How to Make Marijuana Butter – Stovetop and Slow Cooker Methods

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Cannabis or Marijuana Infused Butter and Cooking Oil

Marijuana Infused Butter and Cannabis Oil

Why is marijuana butter such a popular way to make cannabis edibles?  THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana is fat soluble, making butter an ideal way to bond it to food.  Likewise cannabis infused butter or margarine (for vegans) are the backbone of many medicated foods.  With these staples stored in your refrigerator or freezer you’re always ready to cook with cannabis. (Prefer to make Marijuana Oil? Check out our How to Make Marijuana Oil tutorial here.)

You can cook with any kind of marijuana from trimmings to flowers when making weed butter.  You will need to adjust the amount used depending on the potency of the plant and what parts of it you are using.  Check out the Understanding Cannabis Dosages page for additional information and dose ranges.

I’ve listed the amounts I use to test the recipes for this blog as well as those in The Easy Cannabis Cookbook.  You can and should alter the suggested amounts to meet your needs, but these will give you a starting guideline.

How to make Weed Butter or Cannabutter

Marijuana butter in the slow cooker before cooking.

To Make About 1 Cup Marijuana Butter or Margarine:

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter or margarine
  • 1/2 ounce average quality decarboxylated dried bud
  • About 4 cups water

Why Water?

You might be wondering why I include water as an ingredient.  Including water, especially when cooking on the stovetop, insures the cannabis will never reach a higher temperature than the boiling point or 212 degrees F.  More importantly, the chlorophyll and terpenes – the parts of the plant that give it its flavor and color — are water soluble and most will likewise bind to water during the cooking process instead of infusing themselves into the fats along with the THC.  In practical terms this means less herbal flavor and green color in the finished marijuana  butter or oil.

Weed butter infusing in the slow cooker

Marijuana butter infusing in the slow cooker.

That said, the marijuana butter might still appear mighty green, even when cooked with water.  The amount will vary from strain to strain with some coming out pale green or almost yellow, while others take on a deep forest green color.  You can see the differences in the photo above where I used a different strain to make the 2 different weed butters and oils pictured.  The visual difference is especially apparent in the butter, but keep in mind that color has nothing to do with potency.

Without water in the mix, the plant material tends absorbs too much of the butter and oil.  This means usable product is going into the trash, a problem that’s reduced when adding water.  The increased liquid volume also gives cooks the option to add more plant material in order to make more concentrated infusions if they wish.

How to Make Marijuana Butter

  • Slow Cooker Method (best choice): Add butter or margarine, plant material, and water to the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.  I know some cooks who cook their butter for as much as 2 or 3 days in the slow cooker.  Feel free to do so if you choose.  It seems like overkill to me and after having tested longer cooking times, I found no improvement in quality or potency.  In fact, I noticed a stronger herbal flavor and not much else.  You can actually cook for less time, just make sure your mixture has time to come to a full simmer.

OR

  •  Stovetop Method:  Place butter or margarine, cannabis plant material, and water in a large lidded Dutch oven on the stove top.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low and simmer for about 2 hours.  Take care and monitor the liquid level often, adding water as necessary to always keep at least 3 cups in the pot.  Simmering marijuana on the stovetop is very aromatic.  If you’re worried about nosy neighbors, cook other strong smelling foods such as roasting garlic at the same time in order to help camouflage the smell.  Better still, use a slow cooker.

Making Marijuana Butter: Drain, Rinse, and Strain

Draining and straining cannabutter

Draining and straining marijuana butter

The method of draining is the same for stovetop and slow cooker methods.  Place a cheesecloth line strainer over a large pot or bowl and strain the liquid through this.  Before discarding plant material, pour a large kettle full of boiling water over the full strainer in order to wash through any extra butter clinging to the plant material.  Allow to cool then squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  Discard the plant material.  Now chill the rest, water and  liquid butter.  The fats will rise to the top. Butter will harden into a solid when chilled making it easy for you to simply lift the piece off of the water below and discard the water. Rinse the butter chunk with cold, fresh water to wash off any of the canna-water or plant material left on the butter.

Now it’s time to strain one more time to remove as much sediment as possible.  Place a double layer of cheesecloth over a strainer and pour the oil mixture through.  To strain butter, melt it, strain, then chill again until solid.  Dry the solid cannabutter thoroughly to remove all traces of excess water.

Give the marijuana butter an extra rinse with boiling water to extract as much as possible.

Give the marijuana butter an extra rinse with boiling water to extract as much as possible.

Refrigerate infused butter or margarine until ready to use or freeze for even longer storage.  Fats can still go rancid in the freezer so try to use within 3 months.

