Infusion is often the most challenging part of cooking with cannabis and the reason why many people turn to their vaporizer in defeat. I’m here to tell you that you can do this! Not only is it doable, but it’s worth it.
If you haven’t yet discovered the wonder that is cannabis-infused eating, I’m excited for you because you’re in for an adventure. The experience from start to finish is significantly different from common inhalation methods. The effects are typically longer, stronger, and slower to set in.
For this reason, always start with a low dose and see how an edible affects you—especially if you’re cooking your own as it is impossible to calculate their potency.
Cannabis-infused oil is probably the most versatile medium and a great place to start, since it can be used for baking desserts, sautéing veggies, frying up your morning eggs, or putting in your salad dressing. In addition, as is the case with cooking anything at home, you have complete control over its preparation. Does peanut oil hold a special place in your heart? Make cannabis-infused peanut oil!RelatedAvoid these 7 common mistakes while cooking cannabis edibles
Recipe for cannabis cooking oil
- 1 cup of ground cannabis flower (or less for milder potency)
- 1 cup of cooking oil of your choice
Note: When making canna oil, you want to use a 1:1 ratio of cannabis to oil.
Choosing the right cooking oil base for your canna oil
Picking the right oil for infusion comes down to your flavor preferences and the dishes you plan on cooking. Oils will have different consistencies at room temperature, so be sure to put thought into how you will be storing and using your oil. Many oils work well with baking too! So you might want to choose an oil that will have a flavor and consistency that works for multiple recipes. For example, if you are looking for an oil that can be used in a stir fry as well as a pie crust, coconut oil is a great option. It adds great flavor to veggies and remains solid enough at room temperature to hold up as a pie crust.
If you are looking for an oil with a mild flavor, vegetable and canola oil are going to be great options. They are also very versatile and work with most recipes calling for oil.RelatedRecipe: How to make basic cannabis-infused butter
If you want something a little more robust in flavor, you can infuse olive or avocado oil. Both stand up well to the cannabis flavor and can be stored in your pantry. One of the most surprisingly delicious deserts I ever had was an olive oil ice cream. So feel free to get creative!
- Strainer or cheesecloth
- Grinder (a simple hand grinder works best; appliances like blenders and coffee grinder pulverize the cannabis, resulting in edibles with bad tasting plant material)
- Double-boiler, slow cooker, or saucepan, etc.
- Grind the cannabis. You can include the entire plant, just the flower, a little bit of both—this is all a matter of preference. Just keep in mind that anything small enough to fit through the strainer will end up in your finished product, so again, do not grind your cannabis into a fine powder.
- Combine oil and cannabis in your double-boiler, slow cooker, or saucepan, and heat on low or warm for a few hours. This allows for decarboxylation (activation of THC) without scorching (which destroys the active ingredients). In all cases, a small amount of water can be added to the mixture to help avoid burning, and the temperature of the oil should never exceed 245°F. Cooking can be done a variety of ways:
- Crock pot method: Heat oil and cannabis in a slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Double-boiler method: Heat oil and cannabis in a double-boiler on low for at least 6 hours (8 is better), stirring occasionally.
- Saucepan method: Heat oil and cannabis in a simple saucepan on low for at least 3 hours, stirring frequently (a saucepan is most susceptible to scorching).
- Strain and store the oil. Do not squeeze the cheesecloth; this will simply add more chlorophyll to your oil. All remaining plant material can be discarded or used in other dishes if desired. The oil’s shelf life is at least two months, and can be extended with refrigeration.
Tips for reducing odor when making cannabis oil
The trick for reducing odor is using the right tool for decarboxylation. The steam produced during cooking might not give off a pungent odor at first, but it gets stronger with time. It takes hours for the oil to finish, so you can imagine that the odor can build, and, if you are in the same room the whole time, you may not notice the gradual increase in dankness. Using kitchen devices with rubber seals on their lids will allow you to lock in the majority of the odor during the cook. Finding a crock pot or pressure cooker with this feature is easy. The seal allows you to be strategic in where and when you open the lid. Whether you take it outside or put it under your kitchen vent, not allowing the odor to fill your space is paramount when it comes to discretion. But accidents happen! If you find yourself in a situation where your space is too pungent, check out our article on how to get rid of the cannabis odor.
