Beurre noisette and ghee are two types of nutty-flavored butter that are super-handy in the kitchen. Although they are made in a similar way, several features set them apart.
If you’d like to learn how ghee and beurre noisette differ then keep reading. We’ve created a comparison guide that looks at flavor, culinary uses, nutrition, and more.
What’s the difference between beurre noisette and ghee?
Beurre noisette, or brown butter, is a French butter that is made by slowly simmering unsalted butter until it reduces and browns. Its nutty flavor lends itself well to sauces, baked goods, and sautéing.
Ghee is an Indian butter that is made by heating unsalted butter until the water evaporates and milk solids are removed (skimmed off the top). The remaining butterfat is then cooked further until lightly caramelized.
Key comparison points
- Both types of butter have high smoke points.
- Beurre noisette is a darker color than ghee as it is taken further in the cooking process.
- Ghee is a clarified butter containing pure butterfat while beurre noisette isn’t clarified first.
- Ghee is a good option for people on a lactose-free diet while beurre noisette is not.
- Both butter varieties have more flavor than regular butter, but you’ll find that beurre noisette has a stronger, nuttier flavor.
Uses in cooking
French baking: adds a more complex flavor and helps to evenly brown and baked good that calls for butter. Especially useful for making financiers, Madeleines, puff pastry, and pastries. It is a key element in baking authentic croissants.
Sautéing and frying: its high smoke point is useful if you need to cook food on a high heat without burning it. Excellent for breading meat that results in a delicious crispy exterior.
Sauces: a simple combination of four parts beurre noisette to one part lemon juice makes a luxurious sauce for pasta, meat, omelets, and vegetables.
Sweet recipes: can be used to make mouth-watering ice cream, brownies, puddings, muffins, chocolate chip cookies, cakes, and many desserts.
Most recipes using butter: use ghee in almost any recipe that calls for cooking oil or butter. Suitable for people on a lactose-free diet.
Sautéing and frying: like beurre noisette, its high smoke point allows for high-temperature cooking.
Indian cooking: popular in Indian cuisine with a nutty profile that is well-suited to curries, naan bread, biryani rice, and halwa.
Baked food: results in crispy baked goods but you’ll need to use a little less in baking recipes to allow for the increased fat content.
What are their origins?
Beurre noisette was invented by the French. Its name can be translated in English to mean “hazelnut butter”. Nuts are never used in this sauce; the name refers to the butter’s nutty flavor and brown color.
Ghee, also known as “sacred fat” or “liquid gold”, was invented in ancient India during 1500 – 500 BCE. It was used for food and also Ayurveda medicine. [source]
Commonly asked questions
What is the difference between beurre noir and beurre noisette?
Beurre noisette simmers butter until it turns a golden brown shade and tastes like hazelnuts. Beurre noir, or black butter, reduces the butter for a longer time, resulting in a dark brown butter that is earthy and bitter.
What is the difference between beurre blanc and beurre noisette?
Beurre noisette is a type of butter that is slowly reduced until caramelized and toasty. Beurre blanc is a butter sauce made by reducing shallots, vinegar, and white wine then whisking in butter to create an emulsified sauce.
We’ve included a comparison of each ingredient’s nutritional value. These numbers will vary depending on the butter you buy, but they give you a general idea of what to expect.
|Per 100g||Beurre Noisette||Ghee|
|Energy||734 kCal||900 kCal|
What does each butter look like?
Anyone can melt butter in their kitchen at home. It’s a fun experiment to see how fat changes appearance, the longer it is heated.
If you simply melt butter in a pan, then you have drawn butter. It should be a vibrant yellow.
Simmering butter for 10-20 minutes will be enough time to clarify butter, resulting in ghee. It will be golden yellow with a nutty aroma.
Beurre noisette takes butter further than ghee in the caramelization process. It is a darker shade with a more complex nutty taste.
Continuing to heat beurre noisette for a little longer will result in beurre noir. This mahogany brown butter is bitter and on the verge of being burnt.
Melted butter takes on new characteristics as it continues to cook. Indian and French chefs have known this for centuries and used this knowledge to add amazing flavor and fragrance to their cooking.
Beurre noisette and ghee are made similarly, but you’ll find noisette has more flavor and is darker brown. In most cases, you can use these ingredients interchangeably in recipes. You’ll get a slightly different flavor, but it’ll still taste fine.
Keep in mind that the process of making ghee removes the lactose, while beurre noisette doesn’t. If you’re cooking lactose-free food then avoid using it to replace ghee.