You’re now ready to start cooking with canna-butter!

Odor Reducing Tip When Making Marijuana Oil

Hamilton Beach makes a line of slow cookers (pictured in this article) that are great for reducing cooking odors when making marijuana oil.  I am sure the fine folks at Hamilton Beach did not design the Stay and Go Slow Cooker for this specific purpose, but nonetheless they work great. That’s because it has a rubber gasket on the lid and a clamp you can use to keep the slow cooker tightly closed.  People going to pot luck suppers (no, not the kinds with cannabis) love this feature as you can transport food in the slow cooker without it sloshing over.  But for cannabis cooks its beauty is in the fact that you will hardly smell the odor of simmering marijuana when infusing butter or oil.  At least not until you open the lid.  I discovered this quite by accident, but it works.  The Stay and Go Slow Cooker is also a quality product to use when making non-cannabis infused meals.  Check it out!

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27 Comments

  1. Hi there, I don’t see any mention of decarboxylating the plant material before making the butter. Is it not necessary if using the slow cooker? Thanks!

    • Thank you for reminding me I need to update this article. With long slow cooking decarbing is optional, but yes I generally do recommend it as lab tests I have seen show slightly higher potency.

  2. Jordan Miracle on

    Im going to attempt this in the morning and was hoping you could tell me What times and temps would you recommend for decarbing?

    • Funny you should ask this as I am working on a big decarb feature as we speak. I used to say, as was the conventional wisdom, about 20 minutes at 220 degrees F. BUT what I am finding in some of the new research I am reading and in lab tests that friends have run, that that is too short. I am still trying to nail down an answer, but as with many things in cannabis, there is no EXACT one answer as other factors come into play (for instance the freshness of the plant material). Right now I am doing about 2 hours at 230F and it seems to be working. (Now back when I was doing 20 minutes I still had potent edibles, but this seems to do even more).

  3. Hi Cheri,
    Man I have to say I am blown away at all the information I’ve come across here. First I want to thank you for all the great posts and time you’ve put into this, I honestly can’t thank you enough. I have learned soo much and have realized oh soooo many mistakes I have been making for a while. I do have a question though 😀

    At the moment I am making 4 cups of butter give or take with 1 gram or herb. With this I’m making roughly 30-35 cookies with 1 cup. I tend to eat at least one cookie at day after I get home from work and the high last a few hours and I’m usually happy with the results. Reading your method though I could end up with better tasting butter not to mention stronger (I only leave in the oven for 40 mins)

    So my question is this…. If I make the butter your way (1 gram to a cup) how much would I need to use to make about 30 cookies. I’m trying to keep my cost equal and yield the same amount of product. with of course better potency and taste. I’ve heard of making ice cube and using 1 cube to make 30 cookies but will this be weaker than what I’m currently making?

    I make this for myself and my other half, we both enjoy eating one a day and relaxing. this isn’t for profit or anything like that I just want to make them better and more efficiently 😀

    Thanks

    • Thank you for the kind words. If you are happy with the results of what you are doing, why mess with it? One gram for 4 cups butter is EXTREMELY low (less than 1 MG THC per cookie), but everyone is different with dosing so if that works for you, that’s great. This is the beauty of making your own edibles.

      The amounts I gave in this article (and I use 1/2 ounce to one cup, not a gram) are suggestions. Everyone should adjust up or down for their needs. But to be honest, the strength of the infusion is not as important as how much of that infusion is in your finished recipe and how many servings the recipe makes. For that you should check out my free dosing class at
      https://cannabischeri.teachable.com/p/precise-marijuana-edibles-dosing

      By playing with the numbers in my dosage calculator tool, included with the class, you can adjust your recipes up or down to get the exact dosage range you need.

  4. Before finding you and your course, I did a med grind (it looks like FOLGERS instant coffee granules, not powder) decarbed for 110 mon at 230F in the oven. To minimize taste can I do a water wash at this point or only before decarbed? I got a LEVO for Christmas, so I will be using that to make oils and butters. Can you put alcohol in a Levo to make tinctures?

    • I am in the process of updating the decarb info I have as I got a hold of some new research and lab tests. While I always made potent butter and oil, I have found I can get even more by decarbing much longer, 2 hours at 230. I never go a “water wash” as I don’t want to wash away any trichomes, but I do like to infuse oil and water with water in the mix to help take out some of the green flavor and color. The other thing I recommend to improve taste in the finished edibles is to make your infusion as strong as possible in order to only a small amount to carry the dose you need.