How to cook with your weed oil
Now that you have successfully infused your oil of choice, be sure to try a little before you make an entire meal. You want to make sure the dosage is right so the meal is delicious as well as enjoyable afterward. You also want to be sure not to scorch the oil while cooking (just like when you are making the oil). It would be a shame for all that hard work to go to waste and to be left with a cannabis-tasting creation without any of the effects Now get cooking! I suggest finding a few of your favorite recipes and see if an infused-cannabis oil could work. Experimenting with different recipes is half the fun, and here are a few of our favorite recipes to get you going:
- Martha Stewart’s “to-die-for” pot brownies: A classic done right!
- Cannabis-infused mayo: From ranch dressing to aioli, mayo is the base to some of your favorite condiments!
- Cannabis-infused coconut roasted citrus shrimp: Feeling fancy?
- Cannabis-infused chocolate hazelnut spread: Find a dessert or savory snack this doesn’t make taste better, I’ll wait.
- Canna-oil vinaigrette: Balsamic vinaigrettes are great too!
Beginner’s guide to cooking with Cannabis Oil (and Cannabutter)
I love cooking. One of the only things I love more than a big meal is a big bowl of weed.
Naturally, I’m interested in cooking with cannabis.
Who wouldn’t want a kitchen full of delicious THC-infused foods?
For many of us, that’s as far as the thought goes. Cooking with cannabis can seem so complicated and intimidating. Even if you’re a kitchen maven, you may have questions about adding marijuana to your spice rack.
The first thing you’ll need to know is how to make cannabis oil and cannabutter. So let’s look at a few quick recipes and how you can plan ingredients and dosage for your next homemade edible.
How to make Cannabis Oil & Cannabutter
Before you can start cooking with cannabis, you’ll need to learn how to make (or where to buy) cannabis oil or cannabutter.
The easiest option (and the most accurate for dosing) is to use ready made oil or butter that has been tested for potency per serving. Unfortunately, these can be exceptionally hard to find even among the many Boulder and Denver recreational dispensaries.
That means you’ll need to make your own cannabis oil or cannabutter.
Tip: Some kief cooks prefer to use marijuana flower directly in their recipes. While that method can work if the recipe also includes butter or oil to extract the cannabinoids and terpenoids, it introduces additional variables that can reduce the strength of your finished product (or spread out the cannabinoids less evenly).
Before you can make cannabis oil you’ll need a few ingredients… namely cannabis and cooking oil.
You’ll need 1 cup of cooking oil for every 1 cup of marijuana flower. Depending on the density of the bud you’re using, 1 cup of ground-up flower is about 1-2 ounces.
Alternately (and my favorite), you can use CO2 cannabis oil in place of flower. You can replace 1 ounce of flower with 2-6 grams of cannabis oil.
Not only does this remove a few steps (grinding and straining the plant material), but it also removes chlorophyll from your finished product.
Of course, you can scale this recipe down if you only have a few grams of bud or if you want a milder finished product.
Step 1: Grind the cannabis (but not to a fine powder)
Step 2: Combine 1 cup of your chosen cooking oil for every 1 cup of cannabis flower (or 2-6 grams of THC/CBD hash oil).
Step 3: Place the cooking oil and cannabis mixture in a slow cooker on low heat—no higher than 240-245 degrees—for about 6-8 hours (stirring occasionally). This activates the THC in the flower without burning it—a process called decarboxylation.
If you don’t have a slow cooker or double broiler, you can use a saucepan—the oil will be ready in just 3 hours, but you’ll need to stir frequently to avoid scorching.
It’s also worth noting that many DIY cannachefs prefer to let their cannabis oil simmer longer to extract more cannabinoids.
Step 4: Strain the oil through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a heat-resistant container to filter out remaining plant matter. You won’t need to strain if you used THC or CBD oil in place of flower.
Storing the Oil: You can store cannabis cooking oil for more than two months (and longer in the fridge).
