How to Make Cannabutter, According to an Expert on Edibles

A beginner-friendly guide to making weed butter at home.

April  7, 2023
Photo by Rocky Luten

Over the past decade, I’ve become an expert on cannabis-infused food products, aka edibles. Years ago, I taught myself how to infuse my own confections and since then, I’ve cooked with top chefs on VICE’s stony cooking show Bong Appétit.

I’ve picked up many techniques and tips along the way, but one of the first things I discovered on my magical, edible journey: The effect feels entirely different from smoking a joint. I realized this pretty quickly after baking my first infused apple pie, emptying an entire jar of cannabutter into my homemade crust. Roughly one hour post-devouring a massive slice—and scrounging for the best caramelized, gooey bits stuck to the pan—it hit me all at once (and not in a good way).

Naturally, this is something you want to avoid when making and enjoying edibles at home. The key to this starts with cannabutter, which is butter that’s been melted and steeped with activated weed. Just about any fat (olive oil, coconut oil, etc.) can be infused with weed, but cannabutter is the most iconic. You can bake and cook with cannabutter (also called weed butter) to infuse all sorts of recipes—from fudgy brownies (a classic choice) to the best spaghetti sauce ever.

While the concept is simple, the process is—by necessity—a methodical one, meaning you’ll want to pay close attention to the steps and quantities at every turn, as well as the dosing. You’ll also want to make sure you have access to quality weed from a trusted source (living in a state where it's legally distributed helps).

I had the opportunity to get my cannabutter recipe down to an exact science via CW Analytical*, a California-based quality assurance testing lab for cannabis products. I worked with their team to run a series of cannabutter experiments (we collected data on four different variables, including butter infusion) and found the most efficient method.

So whether you’re an edible newbie or a seasoned canna-sseur, here’s a step-by-step guide to making weed butter at home, with tips along the way on improving its flavor, using it once it’s ready, and making sure you’re dosing carefully.

Step 1: Gather a few tools & ingredients

In order to make cannabutter at home, you’ll need a few tools and ingredients—some are probably already lying around your kitchen, others you may need to specially stock up on.

For the decarboxylation (more on what that means in a minute):

  • 1 gram of quality cannabis flower
  • Parchment-lined baking sheet
  • Scissors (optional)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Grinder

For making the cannabutter:

  • Unsalted butter (use the amount of butter your infused recipe calls for)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Small saucepan
  • Candy thermometer
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Food-safe storage container

Step 2: Use High-Quality Weed

As any chef will tell you, ingredients matter. Whether you’re using a stash rediscovered during your 10-year high school reunion (which will impart a soporific effect) or high-quality weed straight from a dispensary, it will have an impact on the potency and flavor of the final cannabutter.

Most edibles traditionally use cannabutter made with trim or shake, which are the leaves trimmed from the cannabis flowers after harvesting. However, trim and shake have more plant matter, which means they have more chlorophyll; more chlorophyll equals more bitterness in the final product.

Personally, I prefer to cook with hash (also called hashish) or grinder kief, a concentration of the crystal-laden resin in weed. But for simplicity’s sake, start with one gram of quality cannabis flower—this refers to the part of the cannabis plant that has been cultivated, harvested, dried, and cured for smoking.

While a lot of pre-packaged edibles, like the kinds you can buy premade at a dispensary, use the terms “indica” (which refers to a body high) or “sativa” (an active high), that’s more or less a marketing ploy. Why? The terpenes (essential oils of plants) that steer the effects that different strains of weed have on you (body high versus active high) don’t have the same chemical interaction in edible form.

So, when purchasing at the dispensary, focus on the THC and CBD ratios. Below is more information about what both of these do chemically, but here's a general rule of thumb: For a balanced high, I recommend looking for a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD—this means that for every one milligram of THC there is one milligram of CBD.

If you have a few options to choose from, follow your nose for citrus (limonene), herbal (myrcene), and peppery (caryophyllene) terpenes, then consider whether those flavors pair with the recipe you’re planning to make with the cannabutter.

Step 3: Preheat Your Weed

In its raw form, weed is non-psychoactive. Raw or live cannabis contains the cannabinoids THCA and CBDA. Sound familiar? Remove the A and you have THC (the chemical that gets you high) and CBD (which isn’t psychoactive).

