Recipe: How to make basic cannabis-infused butter
Bailey Rahn and Anna Wilcox contributed to this article.
C annabis-infused butter (cannabutter) is one of the simplest and most common ways to make infused cannabis edibles. However, making infused butter can be a little bit tricky. In order to activate its psychoactive potential, the flower must be heated slowly at a low temperature. This recipe will first guide you through this process–called decarboxylation–before walking you through a step-by-step guide to infusing butter.
Note : Homemade edibles are very difficult to accurately dose. This guide will give you some tips for more precise dosing, but all DIY cannabis cooks should be aware that there’s no way to guarantee the potency or homogeneity of their batch.
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How to make cannabis-infused butter (or ‘cannabutter’)
Butter is a delicious and versatile carrier for THC and other cannabinoids, although it isn’t the only one. You can also use coconut oil, olive oil, or any other fatty oil for your infusions. Just keep in mind, butter burns easily, so keep a close eye on your cannabutter as it cooks.
- 1 cup of butter
- 1 cup (7-10 grams) of ground cannabis, decarboxylated
The essential (and often missed) first step: Decarboxylating the cannabis
Before making your cannabutter, you’ll need to decarboxylate, or “decarb”, the cannabis flower you’re working with. Skipping this step will result in a weak or inactive finished product. Here’s why: Cannabis buds produce a non-intoxicating acidic cannabinoid called THCA. When we smoke or vaporize cannabis, the heat converts THCA into THC, the molecule that delivers euphoric effects. If preparing CBD edibles, this same process should be applied.
Some recipes may instruct you to decarb cannabis in the hot butter directly, but the less time you spend soaking the buds, the better your infused butter is going to taste. For this reason, we recommend decarbing in the oven first.
Basic cannabutter recipe
- Decarb the cannabis. Preheat your oven to 245ºF. Place cannabis buds on a non-stick, oven-safe tray. Cover the tray with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Insert the tray into the oven and set a timer for 30-40 minutes. Older, drier cannabis may require less time. (Tip: you can also set your oven to 300ºF and heat for 10 to 18 minutes, although low-and-slow is the recommended approach when decarbing to better preserve the cannabinoids.) Every 10 minutes, gently mix the buds with a light shake of the tray to expose the surface area of the buds equally.
- Grind. Grind the decarboxylated cannabis coarsely with a hand grinder.
- Melt the butter. Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of butter into a stock pot or saucepan. Simmer on low and let the butter melt. Adding water helps to regulate the temperature and prevents the butter from scorching.
- Add the cannabis. As the butter begins to melt, add in your coarsely ground cannabis product.
- Simmer. Maintain low heat (ideally above 160ºF but never exceeding 200ºF) and let the mixture simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. The mixture should never come to a full boil.
- Strain the cannabutter. Set a funnel on top of a jar and line it with cheesecloth. Once the butter has cooled off, pour it over the cheesecloth funnel and allow it to strain freely. (Tip: Squeezing the cheesecloth may push more bad-tasting plant material through).
- Refrigerate the jar of butter. If excess water forms at the bottom of the jar, you can remove the solid butter with a knife and drain the water out. (The butter will need to refrigerate for about an hour before removing the water.)
- Dose carefully. Refer to dosing information below before adding your butter to any snacks, dishes, or desserts.
Directions for slow cooker
- Grind your cannabis coarsely with a hand grinder. (Tip: A coffee grinder will finely pulverize the flower and prevent effective straining of bad-tasting plant material.)
- Set your slow cooker to low, or somewhere around 160ºF. (Tip: Avoid exceeding 200ºF to prevent burning or wasting cannabinoids. You can also add a little water to help prevent scorching.)
- Add the butter and ground cannabis. Stir occasionally.
- After about 3 hours, turn off the crockpot and wait for the butter to cool.
- Strain as above.
Tips for dosing cannabutter
Your butter’s potency depends on many factors, from how long and hot it was cooked to the potency of your starting material. Even the type of cannabis used (indica vs. sativa strains) can be a factor. To test the potency of your finished product, try spreading ¼ or ½ teaspoon on a snack and see how that dose affects you after an hour. Decrease or increase dose as desired. You can then use this personalized “standard” dose as a baseline for your recipes. For more information on why potency is so difficult to measure in homemade cannabis edibles, check out part four of this series.
Get started at a cannabis shop nearby
Hat-tip to Chef Torrin (aka The Dank Chef) for contributing tips, measurements, and expertise to this recipe.
Cannabis-infused butter (or "cannabutter") is one of the most common ways to make edibles. Use our simple and effective recipe to help you make your own.
