How to Make Cannabutter Fast

Extractions

Photo by Jonathan Coward/HERB

10 m
prep time
45 m
cook time
55 m
ready time

If you’re having friends over and want to make special brownies, space cakes, or similar, this quick and easy cannabutter recipe is what you need.

Jan 5, 2013 - HERB

Ingredients

1/4 ounce cannabis buds, coarsely ground
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
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Equipment needed to make cannabutter:
Medium saucepan
Blender, food processor, or herb grinder
Wooden ladle
Spoon
Fine metal strainer
Container (with a tight-fitting lid)
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Method

Making cannabis-infused foods is a notoriously slow-going process. Thankfully, if you are hoping to learn how to make cannabutter fast, we've got you covered. Cannabutter is a primary ingredient in many cannabis-infused recipes or edibles. Known as an “extraction”, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive part of cannabis that gets you high – is removed from the cannabis and infused with the butter. The butter from a normal recipe is then substituted with cannabutter. You can use any kind of unsalted butter you like for this recipe, though we find that using high-quality butter provides a better taste. High-quality butter has less water, so you will get a higher yield. We also recommend that you decarboxylate your butter first, to ensure that you are infusing the maximum amount of THC possible into your creamy concoction. Your finished butter will have a green tinge to it because of the cannabis. If you are new to cooking with cannabis, and you’re not sure how much cannabis to use or don’t understand the process, be sure to read through guidelines below to ensure that you've got the basics down before you get started. If you are not careful, cannabutter can easily scorch and develop a bitter flavor. You can also make Cannabutter at home easily and mess-free with the MagicalButter machine, which helps you create fantastic recipes, infusing cannabis easily into butter.

Directions for decarboxylating cannabis for cannabutter

First thing: you need to decarb your herb. Believe it or not, dried cannabis flower does not actually contain high doses of THC. In order to create the psychoactive, you need to expose your cannabis flower to heat to change the cannabinoid from its precursor form, THC acid. This transformation occurs through a process called decarboxylation. Before making cannabutter, it’s extremely important to decarboxylate your bud sample. This process happens automatically during the smoking of cannabis since you heat the herb with the flame from a lighter. Decarboxylating your herb before you cook is a vital step in the process. If you skip decarboxylation, you will be setting yourself up for a depressing surprise when you find your cannabutter has a weak potency. While the name may sound intimating, decarboxylation is easy. Just heat your herb on a baking sheet before adding it to butter! Here are a few simple directions:
  1. Line a flat baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread your coarsely ground herb evenly over the sheet.
  3. Bake your sample at 240°F (115°C) for up to ½ an hour, stirring occasionally and checking on your flower. This will both activate your cannabis and give it a roasted, nutty taste.
This same decarboxylation process applies to other types of cannabis as well. For example, it is also best to decarb CBD strains, decarb concentrates, and decarb stems before infusing them into recipes.

Recipe: how to make cannabutter fast

Once you have activated your flower, it's time to make some butter. While there are several quick and easy ways to make cannabutter, this stove-top Fast Cannabutter method is one of the best for new cannabis chefs:
  1. Transform your coarsely ground and decarboxylated herb into a finely ground (but not pulverized) material using a food processor or blender.
  2. Melt the butter on low heat in a medium saucepan.
  3. Add the finely ground buds to the melted butter a little bit at a time, stirring in between.
  4. Simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching and to properly mix the material. While simmering, you should see start to see small bubbles forming on the surface.
Once simmering is complete, take the mixture off of the heat and pour the hot contents through a strainer. Let the cannabutter cool at room temperature before placing it in the fridge for storage. Once strained, you're ready to cool, store, and cook with your cannabutter! As simple as this recipe sounds, if you want to completely cut down on the hassle and prevent scorching, we recommend the MagicalButter machine, the easiest way to make cannabutter at home.