To convert the THCA to THC (and CBDA to CBD), just add heat and time. This process is called decarboxylation. When you light a joint or burn a bowl, you’re decarboxylating the weed, which kickstarts its effects. The higher the heat, the faster the reaction. But when making cannabutter for edibles, using too much heat can produce a taste like burnt popcorn.

There is more than one way to decarboxylate weed, but an oven is the most efficient. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Heat the oven to 245°F.
  2. Break up the flower into smaller pieces using your hands to expose more surface area to the heat; the pieces should break off like florets of broccoli.
  3. Bundle the broken-up flowers in parchment. Wrap this parchment pouch in foil or place it in an airtight, oven-safe silicone bag (I use Stasher). Place in a small baking dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. (After 20 minutes, roughly 70 percent of the THCA will be converted to THC; after 30 minutes, 80 percent. If this is your first time making cannabutter, I’d recommend a cook time that’s on the lower end of the range.)
  4. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and let the flowers cool at room temperature.
  5. Grind the decarboxylated, cooled flowers using a grinder before moving on to making the cannabutter. They should be ground to a medium-course consistency—like coffee, not espresso. Use the decarbed, ground cannabis right away.

Step 4: Infuse the Butter

Just like choosing high-quality weed is important, so is choosing your butter. I like to use good, unsalted butter. There’s no need for a fancy-schmancy beurre de baratte, but a high-fat, European-style unsalted butter does the trick.

Onto the infusion process: Many cannabutter recipes out there tend to go a bit overboard in this department. Most call for the already-decarboxylated weed to steep in the butter for a long time—anywhere from two to four hours. This certainly infuses the fat with cannabinoids, but it also pulls the chlorophyll and other “green” flavors from the weed, which negatively impact the taste.

Our experiment in the CW Analytical lab found that 80 to 90 percent of cannabinoids (that’s THC and CBD) infused in the butter after 45 minutes to one hour. And brown butter, which makes everything taste better, had an infusion rate of just six minutes due to the higher heat (without any degradation of the cannabinoids).

If you’re making brown cannabutter, you can go from decarb to infused butter in about 30 minutes—that breaks down to 20 or 25 minutes to decarboxylate the weed, plus 6 minutes or so to brown the butter (then it’s ready to strain and set in the fridge). Infused brown butter and bourbon banana bread, here you come.

Ready to make cannabutter? Here the best method for infusing standard butter on the stovetop:

  1. To a small saucepan (or a DIY double boiler—a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water), add your decarboxylated, ground weed, the amount of butter in your recipe, plus 1/4 cup of water (this helps replace the water that will evaporate).
  2. Heat at a low simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, using your candy thermometer to make sure the temperature does not exceed 190°F.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a food-safe container. (Cheesecloth works too, but it soaks up a lot of precious butter.)
  4. Cover and let the butter set in the fridge, then pour off any remaining water.

Step 5: Cook With Your Cannabutter

Now that your cannabutter is activated and infused, it’s ready to use. Just keep in mind that the shelf life is shorter than regular butter—about one to two weeks if it’s tightly wrapped. So bake or cook with it (using the same amount of butter the recipe calls for) as soon as possible. You can also freeze it for up to six months. I like to keep a log of infused cookie dough in the freezer and slice off one cookie’s worth to bake before bedtime every night.

Most edible recipes skip an important note: A significant amount of decarboxylation occurs in the oven while the cookie, brownie, or other edible is baking. We tested my Aunty Yo’s approach—which is to take store-bought cookie dough and simply mix in raw, ground weed—at the CW Analytical lab. We found that the THC activated up to 35 percent. That’s why we only decarboxylate the weed for 20 to 30 minutes—because the cannabutter’s potency will further increase as the edible itself bakes or cooks.

Step 6: Easy Dose It

Properly dosing can be tricky for homemade, and even commercially manufactured, edibles. There are a lot of variables to consider, like the potency of your weed, the inevitable loss of weed during the process, and the exact yield of a recipe. My advice? Always eat less of an edible than you think you need. If it’s your first time making them, start with half of a serving to figure out whether the dose is right for you.

Never eat more of an edible without knowing the relative potency and your tolerance—this will ensure you have a positive experience, which is why you’re here in the first place, right?

No matter what, wait at least one to two hours to start feeling the effects of the edible. Two hours might seem like a long time, but because everyone's body chemistry is different, it can take that long. Whatever you do, don’t take more of the edible after just 30 or 45 minutes if you’re not feeling something yet.

