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 on the stove. 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 getting hundreds of requests inside my Well With Cannabis Facebook Community for cannabutter, I knew it was time to deliver.
Cannabutter is one of the essential cannabis recipes to master for anyone looking to make their own 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.
With these step-by-step instructions below, is easy to make your cannabis butter at home.
However, they can be super convenient for some users!
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If You Are New To Cannabis Edibles
If you are brand new to cannabis edibles, I want to make sure you check out my beginner's guide to consuming 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 eat edibles unprepared, so let me help you with my cannabis edibles guide here.
If you’ve never cooked with cannabis before, I recommend experimenting with CBD flower first, as it is usually easier to access and cheaper to buy.
Experimenting with a more affordable CBD 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 people 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
Choose your Decarb Process
Raw cannabis flower does not naturally contain high amounts of THC or CBD.
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.
There are two primary ways to decarboxylate when making cannabutter.
The first method involves decarboxylating the cannabis in the oven before infusing it 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 and does not leach as much chlorophyll (or green color and taste) into your final product.
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 cannabis flower with the butter and allow them to infuse together for 4 hours in a slow cooker or crockpot or on the stovetop.
Option 2: Decarb While Cooking
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.
Some prefer this option because it eliminates the need to decarboxylate the flower in the oven ahead of time.
This option will also produce a more 'green' tasting product, as the longer cooking times will release more chlorophyll into the infusion.
Frequently Asked Questions
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).
We will evaporate the water during the cooking process and remove the milk solids, leaving a pure, infused butter.
What Type of Butter Should I Use?
I recommend using unsalted butter when making your cannabutter because there are fewer impurities 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 the quality butter you use to start, the higher quality of 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.
Can I Use Clarified Butter?
It is controversial among our Well With Cannabis Facebook 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.
We do not clarify the butter ahead of time for this recipe 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 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, you can follow the same process for making cannabis-infused coconut oil and swap the 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 its clarified state, ghee is essentially an oil and can be treated like a traditional cannabis oil infusion.
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 a digital 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 slow cooker or crockpot for 4-hours with pre-decarbed cannabis and 8-hours with non-decarbed cannabis.
Can I Cook Cannabutter On The Stove?
Yes, you can.
We are using a slow cooker or crockpot for this recipe 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.
Bring to a boil and allow to cook on the stovetop for 4 hours. Once the cooking process is over, 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.
Pour off the water and discard it, and you will be left with your final product.
Do I Need to Add Water?
When cooking in a slow cooker or crockpot, the 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 regulate the butter's temperature, preventing it from getting too hot and ultimately burning your butter and denaturing your cannabinoids.
*Note: if you add water to your cannabutter infusion, do NOT add lecithin as well.
This will bind the water and butter together, resulting in a soupy mess.
Do I Need to Use A Mason Jar?
If you are using the stovetop method above, you can 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 a mason jar specifically meant for canning or cooking. Do not use leftover glass jars from other products
- Make sure you use new mason jar with a brand new lid so you know the seal is good and the contents inside will stay dry
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.
Add something heat and water safe over the jar's top 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.
Set your circulator to a temperature of 185° F place in a water bath.
Cook for the same amount of time, approximately 4 hours with a pre-decarbed flower or 8 hours with a non-decarbed flower.
Does The Final Green Color of the Butter Matter?
No, color doesn’t have any correlation with potency.
A very green butter is simply 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 Type of Cannabis 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 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:
High-Quality Cannabis Flower
Using high-quality dried cannabis flower buds will make a stronger, more potent butter because the flower bud contains a high concentration of cannabinoids.
Shake, Trim, or Leaves
Using up all parts of the cannabis plant is great for sustainability, and many people exclusively make their cannabutter with shake, trim, or leaves.
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, up to 50% more.
How to Make Kief Butter
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.
If you've never worked with kief before, you can get my full guide on how to make edibles and decarb kief here.
How Can I Make My 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 decarbed 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 ½ pound)
How Do I Know How Potent My Final Batch Is?
Spoiler alert - it is impossible to know 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.
This way, you will better understand how strong the product is and how it makes you feel.
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, for straining.
What Can I Do With The Pulp?
Many people discard their cooked plant matter after straining their butter.
However, 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.
Can I Make a Smaller Batch of Butter?
Yes, of course!
This recipe makes a larger batch, using 2 cups of butter to 1 ounce of cannabis flower.
