Vegan Nitter Qibbeh (Ethiopian Spiced Butter)


By Helen Mebrate | Ethiopian Foodie

Food Stories is a column in which Best of Vegan community members share recipes from their cultures and personal stories connected to those dishes. Today, Helen Mebrate of Ethiopian Foodie shares her recipe for Vegan Nitter Qibbeh – an Ethiopian spiced butter.

This recipe was featured in Helen’s profile for the weekly BIPOC Portraits series by Val and Mani Latifi, where they interview vegan creators and shed light on the unique challenges BIPOCs face in making the decision to embrace veganism. Click here to see the full article.

Food Stories: Vegan Nitter Qibbeh (Ethiopian Spiced Butter)

The recipe is for a fully plant-based Ethiopian clarified butter called nitter qibbeh. It is traditionally made with cow’s milk but my recipe uses vegan butter. The main ingredient is the qibbeh manteria spice blend, which I created for my online shop named after my grandmother, Amaarech. The blend contains koseret, korerima, holy basil, thyme, dried garlic, Ethiopian black cumin (nigella seeds), Ethiopian caraway seeds (ajowan), and fenugreek. Some of these can be difficult to find, so it’s great to have a pre-made blend. Vegan qibbeh is one of the recipes I mastered early on in my vegan journey. It makes everything taste better! I use it in most of my Ethiopian cooking but also in my breakfast porridge and even on pancakes!

Food Stories: Vegan Nitter Qibbeh (Ethiopian Spiced Butter)

Recipe shared with permission from Helen Mebrate of Ethiopian Foodie.

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Food Stories: Vegan Nitter Qibbeh (Ethiopian Spiced Butter)

Vegan Nitter Qibbeh (Ethiopian Spiced Butter)


  • 2.5 kg vegan butter at room temperature 
  • 30g Amaarech Qibbeh Manteria blend or: 
  • 55g korerima, roasted in a pan on low heat for 10 minutes
  • 25g nech qimmem, roasted in a pan on low heat for 5 minutes 
  • 30g koseret, roasted in a pan on low heat for 3 minutes
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric 
  • 10g crushed ginger
  • 10g crushed garlic
  • 45g sliced red onion 


  1. To a large pot add all the ingredients and bring to a slow boil 
  2. Reduce heat and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally until the foam on top disappears and the butter has gone clear 
  3. Allow the qibbeh to cool completely before transferring it to a clean container by pouring it through a sieve
  4. Store in fridge or freezer 


  • If you are after a more intense experience, I suggest adding more of our Amaarech Qibbeh Manteria blend. Note that your qibbeh will get stronger with time. 
  • Qibbeh can be added at the beginning or end of the cooking process to enhance the flavors of any Ethiopian dish you make at home. 
  • You can keep your qibbeh for months if stored in the freezer. I recommend keeping most in your freezer and transferring a small amount to your fridge as and when necessary
  • Find more recipes by Helen on @ethiopianfoodie.

Text, recipe & photography by Helen Mebrate of Ethiopian Foodie.


Food Stories: Vegan Nitter Qibbeh (Ethiopian Spiced Butter)

If you loved this Vegan Nitter Qibbeh recipe, you might also like…

BIPOC Portraits: Ethiopian Foodie (An Interview with Helen Mebrate)

Culture Tuesday: An Exploration of Ethiopian Cuisine

Or click here for more vegan Food Stories!



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