So, You Want to Cook With CBD? These Are the Golden Rules to Follow
Maybe the idea of CBD-infused foods freak you out. But having anxiety about cooking with CBD is not only ironic, it’s unnecessary, because this primer has everything you need to know. From the best foods to start with to the rules to follow to ensure you’re not just washing your money down the drain, consider this the complete ABCs to cooking with CBD. Soon you’ll be able to switch up your CBD habit to be as delicious as it is functional. (Any scientists out there want to study the effectiveness of CBD brownies as a PMS remedy? Get at me.)
The golden rules of cooking with CBD
1. Don’t waste your pricey tinctures on cooking
While you may already be the proud owner of a CBD tincture, The Ultimate Guide to CBD author Jamie Evans, aka The Herb Somm, says there are more cost-effective ways to infuse your food rather than using up your precious vials. The easiest, she says, is to buy a CBD-infused olive oil that’s ready to cook with.
“These are becoming easier to find, but since CBD is still widely unregulated, you want to look for one that’s organically grown so that there’s less of a chance of it including pesticides,” Evans says. The dosage per serving should always be on the bottle; she recommends a dosage of between 15 to 30 milligrams per serving for newbies. Her favorite brand is Pot d’Huile Hemp Infused Olive Oil ($36).
Basically, unless all you plan on infusing is a smoothie or a vinaigrette, Evans recommends saving your CBD tinctures in favor for a pre-infused oil.
2. Be Wary of heat
Evans says that cooking heat can potentially make CBD less effective. “If exposed to overheating, the effects will burn off,” she says, adding that she recommends staying below 320˚F.
However, because CBD in baked goods is still a relatively new territory, other experts aren’t sure about the impact of heat. “It’s hard to say and is still unknown what happens to the potency of CBD oil when it’s heated at a certain temperatures while cooking or baking,” says Liz Sprinkle, the founder of CBD brand Love Always, Liz.
To be safe, “I recommend adding CBD oil after the food you are preparing has been removed from a hot surface or oven to preserve the integrity of the plant compounds,” Sprinkle says. “For instance, instead of mixing CBD oil into cake batter before it’s baked, add it to the icing that will go on the cake.” This way, you’re more likely to get the most out of the oil.
3. Be sure to incorporate healthy fats
Evans says CBD is fat-soluble—meaning that your body absorbs it best when paired with fat-containing foods—which is another reason why she’s a fan of oil-infusions. “Cannabinoids [like CBD] are really drawn to fats,” she says. Whatever oil you’re into most—olive, coconut, MCT, avocado—having it as a carrier is what’s going to make the CBD most effective.
4. be patient With the effects
Evans says that consuming CBD in food will take your body longer to digest than a dropper full of tincture under your tongue—so be patient. “When you’re infusing it in food, there’s what’s called the ‘first pass effect,’ which means that anything digestible has to pass through your gut and liver first before reaching your bloodstream,” she says. “So [CBD in food] not going to be as potent or as quick-acting.”
5. be mindful with what you consume it with
While Evans says there aren’t any studies saying that CBD is harmful when consumed with alcohol—and even says it can be fun to experiment with CBD cocktails—it’s always a good idea to be mindful of your intake. “And of course if you’re consuming CBD with any alcohol, don’t drive,” she says. If you plan on serving food with CBD to friends, Evans says it’s important to tell them in advance (along with the dosage) as CBD can interact with some medications.
The best foods to start cooking with
Sprinkle and Evans both recommend starting with something you’re already familiar with, such as using your CBD-infused oil to top off a salad. If you want to use a tincture instead of an infused oil, Sprinkle recommends adding a few drops to a beverage. “I really love adding CBD oil to my favorite beverages such as Bulletproof coffee, smoothie recipes, and fun cocktails because it’s so easy and quick acting,” Sprinkle says.
Once you have beverages down, you can get as creative as you want. (Just keep in mind how heating affects the outcome.) Evans says she’s a fan of using CBD oil in sauces, like pesto, drizzled over pasta. Sprinkle says she likes using it to make a red wine mushroom reduction to serve over steak. And of course she’s a fan of using it in baked goods too; CBD brownies was the food she experimented with first.
