Photography by Frank Lawlor

How To Make Cannabutter

Before cannabis can be used in a recipe, it must be activated or decarboxylated to maximize all of its benefits. Traditionally, decarbing meant heating the buds at a low temperature for two to three hours in the oven. This method, however, can destroy flavor and lead to bitterness.

Decarbing sous vide, on the other hand, eliminates the unevenness of the old school method and preserves the floral and fragrant flavors known as terpenes. Choose a strain of cannabis for characteristics that complement or contrast with your recipes. Like wine, the attributes are wide ranging, from sweet and earthy to citrusy and berry-like. Also consider the desired effect; certain strains are championed for their anti-inflammatory abilities while others are known for maintaining focus or even reducing appetite. A dispensary budtender can steer you in the right direction.

  • Immersion stick circulator
  • 3.5 grams of cannabis flower, about ⅛ ounce
  • 3 tablespoons distilled water
  • 1 vacuum-sealable bag
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, preferably high quality organic, grass-fed (Kerry Gold)
  • Sieve
  • Stainless Steel Pan – larger (immersion stick)
  • Stainless Steel Pan -small (for butter heating)
  • Stainless Steel bowl
  • Rubber Spatula

Step 1

Set the immersion circulator to 200° F and place in a medium-sized saucepan filled with water.

Grind the cannabis buds into small pieces and place in the vacuum bag with the distilled water. Using the vacuum sealer, seal the bag completely. When the circulator reaches 200° F, drop the sealed bag into the water and decarb for 30 minutes. Rotate the bag every 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 2

Transfer the bag to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and to preserve the terpenes; cool. Heat butter in a small saucepan, add cannabis and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often. Turn off the heat and steep for another 30 minutes.

Step 3

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a shallow container with an air-tight lid. Keep refrigerated and use within 30 days.

  • Active Time: 50 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 tablespoons, about 43 mg THC per 1 tablespoon based on a 20 percent THC strain.

Recipe by David Yusefzadeh