July 25, 2023 07:30 am ETEstimated Read Time: 14 Minutes
Cannabis-infused butter, or cannabutter, is a staple ingredient for any edible chef, home-based or professional. Learning how to make this simple infusion will allow you to medicate with your favorite recipes just the way you like or need.
Have you ever wondered what it would take to make your own edibles at home? Have you ever been wowed by a friend’s or professional baker’s creations in a 420-friendly kitchen? With this guide, you’ll learn the best practices for making your own cannabutter and turning any recipe into an infused, medicated delight.
A good rule of thumb for infusing cannabis oil is to use about 1 gram of flower per 1 ounce of infusion base (whether that is butter, coconut oil, or grain alcohol). Therefore, for 1 cup of butter, you’ll want to use 7 grams (or 1/4 pound) of cannabis. It is possible to use more, but more than a 2:1 ratio (flower:infusion base) and you run the risk of wasting flower.
3.5 grams of decarbed ground cannabis flower (or one eighth)
1 stick or 4 ounces of unsalted butter
If your final product is something water-based (like gummies), you will likely want to add a teaspoon of sunflower lecithin granules. However, for most baked goods this is not necessary, especially if the recipe has a natural source of lecithin, like eggs.
Saucepot or Slow cooker
Option 1: Making Cannabutter on the Stovetop
A quick way to make weed butter is to make it on the stovetop, in a saucepot, directly over the heat. Let’s break it down step-by-step.
Steps to Make Cannabutter on a Stovetop:
Add 1 stick of butter to a medium saucepan. Allow it to fully melt over low heat. (You must keep the heat low to avoid browning the butter or frying the cannabis buds.)
Optional step: skim the foam off the top to make the melted butter clarified.
Once the butter is melted, add the decarboxylated cannabis.
Keep the heat low. Using a candy thermometer, aim for a temperature around 190-210 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t fry the flower. Don’t let it brown. Don’t let it get smoky.
Simmer the flower and butter together for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to 90 minutes.
Line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth and pour butter through; straining out the raffinate. Don’t forget to give the cloth and plant matter a hefty squeeze to get all the last bits of THC goodness out.
Store in a shallow and wide airtight container.
Option 2: Making Cannabutter in a Slow Cooker
Using your slow cooker and a mason jar will give you both a reduced smell and a slightly more hands-off method. Not only is the cannabis edible scent contained by the tight lid of the cooker, but also the lid of a mason jar.
It’s not completely scent-free, but it is considerably more palatable than the open air, stovetop method. And also far less likely to encroach into a neighbor’s space if that is a concern. And since the crock pot method relies so heavily on water—and water can only get so hot before it evaporates—whether you use the “low” or “high” temperature setting, the infusion will never reach over 212 degrees Fahrenheit (and even less the further away from sea level you are), preserving the terpenes with a lower temperature.
Steps to Make Cannabutter in a Slow Cooker:
Once the plant material has been decarbed and cooled down, place the flower in a mason jar with softened or melted unsalted butter. Place the lid on the jar and tighten it, but not too tight. You will want to leave a little wiggle room so that you’re able to remove it at the end.
Place the jar in a slow cooker with room-temperature water. Cover and set it to high for 2-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. If you’re the “set it and forget it” type, make sure the “keep warm” setting is set to on. This will help keep the butter melted for when you’re ready to strain.
At the end of the cook cycle, line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth and pour the butter mixture through it into an airtight container. For best results, store in something wide and shallow for ease. Make sure to squeeze the cheesecloth before tossing.
Store in the fridge for up to two months or in the freezer for up to six months.
Alternative: if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can implement this same method on a stovetop with a pot of water and a mason jar. However, you should add a tea towel to rest the mason jar on in the pot, start with cold water, and make sure to keep an eye on the pot in case you need to refill the evaporated water with more HOT water. Remember, start with cold water, and only add HOT as it evaporates.
Note: you might be curious about whether you should infuse for more time or less, and frankly, you may get a slightly more potent result at 8 hours vs 2 hours, but it won’t be a significant difference. What will be noticeable is the greenness in both color and flavor. So if you’re not into the “green” flavor, especially in baked goods and pastries, aim for a shorter infusion time. You can always compensate for the slight decrease in potency by adding a little extra flower (maybe an extra gram per stick of butter).
Learning how to make cannabis-infused butter is an easy process. It is an incredibly versatile ingredient that is sure to become a staple in your kitchen. Other than the introduction of cannabinoids, cannabutter is just like regular butter and can be incorporated into any butter-based recipe.
