or you can use a new piece if it gets too clogged
- Once no ghee is left in the slow cooker and jars are filled, cover and let cool for about an hour.
- Once ghee is soft but not liquid anymore, divide seeds yielded from vanilla bean by amount of jars of ghee, and stir into each jar of ghee (example- if you used 2 8ounce jars, 1/2 of the vanilla bean seeds would go into each jar)
- Refrigerate jars you won’t be using right away and enjoy!
Keywords: homemade ghee, vanilla ghee, whole30, paleo
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