Best Methods for Making Cannabutter

Best Methods for Making Cannabutter

Cannabutter, the cornerstone for cannabis-infused edibles, is the key ingredient in many culinary delights. Whether you’re a seasoned cannabis connoisseur or a cancer patient like me, mastering the art of making cannabutter can be helpful.

I’ll cover my two favorite methods for making cannabutter: stove top and slow cooker.

Small slow cooker with reusable coffee filter lifted over it. The filter is dripping cannabutter back into the crockpot
Making cannabutter in mini slow cooker.

Choose Quality Ingredients

Like anything you cook, bake, or steep, quality matters to your tastebuds. Select high-quality cannabis flower with the flavor profile and ratio of THC to CBD you prefer. However, if you’re on a budget, shake will always get you where you’re going.

I also recommend using unsalted butter so you’ll have more control over taste and sodium content. Not everyone has perfect blood pressure.

Decarboxylation

Before infusing cannabis, it must undergo decarboxylation. This process, done simply by heating your cannabis, activates cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

Spread evenly ground cannabis on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake it in the oven at 250°F (120°C) for about 30 minutes.

If you don’t decarb cannabis first, you will probably be disappointed with your cannabutter.

Stove top infusing can be done on any oven range.

Stovetop Method

  • Place the butter and decarboxylated cannabis in a pot over low heat (gas or electric).
  • Cook on low for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer, reusable coffee basket filter or cheesecloth.
  • Cool and store the cannabutter in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Slow Cooker Method

  • Melt the butter on low heat.
  • Steep decarbed cannabis in butter on low for 3 hours using a filter, if you prefer, for easy straining.
  • Cool and store cannabutter in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
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Dosage Control

Start with a small amount of cannabis, an ounce or so, and gradually increase the dosage as needed. If you’re like me, you’ll want to take notes, as everyone reacts differently to different potencies.

Keep in mind that the potency of homemade edibles isn’t a hard science. You may need to tweak how much cannabis you use depending on the strain, age, and type of cannabis you choose.

Storage and Usage

Store your cannabutter in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for longer-term storage.

Don’t forget to label the container clearly to avoid confusion. If you’re using a clear container for storage, you’ll notice it’s distinctly green color. (It looks like very smooth guacamole when I make it the way I like.)

How to make cannabutter: comparing cooled cannabutter to guacamole in the refrigerator. Both are the same shade of green
After steeping, cannabutter will take a greenish hue.

When using cannabutter in recipes, you may need to adjust your recipe according to portion size and desired effects.

Experiment and Bon Appetit!

Making cannabutter is a little bit science and a little bit art. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different strains, infusion methods, and recipes to find what works best for you. It’s perfect for baking brownies, simmering sauces, or just spreading it on a toasted English muffin.

These are the best methods I’ve found for making cannabutter. Which is your favorite?

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How to Make Crock Pot Cannabutter

How to Make Crock Pot Cannabutter

To save some money I learned how to make crock pot cannabutter that I could use in homemade edibles. I am by no means an expert, but I want to share what I’ve learned.

When it comes to medical marijuana, I prefer edibles. For me, the pain-relief is better and lasts longer. The downside? Dispensary edibles cost a small fortune. This is my recipe for how to make cannabutter in a crockpot.

Crock Pot Cannabutter Recipe

The first time I made slow cooker cannabutter, I was overwhelmed with advice. Everyone had a different recipe and a different method. My chemo brain just couldn’t handle all that. I needed a crockpot cannabutter recipe for dummies, so I whittled away until I could identify the most basic steps:

  1. Decarb the weed.
  2. Slow cook the weed in butter.
  3. Use the cannabutter in a recipe.

Step 1: Decarb the weed

Time: 30 minutes

If you don’t decarb cannabis, your cannabutter could be really disappointing. The THC needs to be activated by this simple process, and a few minutes in the oven will do the trick. Here’s what to do:

Materials

  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • 6-7 grams of weed
  • Oven

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 250 °F (120 °C). Place marijuana on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake on the middle oven rack for about 30 minutes.

