Vegan Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian spiced butter)

Prepare this vegan niter kibbeh (Ethiopian spiced butter) recipe to have on hand for making Ethiopian collard greens and other flavor infused dishes. I’m in love with this spiced butter – it smells and tastes sooooo good! This recipe makes about a cup, and it keeps well in the refrigerator.

As a reminder, spices are the roots, bark, and seeds of various plants. They contain a variety of nutrients, phytonutrients and properties – so including plenty of spices (and herbs) into your diet adds health benefits as well as adding to your culinary pleasure. Recipes that are spiced with a heavy hand (all Ethiopian recipes) contain a boost of flavor and nutrients.

Vegan Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian spiced butter) in a small jar with spices arranged all around

Method Overview

  • Melt vegan butter with onions, garlic, ginger
  • Pan-toast spices
  • Add spices to butter and let them infuse over low heat
  • Strain veggies and spices; pour into jar and refrigerate

Vegan Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian spiced butter) in a small jar with spices arranged all around
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5 from 10 votes

Vegan Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian Spiced Butter)

Recipe makes about 1 cup
Course: condiment
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Keyword: plant based, vegan
Servings: 1 cup


  • small cast iron skillet, or other heavy bottomed skillet
  • small saucepan (or double boiler)
  • fine-mesh strainer and cheesecloth


  • 8 ounces vegan butter, such as Miyoko's Cultured Vegan Butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons minced ginger root


  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick (Ceylon cinnamon if possible)
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 black cardamom pods, such as Spicely Organics brand


  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat with the onions, garlic, and ginger root.
  • In the meantime, warm up a dry cast iron skillet, or other heavy-bottomed skillet, over low heat. Add the spices and raise the heat to medium-high. Toast the spices, constantly stirring, for a couple of minutes or until they start to become fragrant.
  • Add the toasted spices to the pan with the melted butter and stir. Allow the spices to infuse into the butter, over low heat, for about an hour. You want the butter to be good and warm, but no need to simmer.
  • Line a fine mesh strainer with cheese cloth and set it over a small bowl. Pour the butter into the cheesecloth lined strainer so that it drains into the bowl. Squeeze the cheesecloth to wring out all of the spiced butter.
  • Pour the spiced butter into a half-pint mason jar and cap. Store it in the refrigerator.


  • If necessary, refined coconut oil or olive oil can be used in place of vegan butter.
  • As an alternative, use a double boiler for infusing the spices into the butter. 
Vegan Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian spiced butter) close-up
I wish you could smell and taste this Vegan Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian spiced butter) through your phone/computer!


  • Anonymous
    April 28, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Sounds delicious!

    • Judy DeLorenzo
      April 28, 2021 at 11:04 pm

      If you try it let us know what you think 🙂

  • Amie
    August 1, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    5 stars
    Delicious exactly as is; have also subbed fresh turmeric. Make a double batch ❤️


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