How to strain cannabutter properly

The simmering processes infuses THC and other cannabis compounds into your into your butter. However, if you want to have a great-tasting butter, you'll need to take out all of the excess plant material. You can strain cannabutter in just two easy steps:
  1. After simmering, strain the butter into your container using a fine metal strainer to filter out the ground buds.
  2. Press the spoon against the ground bud in the metal strainer to squeeze all the cannabutter.
You can also strain cannabutter using several layers of cheesecloth. Simply pour your butter mixture over your cheesecloth and into an appropriate container. Once the butter is separated from the plant material, you can gather the cheesecloth and squeeze gently to remove additional butter. Fair warning: it's best to use gloves for this process. The butter will be hot!

How long does cannabutter last in the fridge?

Regular butter can be safely stored for months in the refrigerator. This is not true for cannabutter. This herb-infused butter can keep for up to one month in the refrigerator if it is properly stored in an air-tight container. However, for those concerned about flavor and quality, three weeks is a better estimate. Keep in mind that the more often you take your butter out of the fridge, the more you reduce its shelf-life. Adding a little salt to the butter while it is cooling may help the butter stay fresh and maintain a good taste while in the refrigerator. You can also store cannabutter in the freezer to extend its shelf life for a couple of weeks. To do this properly, pour your freshly made cannabutter into silicone ice cube trays and let it harden. Once solid, remove the individual butter cubes and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe container. Simply take a cube out of the freeze, unthaw it, and use it to make a fast infused meal.

How to make cannabutter in a slow cooker

Who wouldn't want to be rewarded with some ready-made infused butter after a long day? The slow cooker method is one of the easiest ways to make cannabutter. This method is also one of the best for preventing scorching, which can run the flavor of stove top varieties. Unlike stove top cannabutter methods, this slow cooker recipe uses water to prevent the butter from drying out and to prevent it from burning during the infusion process. To make your cannabutter in a slow cooker, collect the same ingredients as listed above. However, instead of a saucepan, you'll need a few different tools. Materials
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Slow cooker
  • Glass container
  • Fine strainer
Cooking method
  1. Add butter and ground, decarboxylated cannabis to the slow cooker.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of water.
  3. Cook on low for up to three hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. When cooking is completed, pour your cannabutter into a glass container while using a fine strainer to remove plant material.
  5. Allow butter to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
  6. In the refrigerator, the butter will harden and separate from the water. Once this separation occurs, you can lift the butter away from residual water.
  7. Either discard the water or use it to make a mildly infused tea when you are in the mood.

How to make cannabutter with trim

If you grow your own cannabis, chances are you have a lot of extra trim laying around. Don't let it go to waste! It's easy to turn compost into edible riches with cannabutter. The method is simple. Follow the same instructions as listed in the above Fast Cannabutter recipe, with a few tweaks. Here's what to do differently:
  1. Decarboxylate trim for a shorter period of time. Trim is already fairly fine as-is, meaning that it will easily burn if you try to decarb it in the oven. Instead, try decarbing for 20 minutes max, stirring occasionally. If after 10 minutes you notice that your leaves are beginning to turn brown, take the trim out of the oven.
  2. If your leaves are still fairly large, pop your decarboxylated cannabis into a food processor or blender for one quick pulse.
  3. Follow the same cooking directions as above.

How to make cannabutter with stems

Anyone who has ever paid good money for a bag with more stems than trim buds knows the frustration. You can’t smoke twigs. But rather than throw away the timber, you can get your money’s worth another way. Sure most of the THC is in the bud, but those stems? Don’t throw those sticks out! They hold more potential than you think. Save stems in a jar until you have plenty set aside. Once you're ready, you can extract the THC by making butter with everyday kitchen items you probably already have. Here’s what you need:
  • Food processor (cutting with sharp scissors is doable, but tedious and more dangerous to fingers)
  • 1/4 oz stems, shake, kief, or flower (the stems alone will make decent butter, but every bit helps)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup water
  • Stovetop pan or slow cooker
  • Heat-safe glass bowl
  • Fine strainer (cheesecloth works great)
Cooking instructions:
  1. Coarsely chop your dried cannabis stems and follow the instructions for decarboxylation listed above.
  2. Once decarbed, place your stems in an electric grinder or food processor to more finely grind the material. However, it is not necessary to grind stems to a powder.
  3. Next, add your butter and herb to a stovetop pan heated to just above the melting point (ideally 240°F or 115°C). A stovetop cook will take 1 hours. If you prefer the slow cooker method, add the materials to the machine along with a 1/2 cup of water. Turn the slow cooker to the lowest setting and heat for 3 hours.
  4. When the cooking process is through, strain the stems out of the cannabutter and collect the butter into a size-appropriate glass container.
  5. Allow the butter to cool at room temperature before refrigerating.

