Niter Kibbeh

Niter kibbeh is a spiced clarified butter that can be kept in the refrigerator once made and used as needed. It adds a great level of spice when slathered on fresh bread. Or use as intended when you cook dishes specific to Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Niter Kibbeh Candle
Niter Kibbeh Candle
Head straight on to the Recipe For ♥ Niter Kibbeh ♥
Inspired to make Niter Kibbeh

I love using North African spices in my cooking, and when I saw this recipe on Mimi’s blog, I knew I had to make it. This seasoned, clarified butter is used in Ethiopian and Eritrean cooking. It is prepared in a similar manner to ghee, which is used most often in Indian cuisine. To make niter kibbeh the butter is simmered with various spices such as sacred basil, koseret (oregano), fenugreek, cumin, coriander, turmeric, korarima (Ethiopian cardamom) and either cinnamon or nutmeg. The spices are strained out leaving a heady, spicy aroma and taste.

Making a candle

A few days before I made this, Eva sent me a video of an edible candle. These are all over social media so I am late to the party. I have seen them done with garlic butter as one variety. The candle is placed into the centre of a tear and share bread. Then the melted butter is used for dipping or spreading. I decided that a niter kibbeh candle would be perfect. You need two things from a craft shop to achieve this. Wick, and a paper cup. The wick is placed into the cup, the niter kibbeh poured around it, and when set, the paper cup is torn off. We lit our candle on Christmas day which added a festive feel to our table.

Take a look at this inspiring recipe for ♥ Niter Kibbeh ♥ from Lavender and Lime #LavenderAndLime Click To Tweet

Niter Kibbeh


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5 from 1 vote

Niter Kibbeh

This spiced ghee can be used for all North African recipes
Recipe Category: Condiments
Makes enough for: 400 mls
All Rights Reserved: Adapted from Chef Mimi


  • 450 g butter, cubed
  • 3.75 mls ground turmeric
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cm fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 pod cardamom, crushed
  • 1 quill cinnamon
  • 1 whole clove
  • 0.625 mls ground nutmeg

to make the candle

  • 15 cm wick material
  • 1 paper cup


  • Place the butter into a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat over a medium temperature
  • Stir occasionally, leaving it to melt slowly, without colouring
  • Increase the temperature and bring to the boil
  • When the surface is completely covered with white foam add the turmeric, garlic, ginger, shallot, cardamom, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg and stir to combine
  • Reduce the temperature to the lowest setting and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, without stirring
  • Carefully strain the liquid into a jug through a fine sieve luned with muslin, and discard the seasonings
  • If there are any solids left in the butter, strain it again to prevent it from becoming rancid later
  • Pour the liquid into a sterilized glass jar, place into the fridge and use as needed

to make the candle

  • Tie the wick to a skewer that is longer than the mouth of your cup, so that the length is as long as your cup
  • Place the skewer over the mouth of the cup, placing the wick in the centre
  • Carefully pour the liquid into the cup and ensure the wick is still centred before placing into the fridge to set
    Niter Kibbeh Candle Process
  • Once set, untie the wick and trim to size
  • Peel off the paper cup and place the candle into the centre of a prepared bread, or into a ramekin
  • Light the wick, allow the niter kibbeh to melt and use for dipping or spreading
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Sourdough Wreath
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12 thoughts on “Niter Kibbeh

  1. What a fabulous idea and I’m sure that the spiced butter is delicious Tandy. A lovely idea for afternoon drinks with friends in the the cooler weather, which is taking it’s time coming consistently here. I’m presuming that worked well having the edible candle burning in the middle of a loaf of bread? Such a great conversation piece.

  2. I’ve never heard of anything like this slab of butter but it sounds wonderful especially with all the North African spices. Great idea.

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