As a lifelong consumer of fine smoking herbs, I have grown to have a specific way of thinking that involves exerting the least amount of physical effort as possible while experiencing the highest amount of rewards. (This is how many ‘stoners’ get labeled lazy when more often than not, they are just more efficient, producing the higher quality end products with the least amount of work. However, I digress.)
This methodology occurs throughout all aspects of my life, including my workflow, planning trips away from my workstation, all the way to the way I make cannabis-infused butter!
After making several batches, I’ve worked out a super simple yet powerful method of crafting cannabutter at home using the cured flower of your choice.
Cooking With Cannabis Basics
Just keep in mind that there is no ‘right way’ to cook 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
Cannabutter Frequently Asked Questions
“James, you live in the southeast part of the united states, what could you possibly know about making high-quality cannabis-infused butter?”
Let me tell you, over the course of the past year, I have learned so much.
Below I will break down some of the most frequently asked questions about how to make simple cannabutter and hopefully share some tips to help you make the best edibles possible.
Why Use Butter?
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.
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.
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 using unsalted butter when making your cannabutter because there is less impurity in the butter itself.
While both salted or unsalted butter will definitely 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 of your final product will be.
Clarified Butter Yes or No?
It is controversial among the culinary cannabis community 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.
What Is That 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; these 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. In this clarified state, ghee is essentially an oil and can be cooked like a traditional cannabis oil infusion.
How do I 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.
How Do 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.
The one variable you have the most control over is your starting material.
Remember, the better the bud, the better the butter.
How Do I Know How Potent My Final Batch Is?
If you know the % concentration of your starting flower (easier if you purchased from a dispensary or know the actual strain), you can use our 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 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.
In-Depth Step-By-Step Instructions
Lay a clean dishtowel or old sock down on the bottom of a large crockpot. This creates a buffer between your mason jars and the crockpot, potentially preventing any jar from moving or cracking during cooking.
Fill your slow cooker with enough warm water to cover the mason jars you plan on using to create a water bath. Be careful not to overflow.
Fill the jars up with raw butter turning the slow cooker on high heat. you will leave the butter here to melt for later use in the infusion process.
Combine the decarbed cannabis flower with the now melted butter.
Tighten the metal ring to finger-tip tightness. It does not have to be too tight.
Carefully place the jars into the water bath, put the lid on the slow cooker and turn it on low, and cook for 6 to 8 hours.
Prepare a straining area with a clean bowl, a funnel and paper filter, or cheesecloth. Pour the contents of the mason jar through the strainer to separate the plant-matter from the infused butter.
Add the strained butter to whatever jar you would like to store it in. For this step, we recommend a flexible container. Place the container in the refrigerator and allow it to cool completely.
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.
ProTip: If you are storing the butter in the fridge or freezer, never use the microwave to soften or thaw the butter as it could destroy the cannabinoids and ruin the final product.