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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.

Ingredients

  • 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

  1. 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.
  2. Grind. Grind the decarboxylated cannabis coarsely with a hand grinder.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the cannabis. As the butter begins to melt, add in your coarsely ground cannabis product.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.)
  8. Dose carefully. Refer to dosing information below before adding your butter to any snacks, dishes, or desserts.

Directions for slow cooker

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.)
  3. Add the butter and ground cannabis. Stir occasionally.
  4. After about 3 hours, turn off the crockpot and wait for the butter to cool.
  5. 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.

Cooking With Cannabis: 8 Delicious Marijuana Recipes

Feb 6, 2014 2:00 PM EST

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Brownies and space cakes are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cooking with marijuana. These days, weed can be incorporated into a full range of culinary favorites—from salads and hors d’oeuvre to pasta dishes and even ice cream.

We warn you not to overindulge on your delicious green cuisine creations, though, or you might experience a more potent high than expected.

“The effects from eating cannabis are much more intense and prolonged than from smoking it,” says Elise McDonough, author of The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook. “After eating cannabis food, the effects may not be felt until several hours afterward, so it’s important to go slow and not eat too much.”

Of course, cooking with marijuana should only be attempted if you can purchase the drug legally. In the U.S., weed is currently only legal for recreational use in Colorado and Washington state, and you have to be 21 and older to buy it. While Colorado opened its first marijuana dispensaries earlier this year, Washington state estimates that pot won’t be sold in stores there until June, says Brian Smith, spokesman for the Washington State Liquor Control Board. Medical marijuana is also legal in 20 states and Washington, D.C., for those who qualify for it.

After speaking with several marijuana chefs and experts, we’ve compiled a roundup of eight of the best recipes featuring weed as an ingredient. Read on for the details on these tasty, spacey delights.

Simple Cannabutter

Cannabutter is an essential ingredient in many marijuana recipes that can be used in place of regular butter or oil. You can drizzle it over freshly cooked pasta or popcorn or reserve large batches in the fridge or freezer for use in other recipes.

Recipe courtesy of: The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook by Elise McDonough & the editors of High Times Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter*
  • 1/4 ounce cannabis buds, finely ground

*To make cannamargarine, simply substitute margarine for butter in this recipe

  • 1. Melt the butter on low heat in a saucepan. Add the ground buds and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • 2. Strain the butter into a glass dish with a tight-fitting lid. Push the back of a spoon against the plant matter and smash it against the strainer to squeeze out every drop of butter available. When you’re done, discard the plant matter.
  • 3. Use your cannabutter immediately, or refrigerate or freeze until it is time to use. You can easily scale this recipe up for larger batches of cannabutter. One pound of butter (4 sticks) can absorb 1 ounce of cannabis, but you may want to simmer for up to 60 minutes.

Green Leafy Kale Salad with Brown Cannabutter Vinaigrette

Recipe courtesy of: The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook by Elise McDonough & the editors of High Times Magazine

  • 1 pound Tuscan kale
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup cannabutter
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Salt (1-2 pinches)
  • 1. Wash kale and remove middle stalk and roughly chop into bite-size pieces.
  • 2. Toast almonds in a dry sauté pan over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally until you smell the almonds, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • 3. To make the vinaigrette, in a small saucepan, melt the unsalted butter over high heat until browned, then add the cannabutter, just until melted. Remove from heat. Add the sherry vinegar and season with a pinch or two of salt.
  • 4. Dress the kale with 4 to 6 tablespoons of dressing, toss with the almonds, and serve warm.

Pineapple Express Upside-Down Cake

Recipe courtesy of: The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook by Elise McDonough & the editors of High Times Magazine

  • 6 or 7 canned pineapple slices, drained
  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) cannabutter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 /½ tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 or 7 maraschino cherries
  • 1. Position a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
  • 2. Grease a 9-inch round pie pan. Place the pineapple slices flat in the bottom of pan so they touch but don’t overlap.
  • 3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 6 tablespoons cannabutter with ½ cup of the granulated sugar and ½ cup of the light brown sugar. As the butter melts, stir to blend the ingredients, then spread over the pineapple slices. Set aside.
  • 4. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • 5. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, rum, remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and vanilla. Set aside.
  • 6. With an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat the remaining 6 tablespoons of cannabutter for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Slowly add 1 ½ cups of the granulated sugar and continue beating at medium speed until light and fluffy (approximately 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk mixture until everything’s well incorporated and smooth.
  • 7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (approximately 50 to 55 minutes). Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes.
  • 8. Tap the pan gently to loosen the cake, run a knife around the edge to loosen, then invert the pan onto a cake plate so pineapple slices are on top. Place one cherry in the center of each pineapple slice. Let cake cool 45 minutes before eating.

