You heard it here first: there is no better way to get into cannabis-infused eating and edibles than through using cannabis cooking oil. From cannabutter to infused olive oil, with infused fats you can eliminate smoke and add more cannabis to your life in one awesome move.
The trouble is that cannabis infusion can be challenging—and even intimidating—if it’s new to you. Many of us retreat to the old familiar joint, but it is well worth your time to give this a shot.
In this post we’ll cover how to make cannabis cooking oils, what kinds to make, and why you should.
Cannabis edibles impart a much different experience from inhaled cannabis. Sure, those effects are slower to hit you, but they are also longer-lasting and stronger.
And you can still microdose with edibles! Cannabis-infused cooking oils are excellent for this, because they are an essential piece of all kinds of recipes.
You can get just a taste of your infused canola oil or peanut oil if you use it to fry or saute. You can get more of a dose from your cannabis EVOO or walnut oil if it’s in your salad dressing or part of a sauce. And if you really want a higher dose of cannabutter or infused coconut oil, bake a potent batch of cookies or other sweets.
- 1 cup of ground cannabis flower (more or less for stronger or milder potency—1 cup is usually 7 to 10 grams)
- 1 cup of cooking oil of your choice
The 1:1 ratio of oil to cannabis is the standard place to start, but as we’ll discuss below, you can change this to alter the potency of your final product.
What You Will Need:
As always, this depends on the method. We have detailed all of them in our cannabutter post, so we will link to that and just touch on them here.
But remember, no matter which way you infuse:
- You have to decarboxylate your cannabis first, whether it’s in flower or concentrate form.
- After you decarb your flower, which can include the whole plant, grind it, but coarsely. Anything too fine will remain in your oil, which you don’t want.
Dedicated device: Follow the instructions to infuse the oil—usually just popping everything in the sleeve and hitting “start”.
Double-boiler method: Proceed with this method as described for butter, heating cannabis and oil on low in a double-boiler for 6 to 8 hours. Stir occasionally.
Crock pot method: Proceed with this method in a slow cooker as described for butter, but on the low heat setting for 4 to 6 hours. Stir occasionally.
Saucepan method: Proceed with this method as described for butter, heating cannabis and oil in a heavy saucepan. Heavier pans are less susceptible to burning, and this is your biggest worry with this method. Heat on lowest number for at least 3 hours. On the stovetop, stir frequently to avoid scorching.
Straining and Storage
You will need:
- Cheesecloth (if you use flower or kief)
If you use flower, strain the oil without squeezing the cheesecloth to avoid bad taste and excess plant matter in the oil. Discard remaining plant material or use it in other dishes. Avoid microwaving your infused oils to prevent damaging cannabinoids.
How to Infuse Cannabis Oil Without Stinking Up the Kitchen
My favorite way to deal with this, honestly, is to decarboxylate with a device. I find they produce less odor than the oven.
For the cooking process itself, anything with an actual rubber seal contains odor better, obviously. So a pressure cooker or crockpot holding jars is going to contain odor more effectively than an open cooking pot, or even a lidded one that you have to keep stirring. And of course, be near a vent.
If you happen to create too much dank smell for your own comfort level, Leafly has some tips. One thing I like to do is make sure I’ve got other cooking going on. My house smells like garlic and onions most of the time—and that’s good! Or, put a big pot of water on the stove, and add some cinnamon sticks, cloves, orange peels, and things like that. Allow it to simmer with some tea bags in there for awhile.
How to Cook With Cannabis Oil
There are so many ways to do this—it’s exciting! But before you whip up a huge feast with your new oil, don’t forget to actually just try a small amount and see what the effects are like.
Another key to cooking with canna oil is to avoid burning it. Too much heat will destroy the cannabinoids and terpenes you worked so hard to infuse into the oil, so don’t scorch it.
Choosing the Right Cooking Oil to Infuse
What is the best cooking oil for cannabis infusion? The “right” cooking oil for cannabis infusion is really about your taste and plans. Why do I say that? Because from a technical standpoint, they all deliver in very similar ways.
I can’t answer the question of which canna oil is best, because personally, I love infusing many different kinds of oils with cannabis. But I also cook and bake a lot.
What if you don’t spend your life in the kitchen and you’re just looking for something more all-purpose that you can use for many different kinds of edibles?
Overall, I have always liked coconut oil. It’s okay in both savory and sweet recipes, it can be solid so you can use it for, say, pie crust, and it’s great on the skin, too. Plus, I’m a vegan now, so there’s that—although I sure miss my cannabutter.
