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3 Reasons Why Your Next Edibles Should Be Cooked Sous-Vide

May 5, 2016


With the advent of consumer-grade sous-vide machines from companies like Anova, Sansaire, and Nomiku, getting started with this method of cooking has never been easier or more affordable. If you’re unfamiliar with sous-vide, it's is a technique where food is sealed in plastic bags or canning jars and cooked in a water bath held to a specific temperature. A precisely heated water bath is wonderful for both decarboxylating your main ingredient and infusing your cooking oil or butter. But why is the sous-vide method so perfect for infusing oils, and why should you consider switching from your classic approach to making edibles?

What is Decarboxylation, and Why Does Your Cannabis Need It?

1. Sous-Vide Offers Precise (and Easy) Temperature Control

One of the biggest concerns while infusing canna-oil is the temperature – If it’s too cool, the THC will bind to the oil at a diminished rate (or not bind at all), and if it’s too hot, you’re vaporizing some of the psychoactive ingredients and losing potency.

As a general rule, a higher temperature leads to a faster reaction rate and therefore requires less cooking time to be activated; it should be noted, however, that temperatures above 140 [degrees] C run the risk of beginning to vaporize compounds out of the mixture and temperatures below 90 [degrees] C may not lead to significant chemical conversion on a time scale of less than 24 hours. (ScienceDirect and Perrotin-Brunel, H, Buijs, W, Spronsen, JV, Roosmalen, MJEV, Peters, CJ, Verpoorte, R, Wikamp, GJ. via Wikipedia)

Unlike a saucepan, slow cooker, or double boiler, with a sous-vide you simply input a temperature on the digital display (or your smartphone!) and rest assured, your oil with remain within +/- 1° of the chosen temperature for the entire cooking duration. No fuss, no muss, and I guarantee you’ll get it right the very first time.

Plus, once you’ve found a recipe that works for you (Sousweed has a lot of great ones) and your material, you’ll be able to reproduce it every time. This is great because you’ll never have to worry about accidentally wasting your top shelf bud or hash in a temperature-related cooking accident.

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2. Sous-Vide is Hands-Free and Low Stress

Infusing oil can be an all-day process that requires some amount of attention throughout. With sous-vide, the only thing you have to worry about is water evaporation during the cooking process — but with a good lid, saran-wrap, or ping pong balls, you won’t have to baby-sit the infusion process at all!

Additionally, if you feel comfortable leaving a crockpot unattended in your house, you can also feel comfortable leaving your sous-vide unattended, affording you time to do other more important things.

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3. Sous-Vide is Courteous and Covert

Decarbing flower in your oven and infusing oil on your stovetop can make one’s kitchen smell a bit dank, which is less than ideal when you have neighbors with sensitive noses or you want to keep your cannabis use private.

Well, it turns out that when you cook your cannabis in an airtight, sealed container that’s also under water, there’s not a whole lot to smell, which means you can whip up a delicious batch of infused goodies without stinking up your kitchen.

Edibles 101: Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Cannabis-Infused Edibles

Have you ever made edibles with a sous-vide machine? If so, how'd your infusions turn out? Share your experience in the comments!

  • Hizzownsef

    Just on the verge of trying to sous vide some cannabutter. Unfortunately, we already have a very good supply of scary-potent cannabutter in the fridge that was made the stinky way.

    I’m a little concerned that the max temp of our brand spanking new sous vide device is too low for thorough decarboxylization. The max setting is 210 F. and I usually like to aim for 225-240 in the old cookie-sheet-in-the-oven method. Only takes about 25 minutes and yes, thankyouverymuch, it does make the whole neighborhood smell like certain areas in Afghanistan. But it results in very, very good extraction into our cannabutter.

    We then follow the decarb by stewing the weed in a tiny, cheap-o slow cooker that keeps it from 160 – 215, with some occasional jiggering.

    Anyone have any guidance/experience about this?

    • TonkaTuck
      • Tom

        I’m no expert by any means. Have a total of three doses of weed in edibles a friend gave me, over the past three days. I really, really like what it does for me; relieve the pain in my tongue from surgery and radiation treatments.