FYI: Decarbing will make your house smell like weed.

Notes on Decarbing

Break up whole buds into smaller pieces first. This increases surface area and allows things to heat more evenly.

Some people are very particular about breaking bud, recommending you do it by hand or with a manual grinder. (Get your pieces too small and they might burn or be hard to strain later.)

But because of cancer fatigue, I’m from the School of Do Everything the Easiest Way Possible. I recommend giving whole buds a couple of quick pulses in a clean coffee or spice grinder, being careful not to overdo it.

That said, it’s even easier if you use shake. Shake is essentially just the debris left after trimming and handling buds. There’s no need to grind it because it’s already the perfect size.

Added bonus: because shake’s ugly and contains some stem pieces, it’s a lot cheaper than whole flower.

Step 2: Slow Cook the Weed in Butter

Time: 3 hours

Elite Gourmet small electric Slow Cooker with Ceramic pot

Elite Gourmet Electric Slow Cooker

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Materials

  • Small crock pot (1.5 to 2 quart capacity)
  • Reusable basket coffee filter
  • 3/4 c. butter

Instructions

Warm 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter in the slow cooker on the lowest heat setting until it is completely melted.

Put the decarbed weed in the reusable filter and place the filter in the melted butter. Steep for about three hours, on low stirring occasionally. The butter will turn murky and green.

Turn off the crock pot and let the cannabutter cool for about an hour. The goal is to cool it enough it won’t burn you, but not so much it becomes too thick to strain.

Lift the filter basket out of the cannabutter, letting the liquid drain completely back into the crock pot. If the cannabutter looks disgusting, you’re doing it right. Discard the used marijuana.

There may be fine bits of marijuana and really gross looking milk solids floating in your butter. To strain these, simply pour the cannabutter through the emptied filter basket and into a clean container.

After straining you’ll end up with about a 1/2 c. of cannabutter.

Strained cannabutter looks a lot like guacamole.

Shop Cannabutter Essentials

Notes on Dosing

The most important thing to keep in mind if you’re new to slow cooker cannabutter or edibles in general: YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. Start small, give it a couple of hours to kick in, and adjust as necessary.

Effects aren’t immediate. I usually feel them between 90 minutes and 2 hours after I’ve eaten. If, after only 15 minutes you think “this isn’t doing anything” and you keep eating more, you could end up like the cop who made pot brownies and called 911 because he thought he and his wife were dead.

Personally, I find the cannabutter I make using these ratios to be nice and potent. But then I’m really sensitive to edibles. For example, if I use cannabuter as-is on an English muffin, I will only need a pat about the size of a pea.

How I Portion Brownies

If I make a pan of brownies with this cannabutter, I will only need a piece about the size of a mini candy bar (that’s right Mini—the smallest size, not to be confused with her big sister Fun Size).

Since I typically only take weed before bed, a 9 x 13 pan of brownies can last 9 months—no exaggeration—saving me literally a thousand dollars over dispensary prices. (Pro-tip: Cut cooled brownies into full-sized candy bar-ish portions for a full week of edibles, vac-seal, and freeze. I use a FoodSaver.)

Step 3: Use the Cannabutter in Your Favorite Recipe

Time: Varies by recipe

Cannabutter has a distinct flavor that you might find off-putting, especially if you’re a first-timer. I think it tastes the least offensive in things like brownies and peanut butter cookies.

You can use this crock pot cannabutter in any recipe you want, though, not just sweet treats. If it calls for more cannabutter than you have on hand, simply make up the difference with regular butter.

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When I make a 9 x 13 pan of Cannabutter Brownies, I use 1/2 c. cannabutter and 1/2 c. regular butter.

You probably already know this, but just in case you don’t: you can replace most fats in your recipes at a 1:1 ratio. So you could swap 1 c. of vegetable oil with 1 c. of melted butter (and therefore cannabutter) if you wanted. What I’m trying to say is: you can also turn that boxed brownie mix in your pantry into something SPECTACULAR.

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