HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Ghee - shelf life?

How long is ghee good for if kept in the refrigerator? Unfortunately, the brand I bought does not have an expiration date. I think I've had it about 2 years...it seems ok...should I still chuck it?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I would think that once the solids are removed from butter, it would keep a lo-o-ong time. Does it smell ok? You're sure to hear from the "throw it away" camp in 5-4-3-2-1....

    1. If it looks and smell ok, them it's probably alright. I know some who have had it in the fridge for over a year and it was till good.

      1. There's no way of telling if its gone over the edge or not.
        Traditional ghee is made from fermented milk. The fermented smell will mask any odor of spoilage of the fat.
        Fats get rancid after a few months unless they're frozen.
        Pitch it.

        3 Replies
        1. re: MakingSense

          I did...especially after I remembered it was way over 2 years since I had it...actually going on 5. Yikes, how time flies!

          1. re: hungryann

            Unless you want that "fermented" flavor which some Indian dishes benefit from, you can make your own clarified butter very easily.
            Buy plain old supermarket butter when it's on sale. Our local stores have it as low as 99 cents or $1.99/lb as loss leaders. Heat it to allow the milk solids to settle out and the water to evaporate. Specific directions in most general cookbooks.
            All you want is the butter fat.
            It's a terrific cooking fat.

            1. re: hungryann

              I think I have you all beat. I was cleaning out my pantry and found a jar of Purity Farms Ghee that had fallen behind the cabinet. It is in a sealed jar still with the shrink wrap around the lid. It's got to be at least 9 to 10 years old. It's in a 3.5 oz jar that they don't even make anymore. (see attached) What do you guys think? I may write Purity Farms and see exactly what they mean by a "long" shelf life.<G>

          2. I make it myself and leave it in a jar on my counter. I just found a jar that spent at least a year at room temp and it tasted fine.

            4 Replies
            1. re: JMF

              Yeah, it really doesn't need refrigeration. The whole point of ghee is that it's been made stable at room temperature, since it's used in a place where refrigeration is and has been uncommon.

              Also, regarding the post above about ghee traditionally being made from fermented milk: that may be traditional, but the vast majority of ghee one can buy is made from fresh milk, and this isn't an issue.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                Ghee is fat. Fat gets rancid. Yes, all fats are fine at room temp for a reasonable length of time but there is nothing about ghee that makes it MAGIC.
                A good Indian cook goes through it quickly. If you're leaving it sitting around for a year????

                If you are buying "ghee" made from fresh butter (not milk), why not just make your own cooking fat, i.e. clarified butter.?
                Is it "ghee" any longer if it's not the traditional product?

                1. re: MakingSense

                  In some parts of Africa their version of ghee is used as currency and it actually improves in flavor over extended periods of time.

                  Fats go rancid because of moisture content. ghee and other clarified and cooked butters have 0% moisture and do not go rancid.

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    Pemmican, a tribal indian and Inuit food, will last "indefinitely" without refrigeration. It was used by people through out the world before refrigeration. It is about 50/50 rendered saturated fat and dried meat ground into power mixed together. So in my search for why does it not go rancid brought me here.

              2. I have ghee in the fridge that is at least 6 or 8 years old and I am still using it. It still smells good and tastes good. I think people have a wierd view of what is good and what is not. We have gotten carried away with "best by dates". They are mostly companies covering their rearends.

                4 Replies
                1. re: pepperqueen

                  Wow, now I am sorry I threw out my 5 year old ghee! LOL
                  All kidding aside, some parts of it had turned white from yellow. The smell wasn't off-putting but I don't remember how it smelled initially! The taste did seem a tad rancid. Is your 6-8 year old ghee home-made or store-bought?

                  1. re: pepperqueen

                    Here in the USA I believe it is mandated that every food product have a expiration date. We know that hard cheeses like cheddar's can go many years longer than the expiration date.

                    1. re: surfereddie

                      I recently bought some from a local Indian/Pakistani market that makes their own foods for wholesale and retail. They sell them from a fridge or freezer in plastic tubs or zip-locks with the name written in sharpie, i.e. Ghee, Dhal, Veggie Biryani, Red Curry. No ingredients or expiration date, but all very yummy and from a certified kitchen.

                    2. re: pepperqueen

                      those best by dates are to prevent grocery stores from keeping food for eons.

                    3. Actually, if the ghee is made correctly (and you dot get water into it) it will last for decades. Don't keep in it the fridge because supposedly the process of taking it in and out can create condensation = get water in it and cause to spoil.

                      AND ghee has traditionally actually been considered to get better with age

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: noramc6

                        I bought pure butter ghee (99.8% pure) from New Zealand in a jar and after using it the first time for some Rogan Josh I have had it in the fridge and have not used it in 4 years. It has been chilled and hidden in a corner of the fridge so I am hopeful when I try to use it I am not stricken with something viral...

                        1. re: noramc6

                          I guess you should scoop or pour the amount you will use into another container in the fridge. People in climates that have large temperature swings from day and night should be aware of this as well. I'd like to hear from somebody, preferably an Indian, living in a mountainous region of India.

                        2. I asked my Indian friends about this, and they said at least a year, unrefrigerated, in an Indian climate. If it's refrigerated, then it would be much longer.

                          1. Costco sells a huge tub of ghee for about $13. It has a best by date within the year though, and I doubt I would use it all up by then. The tiny jars are so expensive though, I'm thinking I might still come out ahead if I get the Costco one. Though I would hate to just toss it out at the end of the year if it's still usable.

                            1. This has been a very educational thread for me. I cannot imagine having ghee in the house that lasts more than a month, maybe a month and a half if it's a very large jar. Ghee is phenomenal! I use it for buttering toast and English muffins because they taste super buttery with about 1/4th the amount of ghee as butter. Great on vegetables, for frying things you want to turn out crispy and buttery flavored. It's fantastic for dipping crab and lobster into. I get super buttery baked potatoes with far far less ghee than butter. If I have ghee AND butter in the house at the same time, the butter will last forever! I have 3 pounds in the freezer, as I write, but I'm haunting the front door looking for the UPS guy to bring my fresh supply of ghee!

                              1. I buy 5 lb. tubs of Plugra clarified butter (at Restaurant Depot), and leave them out on the counter next to the stovetop. I use it for general frying and such. Great stuff to have on hand. Never any problem so far; a tub lasts me a few months.