How to make cannabutter with RSO

Get ready for some potent cannabutter. If you're hoping to up the potency of your butter without extra work, it's easy to infuse cannabutter with RSO. RSO stands for Rick Simpson Oil, but it can also be found under the names full-extract cannabis oil, and phoenix tears. When buying full-extract cannabis oil at a dispensary, chances are it has already been decarboxylated. If it hasn't been activated, the packaging should indicate that it is raw or contains high concentrations of THC acid. If making RSO at home, it is best to decarboxylate your herb via the methods listed above before infusing the plant materials into alcohol. While adding RSO to butter is entirely possible for those interested in making edibles, it is not necessary. For example, activated RSO can easily be added to foods and baked goods without being infused into a fat. However, for those hoping to make cannabutter from this concentrate, there are a few things you can do. Here's how to make cannabutter with RSO:
  1. Place 1/2 stick of butter into a saucepan or double boiler on low heat.
  2. Add your desired dosage of RSO. For example, 2000 milligrams of high potency RSO from a store. If you have made your own RSO at home, it is difficult to determine the potency. You will have to add in your RSO by volume, which means that you will not easily be able to determine the precise dosage.
  3. Stir continuously until both the butter and oil are well-mixed.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool.

How to make cannabutter with wax

Adding wax or shatter to your butter is a sure-fire way to make extremely potent edibles. Making cannabutter from BHO (butane hash oil) is very similar to making cannabutter from RSO. Only, you need to decarboxylate your oil before melting it into your butter. To decarboxylate BHO,  follow these easy steps:
  1. Heat your oven to  240°F (115°C).
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place your BHO in the center of the baking sheet.
  4. Heat your BHO for 20 minutes to decarboxylate. It should spread, thicken, and darken slightly in the oven.
Next, to make your cannabutter, simply add your decarboxylated shatter to butter melted on the stove top on low heat. Heat the mixture only until all the BHO is dissolved, stirring continuously. When everything is melted, pour your infused butter into a heat-safe container and let it cool.

How to flavor cannabutter

There's no way around it, cannabutter has a distinct and polarizing taste. If you don't want your butter to taste like your favorite bud, there are a few tips and tricks that may be helpful. First and foremost, if you want to make cannabutter that actually tastes good, you may want to adjust how you cook the herb. The longer you let your ground herb simmer in hot butter, the stronger the flavor will be. To reduce the amount of cannabis flavor in your butter, simmer on a lower temperature and consider infusing your cannabutter in a double boiler instead of a saucepan. Secondly, most flavorings are added to softened cannabutter after the initial infusion. Flavors then continue to consolidate in the butter over time. Wondering how it works? Here are a couple of examples to get you started.

Recipe: roasted garlic cannabutter

As many herbivores are well aware, cannabis has a distinct herbal taste. Native to central Asia, the herb naturally pairs well with many different herbs, spices, and flavors from the middle eastern and Mediterranean regions. One excellent flavor pairing? Cannabutter and roasted garlic. This recipe calls for both pre-made cannabutter and regular butter. While this cuts the potency of the butter overall, this allows for a lighter flavor and is perfect for enjoying in a social setting. Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup premade cannabutter
  • 1/4 cup plain butter, salted
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Spices of your choice
Cooking instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 360°F (180°C).
  2. Trim off the top 1/3 of a whole head of garlic to expose the inner cloves.
  3. Drizzle olive oil, coarse sea salt, black pepper, and a pinch of any additional desired seasoning over the garlic head.
  4. Wrap the garlic head in foil.
  5. Roast for 30 minutes, or until soft in the center.
  6. Once the garlic has cooled, remove the cloves from the skin and place them into a food processor or blender with your mixture of softened cannabutter and regular butter.
  7. As a bonus, add in a tablespoon or two of sundried tomato pesto for extra flavor.
  8. Scrape the butter into a parchment-lined glass container and refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze for extended shelf life.