Ready to try it? Here’s Well+Good co-founder Alexia Brue’s CBD smoothie recipe, straight from the Well+Good Cookbook.
Strawberry CBD smoothie
1 cup packed kale leaves or other dark leafy greens
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, tops included
1/4 medium avocado, pitted and peeled
1 dried fig
Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 Tbsp)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar (optional)
1 drop high-quality CBD oil
1/4 cup ice cubes
1. In a high-speed blender, combine the kale, basil, strawberries, avocado, fig, lime juice, salt, honey (if using), CBD oil, and half cup water. Blend until smooth.
2. Pour into a glass over ice and enjoy, or pout into a jar or bottle with a lid, store in the refrigerator, and drink within a couple of hours. Shake well before drinking.
See the golden rules for cooking with CBD oil, including what you need to know about dosage, heat, and the best foods to start with.
How to Start Cooking with CBD Oil
It sounds intimidating, but it’s easier than you think.
Even for the newest of chefs, cooking with CBD oil doesn’t have to be tricky. CBD pairs well with sweet and savory dishes alike, which makes it easy to incorporate into virtually any recipe. You can add a few drops of CBD oil into cookie or cake batter or into flavorful sauces like gravy or salad dressing for dinner. I’m no kitchenwiz, but I’ve tried out a few recipes (well, ones that include CBD anyway) and found surprisingly pleasant results.
As an editor for the CBD site Remedy Review, I’ve had the benefit of trying too many CBD oils to count. In my two years on the job, I’ve tried enough tinctures to know that they’re all very different—some have fruity flavors, while others have a more natural, earthy taste, and some seem to work better than others.
After all my many taste tests, I’ve acquired a few favorites, which are listed below as my personal recommendations for the best CBD oils to pair with any meal.
naternal.com medterrahemp.com fabcbd.com
Best CBD Oils for Cooking
When choosing a CBD oil, look for products that have other food-grade ingredients like organic carrier oils or natural flavorings. The three CBD oil products listed below come from high-quality, trustworthy brands, all of which have been thoroughly tested by third-party labs (ProVerde Laboratories in Milford, MA and Avazyme, Inc. in Durham, NC) to ensure they are safe and contain the labeled CBD potency.
- FAB CBD Oil
- Medterra CBD Oil
- Naternal CBD Oil
Additionally, these CBD tinctures have unique qualities, like flavor and strength, that make them best suited for baking, cooking, and making any other CBD-infused concoctions that you have in mind.
FAB CBD Oil
This full-spectrum oil is one of my personal favorites, especially when I want to add a little CBD into my morning coffee, afternoon smoothie, or after-dinner dessert. It’s incredibly versatile because it comes in five different flavors (vanilla, berry, mint, citrus, and natural) and various strengths, ranging from 300mg to 2400mg per bottle, to tailor to your needs and CBD dosage preferences. The berry and vanilla-flavored oils are my go-to, but all of the FAB CBD oil flavors are pleasant, and each one can serve a different purpose for a variety of recipes.
To buy: from $39; fabcbd.com
Medterra CBD Oil
Made with pure CBD isolate, Medterra oils are perfect for anyone looking for a THC-free product. I like these CBD oils because they are unflavored and can easily be added into nearly any dish without affecting its flavor profile. The three strength options include a 500mg tincture that’s great for beginners, a 1000mg bottle for a stronger dose (my personal choice), and a 3000mg option for people who want an extra-strength CBD oil.
To buy: from $35; medterracbd.com
Naternal CBD Oil
If you’re looking for a more natural-tasting CBD oil, Naternal has a subtle yet hempy flavor that pairs well with dinner dishes and salads. Naternal is one of my all-time favorite CBD brands, primarily because it has some of the most affordable (yet highest quality) CBD products on the market. I can honestly say that I love the effects of this CBD oil, and the fact that it is available in both a full-spectrum and THC-free broad spectrum formula to give customers a wider range of options.
To buy: from $25; naternal.com
Tips for Cooking with CBD Oil
When incorporating CBD into any food dish, you’ll want to avoid disrupting the consistency of the final food product. To do this, use oil sparingly. If you want a stronger dose of CBD, don’t increase the amount of oil, just use a CBD oil with a higher potency (such as a 1,000mg tincture).
