10 Ghee Substitutes [For Vegan & Indian Cuisine]

Ghee is a great, healthy, cooking fat. It is rich in vitamins and nutrients and is void of lactose. Unfortunately, it is not vegan friendly.

Which means when I am elbow deep in a recipe, that I thought met certain dietary restrictions, and read that it calls for ghee, I need an alternative fast. Preferably one that is already in my pantry.

Whatever your situation, there are a lot of great fats that will work well in place of ghee to meet your needs. We have outlined the best options below as well as answered a few popular questions.

For a vegan ghee substitute, choose avocado, peanut, sunflower, or rapeseed oil for your dish. If you need an alternative in Indian cuisine specifically, sesame, olive and coconut oils are the best. Butter, vegetable oil and canola oil are great alternatives in baking.

Ghee Substitutes

1. Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is the best substitute for ghee if you’re looking for a vegan option. It has a similar aftertaste and has a high smoke point of 520 degrees.

This means it is a great choice for frying, roasting and sautéing. It is also delicious cold in salad dressings.

To substitute avocado oil, you can use a 1:1 ratio to ghee.

Avocado oil is the best vegan substitute for ghee

Avocado oil contains 120 calories and 14g of fat per tablespoon.

2. Peanut Oil

If you are looking for a vegan alternative to ghee that you can use for frying, take a look at peanut oil.

Peanut oil gives off a very robust flavor to your food and adds the perfect, slightly salty crisp.

Many restaurants actually opt to make their fried goods in peanut oil. It is worth noting that if you do have a peanut allergy, that this alternative is not for you.

To substitute peanut oil, you can use a 1:1 ratio to ghee.

Peanut oil contains 120 calories and 14g of fat per tablespoon.

Peanut oil is a vegan alternative for frying

3. Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is another great and inexpensive vegan alternative to ghee. Ghee tends to give off a slightly nutty flavor and you will get that same taste with sunflower oil.

You can use sunflower oil for any fat needs from frying up vegetables to drizzling on top of hummus.

To substitute you can use ¾ cup of sunflower oil per one cup of ghee.

use ¾ cup of sunflower oil per one cup of ghee

Sunflower oil contains 120 calories and 14g of fat per tablespoon.

4. Rapeseed Oil

Rapeseed oil is one of the least expensive oils on our list and can be used in place of ghee for almost any dish. It has a mild taste and is loaded with both good fats and vitamin E.

However, rapeseed oil also has a high amount of erucic acid, so you will not want to use this as an everyday oil. It works wonderfully has an occasional ghee substitute.

To substitute you can use ¾ cup of rapeseed oil per one cup of ghee.

Rapeseed oil contains 120 calories and 14g of fat per tablespoon.

5. Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is a great substitute for ghee. It will work wonderfully in whatever disk you’re cooking.

The only caveat here is that this oil gives off a distinct, and sometimes strong, sesame flavor. I think it adds depth to most plates, but it is something of which you should be aware.

I find sesame oil to be particularly tasty as a ghee substitute in curry and biryani dishes. Opt for toasted sesame oil over regular when you can – it adds another dimension to your cooking.

To substitute, you can use 1/3 cup of sesame oil per ½ cup of ghee.

Sesame oil is a ghee substitute in curry and biryani dishes

Sesame oil contains 120 calories and 14g of fat per tablespoon.

6. Olive Oil

A very popular and adaptable cooking staple, olive oil is a great substitute for ghee. It is rich in Omega-3s, which makes it a heart happy ingredient.

One cup of ghee is equal to ¾ cup of olive oil.

Olive oil contains 120 calories and 14g of fat per tablespoon.

7. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is used prevalently in the health community. It is a great source of medium-chain triglycerides, also known as MCTs.

Some studies suggest that MCTs keep you fuller longer and also work to burn fat all day long.

It comes in a solid form, but you need only to heat it up for a few minutes to use in place of ghee.

Coconut oil also pairs so well with the coconut milk that is sometimes used in Indian dishes. It also makes a great halwa.

To substitute coconut oil, you can use a 1:1 ratio to ghee.

coconut oil is a ghee alternative for Indian Cuisine

Coconut oil contains 120 calories and 14g of fat per tablespoon.

8. Butter

Probably the most famous oil/fat on this list is butter. It is so deliciously versatile: you can pan fry, (but be careful to not turn the heat up too much, it has a relatively low smoking point), caramelize, or add a depth of flavor to sauces, pastas, meats, etc.

To substitute butter, you can use a 1:1 ratio to ghee.

butter as the best substitute for baking

Butter’s nutritional facts can different slightly based on brand and added ingredients, but in general it contains 60 calories and 6g of fat per tablespoon

9. Canola Oil

One of the reasons canola oil makes a great substitute for ghee in baking specifically is that it does not have a noticeable taste, making it work seamlessly in any recipe.

It also has a comparable smoking point which means the time of the bake will not be impacted.

One cup of ghee is equal to ¾ cup of canola oil.

One tablespoon of canola oil is 120 calories and 14g of fat.

10. Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is something most cooks already have in their pantries and makes a good ghee substitute. Like canola oil, it doesn’t have much of a taste, which makes it perfect for baking.

Actually, most boxed dessert usually call for vegetable oil to add the perfect amount of moisture.

Because of vegetable’s high smoke point this would be a great substitute for ghee in making Gulab jamun.

To substitute vegetable oil, you can use a 1:1 ratio to ghee.

One tablespoon of vegetable oil is 120 calories and 14g of fat.

Vegetable oil doesn’t have much of a taste, which makes it perfect substitute for baking

Homemade Ghee Recipe

It requires a lot of patience and close eye on the temperature.

Step 1: Put your butter in a saucepan

Step 2: Turn the burner to a simmering temperature to help the water evaporate

Step 3:  Then turn the heat up to get rid of the lactose and casein

Step 4: Wait for the milk solids to drop and your ghee is ready!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Ghee?

Ghee is another cooking fat that comes from butter. The butter is cooked at a very low temperature to remove all the water and then the ingredients called the milk solids are caramelized, which gives it a nutty flavor.

What’s The Difference Between Ghee And Clarified Butter?

Ghee and clarified butter often are used interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same.

Both ingredients require butter to be cooked at a low temperature and moisture to be removed, however in clarified butter the milk solids are also removed, and you are left with a beautiful golden liquid.

Does Ghee Raise Insulin?

Ghee has been known to be a great ingredient for those who are diabetic or monitoring their insulin levels. Some studies show that adding ghee to high glycemic foods could help level out blood sugar levels.

Final Considerations

One of the best things about cooking with fats and oil is that a lot of them are very similar and can be interchanged on the fly.

You may have picked up on that after taking a look at the calories and fat in each ingredient.

While oils can be easily substituted, some work best in different scenarios and can offer a different amount of moisture, which is why they can’t always be substituted with a 1:1 ratio.

No matter your dietary preference or contents of your pantry, finding a substitute for ghee that will be both successful and delicious is easier than you think.

Other Interesting Guides 

Leave a Comment