Recipe: pesto cannabutter

This recipe is for all of the true herb lovers out there. Fresh, creamy, and with an Italian flare, this simple pesto cannabutter recipe is an excellent addition to pastas, sauces, or simply spread on bread for an extra special snack. Maybe you may even want to pair it with a little fresh sliced tomato and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. To better preserve flavor, this recipe calls for both infused and non-infused butter. To make more potent pesto cannabutter, do not add normal butter to the recipe. However, keep in mind that adding cannabutter alone will create a bitter, herbal taste that resonates more strongly on the back of the tongue. Ingredients:
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic (or less, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (preferably freshly grated)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
  • 1 to 2 lbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup cannabutter, softened
  • 1/2 cup regular butter, salted and softened
Cooking instructions
  1. Process basil, garlic cloves, parmesan cheese, walnuts, and olive oil into a blender or food processor. Add a little salt and pepper to taste if desired.
  2. Next, fold in the softened cannabutter and regular butter and process until smooth and well-combined.
  3. Scrape the butter into a parchment-lined glass container and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Wrap in individual chunks and freeze for prolonged storage and use.

How to find the dosage for cannabutter

Most cannabis consumers can tell you about their first edible experience. Homemade baked goods seem to either miss the mark entirely or deliver the most mind-rocking cannabis experience of your life. In some cases, the tasty treat may be so strong it will put you to sleep. The standard recommended that the standard dose of an edible is 10 milligrams of THC or CBD per serving, but, as many canna cooks know, it's easy to overdo it with infused foods. Fortunately, we have some good news. While many consumers opt for the "just taste and go" method, it is surprisingly simple to calculate a rough estimate of much THC or CBD is in your cannabutter with a little math. Here's what you need to know to calculate the potency of your cannabis butter:
  • the amount of butter used
  • the amount of cannabis used
  • the percentage of THC and/or CBD in your cannabis strain
If you're already a math whiz, here's a sneak peek at some simple equations used to determine the general potency of your cannabutter.

Determine the total milligrams of THC or CBD:

(percentage ÷ 100) X 1000 milligrams = milligrams of THC or CBD in your sample

Determine the dosage of your edible:

(Grams of cannabis ÷ number of servings) X (milligrams of THC or CBD) = dose in milligrams per serving Confused? Don't worry! Here's how these calculations work.

Step 1: Calculating the amount of cannabis used per tablespoon of butter

As an example, we are going to calculate the dosage of a tablespoon of cannabutter using the Fast Cannabutter recipe listed above. This recipe calls for:
  • 1/4 ounce (7 grams) of cannabis
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) of butter
To get the amount of cannabis used to infuse one tablespoon of butter, you simply divide your grams of cannabis by the servings of butter. Written mathematically, the equation looks like this so far: (7g cannabis) ÷ (8 tablespoons butter) = 0.875 grams of cannabis used per tablespoon of butter

Step 2: Calculate milligrams of THC in your flower

While the above number will tell you how much cannabis you are using in each serving, it doesn't tell you how many milligrams of THC are in your butter. To do that, you need to perform another calculation. This is why it is helpful to know the percentage of THC or CBD in the flower you are using. The average cannabis strain contains approximately 10 percent THC, so we'll use that number in this example. However, flower and concentrates purchased at a dispensary will typically report the percentage of CBD and THC on the package. This percentage indicates how much THC is present in one single gram of the cannabis product. One gram is equal to 1000 milligrams. Here's where math comes in handy. Before you can calculate the potency of your edible, you need to figure out how many milligrams of THC you are adding to your butter. You do this by converting the percentage of THC per gram into total milligrams. Assuming that the cannabis you are using contains 10 percent THC, here's what the calculation would look like: (10 percent ÷ 100) X 1000 milligrams = 100 milligrams of total THC