Easy Step-by-Step Guide to Making Cannabutter
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This easy, step-by-step beginner’s guide will teach you how to make cannabis butter, also known as cannabutter, at home in a crockpot or water bath. You can then use this versatile recipe to create a variety of your favorite sweet and savory edibles.
How to Make Cannabutter
Cannabis butter, also called cannabutter, is likely the most tried and true cannabis-infused recipe known to the culinary cannabis world.
Still, after seeing hundreds of searches on my site for cannabutter, I knew it was time to deliver.
Cannabis butter, or cannabutter, is one of the essential cannabis recipes for anyone looking to make their edibles at home because it is versatile and easy to make.
Once you have your cannabis butter made, you can use it in just about any recipe you can dream of that traditionally calls for butter.
From sweet to savory recipes, like classic brownies and cannabis chocolate chip cookies, there is a use for cannabis butter in just about every recipe you can imagine.
It is easy to make your cannabis butter at home, and it can save you a lot of money compared to pricey automatic butter makers, although they can be super convenient for some users.
If You Are New To Cannabis Edibles
If you are brand new to cannabis edibles, I want to make sure you check out my Beginners Guide to Cannabis Edibles first.
Homemade edibles can be difficult to dose, and often more potent than any other type of cannabis consumption.
Friends don’t let friends go into edibles unprepared, so let me help you!
If you are brand new to cannabis in general and are looking for foundational knowledge about your endocannabinoid system, I offer a more in-depth educational session inside my Cannabis Compass Online Course.
If you’ve never cooked with cannabis before, I recommend experimenting with CBD hemp flower first, as it is usually easier to access and cheaper to buy.
Experimenting with a more affordable CBD hemp flower also means less heartache if there ever happens to be a mistake made along the way.
Before You Get Started
Just keep in mind that there is no ‘right way’ to cook with cannabis.
While some guidelines you should generally stick with, many chefs have different techniques when cooking with cannabis.
It is OK for you to develop your preferred method, too, as long as you end up with the outcome you desire.
- Choose your decarboxylation (or decarb) process
- Don’t use margarine or other types of ‘fake’ butter
- Be careful not to overheat the butter while cooking
Please join my Well With Cannabis Facebook Community if you have any questions about cooking with cannabis, making cannabis butter, how to make this recipe specifically, or anything else you can think of!
Choose your Decarb Process
Raw cannabis flower does not naturally contain high amounts of THC or CBD, but it does contain high amounts of cannabinoid acids THCA and CBDA, part of the full-spectrum of cannabinoids.
To experience the intoxicating ‘high’ effect of cannabis, you want to convert that CBDA and THCA into CBD and THC, respectively, with a process called decarboxylation.
Decarboxylation can occur with heat and/or solvents.
There are two primary ways to decarboxylate when making cannabutter.
The first method involves decarboxylating the cannabis in the oven before infusing with the butter.
The second method involves allowing the cannabis butter to cook for twice as long using fat for the solvent, allowing decarboxylation to occur over time.
Option 1: Decarb In the Oven
This option is preferred because it cuts your cooking time in half.
Before infusing the cannabis and the butter together, you will first bake the dried cannabis flowers in the oven at 240° F for 40 minutes.
After baking, you will then combine the cooked flower with the butter and allow them to infuse together for 4 hours in a crockpot, slow cooker, or on the stovetop.
Option 2: Decarb While Cooking
Some prefer this option because it eliminates the need to decarboxylate the flower in the oven ahead of time.
It’s true, you can skip the step of decarboxylating in the oven, but it’s important to note that you will need to cook the cannabis butter for an extended period of time to achieve full decarboxylation.
Frequently Asked Questions: How Do you Make Cannabutter
Below I will break down some of the most frequently asked questions I get about how to make the best cannabutter recipe and hopefully share some tips along the way to help you make the best cannabutter possible.
There are both culinary and scientific reasons why butter is an excellent choice for making homemade edibles.
From a culinary perspective, butter is extremely versatile and can be used in so many recipes, ranging from sweet to savory dishes.
From a scientific perspective, cannabinoids are lipophilic, meaning that they dissolve in and bind to fat.
When cannabinoids are extracted with fat, they are more easily absorbed and thus more bioavailable in our bodies (1).
Most butter purchased from the grocery store is on average 80-82% milk fat, 16–17% water, and 1–2% milk solids, which are mostly protein and sometimes referred to as curd (2).
During the cooking process, we will evaporate the water and remove the milk solids, leaving a pure, infused butter.
What Type of Butter Should I Use?
