Ghee vs. Butter: Which is Better for a Keto Diet?

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Written by Brenda Peralta, Registered Dietitian and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

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Finding the appropriate fats to include in your ketogenic diet is essential. Over 70% of the calories come from fats in keto. No wonder it is vital to find a healthy variety to reach those goals.

Butter and ghee are good to include as fats into your diet, but what is the difference between both products? Are they more or less the same?

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know in which one to include in your ketogenic diet. Learn the differences, when to use each one, and which is ultimately the best when doing low-carb.


This food comes from churning cream. During the churning process, the fats (solids) are separated from the liquids (buttermilk). Once this separation occurs, the buttermilk is drained, and the fat is churned some more until it packs together as much as possible.

When this process is complete, salt (or spices) is added and the product is packaged.


Ghee comes from butter. It is the clarified version of it. When you melt butter, milk solids are often seen on the surface. These are then separated (some of which are protein and a few lactose particles).

In the end, you get a pure version of butter without any solid particles.

Ghee vs. butter nutrition

Now that we know the difference in where each comes from, let’s talk about the nutritional content. Here you can find the nutritional information of 100 grams of each one, based on the data given by the US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database.

Nutrients Ghee (100 g) Butter (100 g)
Energy 900 kcal 717 kcal
Fat 100 g 81.1 g
Protein 0 g 0 g
Net carbs 0 g 0 g
Total carbs 0 g 0 g
Fiber 0 g 0 g


As you can see in the nutritional information, both butter and ghee have no carb content, making them a perfect option for those following a keto diet. They are both very energy-dense foods, meaning that they have a lot of calories in a small portion of food.

Most of the fat content comes from saturated fats. It also has some significant cholesterol content. This means that it is advised to consume these products in moderation to prevent heart disease in the future.

Both of them are high in nutrients, mainly vitamin A, and contain some potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus traces. The only difference is that ghee is more nutrient-dense than butter since it is more concentrated.


Differences between ghee and butter

We have discussed the nutritional information of both products. Now, let’s talk more in-depth about the differences that they have.

One of the differences between them is flavor. Since the milk solids are removed in the clarifying process, ghee tends to have a nuttier, creamier, and more intense flavor (in my experience, it has a cheesier flavor). Butter, on the other hand, has a more mild taste.

Another difference is the medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) content. Ghee contains more MCTs than butter (but the relative levels are still low with approximately 0.77% of ghee being MCTs). These types of triglycerides, thanks to their short structure, are absorbed quicker. Thus they give you energy faster than any other fat source. Since they are absorbed and processed immediately in the liver, they also help increase ketone levels—an essential benefit for someone on a keto diet.

Due to its more thorough process, ghee is more expensive than butter. However, the difference is not that big. It might still be a considerable amount for someone on a budget.


What are ghee and butter used for?

Ghee has a higher burning point, so I would advise using it instead of butter for baking, or for cooking or sauteing vegetables or chicken. Do be aware that this may change the flavor of the recipe.

If you want to spread some on your favorite keto bread, you can go with either one. I prefer the more intense flavor that ghee offers, but any option that you choose is fine.

Which one is better for keto, butter or ghee?

For doing keto, you can choose either one of them. Both are great options to increase our calories and fat content during the day. They don’t offer any carbs, which is perfect for a keto lifestyle. However, do keep in mind that both are a source of saturated fats, which we want to consume in moderation to prevent heart disease.

The bottom line

Both products have a very similar nutritional content. Someone following keto can opt for either one of these.

Ghee is a more concentrated fat source and has a specific flavor profile that some may enjoy. Nonetheless, it is more expensive than butter. Thus, if you are on a budget, you might want to weigh the benefits vs. the cost.