Is Ghee A Good Choice For Backpacking? (Explained)

When backpacking, you can bring little amounts of your favorite ingredients to season your food.

That said, this article will explain what ghee is, if it’s nutritious, and how to carry it when traveling. In addition, we will discuss the differences between ghee and olive oil.

Here’s how good ghee is for backpacking

Ghee is an excellent choice for camping due to its long shelf life and high-fat content. Ghee’s high-fat content means it provides a lot of calories, which are especially important during trekking. Ghee does not need to be refrigerated and, unlike butter, does not melt quickly.


What is ghee?

Ghee is a milk product with no water or milk solids. Many people often confuse ghee and butter as being the same.

Ghee results from when butter is melted until all the water vaporizes, and all left is transparent golden brown milk particles at the bottom of the pan.

Ghee does not dissolve easily like butter because it has a high heat tolerance of 475-485 degrees Fahrenheit.

Therefore, ghee has an increased shelf life and is very suitable when cooking foods that require high heat.

Also, ghee does not spoil quickly because all the milk solids are skimmed when creating it. Therefore, it does not require refrigeration and can remain at room temperature for a long time.

See related: Where to get condiment packets

Is ghee healthy?

Yes, ghee is healthy. It is suitable for lactose intolerant people making it preferable to butter. It Is lactose intolerant because it does not contain casein and milk solids like butter.

It also contains vitamins A, K, and E, which aid in the development and strengthening of bones, good brain functionality, and an improved immune system.

Ghee has butyric acid and monounsaturated fat.

It also contains short-chain fatty acids, which research shows promote gut health and reduce gastric inflammation.

It also has linoleic acid (CLA), which aids in fat loss, helps with cancer, is an anti-inflammatory, and improves heart health.

Ghee is a better choice than most cooking oils because it has a higher smoking point, is more stable, and does not burn quickly when used for cooking. As I previously stated, it is high in calories. It contains 250-255 calories/ounce.

Besides being edible, you can use ghee as a lubricant when hiking. It soothes your muscles and joints, making you more flexible.

How to carry ghee backpacking & camping

Most ghee is packed in glass jars, which are unsuitable for backpacking. So you will have to repackage them in plastic bottles.

A recommended example is Nalgene bottles, which come in different sizes. Nalgene bottles are leakproof and very lightweight.

The best thing about ghee is that it does not melt at a fast rate. Due to its high versatility, it can endure high temperatures without melting. It also has low water content, meaning it is bacteria resistant.

So when packing it, you should ensure the bottles are upright just to be safe in case the bottles have a faulty top.

See related: Can You Bring Butter Backpacking?

When does ghee go bad?

Unopened cans of ghee can last up to two years without going bad. Open ones last about six months when stored under suitable conditions.

Ghee goes bad only if it is not stored under the right conditions. For example, leaving the ghee open for long periods and storing it in damp areas that are not refrigerators. When ghee is unsuitable for use, you will notice:

  • The ghee will have a pungent odor, not the usual milk scent. It might look white rather than golden brown. If your ghee is this way, it is best to discard it.
  • The ghee also has an unpleasant taste. This may make your food taste weird.
  • If mold is on the ghee’s surface, this mainly happens if you store the ghee in damp areas when the can is open.
  • If the can of ghee has been around for many years, it will lose its quality. So, it is best to throw it away. It is common for oils to lose quality over time.

Ghee vs. Olive Oil

Let us look at the difference between ghee and olive oil.


Ghee’s taste is dependent on what temperature it was clarified at. At 212 degrees Fahrenheit, ghee will have a curdy taste. At 285 degrees Fahrenheit, the flavor becomes nuttier and milkier.

Olive oil’s taste depends on which olives were used and the processing chemicals in the oil. Mostly, olive oil tastes very bitter.

Smoking point

Ghee has a higher smoking point than olive oil.

It cooks without burning and is very suitable for deep frying meals. Ghee has a smoke point of 485 degrees Fahrenheit, and olive oil has a smoke point of about 370 degrees Fahrenheit.

Health benefits and nutritional value

Ghee has no carbohydrates because, during its manufacturing, it is clarified from all milk particles. Also, ghee has no lactose or casein, which makes it very suitable for lactose-intolerant people.

Ghee also has more monounsaturated fats, vitamins K, A, and E, which contain many calories, unlike most vegetable oils. Ghee has anti-inflammatory properties.

Olive oil, on the hand, has a lower amount of vitamins, but in terms of calories and monounsaturated fats, it is on the same level as ghee. Olive oil can be consumed raw, for example, in salad dressings. Olive oil also has antioxidants and is also more suitable for vegans.

Shelf life

Both olive oil and ghee have a long shelf life. You can use olive oil for over two years if stored in a cool, dark, and dry area. Once opened, you can use ghee for six months if you are not refrigerating it.

If refrigerated, ghee can last up to two years. Over time, both ghee and olive oil will lose their quality.

GheeOlive oil
Ghee is made from butterOlive oil is made from olives
Ghee has a milky and nutty smellOlive has a pungent smell
Ghee has a higher smoke point of 485 degrees Fahrenheit.Olive oil has a smoke point of 370 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ghee has more monounsaturated fats than olive oil.Olive oil has more polyunsaturated fats.
You can store ghee in the fridge to increase its shelf life.Olive oil does not need to be refrigerated. An unopened bottle of olive oil can last up to 24 months.
Ghee is most suitable for lactose intolerant persons, contains anti-inflammatory properties, and is very high in calories.Olive oil is ideal for vegetarians and contains a lot of calories. It also has antioxidants.
Ghee has minimal chances of spillage because it does not melt quickly.Olive oil is in liquid form and can spill if not stored well.

Tasty recipes with ghee when backpacking

Here are a few recipes you can make with ghee when camping.

For breakfast, you can prepare apple-flavored pancakes. All you need to do is make the pancake mixture when at home and carry it in a freezer bag when hiking. In the morning, add water to the mix, grease your pan with ghee, pour the mixture on the pan and cook your pancakes.

For lunch, you can prepare an oatmeal and bacon dish. Mix oatmeal and powdered milk in a zip lock bag when at home.
When hiking, just pour water into the oatmeal and milk mixture and let it rest for a bit. On a pan, place one tablespoon of ghee, fry some onions and bacon and then add the oatmeal mixture.

For supper, you can prepare a fish pie with mashed potatoes. Carry a mix of milk, fish seasoning, and flour in a zip lock bag. When hiking, melt ghee in a pan, add onions, and fry.
Next, add water to your milk, flour, and fish seasoning mixture. Add the mixture to the fried onions and bring it to a boil. Add your fish of choice and let it cook for two minutes.

For the mashed potatoes, add hot water to the mashed potato mixture, let the mixture rest for a few minutes, and then serve with the fish sauce.


Is ghee a good choice for backpacking? Yes, ghee is good for backpacking. It is a suitable alternative to olive oil or any other vegetable oil. Ghee has a high smoke point, making it ideal for deep frying meals.

Ghee does not melt quickly, so hikers can trek with it even in hot weather. Ghee has a long shelf life and does not go rancid fast. Ghee has a better taste, higher smoke point, and more health benefits than olive oil.