How to Make Marijuana Butter – 4 Easy, No-Fail Methods 

By  Cheri Sicard

 April 24, 2020

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 bind it to food.  Likewise cannabis-infused butter or marijuana-infused oils are the backbones of many medicated foods.  With these staples stored in your refrigerator, or better yet your freeze you’re always ready to cook with cannabis.

How to Save Money When Making Cannabis Butter

How to Prepare Marijuana for Cooking

You can cook with any kind of marijuana from trimmings to flowers when making weed butter.

There is no need to cook with top-shelf marijuana.  Those top-shelf strains are used priced that way because of their terpenes.  As many of these volatile compounds will be cooked off in the process of making edibles, it doesn't make sense to pay extra for them in this instance.

If your purveyor offers "shake" the marijuana world equivalent of the crumbs at the bottom of a bag of potato chips, check it out.  Shake (pictured above) is sold for far less than pretty buds but it can still be mighty potent.  Check out this link for more information about Shake.

If you grow your own, these are plenty of cannabinoid-rich trichomes left on your trimmings, especially the small "sugar leaves" that surround the flowers, and they make excellent cooking material.  Of course the quality of the plant matters, but if you grow great cannabis, don't waste those trimmings!

You can even make marijuana butter with old weed, although the effects of the edibles made from this may be a little different.  Different is NOT necessarily bad, in many cases these effects are desirable, such as pain reduction and better sleep.  Read more details about cooking with old cannabis here.

Dosing for Marijuana Butter

You will need to adjust the amount of cannabis used to make butter depending on the potency of the plant and what parts of it you are using.  Check out the Dosing Dilemmas page for additional information on how to determine dosing in your cannabis butter and edibles.

For this article and others on this website, 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.

For the base dose calculations for recipes on this site, I am assuming you are using 14 grams of 10%THC cannabis to make 1 cup of butter.

If that sounds confusing to you, no worries, I have a FREE online dosing class that explains all. Sign up here. And if you don't like doing math, my invaluable Dosing Calculators (the best $5.00 you'll ever spend) do all the math for you, calculate the per serving dose of your homemade edibles (even if you are not using lab-tested cannabis), and make it simple to adjust dosages to your needs before you make your edibles.  No more dosing surprises.  Check out the dosing calculators here.

Let's Make Some Marijuana Butter!To Make About 1 Cup Marijuana Butter at the dose tested on this site (see links above to adjust for YOUR NEEDS):

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 1/2 ounce (14 grams) average quality decarboxylated dried bud

4 Foolproof Methods for Making Cannabis Butter

Marijuana Butter and Oil Infusions made by different methods in the Marijuana Cooking Course for Home Cooks

There are many roads that will bring you to the same destination.  Likewise, there are even more ways than what is listed below to make marijuana butter.

When it comes to gadgets, you don't need any.  But if you want one, the only gadget I personally recommend is the Ardent Nova or Ardent FX.  These invaluable tools perfectly decarboxylate your cannabis and make infusions like marijuana butter, oil, honey, etc.  Yes, there are other marijuana butter making kitchen machines out there, but in my opinion they have design or functionality flaws that them undesirable.  I do love my Ardent Nova and Ardent FX though and when cooking for myself they are always the method I use these days as it's just so easy.

Gadgets aside, you should never wait to start cooking with cannabis until you have a special gadget.  If you have an ordinary kitchen with pots and pans, or a slow cooker, you already have everything you need.  Check out the first two tutorials below:

More help with Cannabis Butter and other Marijuana Infusions

My comprehensive online course Easy Cannabis Cooking for Home Cooks has a large module that includes detailed lessons and demonstrations on marijuana butter, oil, honey, dairy products, sugar, and tinctures.

Odor Reducing Tips When Making Marijuana Butter

How to Improve the Flavor of Marijuana Edibles - Making Marijuana Oil


Depending on how you make it, creating cannabis butter can be quite fragrant.  Stovetop and even some slow cooker methods are NOT DISCREET!

What can you do if you prefer NOT to broadcast your cannabis cooking activities to the entire neighborhood?  Relax, here are a few suggestions.

One option that a lot of people already own is to use an Instant Pot or other multicooker set to the slow cooker setting.  No odor until you open the lid.  If you don't already own an Instant Pot, you'll want one even for noncannabis cooking as it can work as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and more.  But they are also terrific for making odor-free marijuana butter and oil.