I recommend to use unsalted butter when making your cannabutter because it is less impurity in the butter itself.
While both salted or unsalted butter will work, many Chefs prefer infusing unsalted butter in general for cooking.
As a general rule of thumb, the higher quality of the butter you use to start, the higher quality your final product will be.
Kerrygold is a commonly recommended brand because the butter comes from the milk of grass-fed cows free of growth hormones.
Additionally, Kerrygold unsalted butter has a higher butterfat content, meaning more opportunity for cannabinoid infusion and fewer impurities to remove.
Should I Use Clarified Butter?
It is controversial among the culinary cannabis community on whether or not you should clarify your butter before starting the infusion process.
Some people say they never clarify first and make fabulous butter every time, while others say they would never make cannabutter without clarifying the butter first.
You can do it either way. You don’t have to or need to clarify your butter. It’s a preference most have, not a necessity.
For this recipe, we do not clarify the butter ahead of time, but simply separate the final infused butter from the leftover water and milk solids left behind from the cooking process at the end.
If you want to clarify your butter ahead of time, you would simply gently boil the butter in a saucepan over the stove and skim all the foam, or milk solids, from the top.
This process will also evaporate much of the water naturally present in butter.
Remember, if you clarify your butter, you will be losing approximately 15-20% of your total weight and volume.
If you already have clarified butter, follow this cannabis coconut oil recipe and simply swap the cannabis coconut oil for your clarified butter.
What Is The White Stuff?
If you do not clarify your butter first, you will notice white particles on your cooked butter.
The white stuff is nothing to be alarmed about; the white particles are simply the milk solids and salt if you used salted butter.
These solids will be removed when we strain and discard the excess water.
What About Ghee?
Ghee is butter that has already been clarified or has had the milk solids removed. This pre-done step eliminates the need for you to clarify your butter.
In this clarified state, ghee is essentially an oil and can be cooked like a traditional cannabis oil infusion.
Use this cannabis coconut oil recipe and simply swap the cannabis coconut oil for your ghee to make simple cannabis-infused ghee.
Why Did I End Up With Less Butter Than I Started With?
As mentioned above, you will lose weight and volume in the cooking process and end up with less butter than you started with.
The loss occurs because you will be removing the milk solids and evaporating off the excess water. You should expect to experience a volume loss of 15-25%.
Volume loss is essential to keep in mind, especially if you try to make a small batch to use in a particular recipe.
For example, one stick of butter that has been infused is no longer still one stick of butter typically called for in a recipe.
Do I Need A Thermometer?
Yes, we recommend using an instant digital read thermometer for monitoring your temperature accurately.
You risk denaturing or destroying the essential cannabinoids and terpenes at temperatures that are too high.
How Long to Cook Cannabutter In The Crockpot?
You will cook your cannabutter in the crockpot for 4-hours with pre-decarbed cannabis and 8-hours with non-decarbed cannabis.
Can I Cook Cannabutter in a Pan of Boiling Water?
For this recipe, we are using a crockpot because it is easier to maintain a constant temperature and ‘set-it-and-forget-it’, but the truth is you don’t need any special equipment like a crockpot at all.
To cook your cannabutter without a crockpot, place the decarboxylated cannabis flowers, unsalted butter, and 2 cups of water in a medium-sized saucepan.
Bring to a boil and allow to cook on the stovetop for 4 hours. Once the cooking process is over, simply allow the entire pan to cool.
The finished butter will harden and solidify, or float, on top, while the unwanted water will remain on the bottom.
Simply pour off the water and discard it, and you will be left with your final product.
Do I Need to Add Water?
You do not need to add water to the mason jars if you are cooking in a crockpot, but you will be using a water bath.
When cooking in a crockpot, a water bath helps to maintain a constant temperature.
You will need to add water to the pot if you are cooking your butter on the stovetop. When cooking on a stovetop, the temperature can fluctuate quite a bit.
The water helps to regulate the temperature of the butter, preventing it from getting too hot and ultimately burning your butter and denaturing your cannabinoids.
Do I Need to Use A Mason Jar?
We used a mason jar in the crockpot here for ease and convenience, but you don’t need to.
If you are using the stovetop method above, you can simply combine everything in the saucepan without putting anything in a mason jar.
If you are cooking in a mason jar, note that there can be an occasional mishap that results in a broken or cracked jar – it happens to the best of us without rhyme or reason.