But how does coconut oil stack up in terms of its ability to achieve THC potency? How do any of these oils, for that matter?
Which cooking oil will give you the highest THC levels? Do some cooking oils absorb more THC than others?
These are questions I realized I wasn’t sure about, so I did some research. According to testing data from Ardent Cannabis, there’s mostly good news for we cannabis fans.
It’s relatively easy to choose a good oil for cannabis infusion, because each kind of common cooking oil has an infusion rate of at least 80 percent, with some over 90 percent. You can find a table with their data here.
Basically this is what that means. If you start out with 100mg of THC in your infusion, and it achieves an infusion rate of 80 percent, your oil will have 80mg of THC in it.
(Obviously, this all requires decarboxylation first, as we’ve explained!)
Ardent tested their ability to infuse an ounce of varying kinds of cooking oils with different amounts of cannabis. They found that as little as half a gram of cannabis would achieve an effective, lower-potency infusion of at least 80 percent in the one ounce of oil.
Let’s say you have 10 grams of cannabis that, after decarboxylation, has a THC level of 20 percent. We are assuming this because we don’t want my brain to work any harder than it has to.
You’re starting with 2000mg of THC. If you can achieve about 80 percent infusion into your cup of oil, you’ve got about 1600mg of THC in there—about 200mg per ounce.
If you want higher or lower potency, you can add more or less cannabis. You can also use flower with a higher concentration of THC, or move to kief or concentrates, decarbed of course.
You can strain out the kief or leave it in; I love it in my honey, depending on what I’m using it for. I also love using a nice lemony concentrate for an olive oil based salad dressing or honey for my tea.
Did Ardent find a hands-down winner? Technically, extra-virgin olive oil or EVOO came in at up to 96 percent in one ounce of oil—but that was in one test with 2 grams of cannabis. With 4 grams it went down to 83 percent, which was similar to MCT oil or coconut oil.
The real issue, though, is that EVOO is perfect for some uses and terrible for others. But since all of these cooking oils really infuse very well, there’s no need to sacrifice your preference. Just choose your favorite!
EVOO is perfect for savory things like salad dressings, and it’s wonderful to cook veggies or main dishes in. If you’re making a savory sauce of almost any kind, it’ll probably benefit from having EVOO as its source of fat.
I already explained some of the reasons why I love coconut oil, and the biggest one is probably that you can do so much with it. It’s versatile and has a high heat capacity of 400°F.
You can use on dry skin, along with aloe, beeswax, vitamin E, and other ingredients for a homemade topical that’s just as good as anything you can buy. I use it in my pie crust, and even for frying if I want. In fact you can substitute it into most of your recipes at will. I can infuse it with high potency concentrate and make capsules, whatever.
But if you ARE a vegan, coconut oil is a real go-to and basically your cannabutter. Unlike other kinds of fake butter and margarine, it doesn’t lose its texture and consistency when you heat it.
Avocado oil is wonderful for making aioli or mayo, and I saute things in it every day.
Walnut oil is best used cold to avoid bitterness, and it has a distinct, nutty flavor that you may love—I do. It tastes awesome in marinades and dressings, and in certain desserts—think chocolate and fruit.
Peanut oil is probably the best deep frying medium out there, and it’s also excellent for everyday cooking.
And although I’m a vegan, I will never stop loving butter. I miss it every day! Cannabutter is divine. If you can eat it, I recommend it.
You can infuse plenty of cannabis into butter or any of these oils. They taste and smell different and of course some, like coconut oil and butter, are mostly solid at room temperature.
Final Thoughts on Cannabis Oils
Get into the kitchen! Either experiment with one of your standby recipes or check out some of ours. But trying new ways to slip in some high-quality infused oils is one of the best ways to see what works for you and have fun doing it.
Here are some ideas from our recipe stash:
- Better than anyone else’s pot brownies: Why mess with the classic?
- Cannabis-infused mayo: Whether you make it classic or vegan, you can put this in anything from aioli to ranch to pasta salad.
- Elevated mac and cheese: Give yourself the munchies and satisfy them, too, in the best old-school way possible.
- Cannabis-infused pasta pesto: Company coming?
- Bulletproof coffee—plus cannabis: Start your day on the right wavelength.
- Cannabis-infused buttercream frosting: Yeah, whatever this is on becomes the bomb.
- Canna-oil vinaigrette: Healthy eating has never been so joyous.