Another option is by Hamilton Beach, who makes a line of slow cookers (pictured above) that are great for reducing cooking odors when making marijuana butter or 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 necessarily 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.

If you like to make small batches of marijuana oil, consider investing in the Ardent Lift Decarboxylator picture below) or its big brother the FX.  Not only do these special cannabis cooking gadgets take all the guesswork out of decarboxylation, you can actually make small batches of infusions right in them.  Learn more and watch the video demonstration at this link.

And as of 2020 Ardent came out with the Nova's big brother the FX, which is capable of infusing much larger batches than their original Nova, so if you like to make larger batches you will want the FX, if you make small amounts of butter at once, either one will do.

marijuana infusions in the Ardent Lift

What To Do with the Leftover Plant Material After Infusing?

The short answer is, bless and let it go!  If you did a good job at making butter, you have already extracted what you need.  There is, however, definitely something you should NOT do with it.  See the link below for one of my most embarrassing stories from when I first learned to cook with cannabis.

For more details about what (and what not) to do with leftover plant material, check out this link.

Draining and Straining Cannabis Butter and Other Marijuana Infusions

Draining and straining cannabutter

The most traditional method of draining marijuana butter is to place a cheesecloth lined strainer over a large pot or bowl and strain the liquid through this.

Details of draining and straining infusions made with water in the mix are detailed on that tutorial page.

A lot of folks find the colander and cheesecloth method amessy and cumbersome endeavor.  They are not entirely wrong.  There is a better way.  Check out this link for 3 easier and mess-free ways to strain butter.

Photos showing easy ways to drain and strain marijuana infusions.


Storing Cannabis Butter

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. Check out this link for more details about freezing cannabis butter, marijuana oil or even finished edibles.

Congratulations!  Choose one of the methods above, make some butter and you’re now ready to start cooking with canna-butter!

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  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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/

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

      • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

    • Stan, I have switched to organic Ghee for making cannabutter. There’s no salt to retard absorbtion, no milk solids to mess with removing, and it tastes pretty darn good too!.

  • Hello,
    First of all thank you for sharing this, I came across so many articles and yours was the one that answered all my question. That being said, I am planning on using the cannabutter to make mac and cheese. Will I be able to taste the weed or will the mac and cheese taste any different? Also, how long does it take to make this cannabutter using the stove method, considering the strainings and all? I don´t have a slow cooker.
    Thank you

  • Cheri, thank you for being such a vital advocate on edibles. I’m thinking of brown butter bud cookie recipe development however I’m concerned the cooking process to brown the butter will decrease the medicinal quality. Any thoughts?

    • It sounds delicious. The trick will be to brown the butter without it getting too hot (THC breaks down completely by 392 but starts to degrade before that). If you can brown by cooking at a lower temperature for a longer time that might work. The other option is to add the medication via another route than butter, say by stirring in decarbed hash, kief or hash oil, or alternately by infusing the sugar (directions in The Easy Cannabis Cookbook — https://amzn.to/2xKtn0l or in my online cooking course at http://www.Cannademy.com).

  • Hi cheri. Thankyou for your excellent post. I have made canabutter overnight for about 6 hours and have had to take it off the heat and refrigerate it, I also used to burrito method (wrapped in muslin cloth and simmered in the butter) is it ok to bring back up to heat so I can take out the muslin cloth and strain it properly. Or will this kill the canabnoids?

  • I’ve noticed that all recipes for making butter, call for using unsalted butter. Does it have to be unsalted, and if so, why?

    • Unsalted butter is recommended, as it is more versatile in cooking — you can always add salt but you can’t take it out. Likewise, most chefs default to unsalted butter. That said, you can infuse salted butter and still get great results.

  • Quick question: everything I read states to strain the butter. I like the flavor of the plant material in the butter. Is that a bad thing? Am I a bad person? 😉

    • I don’t have enough information to definitively say if you are a good or bad person, BUT, liking the flavor of the weed doesn’t make you a bad person. Just unusual, as most people don’t. If you don’t want to strain your butter, don’t, although that might present some textural challenges, depending on what you want to make with it.

  • I have been saving my kief for a while and I want to make some kief infused olive oil to be used in salad dressings, etc. I can’t seem to find a basic recipe for this. Can you help?

