Marijuana Cooking With Concentrates: Kief and Hash

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Note: This is a very basic guideline to cannabis cooking with cannabis concentrates — kief and hash. More detailed information can be found in The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook by Cheri Sicard, available from your favorite bookseller or on this blog.

Hash and KiefMarijuana cooking with concentrates, namely kief and hash, opens 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 concentrates.  I find that their slightly nutty 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 THC, without much of anything else.  In practical terms, this means far less herbal flavor in the finished food.  The potency of a given concentrate, of course, depends on the quality of the plant that dedicated its glands to making it.

Hash and kief can be used interchangeably in recipes.  Specific dosing ranges can be found at this page.

Making Dry Ice Kief: Add dry ice and marijuana to the bubble bag and shake, shake shake!

Making Dry Ice Kief: Add dry ice and marijuana to the bubble bag and shake, shake shake!

Dry ice kief is the easiest concentrate for home cooks to make.  It’s also one of the easiest concentrates to cook with.  Click here for detailed instructions on how to make dry ice kief along with a quick video that shows just how fast and simple it is.

Marijuana Cooking: How to Cook with Kief or Hash

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.

Marijuana Cooking: The Importance of Decarboxylation

Dry Ice Kief after decarboxylation

Dry Ice Kief after decarboxylation

You will need to heat or decarboxylate your kief before using in recipes that don’t call for cooking, as the heat activates the raw plant’s THC-A (or acid) and turns it into THC.  Even if you plan on using hash or kief in a recipe that will be cooked, decarbing it first can up its potency and I highly recommend taking this extra step.  I do this with hash too.

Why You Should Decarboxylate Kief or Hash Even If You Plan to Cook or Bake With It

A friend lab tested a batch of brownies that had plain kief stirred into the batter as opposed to kief that had been first decarboxylated.  He found the latter to be about 30% more potent.  It’s easy to do, just put your kief or hash in an oven proof dish and heat for about 20 minutes at 250 degrees F.  Remove from oven, cool and you are ready to use for cooking.

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28 Comments

  1. My coconut oil and kief always seem to separate when the oil settled. I make sure to do 10-15 minutes of heating and mixing with the oil.
    Any suggestions on how to prevent the separation?

    Thank you.

    • I have not encountered this but then I do not infuse batches of oil with kief. I find it best to decarb the kief, then just stir into recipes as needed when preparing them (as opposed to infusing oil and then using the infused oil in the recipe). This is easier and far less muss and fuss.

      I can speculate that maybe what you are seeing is small plant matter particulates that are settling, because in theory the heat should have emulsified the oils together. If this is the case you could use a fine strainer, or just give it a stir and cook with it all. If I were to infuse oil, I would infuse with buds or trim using the method at this page

      http://www.cannabischeri.com/food/cooking-basics/making-and-using-cannabis-infused-butter-and-oil/

  2. I make lozenges using kief, which are brought up to 300 degrees over the course of 40 minutes to make into candy. Not fat or alcohol used, only sugar and corn syrup. Curious about making simple syrup for sodas the same way. Amy thoughts about temp/time needed to decarb kief in a recipe itself so I can avoid a decarb step? Wondering if boiling in a simple syrup (so around 220 degrees) for 5-10 minutes would do it

    • Yes it would work to just decarb during the cooking, but when we lab testing back to back edibles, those made with kief that had been decarbed first has about a 30% higher potency than those made with kief that only decarbed during the cooking process. That’s why I always recommend taking the extra step to decarb BEFORE cooking, even if it will be debarbed during as well.

  3. i only have 20mg of kief and i am looking for some suggestions to utilize it.
    recipes online uses at least couple ounces of weed and it is very hard to find ways to cook with only 20mg although it is kief, which i believe is stronger than weed.
    Could you please give me recommations on how i can use these 20mg of kief?
    *no oven recipe will be highly appreciated..
    thank you.

      • thank you very much for your reply!
        it seems to me that in order to decarboxylate, i would have to use an oven though ;(
        would there be an alternative way to decarboxylate without using an oven?
        also, i heard that microwaving kief (for 30 sec, 10 seconds interval) with melted butter could work for small amount of kief. how do u think?
        I only have 20mg kief, frying pan, & microwave. theres no way i could get some more kief or use an oven. it sucks that my source are very limited, but i wish to get the most of it, hopefully with your help. lastly, if i share that 20mg with another person, would it be to little?
        i am asking lots of questions at once, but its hard to find such an informative blog like yours.. please help!

        • The microwave could work yes, but it is less reliable than an oven and you take the chance of over heating that way. Be careful and stop and stir every 10 or 15 seconds or so. But if that is all you have to work with, give it a try. Good luck!

