How to make cannabis cooking oil
Infusion is often the most challenging part of cooking with cannabis and the reason why many people turn to their vaporizer in defeat. I’m here to tell you that you can do this! Not only is it doable, but it’s worth it.
If you haven’t yet discovered the wonder that is cannabis-infused eating, I’m excited for you because you’re in for an adventure. The experience from start to finish is significantly different from common inhalation methods. The effects are typically longer, stronger, and slower to set in.
For this reason, always start with a low dose and see how an edible affects you—especially if you’re cooking your own as it is impossible to calculate their potency.
Self-isolating? Order cannabis online with Leafly Pickup or Delivery
Cannabis-infused oil is probably the most versatile medium and a great place to start, since it can be used for baking desserts, sautéing veggies, frying up your morning eggs, or putting in your salad dressing. In addition, as is the case with cooking anything at home, you have complete control over its preparation. Does peanut oil hold a special place in your heart? Make cannabis-infused peanut oil!
Recipe for cannabis cooking oil
- 1 cup of ground cannabis flower (or less for milder potency)
- 1 cup of cooking oil of your choice
Note: When making canna oil, you want to use a 1:1 ratio of cannabis to oil.
Choosing the right cooking oil base for your canna oil
Picking the right oil for infusion comes down to your flavor preferences and the dishes you plan on cooking. Oils will have different consistencies at room temperature, so be sure to put thought into how you will be storing and using your oil.
Many oils work well with baking too! So you might want to choose an oil that will have a flavor and consistency that works for multiple recipes. For example, if you are looking for an oil that can be used in a stir fry as well as a pie crust, coconut oil is a great option. It adds great flavor to veggies and remains solid enough at room temperature to hold up as a pie crust.
If you are looking for an oil with a mild flavor, vegetable and canola oil are going to be great options. They are also very versatile and work with most recipes calling for oil.
If you want something a little more robust in flavor, you can infuse olive or avocado oil. Both stand up well to the cannabis flavor and can be stored in your pantry. One of the most surprisingly delicious deserts I ever had was an olive oil ice cream. So feel free to get creative!
- Strainer or cheesecloth
- Grinder (a simple hand grinder works best; appliances like blenders and coffee grinder pulverize the cannabis, resulting in edibles with bad tasting plant material)
- Double-boiler, slow cooker, or saucepan, etc.
- Grind the cannabis. You can include the entire plant, just the flower, a little bit of both—this is all a matter of preference. Just keep in mind that anything small enough to fit through the strainer will end up in your finished product, so again, do not grind your cannabis into a fine powder.
- Combine oil and cannabis in your double-boiler, slow cooker, or saucepan, and heat on low or warm for a few hours. This allows for decarboxylation (activation of THC) without scorching (which destroys the active ingredients). In all cases, a small amount of water can be added to the mixture to help avoid burning, and the temperature of the oil should never exceed 245°F. Cooking can be done a variety of ways:
- Crock pot method: Heat oil and cannabis in a slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Double-boiler method: Heat oil and cannabis in a double-boiler on low for at least 6 hours (8 is better), stirring occasionally.
- Saucepan method: Heat oil and cannabis in a simple saucepan on low for at least 3 hours, stirring frequently (a saucepan is most susceptible to scorching).
- Strain and store the oil. Do not squeeze the cheesecloth; this will simply add more chlorophyll to your oil. All remaining plant material can be discarded or used in other dishes if desired. The oil’s shelf life is at least two months, and can be extended with refrigeration.
Note: Be cautious when using the oil to prepare dishes that require heating. Do not microwave and choose low heat whenever possible.
Tips for reducing odor when making cannabis oil
The trick for reducing odor is using the right tool for decarboxylation. The steam produced during cooking might not give off a pungent odor at first, but it gets stronger with time. It takes hours for the oil to finish, so you can imagine that the odor can build, and, if you are in the same room the whole time, you may not notice the gradual increase in dankness.
