How to Make Smen Moroccan Preserved Butter

Smen (Moroccan Preserved Butter)
Christine Benlafquih
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 32 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
102 Calories
11g Fat
0g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 32
Amount per serving
Calories 102
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 15%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 30mg 10%
Sodium 220mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 4mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The Moroccan preserved butter is known as having more of a cheesy taste than a butter flavor. It is often added to tagine recipes as well as many other traditional Moroccan dishes but is also enjoyed simply spread on bread. A small amount of smen included in a dish will lend a distinct flavor that can't be replicated by a substitute ingredient. 

Before proceeding with the recipe, make sure you have some cheesecloth and a clean glass or ceramic jar on hand for the smen. And don't plan to use it immediately—although very easy to make, the smen will need to sit a month or longer for the characteristic flavor to develop; the longer it sits, the stronger the flavor will be.

Smen can be made plain from salted clarified butter, as in this recipe, or flavored with herbs


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Increase the heat and bring the melted butter to a simmer. Simmer gently for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the milk solids on the bottom of the pot have turned a light amber.

  3. Place a piece of cheesecloth over a bowl and carefully pour the clarified butter (not the solids) through a cheesecloth. Repeat this straining several times if necessary to remove all traces of milk solids. You want only perfectly clear clarified butter for smen.

  4. Stir the salt into the strained clarified butter, then pour it into a jar. Cover, and store in a cool, dark place (a cupboard is fine) for a month or longer.

  5. After opening, store the smen in the refrigerator.

  6. Enjoy!


The longer smen sits, the stronger the flavor will be.