That’s why making weed butter at home is such a wonderful skill to add to your repertoire. The possibilities are endless when it comes to homemade edibles. Whether you spread a little cannabutter on your morning toast, melt a pad on top of a steak, or use infused butter as the star of buttercream frosting on a cupcake, you can make any recipe a medicated, delicious edible. Brownies are great, but wait until you try some infused better on a couple of over-easy eggs. Now that’s a Sunday brunch dish.
The key thing to keep in mind, especially if you’re new to eating medicated dishes, is to take it easy with your taste tests. Start with a low dose and give it some time when you’re testing the results of your newly learned butter-infusing skills. And if you do overdo it, go ahead and indulge in a little nap, water, and your favorite snacks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Make Cannabutter Without Decarbing?
No, you must always decarb your flower before infusing it into butter. If you don’t decarb your bud beforehand, you’ll still feel the relaxing effects from THCA and CBDA. However, because these cannabinoids haven’t been “activated,” your cannabis infusion will not be effective in inducing psychoactive effects. Find methods for decarbing below.
How Do I Decarb my Flower?
Tried-and-True Method for Decarboxylation
Preheat the oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
Loosely break up cannabis flower on a baking sheet (optionally lined with parchment paper), and cover with tinfoil.
Bake the cannabis flower in the oven for 40 minutes.
Allow the flower to come to room temperature before removing the tinfoil to preserve the terpenes. Letting it come to room temperature in the oven will also help reduce the scent of the cooked flower in your home.
Author’s Quick Method for Decarboxylation
Do everything the same as the previous method except:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Preference for this method has everything to do with saving time. Baking at 300 degrees for 15 minutes is certainly a time saver but not for the folks who are of the “set it and forget it” variety. Even just 5 minutes too long, at this temperature, and you may unintentionally turn the psychoactive THC into its sleepy cousin CBN.
How Much Lecithin Do I Need to Make Cannabutter?
When you’re making gummies or something else that’s water-based, you will likely want to add a teaspoon of sunflower lecithin granules. However, adding lecithin is unnecessary for most baked goods, especially if the recipe has a natural source of lecithin, like eggs.
Did I Mess Up My Cannabutter?
If your cannabutter is a bright green color, is a gritty texture, or feels ineffective, you can fix your cannabutter.
If the cannabutter is super green, it’s still effective. If you find the color off-putting, however, you can shorten the cooking time so that less of the color is pulled from the flower.
If your final product is gritty, try using your grinder to break the buds into a finer texture. Then, try using a strainer with a finer filter, such as cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
If your infusion feels weak, you can melt your butter and reinfuse it with fresh decarbed cannabis.
How Do I Soften My Cannabutter?
Never use the microwave for softening cannabutter, as you risk losing cannabinoids at such a high heat. Instead, let your cannabutter soften at room temperature, or soften it over low heat on the stove. For extra protection to make sure you don’t burn your butter, use a double boiler to soften your weed butter over low heat.
Alternatively, you can place the cannabutter in a Ziploc bag and submerge it in a bowl of hot water.
Why Are Fats the Best for Cooking Edibles?
You’ve surely heard, and likely seen, that oil and water don’t mix. The same is true of THC and other cannabinoids in cannabis. This cannabinoid is lipophilic, or more plainly: it is fat-soluble. That means THC molecules want to bind themselves to fat. This is also why it can take weeks to leave your body; it naturally wants to stay stored in your fat cells and is best extracted into a high-fat substance.
Butter is an excellent choice for infusion because it is high in saturated fat (about 63%). Many edible chefs have noted anecdotally that saturated fat attracts THC the best. This is also why coconut oil is a commonly used infusion base and sometimes olive oil, but makes other vegetable and seed oils less ideal as infusion mediums.
Can I Use Salted Butter to Make Cannabutter?
It is important to remember when you’re learning how to make cannabutter that you must use unsalted butter. Salted butter will draw more water out into your infusion, and with that water, you’ll get a lot more of that “green” flavor that most prefer not to taste.
Does Cannabutter Lose Potency?
If stored incorrectly, or if it is exposed to any kind of light, you do run the risk of degrading the potency of your infused butter or recipe that uses the infused butter. That’s why it’s important to make only what you will use within a couple of weeks. Freezer storage can help prolong the shelf life of the infusions, but it’s always best to work with fresh ingredients in the kitchen, infused or not. For the most part, if stored correctly, your infused recipes or cannabutter will not lose potency before the base ingredients start to turn.