Using kitchen devices with rubber seals on their lids will allow you to lock in the majority of the odor during the cook. Finding a crock pot or pressure cooker with this feature is easy. The seal allows you to be strategic in where and when you open the lid.
Whether you take it outside or put it under your kitchen vent, not allowing the odor to fill your space is paramount when it comes to discretion. But accidents happen! If you find yourself in a situation where your space is too pungent, check out our article on how to get rid of the cannabis odor.
How to cook with your weed oil
Now that you have successfully infused your oil of choice, be sure to try a little before you make an entire meal. You want to make sure the dosage is right so the meal is delicious as well as enjoyable afterward.
You also want to be sure not to scorch the oil while cooking (just like when you are making the oil). It would be a shame for all that hard work to go to waste and to be left with a cannabis-tasting creation without any of the effects.
Now get cooking! I suggest finding a few of your favorite recipes and see if an infused-cannabis oil could work. Experimenting with different recipes is half the fun, and here are a few of our favorite recipes to get you going:
- Martha Stewart’s “to-die-for” pot brownies: A classic done right!
- Cannabis-infused mayo: From ranch dressing to aioli, mayo is the base to some of your favorite condiments!
- Cannabis-infused coconut roasted citrus shrimp: Feeling fancy?
- Cannabis-infused chocolate hazelnut spread: Find a dessert or savory snack this doesn’t make taste better, I’ll wait.
- Canna-oil vinaigrette: Balsamic vinaigrettes are great too!
Next up: Learn how to make infused coconut oil!
This post was originally published on September 19, 2013. It was most recently updated on March 20, 2020.
Learn how to make cannabis oil to use when baking desserts, sautéing veggies, frying up your morning eggs, or in your salad dressing in 3 easy steps.
Cannabis-Infused Coconut Oil
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This easy, step-by-step beginner’s guide will teach you how to make cannabis coconut oil at home. It is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to make a cannabis-infused coconut oil that is dairy-free, plant-based, and can be used as a base for many cannabis-infused recipes and self-care products.
Are You New to Consuming Cannabis Edibles? Be sure to read my Beginners Guide to Consuming Cannabis Edibles before getting started to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience!
Dairy-Free Cannabis Coconut Oil
Cannabis coconut oil can serve as a cannabutter alternative and is also an important staple recipe for any cannabis consumer to master alongside cannabis-infused olive oil.
Making infused cannabis coconut oil is a fairly straightforward process that uses both heat and fat to decarboxylate the cannabis flower and extract the cannabinoids from the plant.
This process extracts a full-spectrum of cannabinoids and other plant compounds from the plant.
The final product is a cannabis-infused oil that can then be used to make more specific cannabis recipes like the ever-popular cannabis brownie, cannabis chocolate chip cookies, and more. Click here to learn how to make your own cannabis-infused recipes at home.
Please join my Well With Cannabis Facebook Community if you have any questions about cooking with cannabis, making cannabis-infused coconut oil, how to make this recipe specifically, or anything else you can think of!
Don’t Forget to Decarboxylate
Before getting started it is important to note that consuming dried or raw cannabis flower buds will provide little to no intoxicating effect at all.
This can be good or bad depending on your desired experience. If you do not decarboxylate, you may reap the health benefits of CBDA or THCA.
However, most cannabis consumers want to feel the full effects of activated CBD hemp flower or THC cannabis flower when making edibles.
In order to reap the benefits of activated CBD or THC, cannabis decarboxylation must take place before cooking, baking, or extracting oil from the dried flower buds of the cannabis plant.
For this recipe, we decarboxylated our cannabis flower in the oven before combining it with the coconut oil and placing it into the crockpot, therefore, we can have a shorter cooking time, about four hours.
If You Forget to Decarb (It’s OK-ish)
While I recommend going through the full decarb process for maximum benefits, truthfully, you can skip the decarboxylation process altogether.
You will simply increase your cooking time. I recommend infusing the coconut oil for longer than the typical 4 hours, going for at least 8 hours.