Step 3: How to calculate the dosage of edibles

Now that we've got the first two calculations down, you can figure out the dosage of your cannabutter.  Here's what the full calculation looks like for the Fast Cannabutter recipe: (7 grams cannabis) ÷ (8 tablespoon butter) = 0.875 grams of cannabis per table tablespoon of butter. (10 percent ÷ 100) X 1000 milligrams= 100 milligrams of total THC (0.875 grams per tablespoon) X (100 milligrams of THC) = 87.5 milligrams of THC per tablespoon of butter. If you're using our Fast Cannabutter recipe with cannabis that contains around 10 percent THC, you can expect each tablespoon of butter to contain around 87.5 milligrams of the psychoactive. That's some potent stuff! If you're using some top-shelf flower that contains around 20 percent THC, that number goes up to a whopping 175 milligrams per tablespoon. These simple calculations can give you a ballpark estimate regarding the potency of your edibles. Yet, it's important to note that these numbers are not exact. For best results, it is useful to assume that there is actually less THC and CBD in your cannabutter than you would expect based on this data. This equation assumes that all of the THC or CBD in your flower has been infused into your butter. In reality, only a portion of what is on the flower actually gets infused. For example, some of these active compounds have been lost with heating. More still may be clinging to the plant matter that you've strained out of the butter or were never fully decarboxylated in the first place. Butter also reduces in volume as it's headed, skewing the numbers even further. Still, if you want to figure out whether you've made an earth-shattering cannabutter or a boring lack-luster herb spread before taking a bite, a little bit of math is your best bet.

How to make perfect cannabutter in 4 easy steps

If you are hoping to cut down on the time, effort, and patience needed to make high-quality cannabutter, it may be wise to invest in an automated herb-infuser like the MagicalButter Machine. Since the MagicalButter® Botanical Extractor™ burst onto the scene in 2012, the art of cooking with cannabis has never been the same. The machine automates the conversion of cannabis to edible form with microprocessor-controlled ease and precision. Consistently perfect cannabutter for making edibles or “medibles” is now available to anyone—at a minimum of effort. Here are four steps to making the perfect butter with a MagicalButter Machine.

Step 1: Decarboxylation

Before proceeding, it’s extremely important to decarboxylate your bud sample with heat, in order to activate THC. As mentioned above, don’t skip this vital process! You will be setting yourself up for a depressing surprise; even your highest-quality cannabis contains essentially zero THC until you decarb it. Why find out the hard way? That’s already been done for you.

Step 2: Make cannabutter from clarified butter

While your herbs are decarboxylating, it is a good time to clarify your butter. Clarified butter is also called drawn butter. It’s important to use drawn or clarified butter for your weed recipes because hard, cold butter sticks can never go into the MagicalButter machine. Also, removing the watery whey and milk solids from melted butter yields a richer extract with improved consistency and flavor. Simply melt your hard butter in a saucepan over low heat until it divides into three layers: a large layer of clarified golden butterfat sandwiched between two thin layers of white milkfat. Then, skim off and discard the foamy top layer, and slowly decant the yellow layer into a container, taking care to leave behind the water and whey in the bottom. That yellow butterfat is clarified butter, the starting point for making MagicalButter. The end product will turn to a healthy green tint, owing to the chlorophyll in the plant. Any kind of unsalted butter you like is acceptable, though fancy Irish butter usually leads to a better infusion: Better butter has less water content, yielding more infusible butterfat.

Step 3: Put everything together

  1. Place the ingredients inside your MagicalButter Machine, and secure the head.
  2. Temperature button and select 160°F/71°C; then press the
  3. Strain your cannabutter (see below).
The MagicalButter machine will cook, chop, grind, stir, and steep your infusion, automatically extracting the important phytonutrients and healthy herbal richness from cannabis into your butter—with digital accuracy that is consistently reproducible from batch to batch.

Step 4: Strain your stuff

When the cycle is complete, the Botanical Extractor™ beeps to alert you that your extract is ready. Simply pour the cannabutter into the reusable nylon PurifyFilter™ bag, holding it over your container while wearing the silicone LoveGlove™ to keep your hand safe from the hot contents of the machine. Congratulations! You are now set to introduce the health-enhancing “zest” of cannabis to almost any recipe! Sauces, side dishes, weed brownies…the sky’s not even the limit. Experiment! Want more? Check out this super brief video below to see how to create infused cannabutter in the Botanical Extractor™ with ridiculous ease. And that’s not all the magic you can make in a Magical Butter machine. Check out these 10 Things You Never Thought to Make With Cannabis.

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