      I have never used the LEVO so know nothing about it. My slow cooker or a Mason jar in simmering water are my favorite ways to infuse. However, making tincture is ultra simple, it just takes time. See this page. https://www.cannabischeri.com/headline/marijuana-tincture-make-simple-cannabis-tincture/

  5. I left my butter on the stove for two hours, plus maybe another half hour, but it isn’t super dark green. Did I mess it up? the mixture cooling in the fridge smells and tastes strong. I am also using 26% flower. Thank you!

  6. Hi Cheri, thanks for such an informative post. I’d like to do honey and coconut oil with my cannabis.Many recipes say to put it in a maison jar. Can I just put it in a pot on the stove top and follow your directions above? Should I use/add the water you recommended into the pot also? Lastly, I see you’re using a cheesecloth for the above article but opted for a flat screen on another recipe. Which should I use? Many, many thanks again!

    • Yes there are many methods of getting to the same place. For honey do not add water as its too hard to separate. For coconut oil it is optional. Yes the Mason Jar technique is great, I usually do not add water when using this method. I cover the Mason jar technique along with infusing honey, milks, cream, sugar, butter, oil and much, much more in my online cannabis cooking course (www.Cannademy.com ).

      As to straining (also covered in the course), lots of methods work, cheesecloth and colander is easiest for larger amounts. For smaller amounts I often use a French Press Coffee pot or a yogurt cheese strainer. Mesh nut bags also work well. All get you to the same final destination, it just depends what you are making and what you have on hand.

  7. My wife has suffered with “ burning mouth syndrome “ for the last three years . I’ll do the short version . After taking your online course I had her apply the infused oil on her tongue and gums . Within minutes her pain was almost gone .!!!! She is an ultra conservative person while I’ve enjoyed cannabis for 40+ years !! We have been to every dr. from a neurologist to a shaman . Thank you so much ! I’m writing to get the word out ! Also I made tincture with your method ….. awesome !! Thank you Cheri you have affected our lives in an extremely positive way .

    • Thank you so much for writing Jesse. This post does my heart so much good. Amazing results! I will share with my followers. You never know who else it might help. Best to you and your wife. PS If she wants to learn more, my book Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women is a great, non-intimidating, introduction to the board subject of cannabis. You can check it out at this link. https://amzn.to/2IhZ18T

  8. carlos shaw on

    made this recipe, worked wonderful. stored the leftovers in a Tupperware container in the fridge for about 2 weeks, now it has a slightly cheesey smell, is it safe to use? I still have about a cup of butter and would hate to waste it

    • It would be hard to tell without smelling it. If it smells bad or rotten I would not chance it, although it should in theory be fine. I generally store it, well wrapped, in the freezer if I am not going to use in a few days, just to be sure. But I have not heard of a cheesy smell.

  9. Daniel Dunn on

    Hi Cheri,

    Thanks for this website. It is very interesting. I had a question regarding the amount of water and butter to use when working with about an ounce and a half of trim. I see you use 4 cups for 1/2 ounce, should I use 12 cups? That sounds like a lot of water. I normally soak my trim in water for about three hours total, changing the water every hour, and giving it a final rinse. I then let it completely dry and then infuse the butter. I have never decarboxylated it before. I just rinsed some and want to try the decarb method to see the difference. Any words of wisdom?

    • The amounts are suggestions, there is no set amount you need to use. it will depend on how strong you want your infusions to be and these are suggestions. The water you don’t have to multiply, an exact amount is not essential as it will be going away in the end product anyway, you just want enough to take away some chlorophyll and green flavor and color. Just add a few inches of water more than your fat.

      Decarbing first will result in more potent edibles, if it is properly decarbed.

      Personally I am not a fan of rinsing in water first. I know some folks are and to each there own. However, I feel you will be losing some terpenes and even trichomes, both which have valuable medicinal effects, and likewise I never use this method.

      • Daniel Dunn on

        Thanks for the quick response. I rinse mine to get all the pesticides off. I will try the next batch without rinsing first. Another thing I do when I make brownies is add 2 teaspoons of baking emulsion to the water and mix it in the batch. You would never know there is cannabis butter in it. Delicious

  10. Tiffany Nicholas on

    I have weed powder. What would be the proper dosage for cooking. I’ve been researching everywhere. I bought it especially for the purpose of baking instead of smoking. The directions say, # of mg used in recipe divided by # of doses = mg dose
    I cant interpret how much is in a dose

  11. stan diamond on

    You speak about using Butter regularly, but I was wondering if it would be better (although more expensive), to use Ghee instead for a potentially healthier product.

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