        I also have a sous vide setup and am currently researching how I’m going to make my own oil. I am leaning toward olive oil taken by the teaspoon this time around. I had a cancerous tumor removed from my tongue and while pain relief is my ultimate goal, any benefit that might be derived by direct application should not be overlooked.

        In answer to your question about the decarbing process, I think I will do that in the oven on a sheet pan, with the oven set at whatever the best temp is supposed to be.
        I don’t think the sous vide method will give me good results, and this is a critical process. One could maybe accomplish the same results at a lower temperature for a longer time, but the answer to that will be in a future batch.

        As far as grinding it up or not, I think breaking it up will be fine. I don’t want tiny particles to make it murky, but that’s just me. If I need to filter it, I can use a French press I picked up for $3.99 at the local thrift shop.

        Then I will use pint mason jars. I guess it helps to burp them a couple of times to release the gasses that get driven off.

        If I have a couple of stainless steel nuts or bolts that are big enough, I’ll put it/them in the jar to keep it underwater.

        • Hizzownsef

          Thanks, Tom – and all good things to your recovery!

      • Hizzownsef

        Thanks, Tonka … good link!

    • chirrup

      The sous vide method heats up the water to the exact temperature you set the machine to, which in turn heats whatever you’re cooking in it to the same temperature throughout. When you preheat your oven to decarb your cannabis, the oven registers the temperature of the air inside the oven, not the heat that the cannabis is going to reach. When you’re using a sous vide machine, however, the water is much more effective at conducting heat, and you only need to set it to the temperature that the cannabis needs to reach. recommends 203 F for an hour for infusing coconut oil.

      • Hizzownsef

        Thanks, chirrup. I used the sous vide weed (203 for about 40 minutes) and it worked out great. Another super potent cannabutter. (Really gotta be careful with that stuff … we’re talking 1/2 – 1 tsp for a full-on stone.)

        I used another batch of sous vide weed to make a tincture with Everclear. It’s stewing as we speak … another couple of weeks (total of about a month) in a tinted mason jar, in a closet; shaken daily. It’ll burn under the tongue, but that passes and leaves a very nice high with about one dropper of tincture.

  • Sarclown

    I have done the Sous Vide decarb/infuse method four times now, and it is an amazing way to up your weed game in a safe, and surprisingly simple, way. Decarb, add oil, infuse as long as you like (I do 4+ Hours @ 185F), strain, cool, enjoy! Yes, it takes the better part of the day to complete the process, but I do it in my condo, and nobody smells a thing…

    BTW, it lasts me months!

  • Hizzownsef

    Seems so last year to be back on this topic, but there ya go, right? This time, I’m obsessing about why it might be that we have to have two separate processes – decarbing and infusing – when making cannabutter.
    I mean – why can’t we vacuum seal some clarified butter and some flower and put them in the sous vide and walk off? Won’t the decarb occur in the heat of the infusion? Seems like it would to this easily confused, non-botanist, non-chemist. So I’m just sayin’. Anyone got the dope on this?

    • cbs

      have you made butter from the roots

      • Hizzownsef

        Sorry for the delay. Nope … never have.

        • Jessica Serrano Gregg

          So Have you tried decarb
          And infusion at the same time? I tried it for the first time all around and I got some
          Pretty good results from the method. I used grape seed oil and 6grams..used a mason jar but let it spin with the circulation because I found it was agitating the flower and oil so I didn’t need to take it out and mix…I did 185 for four hours and then turned it off and let it cool down still in the water bath..overnight and then strained it off the next afternoon. Seems to be ok but I still have lots of questions about it. Can’t find too much. Mostly about the fact my sous vide only hits 198 and most info says 200 or 202 so I’m not sure if I’m
          Converting it right

  • Jim Elam

    Grind the bud first. Heat the butter to 200 degrees. Dump in the ground bud into the butter. Gradually increase heat to 240. Make sure that temp does not go over 246 degrees. If it gets up to high add a little piece of frozen butter. It will bring down temp in less than 30 seconds. I do this for 2 hours. Then dump entire mess into cookie or brownie. That oven stuff turns me off.

  • Bonnie Lofton

    My tincture using the above stings from the Everclear when I try to place under tongue. Other than placing on or in food, is there any way to cut the alcohol sting?