Try to steer clear of putting the CBD oil on direct heat while cooking, as this can remove critical cannabinoids and terpenes that elicit the synergistic effect of CBD. The first thing to know when cooking or baking with CBD is that it begins to break down somewhere between 320 and 356 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that heating the oil too high can result in the loss of beneficial cannabinoids and may decrease the efficacy of the CBD.
If you plan on adding CBD oil to anything that you’d cook on a stovetop, a good trick is to remove the saucer or pan from heat and allow the contents to cool for a minute or so, then stir in your desired amount of CBD oil.
When it comes to baking with CBD, like with a granola bar or chocolate chip cookie recipe, it is easier to manage the temperature by preheating the oven (preferably no higher than 350 degrees Fahrenheit).
No-Heat CBD Recipes
If you’re still concerned about losing any CBD potency during the cooking or baking process, you’re not alone. After much research and consideration, even I was a little wary about my ability to properly mix CBD into a full-on dinner dish. So when I started incorporating CBD into foods, I decided to dip my toes into the water before jumping in head first. In order to do that, I created a few easy recipe options that don’t require any heat (but still allow you to reap the benefits of ingesting CBD).
Lemon, Garlic, & CBD Salad Dressing
I’ve only recently taken a liking to healthier salads, and making a CBD-infused dressing is one of the easiest no-heat recipes. If you’re in a pinch, you can always add a few drops of hemp oil to a basic vinaigrette or even a pre-made salad dressing. Although I am a big fan of making my own salad dressing using just a few ingredients.
The end result for this recipe is a refreshing salad dressing that I enjoy most on a classic house or summer salad. (One of the best CBD oils for this recipe is Naternal since it has a light and nutty taste that pairs well with the other ingredients.)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of CBD oil (such as Naternal)
- Pepper to taste
How to Make It:
Whisk all ingredients together until fully incorporated. Shake well and drizzle onto a salad.
Fresh CBD Guacamole
Who doesn’t love to dip their tortilla chips into fresh guacamole? I know I do, and I’ve found that avocados and CBD oil are a great combination, especially when it comes to making a tasty guac that you and your friends will love. The list and instructions below are slightly modified from one of MyRecipe’s homemade guacamole recipes, with a few added ingredients for my own flavor preferences.
This is the perfect recipe to get creative with. There’s always the option to customize your guac with other ingredients, like jalapenos for spice or mangos for sweetness—it’s all up to you! (For this recipe, Medterra is a good option since it is unflavored and won’t disrupt the delicate flavor profile of the guacamole.)
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
- 1 ripe tomato, diced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- CBD oil in desired strength (such as Medterra)
How to Make It:
Cut avocados, remove pits, and scoop out flesh.
In a medium sized bowl, add CBD oil, lime juice, and minced garlic to the avocado. Mash with fork until fully incorporated (mixture should look creamy but still chunky).
Add tomato, onion, salt and pepper.
Adjust the taste with additional salt, peppers and/or lime juice.
CBD-Infused Strawberry Banana Smoothie
I’m always an advocate for smoothies. Whether I make one for breakfast or an afternoon snack, these tasty treats are a great way to get an array of nutrients in one beverage. Plus, adding a dropper full of CBD oil to your favorite smoothie concoction is a quick and easy way to reap the benefits of CBD. Below is a recipe of my own making, with a simple pairing of a classic duo—strawberry and banana—and an added kick of CBD.
When making this smoothie, you can really use as much CBD oil as you want. I simply use one dropper of my favorite FAB CBD oil (typically the 1200mg berry-flavored tincture, although the citrus or vanilla flavor would also work well with this recipe) because that’s what works best for me! Note: I do recommend experimenting with the CBD dosage and other ingredients to find the perfect smoothie blend for your preferences.
- 1 banana
- 4-6 strawberries
- 1 cup of almond milk
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- One full dropper (1 mL) of CBD oil (such as FAB CBD)
How to Make It:
Place all ingredients inside a blender and blend until smooth.
Have you ever tried cooking with CBD oil? Learn everything you need to know before adding this hemp extract to your next dinner or dessert recipe.