    • Hi Tom, I don’t see an advantage to freezing kief as kief is already pretty solid. Also, Unless your kief is full melt, and most is not, dabbing may not be the best way to go. I like using kief in cooking or sprinkling it on joints.

  4. Thanks for this information!

    Have you ever noticed oils to go rancid once infused?

    I’d like to know roughly his long coconut oil might last after it’s been heated, and then stored just below room temp.

    Thanks!

    • Oils go rancid whether infused or not and exposure to light and heat can increase this. You are likely safe for 2 to 3 months at least. Store for 6 months or more int he freezer, then just remove the amounts you need when you need it. BUT be cautious that you have removed ALL the moisture after infusing. I have had coconut oil grow mold, even in the fridge, as I did not get ALL the water out.

  5. Hi Cheri, I’d like to make cold beverages using decarbed hash. Should I infuse it in heated water first before making the beverages, then mix the flavor in? I’m thinking of punch/lemonade, alcohol free.

  6. Hey Cheri, in the article you said decarbonating the kief is for recipes that don’t call for cooking. But then you said it was ready for cooking. I just want to be sure if I decarbonate the kief, let it cool, then stir it into my brownie recipe, and then cook it again for 350 for about 33 minutes that it will turn out okay.

    • Thank you for pointing that out. I will go in and rewrite to avoid confusion. You DEFINITELY want to decarb if the hash will not be cooked. If you are using hash in a cooked dish, the process of cooking can decarb it, HOWEVER, for maximum potency I recommend decarbing first in either instance. A medical marijuana provider friend of mine in WA state did an experiment by making 2 pans of brownies. In one he used kief that had not been decarbed, in the other kief that had been decarbed. Even though the process of baking the brownies will debarb some of the THC, he found the pan of brownies made with the kief that had been decarbed, lab tested about 30% higher than the other. SO my motto is decarb first in either instance.

  7. should i still decarboxylate hash? Like a pressed half ounce? or has it already been decarboxylated if its pressed?

    • Pressed hash has been decarbed to some degree, but for maximum extraction, I would still recommend decarbing first before cooking with it, and especially if it will not be heated. But even f it will be heated, you will get more from it by decarbing first.

  8. Just to be clear you can decarb your dry ice hash/kief and then mix it into dishes that don’t need cooking? I just made awesome tempered almond chocolates with 3 grams of kief, seems potent so far. With my honeys and maple syrup seems like it would be better not to heat them for so long if the hash is already decarbed. I have had problems using plant materials and getting mold so I turned all the trim we had into CO2 hash! We have over 200 grams so I can cook with it. It’s also super potent in my vaporizer.

    • Lucky you! 🙂

      For max potency, I would decarb either way, whether it will be heated during cooking or not. You will be able to make lots of great medicated foods with that.

      • Oh yes I always decarb it first, I put mine on parchment paper then cover with another piece of parchment 240degrees for 30mins, based on test results I read about! 😊

        I just wanted to make sure in uncooked dishes that it would still be potent. Like mixing into honey without any heat? Or Maple syrup? Also my chocolate I mixed it into was luke warm maybe 80-85 degrees.

        I also made some amazing coconut/vanilla oil for eating or rubbing on for sore muscles. It worked wonders on my husbands psoriasis!

  9. Yippy!!! I am new to it but CO2 Hash/Kief is the best thing ever. It took a few hours to process all the shake but I had a lot. I actually used finer micro first 70 micron (high quality), then 90 micron (2nd grade), I stopped there but maybe should have done 120 for cooking purposes. The trim was a bit on the drier side and was blended in a blender first. If you can imagine I had family growing organic medicine then throwing away the trim for five years before I stopped them!

    I tried making honey as well but heated it for 2hrs in crockpot with the hash then did a light strain, some material left, hoping for no mold or crystallizing. Thinking about no heat next time?

    I have used sugar shake or flower for years and you can really taste it/smell it, frankly I didn’t like that. Now all my goodies so far have a pro taste!

    Years ago I thought bubble hash (water method) was too complicated

  10. Hello from England. Thanks for your article. I’m completely new to this, and found this very helpful. I’ve been given some solid hash but as I don’t smoke, eating is obviously the way forward. To avoid any smell in my house (we have teenage children) could i bake it in a sealed oven bag? If yes, would this affect times and temps? Thanks for your help.

    • While hash and kief will give off some odor while decarboxylating, it is not nearly as bad as infusing butter or oil with plant material. I have not tried baking in an oven bag, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work and I don’t think the bag would effect anything. Another odorless method would be sous vide (boil in bag).

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