Ganja Granny’s Smoked Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Recipe courtesy of: The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook by Elise McDonough & the editors of High Times Magazine

  • 1/2 cup cold cannabutter plus 1 tablespoon melted cannabutter
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound penne pasta, cooked
  • 1 cup shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded American or Swiss cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • 2. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the cannabutter and regular butter together. Add the flour and whisk well for 3 to 5 minutes, while the mixture cooks.
  • 3. Meanwhile, in a medium pot over high heat, bring the milk just to a boil.
  • 4. Slowly add the heated milk to the butter-flour mixture, whisking to incorporate well. Add the salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper, and continue to cook until the mixture reaches a boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the cooked penne and cheeses, saving 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese for the topping.
  • 5. Pour the penne mixture into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Combine breadcrumbs with the remaining Parmesan and the 1 tablespoon melted cannabutter and sprinkle on top of the penne. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

Marijuana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 10-15 cookies

  • 2 1/3 cups flour (make the 1/3 cup heaping)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces of cannabutter
  • 1 ounce of regular butter (1/4 of a stick)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 big cup brown sugar (don’t pack down)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups chocolate chips
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • 2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
  • 3. Beat cannabutter, butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in large bowl till creamy.
  • 4. Add eggs one at a time.
  • 5. Slowly add flour mix, then chocolate chips.
  • 6. Bake for 9-11 minutes.

Banana Marijuana Ice Cream

Recipe courtesy of: Chris Scully, owner Vaped.ca

  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • 10 grams of finely ground marijuana
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 18 ounces of cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 15 ounces of bananas
  • 3 tablespoons of rum
  • 5 tablespoons of honey
  • 1. Heat the cream in the saucepan until nearly boiling. Add the marijuana to the cream.
  • 2. Melt the butter with sugar and a pinch of salt in the second saucepan.
  • 3. Pour the cream into the butter mixture and whisk.
  • 4. Peel the bananas and mash them up in the large bowl. Add the cream/butter mixture, rum and honey.
  • 5. Beat the mixture well.
  • 6. Pour mixture into the plastic container, cover and freeze for 3 hours.
  • 7. Scoop mixture into a chilled bowl, whisk the mixture, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm.
  • 8. Transfer to fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

Basic Marijuana Olive Oil

Recipe courtesy of: The Ganja Kitchen Revolution by Jessica Catalano

Yield: 8 servings at 1 ounce each

  • 8 servings of dosed and ground strain of cannabis of your choice
  • 8 ounces olive oil
  • 1. Determine your strain and proper dose of cannabis by referring to the dosing chart then set your bud aside in a bowl.
  • 2. On the stove, place the olive oil and ground cannabis into a pan then turn the stovetop onto the lowest setting. Make sure to completely stir in the ground cannabis so that it is totally covered by the oil.
  • 3. Cook this mixture on the lowest setting for 1 hour then remove from the heat and strain with a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a measuring cup.
  • 4. After the olive oil cools completely, pour into a sterilized glass bottle then secure the cap tightly.
  • 5. Store your cannabis-infused basic olive oil in the refrigerator. This olive oil will have a shelf life of one month when refrigerated.

Note: As a precaution, under no circumstances should the cannabis have any traces of moisture content left in it. Any amount of water, no matter how minute, will create the perfect environment in the oil to breed bacteria and can create toxins such as botulism. Make sure the cannabis is 100% cured before infusing. If at any point the bottle begins to cloud, throw it away immediately as this means sources of contamination have taken root in your oil.

Super Lemon Haze Mexican Guacamole

Recipe courtesy of: The Ganja Kitchen Revolution by Jessica Catalano

  • 4 Haas avocados
  • 1 sweet white onion
  • 2 small heads of garlic
  • 1 cup small cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lime
  • 1 ounce of basic marijuana olive oil
  • 1 level teaspoon paprika
  • 1 level teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Cracked pepper and sea salt to taste
  • 1. Remove the skins and seeds from the avocados then mash the avocados in a medium-sized bowl.
  • 2. Dice the onion, cherry tomatoes and garlic then add to the bowl.
  • 3. Cut the lime in half then squeeze the juice of both halves onto this mixture.
  • 4. Add the basic olive oil, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cracked pepper and sea salt.
  • 5. Stir this mixture until fully combined and check to see if you need to season with a little more cracked pepper and sea salt.
  • 6. Chill for 30 minutes before serving for a cool treat or even serve at room temperature.

–Written by Kristin Colella for MainStreet

Disclaimer: MainStreet does not endorse the illegal purchase of marijuana and reminds readers to consider the drug’s health consequences before consuming. These recipes are only intended for adults 21 and older who purchase marijuana legally and should not be given to children under any circumstances.

Pot can be cooked, baked or sprinkled into your favorite foods for a tasty, spacey meal—just be sure to purchase it legally and enjoy at your own risk.