If you live in a legal state, you can find out the exact percentage of the THC and CBD in the weed you’re buying to help gauge the potency, but according to Leafly, an average potency is hard to pinpoint.

It takes a little bit of math to figure out the exact dosing/serving size you should start with, but it’s important to do it, no matter what type of edible you’re making. Here’s an example:

  • 1 gram of weed that is 15 percent THCA will have 150 milligrams of THCA.
  • I recommend a starting dose of 2.5 to 5 milligrams THC.
  • 1 gram of weed in 2 dozen cookies breaks down like this: 150 milligrams THC in the total batch divided by 24 cookies = 6.25 milligrams of THC per cookie.
  • Start with ½ of a cookie, wait 1 to 2 hours to feel the effects, then decide if you want to try a bit more (I’d recommend adding no more than ¼ of the cookie at a time).

Keep in mind that 100 percent conversion to THC is impossible, since there is always loss during the decarboxylation, infusion, and cooking processes. Just remember to plan ahead and have some non-infused snacks to munch on once you’ve enjoyed your edible—and don’t forget to set a timer to know how long it’s been since you took it.

Our Best Cannabutter Recipes

Eager to make cannabutter but not exactly sure what to do with it? Lucky for you, we’ve got options, from classic cannabis brownies to a snacky, seasoned popcorn that’s herbaceous in more ways than one.

1. Teeny-Tiny Cannabis Cookies

These cookie sandwiches contain a very low dose of THC (only 3 milligrams for one cookie sandwich, or two cookies), meaning they’re ideal for those who are new to the at-home edibles game.

2. Cannabutter Popcorn With Ranch Seasoning

The ranch seasoning on this popcorn includes dried parsley, dill, chives, onion powder, garlic powder, and powdered buttermilk. Not only do these punchy, tangy, allium-heavy flavors taste good on their own—they also mask the flavor of the weed itself, which is an added bonus.

3. Double Chocolate Weed Brownies

Cannabis brownies are maybe the most iconic of all the edibles. These ones are super fudgy, thanks to the inclusion of chopped dark chocolate and molasses.

4. Cannabis Coconut Oil

Butter not your thing? Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. Coconut oil provides the perfect base for plant-based edibles and any number of savory applications.

This article has been updated in April 2023 to include more of our favorite cannabis-infused recipes. *Note: CW Analytical is permanently closed at the time of this update.

Do you have any questions about the infusion process? Let us know in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Tina
  • Jeremy202
  • Jennifer
  • golf
  • CatalinaEmerson
Vanessa Lavorato

Written by: Vanessa Lavorato


Tina April 20, 2024
Is it okay to use vegan butter with this recipe? I would think it's okay since it is still fat but I was hoping you would know for sure. I'd hate to waste perfectly good weed if it is avoidable. :). Thanks!
Jeremy202 January 12, 2024
Hi Vanessa I really enjoy this recipe and have used a lot but I’d like to decarb and make canna butter via sous vide to reduce smell. Other sous vide recipes call for way longer cooking times e.g 4-8 hours and I have used your short methods that have worked for me, could I use this for sous vide or does sous vide mean longer Cooking times for both decarb and butter infusion. Thanks!
Vanessa L. January 12, 2024
Hi Jeremy,

Thank you! I understand your dilemma. You can sous-vide the butter but a big part of the process of getting trichomes into the fat requires agitation. I don’t have exact times for a sous vide butter, but I would say 2 hours maximum. You’ll extract a lot of potency in hot melted butter within 30 seconds so 4 to 8 hours is overkill.

Decarb sous vide you will need to burp the bag so not sure it will help with minimizing the smell very much.

I’m writing about all of this for my forthcoming book How to Eat Weed and Have a Good Time for Simon Element.