However, you can easily scale this recipe to a smaller size to meet your needs.
You can even infuse more flower into the oil if you want a more potent product.
Simply use this cannabis flower to oil ratio guide to help you decide how much to infuse.
The process of infusion will remain exactly the same regardless of how much you use.
How to Determine The Dosing
While a calculator is no replacement for lab testing, this tool has been designed to help you get a more accurate guesstimate of the potency of your cannabis infusions and extractions.
Use An Infusion Machine For Your Edibles
Cannabis-infusion machines are countertop devices that do all the work for you by decarboxylating and infusing your butters, oils, and more.
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In-Depth Step-By-Step Instructions with Pictures
The instructions above are concise and perfect for printing, but I have many students who like step-by-step instructions with pictures.
Here is a more in-depth, detailed guide of the entire process for those who need a bit more information than I provided above.
Step #1: Lay a clean tea towel down on the bottom of a large crockpot. This will create a buffer between your mason jars and the crockpot, potentially preventing any jar from moving or cracking during the cooking process.
Step #3: Place a digital thermometer in the water and set the crockpot to high heat. When a temperature of around 185°F is reached, turn the heat to low.
Step #4: While the water bath is heating, measure and decarb your cannabis flower by baking it in an oven set to 240° F for 40 minutes.
Step #6: Divide the decarbed cannabis flower between the two jars.
Step #8: Carefully place the jars into the water bath, put the lid on the crockpot, and cook for 4 hours. You want to maintain a temperature of around 185°F the entire time.
Step #9: After 4 hours, carefully remove the jars from the water bath and allow them to cool enough to handle. You are now done with the crockpot and can discard the water bath.
Pour the contents of the mason jar through the strainer to separate the plant-matter from the infused butter.
Step #11: Add the strained butter to whatever jar you would like to store it in. For this step, we recommend a flexible container or wide-mouth mason jar.
You can also use butter molds here if desired.
Place the container in the refrigerator and allow it to cool completely.
Helpful Tip If You Are Using Butter Molds:
We recommend using a spoon to get the pure, infused butter into the first two sticks of the mold.
The third stick will contain the remaining infused butter and milk solids.
You will then only need to remove the milk solids from one stick.
The fourth stick will remain empty due to the loss of water volume during the cooking process.
Step #12: During refrigeration, the infused butter will harden and solidify.
Remove the solid block of butter and drain the remaining liquid, the unwanted, leftover water, and milk solids.
Your cannabis butter is ready to enjoy!
Store the butter in the refrigerator according to the expiration date on the butter you used, or store it for even longer in the freezer.
If you are storing the butter in the fridge or freezer, never use the microwave to soften or thaw the butter it as it could destroy the cannabinoids and ruin the final product.
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Recipes To Make With Cannabutter
Now that you have your cannabutter make, it's time to try some delicious recipes.
Check out our full selection of cannabis recipes here.
Easy Crockpot Cannabutter Recipe
- 1 ounce cannabis flower
- 1 pound 16 ounces (4 sticks) unsalted butter
- Lay a clean tea towel down on the bottom of a slow cooker or crockpot. This will create a buffer between your mason jars and the crockpot, potentially preventing any jar from moving or cracking during cooking. Fill your crockpot with enough warm water to cover the mason jars you plan on using in the water bath. Be careful not to overflow. Aim for the water to reach at least ¾ the way up the jar.
- While the water bath is heating up, measure, and decarb your cannabis flower by baking it in an oven set to 240° F for 40 minutes. Click here if you need a tutorial on cannabis decarboxylation.
- Evenly divide the butter and the decarbed cannabis flowers between two mason jars. We recommend using pint mason jars, as two sticks of butter fit inside one jar perfectly.
- Wipe the jars' rim with a clean towel and place the lid on, tighten the metal ring to finger-tip tightness. It does not have to be tightened extremely tight.
- Carefully place the jars into the water bath, place the lid on the crockpot, and cook for 4 hours. You want to maintain a temperature of around 185°F the entire time.
- After 4 hours, carefully remove the jars from the water bath and allow them to cool enough to handle. You are now done with the crockpot and can discard the water bath.
- During refrigeration, the infused butter will harden and solidify. Remove the solid block of butter and drain the remaining liquid which is the unwanted, leftover water and milk solids.
- Your cannabis butter is ready to enjoy! Store this in the refrigerator according to the expiration date on the butter you used, or store for even longer in the freezer.