    • I should do a separate recipe for this, but you would infuse much the same way you would with flowers EXCEPT that there is no need to drain. So, decarboxylate the kief, infuse in a slow cooker, over a covered double boiler or in a Mason Jar set on a clean kitchen towel in a pot of simmering water. However, know that you don’t necessary need to make an infusion with kief at all, you can just decarb it and stir this into any number of recipes. Thanks for the suggestion and I will try to do an article on this. In the meantime, there is more info about working with kief and has at this page.

      https://www.cannabischeri.com/food/cooking-basics/cooking-with-cannabis-concentrates-kief-and-hash/

  • Hi Cheri,

    I want to use a mason jar instead of a slow cooker. Should I put the flowers, butter and water in the jar and then let it sit in a pot of boiling water?

    • Yes. I am going to add instructions for this on the website, but you’ve essentially got it. Place a folded up kitchen towel in the pot, add water, and set the Mason jar on top of the towel (this keeps the bottom from getting too hot). I close the jar loosely and check it every now and then to make sure pressure is not building up and to stir the contents. This is a convenient way to infuse and I find it’s especially great when doing small amounts.

  • When making infused butter is there any THC left in the discarded plant material. Also, is there any THC in the discarded water? Finally, can the two discarded materials mentioned above be used simply for flavouring? There definitely is some if not quite a bit of flavouring left in both items that could possibly be used in other recipes.

    • THC is fat soluble, so it is not in the water, but you could use it to water plants I guess. The cooked plant material has a little, but not very much. Think of that like you would coffee grounds or tea bags after you have made coffee or tea, you got what you needed from it. Bless it and let it go!

      As far as flavor, most people are trying to avoid the flavor of cannabis, not put more in, so not sure what the point of that would be.

  • Hello. Where would you suggest getting testing done on recipes and products to find out exactly what chemicals are in a particular item?

    • It depends where you live. There might be good labs. Ask edibles producers or growers in your area.

      That said, lab testing, at this point in time, is not a viable option for most home cooks. Not only is it expensive, but you also have to sacrifice a fair amount of your product in order to get it tested. Also, finding a good, reliable lab is like a needle in a haystack, as there is no regulation, so results can vary widely.

  • Ok! Have 2 oz of dry iced keif . Want to make a long term , storage friendly candy with it. Am completely lost on a recipe , as well as, a moderate dosage for each batch. Please help.

    • I have no idea what a “moderate” dose is for you. As I state on this site over, and over, and over again, THERE IS NO SUCH THING A SINGLE GIVEN OPTIMAL DOSE!!!!! Everyone is different and not just a little different, DRASTICALLY different. I know this is not the easy answer you want to hear, but it is the truth. I have no idea what kind of a dose you need and neither do the politicians legislating dosage limits. The 10 mg cap they put on commercial edibles will be too much for some people, while 100 mgs will not be enough for others. So, to start out with, you need to determine what your optimal dosage is. This article can help you do that.
      https://www.cannabischeri.com/food/cooking-basics/how-much-marijuana-how-to-determine-your-ideal-cannabis-dosage/

      After you know that, head on over to my free dosing class, which can help you adjust recipes. I go more into dosing with concentrates in the advanced class and in my comprehensive course, but figure the THC % of kief between 40-60% depending on quality and you will be able to use the calculator in the free class.
      http://www.Cannademy.com

  • Is there a reason to cook the oil and cannabis more then once ? EG: let it cool , without straining , then cook it again for several hours .
    I have heard of the process being done 3 – 4 times , then stain and proceed . So far I have only cooked and then strained once , is there a benefit to do this process more then once ?
    Thanks ahead for the reply , and all the great info you have on your page.

  • Hello Cheri!

    Your site is pretty much the best for getting great data both from you and from your other guests! I really appreciate that you have put this together to share your expanding knowledge and experience. Scrolling thru the comments today I came upon some really interesting information to consider but I was looking for something I did not see here. Perhaps this is just a really dumb question but here goes. If I start with 14 grams of cannabis, lab tested at 16.5 % THC, and I decarb the entire amount and make an infusion with the entire amount do I calculate the potency from the 14 grams before decarb or from the 13 grams it weighs after the decarb? But if I decarb and store the activated plant material for infusing into different items on another day I would calculate the potency from the weight of what I have on hand for each individual infusion recipe. So, I’m thinking that I should calculate the potency on the 13 gram weight but wouldn’t the compounds be present from the 14 gram weight?