Some tips to help prevent this:
- Use mason jars specifically meant for canning or cooking. Do not use leftover glass jars from other products
- Make sure you use new mason jars with a brand new lid so you know the seal is good and the contents inside will stay dry
We used two of these 16 ounce wide-mouth Ball mason jars in this recipe, and they fit perfectly inside this 7-quart crockpot we use.
What If My Mason Jar Floats?
Sometimes the mason jar will float when placed in the water bath.
Floating jars are no need for concern. Simply add something heat and water safe over the top of the jar to weigh it down; a clean rock works well.
Can I Sous Vide Cannabis Butter?
Yes you can make sous vide cannabutter.
If you have an immersion circulator, you will follow the same process and set your water bath to a temperature of 185° F and cook for the same amount of time, approximately 4 hours with a pre-decarbed flower or 8 hours with non-decarbed flower.
Can I Just Use a Cannabutter Maker?
Yes, if you don’t want to make your cannabutter in a crockpot or stovetop, you can try a cannabutter maker, also known as a cannabutter machine.
Popular cannabutter machines on the market today include the Magic Butter Machine and the Levo Infusion Machine.
What Type of Weed Should I Use?
Well, the truth is, anything you can get your hands on will work.
For some people, that means trim and shake, and for others, it means high-quality bud purchased at a legal dispensary.
All parts of the cannabis plant, aside from the stems and seeds, contain some cannabinoids that can be infused into butter.
Some parts of the plant, like the buds, contain more cannabinoids than other parts, like the trim leaves.
Here are the most popular options to work with. Keep in mind that how much you use will also impact your final potency:
Using high-quality dried cannabis flower buds will make a stronger, more potent butter because the flower bud contains a high concentration of cannabinoids.
Trim Leaves and Shake
Using up all parts of the cannabis plant is great for sustainability. Trim, leaves, and shake all contain varying amounts of cannabinoids.
Because leaves do not contain nearly as many cannabinoids as flower buds, you may want to consider using more trim, leaves, and shake than you would flower.
Kief is the fine, powdery substance that accumulates at the bottom of a grinder contains the resinous glands that have the most cannabinoids from the trichomes.
Because kief is so much more potent, you may be able to use less of it in this recipe, depending on the effect you’re looking for. Just remember that you still need to decarb kief just as you would traditional flower.
How Do I Make Cannabutter stronger?
The potency of your final cannabis butter is directly related to the potency of the starting cannabis flower you started with, your decarb process, and your cooking process.
With the decarbing and cooking process spelled out here, the one variable you have the most control over is your starting material.
Remember, the better the bud, the better the butter. You can also try an online cannabutter ratio calculator if you’re feeling stuck.
To make a more potent cannabis butter:
- Choose a higher-quality flower that contains more % THC
- Add kief, or cannabis concentrates like distillate or FECO
- Use more flowers (an increase from 1 ounce to 2 ounces or more)
- Use less butter (decrease from 1 pound to 1/2 pound)
How Do I Know How Potent My Final Batch Is?
Spoiler alert – it is challenging to estimate the potency of homemade edibles if you do not know the % concentrations of THCA, THC, or CBDA, CBD in your starting flower without lab testing.
If you know the % concentration of your starting flower (easier if you purchased from a dispensary or know the actual strain), you can use an online calculator to guestimate your final product potency.
Again, the potency will depend on the strength of the flower you start with.
If you have no clue the starting potency of your material, it’s best to start with a low dose when consuming your first batch, to be able to get a better understanding of how strong the product is and how it makes you feel.
Does The Final Green Color of the Butter Matter?
No, color doesn’t have any correlation with potency. A very green butter is simply a cannabis butter with a lot of chlorophyll, the green pigment that has also been extracted from the plant.
You will likely have more chlorophyll and green color if you are making the butter with trim, and the fresher the bud, the greener it will also be.
What Should I use to Strain?
We always recommend using something that is food-grade safe to strain your cannabis butter.
We do not recommend using anything that is not food-safe, like pantyhose.
What Can I Do With The Pulp?
Many people simply discard their cooked plant matter after straining their butter or oil.
Still, we’ve heard many success stories of people who have successfully used the pulp in another recipe with various intoxicating effects.
We believe in whole plant nutrition and sustainability, waste reduction, and repurposing where able.
We’ve experimented with cooking with the leftover cannabis pulp and have discovered that it can make a delightful addition to so many of your favorite dishes!
Here we have put together a round-up of all of the delicious ways we have successfully incorporated leftover plant matter from making cannabutter in this post featuring 15 Ways To Use Leftover Cannabis Pulp.
This step-by-step beginner's guide will teach you how to easily make cannabis butter, also known as cannabutter, at home in a crockpot or on the stove.