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Nov 6, 2012 10:18 PM

Is Whipped Butter Similar To Clarified Butter?

I've never seen any question on the net about this so I'm asking here.

Clarified butter is butter is free of water and milk solids according to my research. I do know how to make it so that's not the question.

Whipped butter is whipped to the point that normal air is mixed in with it to make it spread easily. By law whipped butter must contain at least 25% milk fat. Sounds to me that it must contain that to still be called butter yet it seems as if the volume of the original butter is increased which makes less milk fat content because of all the air incorporated.

Okay in a way I answered my own question because it can not be clarified butter because it has some milk fat but it has not much, at least 25% and I'm under the impression that it doesn't get much more than that since makers probably are trying to increase the volume which decreases milk solids.

So it's not clarified butter but is it similar to clarified butter since it has little milk fat. Can you use it in recipes that call for clarified butter?


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  1. No, you can't use them interchangeably, because they're not the same thing.

    Clarified butter has been separated from the water and milk solids -- it is *just* the fat from the butter.

    Whipped butter has the water and milk solids, but has, as you described, been whipped to a light, fluffy consistency. They don't count air in the proportions of ingredients, so if it's at least 25% milk fat, it's at least 25% milk fat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sunshine842

      Thanks for the info. I was not sure so I had to ask here and I know I'd get a great response like yours and a fast one. Sounds like clarified butter is the total opposite as whipped butter.

      I can make clarified butter just like anyone else can but was hoping that whipped butter would be a short cut but of course it's not. Thanks buddy.

    2. Are you confusing milk fat and milk solids? Regular butter is around 80% milk fat. Clarified should be close to 100% milk fat. In this context 'butterfat' and 'milk fat' are the same. Whipped butter has been 'diluted', mainly with air, but maybe also with water and/or milk which softens it. A butter spread (like Kerrygold) has the added milk, reducing its fat content to around 50%, but it does not have the added air.

      The air that is whipped in does not change the 'by weight' proportions of fat, just the 'by volume' measure. Technically it does change it, but by a negligible amount.

      15 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        I think you are right, I think I am confusing milk fat with milk solids. Thanks for the info.

        1. re: paulj

          Question re: Kerrygold butter spread - I love Kerrygold but my SO picked up the spreadable tub variety this week so I figured it's about the same and used it as we usually do. It was great to spread on grilled cheese, however when we used it as a steak topper it was very liquidy and melted into a very greasy mess. Is this because it has less fat content? If it's only 50% fat, what is the other 50%?

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            Usually spreadable butters are butter mixed with a softer fat, like vegetable oil - hence the spreadable from the fridge texture. There's often water added as well. However, that means that when they melt, they're way more liquid that melted butter.

            1. re: biondanonima

              The Kerrygold is not mixed with vegetable oil but rather uses summer milk which apparently has a different quality of milk fats. However, I assume perhaps it includes more water?

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                Think of it this way - milk is about 4% butterfat, cream 18-30 (depending on how 'heavy'), butter about 80%. 80-85 is about the highest you can get with normal churning. To go higher you have heat and clarify it. If in one way or the other you include or leave more milk or cream in the butter, you can get something that is about 50% butterfat. The rest of the mass is water, or nonfat milk if you count the milk solids.

                Spreads are good for spreading, but not recommended for cooking or melting.

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  Do you like Kerrygold more than Land O Lakes and others like that? I bought some French Butter not long ago but only for special cooking purposes, not for just buttering bread since it's expensive.

                  1. re: HoundDogz

                    Wouldn't you want to do that the other way 'round i.e. use the lower quality butter for cooking and keep the good stuff for where it counts like when you're putting it on bread?

                    1. re: SnackHappy

                      yes -- go the other way round and eat the French butter!

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        that's what I do with the olive oil. cheap stuff=marinade fodder, good stuff=other things.

                        1. re: hill food

                          absolutely -- when you have something that has superior flavor and/or texture, don't hide it under other stuff -- let it stand in the spotlight!

                      2. re: SnackHappy

                        Normally I would say yes but there is one exception. There are these garlic noodles that are Vietnamese style and the recipe calls for the French butter which is expensive stuff. So yes normally I'd use the lesser expensive stuff for cooking and the more expensive stuff where it counts but for this one dish it calls for the more expensive French stuff but honestly when cooked I don't notice a difference so I'd probably just stick to the less expensive stuff for these Vietnamese garlic noodles too.

                2. re: fldhkybnva

                  Kerrygold, that's the stuff from Ireland, right?

                  1. re: HoundDogz

                    Yea, made with milk from grass fed cows.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      Was at Smart & Final today and saw that they sell this too. Didn't buy any but should and give it a try.

              2. if it's a shortcut you're looking for, even in my no-neck of the woods there's an Indo-Pakistani store that sells ghee by the jar.

                1 Reply
                1. re: hill food

                  There is a couple of Indian stores in my area and I think they have Ghee but Ghee is not inexpensive though. I think if I want clarified butter I better just make it. Thanks.

                2. Keep in mind that the percentage of milk fat may be calculated by mass rather than volume. As the air in the whipped butter has very little mass, the percentage of milk solids and fat by weight will remain nearly constant.

                  It's similar for bread - bread contains a lot of air, compared to the original ingredients, but it's not counted as part of the ingredient listing.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                    Thanks for the info.

                    What I was trying to do is make clarified butter for popcorn. If you use clarified butter the popcorn does not get all soggy. If you use melted butter that is not clarified it gets soggy. Hoping that whipped butter was a short cut to clarified butter so I can use on popcorn. Thanks much.

                    1. re: HoundDogz

                      You don't need clarified butter to keep your popcorn from getting soggy - you just need to get the water out. You can just let the butter sizzle in the pan until all of the water has cooked away - no need to skim out the milk solids. If you let the milk solids cook a bit, you'll have browned butter, which is super delicious on popcorn as well.

                      1. re: biondanonima

                        Good idea. I've never tried to brown butter for popcorn or tried to get the water out. I have done brown butter for my garlic butter spaghetti though. I'll try to let it sizzle to get the water out too. Thanks much.

                        1. re: HoundDogz

                          Brown butter is FANTASTIC on popcorn. I like to throw in a little minced rosemary or sage about midway through the process. Put that on the popcorn with a bit of Parmesan and it's heaven in a bowl!

                        2. re: biondanonima

                          thats funny because everytime i brown butter, i think it smells exactly like buttered popcorn! haha.

                    2. I love whipped butter for baked potatoes.
                      Clarified butter I like for lobster or to drizzle over lobster rolls.
                      Ghee I've bought a few times also but it's very expensive compared to me making my own