Why Is My Cannabutter Weak?
Every new edible chef has had that moment of defeat. Their infusion did not come out as potent as they expected. No one wants to have bad results from their infusing experiments.
Through experience, you will learn that more often than not it comes down to one of a couple of things. It could be that you didn’t use enough raw cannabis material. Or maybe your decarboxylation method wasn’t effective enough. Or maybe you’re just one of those folks whose body chemistry doesn’t feel THC the same way everyone else does (welcome to the club, take a seat, friend).
Did I Get the Temperature Right?
Generally, it comes down to the temperature. Either in your oven during the decarb cycle, or in your stovetop or slow cooker. It could be too high, or it could be too low. If the temperature is too high, you’ll most likely notice this because your edibles will make you feel incredibly sleepy (this might be a little harder to tell if you take edibles at night when you’re already predisposed to be tired). As mentioned previously, when exposed to prolonged or excessive heat, THC turns into CBN and that’s what gives you that sleepy feeling.
If you feel no effect at all, there’s a chance that your infusion didn’t get enough heat at some point in the infusion process. To figure out if your oven or slow cooker’s actual temperature, get an oven thermometer and a candy thermometer.
How Do I Store My Cannabutter?
Cannabutter should be stored in an airtight container, and it is best stored in the refrigerator. Uninfused butter is generally safe on the countertop, but once you introduce marijuana flower, heat, and maybe, even if unintentionally, water, you are at risk of mold. Unless you know you’ll use it within 48 hours, it’s best stored in the safe and cool temperatures of your fridge. For longer-term storage, it’s recommended to wrap the butter in parchment paper before storing it in a separate airtight container, especially if it’s heading into your freezer. Read more about how to properly store cannabis here.
How Long Does Cannabutter Last?
Stored in an airtight container in your fridge, cannabutter should last about three weeks. You should be able to tell by smell and sight if the butter has gone bad or spoiled. If stored in your freezer, you can hold onto it for about 6 months.
How do I calculate the proper dose for my edibles?
Without a lab or home testing device, it may seem impossible to figure out just how potent your freshly made marijuana butter is. Thankfully, there’s a pretty simple way to calculate the dose if you already know what percent of THC is in the flower. If you purchased it from a dispensary, it is most likely labeled on the container or on the dispensary’s website. Most marijuana is in a range of 15-25%.
For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that the flower used in the infusion was 20% THC. That means for each gram of marijuana flower, at maximum, there is 200 mg of THC.
And since this cannabutter recipe called for 3.5 grams of flower (or more commonly known as an eighth), we can multiply 200 by 3.5 and get: 700mg of THC. Now that sounds pretty potent in 4 ounces of butter, about 87.5mg per tablespoon. However, to play it safe, we can assume that only about 75% of that 700 ended up in the butter. That brings it down to about 66 mg per tablespoon.
To figure out the dose, you’ll need to know three basic equations:
(THC% x 100) x Grams = Maximum THC
Maximum THC x .75 = Approximate Total Infused THC
Approximate Total Infused THC/Number of Servings = Dose Per Serving
Using the numbers from the example above, let’s say you want to make a half dozen chocolate chip cookies that are 10 mg each. Your recipe calls for ½ stick, or ¼ cup, of butter. You know that your butter contains approximately 66 mg of THC per tablespoon. And 66 mg of THC divided by 6 cookies is 11 mg each. Which means you need just 1 tablespoon of the infused cannabis butter, and can use regular old butter to make up the rest (which would be just 3 more tablespoons to fill out the quarter cup).
With this recipe and the example butter, you could go all the way up to 44 mg of THC per cookie by using only the cannabis butter. If you’re unsure of what dose works for your body, you should start on the lower end, and work your way up. The best way to find out is to safely test it out yourself. It’s recommended that you speak with a doctor to help you figure out dosages as well as address any concerns you may have about medical marijuana and whether it’s right for you.
Overall recipe rating:
5 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
Lo Oliver is a self-taught edible home chef who has been creating inspired edibles for over a decade. Her YouTube channel, Pot Lunch, was created to teach people how to make edibles that aren’t just gummy bears and chocolate. And it is ultimately a manifestation of her love of cooking, cannabis, and creating. By day you can catch her helping small businesses keep their websites looking slick, functional, and up to date.
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Overall recipe rating:
5 out of 5 based on 7 reviews