This page been viewed 83142 times

 Butter, Ghee or Oil, which is a better option?

  Last Updated : Apr 08,2021

3/5 stars      3 REVIEWS



Butter, Ghee or Oil, which is a better option?

With a lot of buzz going on about “Healthy Fats”, let us understand which is a better choice!

The Indian Scenario of Ghee, Butter or Oil

Butter, ghee and oil are widely used in kitchens across India to make a number of delicacies. They impart different tastes and flavors. Indian cooking uses many different types of oil ranging from sesame oil to peanut oil, and these days olive oil has become the most sort after option.

With growing attention towards health and nutrition, people are becoming more and more aware about the quantity and quality of fat to be used in daily cooking. Butter, ghee and oil, all 3 have varying uses when it comes to cooking sweets or savoury dishes. 

So what is the real difference between butter, ghee and vegetable oil?

Well, the first major difference between butter and oil is that butter is solid and vegetable oil is in the liquid state. Butter is 20% water, which evaporates during cooking. Vegetable oil, however, is pure fat containing no water and moisture from the oil won't evaporate on cooking.

Ghee is produced by heating butter to remove milk solids and water. It has a nutty flavour and also has a higher smoke point than butter, which means it can be heated to a higher temperature before it starts smoking.   

Which is a healthier option?

Oil generally comprises of unsaturated fats – Mono unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), whereas butter is a natural dairy product made from churning milk or cream, contains saturated fats, milk protein and also some amount of water in it.

Butter contains saturated fats,. The old theory stated that butter has a lot of saturated fats, which made it a culprit to many diseases like weight gain, high cholesterol, heart disease and so on…. However, new research doesn’t show link between the saturated fat content and heart disease or high cholesterol. In butter, saturated fatty acids (SFA) form the major type (around 65-70%) followed by mono unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) (around 25%) along with least amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which around 2 to 3%. Other types of fats in butter are cholesterol and phospholipids. Within the saturated fats, around 10 to 15% is from short chain fatty acids and medium chain fatty acids. Here is where the health factor begins. These type of fatty acids get metabolized in a different way in our body. Because of their shorter chain length and medium chain length, they are broken down and absorbed into the body directly. Unlike the long chain fatty acids, the medium chain fatty acids go straight to the liver and get converted to fuel to be used by the muscles and organs. They don’t get deposited as fat. Thus the research has shown that these fats are healthy for weight loss. 

There are a lot of arguments surrounding butter and its effect on the body’s health. Butter is any day a better option than Margarine, a butter substitute which is processed and loaded with trans fats and is incredibly unhealthy. However, Homemade White butter is even better than commercial butter as it is less processed.

Ghee is rich saturated fats and is packed with Conjugated Linoleic acid (CLA) which has a lot of health benefits. Ghee is also loaded with butyrate which has proven to improve gut health. It also helps reduce nflammation in the body which is very important to prevent the onset of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer etc. Ghee is loaded with fats but that’s medium chain fatty acids (MCT), which are not stored in the adipose tissue in the body contributing to weight gain. Instead they are used up by body as an energy boost. A tbsp. of ghee daily will not increase your waistline or hip circumference, but it will help in reducing your belly.


Oils, on the other hand, have more of MUFA and PUFA, though each oil has its own ratio. Olive oil is said to have omega-3 fatty acids and also has 77% MUFA which is is known for its heart protecting benefits due to its antiinflammatory nature. Coocnut oil again is high in MCT (medium chain fatty acids) and so a wise choice. Peanut oil has 49% MUFA and the rest is PUFA and SFA. 

Other vegetable oils are extracted from a number of seeds – rapeseeds, soybean, corn, sunflower, etc. are high in omega-6 fatty acids and PUFA which maybe pro-inflammatory in nature. Yes, some amounts of omega 6 are also necessary, but consumption of too much omega-6 based oils, without proper balance with omega-3 rich oils can lead to inflammation in the body. 


The Take away message

Butter, extra virgin olive oil, olive oil or coconut oil can be a good option as compared to not so healthy fats like palm kernel oil and palm oil.  Make sure you completely avoid Dalda/ Vanaspati (Hydrogenated Vegetable Fat) as it is loaded with trans fat which can cause a lot of health issues.

Using Home Made Ghee or Home Made Butter is a good option as it will be less processed and will have a number of health benefits.

But moderation is very important as ultimately all of them add fats to your diet. It is important to maintain an appropriate omega 3 to omega 6 ratio in your diet, so that less inflammation in the body. It is recommended to restrict our daily consumption of fats to not more than 5 to 6 tsp per day. Further , it is also recommended to find a balance in eating fats with a lot of lean protein and whole grains. 

Therefore, cooking with any types of fats, requires appropriate moderation and a healthy balance needs to be maintained. 


butter ghee or oil – which is a better option

Subscribe to the free food mailer


Missed out on our mailers?
Our mailers are now online!

View Mailer Archive

Privacy Policy: We never give away your email
Rate and review this recipe and get 15 days FREE bonus membership!

REGISTER NOW If you are a new user.
Or Sign In here, if you are an existing member.

Login Name

Forgot Login / Password?Click here

If your Gmail or Facebook email id is registered with, the accounts will be merged. If the respective id is not registered, a new account will be created.

Are you sure you want to delete this review ?

Click OK to sign out from tarladalal.
For security reasons (specially on shared computers), proceed to Google and sign out from your Google account.


Butter, Ghee or Oil, which is a better option?
 on 24 Aug 22 06:42 AM

If you can provide a one-day meal chart for an obese adult man, I''ll be grateful
| Hide Replies
Tarla Dalal    Dear Shabana, Thank you for your feedback. We don''t have a meal plan, but you can try recipes from the link shared herewith.
25 Aug 22 09:38 AM
Butter, Ghee or Oil, which is a better option?
 on 01 Mar 21 11:36 PM

Excuse you? This article is full of misinformation. Both MUFA and PUFA are anti-inflammatory which reduced risk of heart disease. PUFA and MUFA are not problems with plant oils, they are the benefits. You are confusing vanaspati ghee like dalda with vegetable oil. The problem with vanaspati ghee (of plant origin) is that it is rich in trans fats, hydrogenated fats and unsaturated fats which are harmful to health. The same thing that happens when you reuse any oil over and over and over and over again. however, that has nothing to do with good quality vegetable oils. This misinformation is infuriating. This is so wrong the whole blog post should be taken down. Such uninformed people keep spreading misinformation and put the health of people at risk. The problem is such nonsense is venerated by people instead of actual information. What utter garbage.
| Hide Replies
Tarla Dalal    Dear Demader, the article has been updated.
08 Apr 21 10:56 AM
Butter, Ghee or Oil, which is a better option?
 on 29 May 18 11:45 AM

Mine is the big joint family with 18 family members. All are food-lover. Lots of cooking starts since morning till evening for my family. Mostly Ghee and Butter are used in breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. We are now educated through this article and now we know about the usage of ghee, butter and oil, the quantity to use etc in our meals for our family to keep them all fit and healthy. Thanks for the information.