Happy baking 😘
Jennifer July 10, 2023
Hi Vanessa, Can you please explain why you wrap the weed in parchment and then foil before heating in the oven to decarb? Could you just place the weed on a silicon baking mat instead and heat at 245 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes? Thanks.
Vanessa L. July 10, 2023
Hi! You want to reduce the oxygen and protect the weed from blasts of oven heat. The parchment makes it so the resin won’t stick. Please join The Edibles Club for more info: www.patreon.com/ediblesclub
Jennifer July 10, 2023
Got it! Thank you very much.
golf May 4, 2023
CatalinaEmerson April 10, 2023
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dwih9187 March 14, 2023
So nice recipe and helpfuly

Jam slot gacor

dwih9187 March 14, 2023
dude M. February 21, 2023
Sometimes it can take up to three hours to simmer. These dumbasses don't know shit.
Vanessa L. April 9, 2023
Hi! I did lab testing, do you have some that says otherwise? I’m always excited to hear new science on edible making, but no need for name calling xo
Jo February 15, 2023
I'm planning on using grinder kief, decarbing in the oven & infusing it in ghee. Any tips on that?
Vanessa L. February 16, 2023
Hi Jo! Great question! Follow me here and stay tuned xo
Warchicken January 21, 2023
Can you put fine ground straight weed in like a brownie recipe? Do you have to make it into butter to cook with it?
Vanessa L. January 21, 2023
Yes! That’s what my Aunty Yo does. I usually do that for things like meatballs that have a lot of herbs. But yes, grind it fine, throw it in, have a good time xo
Mike January 8, 2023
Hello , i utilise the methode sousvide for my butter . End its great .
Babydro27 November 19, 2022
Somewhat random question. Can you use the leftover flower for anything? This is what's left after straining the butter.
Vanessa L. January 21, 2023
Throw it into meatballs!
gregg M. November 7, 2022
I've been using cannabis since '73 & have a high tolerance.
Cannabutter works great but the taste is HORRENDOUS!!!
Using cinnamon to mask the taste but its not doing too good.
Would anyone have any suggestions on what to use to mask the awful taste?

And yes, I wash the cannabutter anywhere from 3 to 4 times.
Smaug November 7, 2022
A combination of peanut butter and chocolate works fairly well.
gregg M. November 7, 2022
THANK You I appreciate that....will try it tomorrow.
[email protected] November 21, 2022
When you make your cannabutter, make it very strong. Don’t forget you only have to cook it at 190* for 45 mins. Using more weed and making it stronger allows you to use less in your recipes. Allowing you to just use regular butter, thus enhancing the flavor because there isn’t as much chlorophyll in it.
gregg M. November 29, 2022
Thank You drewalles.
Right now I'm experimenting with maybe 14g to 3 sticks or 3/4lb of unsalted butter.
I water-cured it for 3 days and most of the bad taste is gone. Changed water once daily....you can water-cure for longer, I just wanted to get it done.
gregg M. November 29, 2022
EDIT: 11-29-22

Am having success with WATER-CURING before the decarb step as I put 14g in a 12oz jar, filled with water, changing it once a day for 3 days but it should be done a few days longer maybe, I just wanted to get it done.
I won't taste it until tonight
but I KNOW most of that horrible smell is gone so things are looking good.
Vanessa L. January 21, 2023
Make canna-oil it takes 15 minutes to infuse or better yet use kief or hash. No need to infuse, decarb and homogenize into any fat or cook directly into food.
Bevi April 9, 2023
Gregg - I make the brownies linked to the article. I cannot detect even a smidge of cannabis in the taste.
boulangere April 9, 2023
Now I really wish I lived next door to you.
Tash74 September 30, 2022
I have 200g of leaf and want to make butter with it.
Do I just use all of it and follow the recipe as though it's bud?
Vanessa L. January 21, 2023
Do you mean fan leaves or sugar leaf? Fan leaves have little to no thc. I would make cold water hash with sugar leaf and cook with that. The more plant matter the more green bitter flavor.
Tash74 January 21, 2023
A mix of both but mostly fan leaves.
I used the whole lot in a 500g butter mix then used 125g of that butter in brownies, I couldn't move off the lounge for hours, it was so damn strong hahaha
Joaquim August 19, 2022
Vanessa, could you please clarify the browned butter process?
We should start browning the butter already together with the decarb weed?
Vanessa L. January 21, 2023
I have The Edibles Club coming back soon on Patreon. Please consider joining.
Weeeeeeeeedy August 16, 2022
Couldn’t find the actual ratio here of flower to butter..?
Vanessa L. January 21, 2023
there is no set ratio. it depends on the servings in a recipe and the potency of the flower used. This is how to make canna butter.
Cathy K. May 30, 2023
I’ve experimented and I like a ratio of 1 ounce of weed to 1 1/2 cups of butter.