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Spiced Ghee Recipe (Niter Kibbeh)

This recipe for Spiced Ghee, also known as Niter Kibbeh in Djibouti and Ethiopia, is a unique way to use your Instant Pot! The Ghee is infused with the flavors of cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and more.
Course appetizers, sides, spreads
Cuisine djiboutian, Ethiopian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 1 cups
Calories 3322kcal


  • Pressure Cooker


  • 1 lb butter I used Kerrygold brand
  • ½ tbsp Cardamom pods
  • 5 Cloves
  • tsp Cumin seeds
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick optional
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp Fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp Fresh ginger
  • ¼ tsp Ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp Ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp Ground cinnamon


  • Turn the Instant Pot to the lowest SAUTE setting and add the whole spices (cardamom pods, cloves, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, and cinnamon sticks, if using). Toast until fragrant or for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and saute for about 3 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the spices and the butter to the Instant Pot. Stir on the lowest SAUTE setting until the butter melts.
  • Once the butter has melted, set a timer for 10 minutes. Stir every minute or two during this time. The butter should come to a low simmer.
  • A foam will start to form on top of the butter, but eventually this foam will settle and will sink to the bottom.
  • When the foam has mostly settled at the bottom (this should take until your timer goes off), turn the Instant Pot off but leave the liner in the pot. Allow the butter to continue cooking with the residual heat for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The proteins (the foam) that sank to the bottom should turn a golden brown color and everything should be almost completely settled. See photos above for visual cues.
  • Once the butter is finished cooking, line a mesh strainer with a cheesecloth and place on top of a glass bowl. Ladle the ghee into the mesh strainer so that only the clear ghee is left over and all of the spices are removed.
  • Serve with anything you’d like. Enjoy!


Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only. 
Recipe is made using an 8 qt pot.
  1. Cardamom Pods: You can buy cardamom pods from the bulk section of your grocery store or even (if you’re lucky) in the pre-packaged spices. There are black or green cardamom pods, and you can choose either. Black is more common, but I was only able to find black cardamom pods, so that’s what I used. 
  2. Cumin Seeds: There are many different types of cumin seeds, the most common of which being white, black, and green cumin. I used black cumin in my recipe. I recommend using full cumin seeds instead of ground cumin, as it flavors the ghee without overpowering it. 
  3. Cinnamon: I’ve seen cinnamon in Niter Kibbeh in both the form of ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks. My preference, just like cumin, is to use cinnamon sticks if possible. This removes the less-desirable texture that ground cinnamon may provide. Ground cinnamon will work in a pinch! 
  4. Turmeric: Turmeric is what gives this Spiced Ghee Recipe it’s gorgeous flavor after cooking. The bright yellow of Turmeric also makes it easy to monitor if the butter is burning or not (it will be easier to see the brown of burnt Ghee).
  5. Butter: I used Kerrygold butter, as it is one of the highest quality butters that can be bought. The flavor, and even the smell of it, can’t be beat. Any type of unsalted butter will work.
  6. You may find that you have some foam sticking around the surface of your butter, probably clustering around the cardamom pods that are floating in the butter. If the majority of your milk solids have settled and caramelized but you still have some foam at the top of your butter, use a spoon to skim the foam off the top (probably gathering some cardamom pods with it). The rest will be removed when you strain the Ghee Recipe through the cheese cloth. 
  7. The lowest setting on my off-brand Instant Pot gets just a bit hotter than this recipe requires. If you are experiencing a similar issue and your butter is constantly at a HIGH boil while on SAUTE, you can transition your Ghee to the KEEP WARM function sooner. I kept my Ghee at a high KEEP WARM function for the first round of boiling, as I thought it was at a more controllable level that way. 
  8. If it smells like your butter is burning, use oven mitts and remove the liner from the pot, even for a few seconds. This will work similarly to removing a pan from a burner and will allow the food to cool before you reduce the heat setting and return to the liner to the pot.


Serving: 1recipe | Calories: 3322kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 369g | Saturated Fat: 233g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 96g | Trans Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 975mg | Sodium: 3248mg | Potassium: 347mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 11365IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 203mg | Iron: 2mg