This longer cooking time helps to decarboxylate the flower for you. If you accidentally forget to decarb, you can relax, all is not lost 🙂
Cannabis Oil For Your Health
As a certified Holistic Cannabis Practitioner, I now help my educate my students about how they can learn to confidently use cannabis to improve their quality of life.
Many of my clients follow a gluten-free and dairy-free diet, which is why I needed a cannabis-infused butter alternative that was dairy-free.
Coconut oil is the perfect substitute for butter when making dairy-free and vegan cannabutter.
The coconut oil performs similarly to the butter in regards to extracting the cannabinoids from the plant matter, and it remains solid at room temperature like butter.
Coconut oil is naturally dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, plant-based, and allergen-friendly and this is the product we use and recommend when making our own at home.
This cannabis-infused coconut oil is a great option for anyone who is following a specialty diet or just looking for an alternative to traditional cannabutter.
Important Factors to Consider
If you asked 100 different Chefs, you would likely get 100 different variations on how to make your own cannabis-infused oil or butter at home.
There are a lot of factors that can affect your end results when cooking with cannabis.
Here are a few additional considerations to keep in mind:
It is important to keep tight temperature control applying cannabis to various culinary applications.
While heat is needed to decarboxylate the acids into the active form of cannabinoids our bodies can use, extreme temperatures can destroy many of the important plant materials that contribute to positive health outcomes, like terpenes.
Each individual terpene may have it’s own therapeutic health benefits, but also carries its own sensitivity to heat.
If cannabis is heated above 300 degrees Fahrenheit, you run the risk of denaturing many important plant compounds.
For this reason, we recommend using an instant digital-read thermometer during your cooking process to ensure you never go above the safe temperature threshold.
The Strain of Cannabis Used
The strain of cannabis flower you are using will impact decarboxylation time and temperature recommendations.
Each cannabis strain contains varying amounts and ratios of different cannabinoids and terpenes.
Because each cannabinoid and terpene decarboxylates at a different temperature, you will want to consider the best temperature and cooking time for your particular strain.
Additionally, the final potency and intoxicating effects will vary depending on if it is a THC or CBD dominant strain. There are CBD dominant hemp flower options and THC dominant cannabis flower options to choose from.
The Freshness of Product
You will have noticeable differences in the final product depending on the freshness of the material you start with.
Cannabis coconut oil can be made with raw cannabis leaf trimmings to make a CBDA dominant oil and it can also be made with traditionally dried and cured flower buds.
The concentration of cannabinoids will vary with the freshness of the starting material, the cannabinoid concentration of the material, and this will ultimately impact the potency of your final product.
You can make cannabis coconut oil with various pieces of equipment like a crockpot or slow cooker or instant pot, but there will be small variables in the cooking equipment which may impact your final product.
Different crockpots will have different temperatures when setting to the same setting, which is why we recommend a digital thermometer be used throughout the cooking process.
What Type of Oil to Use
There are many different types of coconut oil on the market today, the three most common being unrefined coconut oil, refined coconut oil, and MCT coconut oil.
It is ultimately your decision on which type of oil you want to infuse, but here are some important considerations when making your decision.
Virgin or Unrefined Coconut Oil
Virgin or unrefined coconut oil is about as close to the natural substance as you can get. Unrefined coconut oil is made from the ‘meat’ of fresh coconuts and then cold-pressed, leaving just the oil which has a pure coconut flavor.
Unrefined coconut oil has a more natural, more prominent, topical coconut taste and smell. Like refined coconut oil, unrefined coconut oil is 63% MCTs and 50% lauric acid, meaning it infuses exactly the same.
If you choose to use unrefined coconut oil, this is the organic virgin unrefined coconut oil we recommend.
refined Coconut Oil
Refined coconut oil is an oil made from dried coconuts that have been put through additional processing. Some companies use harsh chemicals to bleach the coconut to remove the taste and flavor, while others use steam to refine the oil.
The biggest draw to refined coconut oil is that it has a very neutral taste and flavor, making it easier to work within certain recipes where the coconut taste is not wanted.