Making cannabis butter is just as easy as making your own cannabis oil. Well, it has a few more steps. But they’re all easy ones! And knowing how to make your own cannabutter opens up a LOT of delicious recipes.
To start, you’ll need about 4 sticks of butter for every ounce of weed (adjust to taste), a cheesecloth, and a strainer.
As a somewhat lazy chef, I prefer to use about 4 grams of CO2 cannabis oil in place of one ounce of flower. It eliminates several time-consuming steps, including decarbing and straining. It also removes chlorophyll and finely ground plant material from your finished product (without needing a strainer or cheesecloth) for a more flavorful cannabutter.
Step 1: Decarb your weed. If you’re using CO2 cannabis oil instead of flower, you can skip to Step 2.
– Preheat your oven to 240 degrees.
– Place the cannabis plant material on a baking sheet in a single layer.
– Heat the cannabis for 40 minutes—rotate a few times for even heating.
When you’re done, the weed should be dry enough to crumble.
Step 2: Melt the butter in about 1 1/2 – 2 inches of boiling water. This will keep the marijuana (when it’s added in the next step) off the floor of the pan and help avoid burning.
Step 3: When the butter melts completely, add the marijuana flower or oil. Turn down the heat to a very low simmer to avoid burning the bud. Let the marijuana butter cook for about 3-4 hours until the top of the mix turns thick and glossy.
Step 4: Place a layer or two of cheesecloth over the top of the container and secure it in place with a piece of string, tape, or a rubber band. Now strain the marijuana butter into a large storage container. When you’re done, grab the cheesecloth by the corners and give it a gentle squeeze to get any remaining butter.
You won’t need to do this if you’re using kush oil instead of flower.
Step 5: Place the strained butter in the fridge for about an hour to let it cool. As the butter cools, the cannabis-infused portion will rise to the top and form a solid layer.
Step 6: Scrape off the solid layer of butter with a knife then flip the butter to scrape off any remaining water.
Storing the Butter: Your cannabis butter should last as long as any other butter. Just pop a lid on the container and toss it in the fridge.
How much Cannabis Oil or Butter Will one ounce of Marijuana make?
The density of different strains means there won’t always be an easy way to calculate exactly how much cannabis oil or butter you’ll end up with.
In practical terms (and with the recipes in this post), you can expect an ounce of weed—or 3-6 grams of CO2 oil—to give you about 1-2 cups of infused cooking oil or 4 sticks of cannabutter.
That’s enough to make up to 48 high-potency pot brownies or 96 marijuana-infused cookies!
How can you calculate THC potency in a homemade edible?
Even big labs have to work hard to check edible potency. First, not all THCA converts to THC (a rate of about 0.88). And depending on the butter or oil used when cooking, you may end up extracting as little as 30 percent of the cannabinoids and terpenoids.
This can make it hard to calculate actual potency in a homemade edible—and calculating exact serving strength is almost impossible. It’s easier if you’re using pre-packaged cannabis oil or cannabutter with 5-10mg per serving. But if you’re making your own oil or butter, you could end up with a finished meal that’s significantly stronger (or weaker) than you anticipated.
To keep THC levels more consistent, try the following:
- Check the weed label: is it THC or THCA?
- Portion butter carefully—measure portion sizes with a scale or ruler and scoop vertically
- Stir like you’ve never stirred before (the more homogeneous the mix, the more even your serving sizes)
- Expect different doses and eat slowly
- Keep in mind the strength and type of weed you plan on using. If you’re making THC-infused butter to spread on your toast in the morning, you might try a mild sativa. If you need a strong cooking oil to make pot brownies, grab a strong indica.
No matter how careful you are in the kitchen, the only way you can be sure about potency in a homemade edible is to test the finished product. And most of us don’t have the resources or equipment for that.
Give yourself a bit of extra time to eat and relax the first time you try a marijuana-infused recipe so you can see how it affects you. And, remember that marijuana edibles can take time to take effect. Try to give yourself at least 30-60 minutes between servings to avoid getting too much THC.
And if you depend on extremely accurate dosing of your THC or CBD, you can shop our best-in-Boulder selection of precisely dosed edibles.