How to cook with kief

Marijuana cooking with concentrates, namely kief and hash, open up a whole new world of recipes that can be converted to cannabis cooking.  A lot of these recipes contain far less fat than ones that depend on butter or oil to carry the medication, an important consideration for those trying to curb calories or limit fats. Of course cannabis metabolizes better with some fat, but when you cook with concentrates, you eliminate the need to add extra oil or butter to achieve a proper dose.

When cooking for my own use, as opposed to developing recipes for others, I almost always use decarboxylated dry ice kief.  I find that its milder flavor flavor naturally blends in better with more foods than the herbal undertones contained in marijuana infused butter and oil.

Before we go further, let’s define the terms so everyone is on the same page:

  • Kief is a powdery substance composed of the resinous glands or trichomes on the marijuana plant.  The powder can range from somewhat sticky to gummy depending on the plant and strain.
  • Hash is kief that has been heated and pressed.  Hash can range from gold to dark green or brown in color and from a dry, crumbly, powdery texture all the way to a sticky putty-like substance, and all points in between.

Hash and kief are known as cannabis concentrates because they contain the part of the plant that contains the cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.), without much of anything else.  In practical terms, this means far less herbal flavor in the finished food.  

how to cook with kief

The potency of a given concentrate, of course, depends on the quality of the plant that dedicated its glands to making it.

Mixing Kief for Perfect Effects

A reader asked a good question about using kief in cooking as she needed a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD.  I let her know that if she made her kief from a plant with that cannabinoid ratio she would be good to go.  Otherwise, she could mix kief from a high CBD strain and a high THC strain to get similar results.  Make sense?

Marijuana Cooking: How to Cook with Kief or Hash

For maximum potency, it is important to decarboxylate kief and hash before cooking with it.

As we discussed earlier, kief and hash can range from dry and crumbly to sticky and gummy.  Many smokers prefer the latter, but for cooking purposes, the dry, crumbly, powdery stuff is often easiest to work with because it is easy to grind which then allows you to stir the fine powder into all kinds of foods, something impossible to do with the gummy type of hash.  If you plan on dissolving the hash in a hot liquid, however, either type will work fine. 

Like any cannabis edible, your hash or kief infused food needs some fat, or alcohol, to help it metabolize effectively.  If you do want to add hash or kief to a fat free food, be sure to accompany the food with another dish that does contain some fat, or wash it down a glass of milk, or coffee or tea with cream, or some other fat containing beverage in order to achieve a maximum effect.

The other consideration when cooking with any kind of cannabis is temperature.  Remember, THC evaporates at temperatures greater than 392 degrees F. You can cook at temperatures higher than that, as long as the temperature of the food itself doesn’t get that high.

What is Kief Butter?

Kief butter is, appropriately, butter that has been infused with kief – The loose, crystal-like powder collected from the outside of the cannabis bud. The little sparkling bits of resin and trichomes you see on a bud that make it look frosted and glittery? Once broken away from the flower, that’s kief.

Before you go dumping your grinder’s kief collector onto a stick of butter know this: Kief, in it’s raw form, will not get you high. Like all cannabis, kief must be “decarboxylated” or “decarbed” before it is ready for consumption – This means weed needs to be exposed to high heat over a period of time before the THC within becomes “activated” (which is actually the THCA turning into THC; check out our linked article for more details).

This means that just pouring a spoonful of kief into some melted butter will not get you high, and though there may be some benefits from eating raw THCA psychoactivity is emphatically not one of them. Unless your kief is decarbed first, there’s no infusion or baking process in the world that will get you lifted.

How Do I Decarb Kief?

Decarbing kief can be a bit tricky, given it’s loose, powdery nature; unlike denser marijuana buds kief is prone to burning, and doesn’t take as long to reach the needed temperature (and swiftly surpass it) than actual ground up flower. We go over decarbing in detail in our “3 Best Ways to Decarb Your Weed” article but the basic idea is to “toast” your kief in an oven as follows:

Step #1: Preheat your oven at 230°F

Step #2: Spread your kief over a parchment-lined baking tray in a thin, even layer

Step #3: Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally; keep an eye on it, and if it starts to look too brown in color remove it from the oven immediately

Now that your kief has been decarbed it’s now ready to be infused.

Kief Butter, The Quick Way

To make a quick kief-infused cannabutter you’ll need the following:

  • Butter
  • Kief
  • A double boiler
  • A coffee filter or cloth sachet (optional)

The kief-to-butter ratio you want to use depends on how strong you want your end infusion to be, but we don’t recommend going any stronger than 5 to 6 grams of kief per cup of butter.

To get started, place your double boiler setup onto the stove top with your butter in the top. Let it melt over gentle heat, and then add your kief and stir. If you’d like, you can place your kief into a small, tied cloth sachet first (the same as the ones used for herb bundles), to prevent the need to strain after your steep is completed.

how to cook with kief

Steep Low & Slow

From here let your kief soak into your butter for, really, however long you’d like – Anything from 2 to 4 hours should be enough, though. Note that your kief has not dissolved into the butter; plant matter simply won’t.

If you’d like to filter your kief away from your butter pour the solution into a container, such as a mason jar covered by a coffee filter. Straining isn’t strictly necessary but can improve the overall taste and texture of items you make with your newly-infused butter.

After straining squeeze any remaining butter out of your kief and save it, either to be eaten on its own or run through another (likely weaker) infusion. Place your cannabutter into the refrigerator and tada – You are done. You can now use your kief butter in any number of recipes where regular butter is called for: Baking, basting, sauteing.

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