Many people prefer refined coconut oil because it has a less prominent coconut taste. Like unrefined coconut oil, refined coconut oil is 63% MCTs and 50% lauric acid, meaning it infuses exactly the same.
If you choose refined coconut oil, you will always want to make sure you choose a sustainably farmed organic steam refined coconut oil like this one we recommend.
MCT Coconut Oil
MCT coconut oil is a type of saturated fat extracted from coconuts that are rapidly digested and absorbed by the body. Many people prefer liquid MCT coconut oil for infusions because it is tasteless and some people find it easier to digest.
“Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a unique type of fatty acid naturally found in coconuts that support the metabolism and are easily digested and burned by the body for energy and fuel” (1).
The process for infusing MCT cannabis oil is exactly the same as refined or unrefined coconut oil.
One important thing to note is that MCT oil in large amounts may cause digestive distress in some individuals.
If you choose to use type oil, this is the MCT oil product we recommend.
Can I Infuse Coconut Oil with FECO or RSO?
Yes, you can infuse coconut oil with full-extract cannabis oil, FECO (or RSO), instead of cannabis flowers.
Because of the sticky, molasses-like texture of the FECO, many people prefer to mix in a carrier oil which will help to dilute the FECO and make a more viscous, tincture-like oil.
One of the most popular carrier oils to mix FECO with is the MCT coconut oil mentioned above.
I recommend mixing 1mL of FECO with 30mL of MCT coconut oil for a strong batch, but you can choose to mix 1mL FECO with your desired amount of oil.
DO I NEED TO ADD LECITHIN?
Lecithin is a natural phospholipid substance derived from soybeans, sunflowers, eggs, and avocados. Traditionally, lecithin is used as a binder to keep opposing ingredients together in recipes like olive oil & vinegar dressings.
Many at-home cannabis chefs swear by adding lecithin to their infusions to make them stronger or the cannabinoids more easily absorbed by the body, although the actual science is still out on whether or not it actually works and how well.
In theory, using lecithin will make valuable cannabinoids like CBD and THC more bioavailable, or ready for use by the body, ultimatley making the edible stronger.
Alternatively, other chefs only use lecithin as a binder when combining oil with other ingredients to make recipes like homemade gummies.
Like MCT oil, some people anecdotally report that lecithin causes digestive issues.
You will definitely still have a great infused cannabis oil if you don’t use lecithin, it’s not a make or break ingredient for this recipe.
We personally don’t use it but feel free to use it if you want. Its ultimately personal preference.
SUNFLOWER LECITHIN VS SOY LECITHIN
As a registered dietitian nutritionist, my vote is for choosing sunflower lecithin over soy lecithin. Soy is a heavily genetically modified crop that often exacerbates health problems in certain individuals.
Sunflower lecithin is available in powder and liquid form, but the liquid is easier to work within this recipe.
If you choose to use sunflower lecithin in this recipe, this is the sunflower lecithin product we recommend.
WHAT CAN I DO WITH THE Leftover PULP?
After the straining process to separate the plant matter from your infused oil, you will be leftover with a ball of spent cannabis flower, also called leftover pulp or sludge.
While some folks say it’s garbage and simply throw it away, we’ve heard too many success stories of people using the pulp in many awesome pulp recipes with great results.
While it would be extremely difficult to guestimate the potency of what is leftover in the cannabis pulp, an educated guess as a registered dietitian tells me that at the very least, there would be important plant nutrients like dietary fiber.
Anecdotally, many people have reported still receiving pleasant, intoxicating high effects when consuming the pulp, supporting the theory that at least some percentage of cannabinoids are left behind in the plant matter.
We believe in both nutrition and sustainability and appreciation for the beautiful cannabis plant, so we keep our leftover pulp to use in any one of these 15 Recipes To Use Up Leftover Cannabis Pulp.
Learn how to make cannabis coconut oil at home. This dairy-free, plant-based, cannabis-infused oil can be used as a base in recipes and for beauty products.