Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian Spiced Clarified Butter)

Niter kibbeh is a spiced clarified butter that is integral to Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. It’s used to add flavour to foods such as wats (Ethiopian/Eritrean stews) and is often viewed as the secret ingredient in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. Niter kibbeh is very easy to make. All you need are some spices, butter, a saucepan, and some cheesecloth. The butter needs to simmer on low heat with the spices for about an hour. During this time, the spices will infuse into the butter making it incredibly flavourful.

You don’t need to limit yourself to just using niter kibbeh in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. You can use it to butter bread and bagels and in place of oil or regular butter when making other dishes. For instance, I’ve used niter kibbeh in place of oil when making jollof rice and it’s delicious.


niter kibbeh
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Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian Spiced Clarified Butter)

Niter kibbeh is a spice-infused clarified butter that enhances the flavour and fragrance of food. It's an essential ingredient in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Cuisine: African, Ethiopian
Servings: 20 tablespoons
Calories: 167kcal
Author: Mavis K.


  • 1 lb butter
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp ginger (minced)
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (slightly crushed)
  • 2 sticks cinnamon


  • Place the butter in a saucepan and melt over low heat.
  • Add all the other ingredients to the melted butter and simmer on very low heat for about 1 hour. Stir the butter occasionally as it cooks to prevent burning. The butter should be a golden liquid when it's done.
  • Remove the pot from the stove and let the butter cool until it's safe to handle. Strain it with a cheesecloth. Keep the strained liquid and discard the solids.
  • Can the niter kibbeh and store it in a refrigerator or freezer.


Calories: 167kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 162mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 565IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.2mg

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