Incense Making Logo

Incense-Making.com  
Step by Step Guides to Natural Incense Making   

Please help us keep this site FREE. Thank you!

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

Incense Pellets

Making Incense Pellets (a.k.a. Kneaded Incense, Moist Incense, Awasekē, Nerikoh, Bakhoor, etc.)

Kneaded Incense Pellets are one of our favorite types of incense to make because the whole world of natural aromatics opens up and can now be used in making your incense.

Soft gummy resins like elemi, galbanum, labdanum, etc., which are difficult or impossible to use when making sticks or cones are now ideal for making incense pellets. You can also use honey, liquid balsams, essential oils, wines, dried fruits, etc.

To make kneaded incense pellets you first begin with a granular incense mixture called "loose or non-combustible incense." You don't want it powdered all the way, a coarse granular form like sea salt is preferred. Click here to create loose incense.

We classify kneaded incense pellets into three categories because they each have their own way of being made. Methods can also be combined. This is not incense law, just our own general guidelines. Click on titles for step by step guides on each:

bullet

Honey Method

bullet

Dried Fruit & Honey Method

bullet

Soft Resins Method

It's important to know that incense pellets should not be "burned" using direct heat. Indirect heat is the preferred and ideal method to release the fragrances within incense pellets. Honey and other ingredients will give off poor aromas if burned instead of gently heated. For more on this, click on "How to Heat Incense Pellets"
 


Making Incense Pellets
Step - by - Step

Photos coming soon...

Honey Method

1 grind each of your recipe's dry incense ingredients into coarse granules like sea salt and combine in a bowl (performed while making loose incense) photo
2 slowly drizzle in tiny amounts of honey until the mixture can be kneaded together as one, mix well by kneading more

you can add essential oils & balsams during this stage if you like

 
3 pinch off small pieces and roll into a pea-sized pellets  
4 place pellets on a board covered with wax paper to dry, enclose the whole board inside a large paper bag, close the end of the bag

turn pellets twice daily to help dry evenly

 
5 once pellets are dry enough to be handled, place them in a sealed unglazed ceramic or glass jar but in one layer only, for at least 48 hours

Important: do not stack honey pellets on top of each other or they will stick together and merge into a single mass, use a single layer

the longer you age the mix, the more it will develop and refine itself, the better it will be

in Japan they make a kneaded incense called Nerikoh which uses dried plums and honey as the binder and they age the mix in an unglazed ceramic pot buried near a stream... sometimes for years

alcohol can be used to clean your tools

 
6 your incense pellets are ready for enjoyment!  
7 back to top

"How to Heat Incense Pellets"

 


Dried Fruit & Honey Method

1 grind each of your dry incense ingredients into coarse granules, like sea salt (performed while making loose incense) photo
2 in a large bowl add your raisins or other dried fruit

*measure roughly one part dried fruit to one part incense

A "part" is any unit of measurement you wish to use, provided it's consistent throughout the entire recipe. We often use the conversion of 1 part = 1, 2, or 3 grams for small batches, and maybe 1 part = 5 to 10 grams for larger batches, etc. If you prefer, you can use powdered volume measurements with teaspoons, tablespoons and/or cups.

 
3 cover dried fruit with wine (we like red wines), liquid should be at least 1" over the level of fruit to allow for absorption

you can experiment with wines, liqueurs, hydrosols, essential oils, etc.

let soak overnight

 
4 use a strainer to drain liquid from fruit

while wearing latex or rubber gloves, hand press out excess liquid in fruit

 
5 combine drained fruit with prepared loose incense mixture  
6 mix thoroughly... knead... knead...

you can use a mortar and pestle, a bowl and your hands, or a food processor or blender to mix (see incense tools)

the fruit should shred apart and mix thoroughly with the incense blend

 
7 slowly drizzle in enough honey to bind the incense together into a dough that sticks together well

the honey acts as both an additional binder and as a preservative

 
8 knead, knead, knead...  
9 pinch off a small piece and roll it in your hands to make a pea-sized pellet  
10 place the pellets on a board covered with wax paper to dry, enclose the whole board inside a large paper bag

turn pellets twice daily to help dry evenly

 
11 once pellets are dry enough to be handled, place them in a sealed unglazed ceramic or glass jar but in one layer only, for at least 48 hours

the longer you age the mix, the more it will develop and refine itself, the better it will be

in Japan they make a kneaded incense called Nerikoh which uses dried plums and honey as the binder and they age the mix in an unglazed ceramic pot buried near a stream... sometimes for years

alcohol can be used to clean your tools

 
12

your incense pellets are ready for enjoyment!

 
  back to top

"How to Heat Incense Pellets"

 


Soft Resins Method

1 grind each of your dry incense ingredients into coarse granules, like sea salt (performed while making loose incense) photo
2 wear latex, plastic, or rubber gloves  
3 a) soft gummy ingredients like elemi need to be spread out the in a large bowl or on a cutting board covered securely with wax paper (can later be cleaned with alcohol) create a flat layer with the ingredient as if you were icing a cake, evenly sprinkle the loose incense mixture over the entire flattened soft ingredient

b) sticky resins like labdanum or hard galbanum are best frozen then quickly ground by mortar and pestle, they soften quickly so you have to be fast and then repeat the freeze and grind until the consistency desired is achieved - the granular or powdered ingredient can then be added like a dry ingredient to the rest of your already prepared mixture and depending on percent of sticky resins it will either form gummy pellets or a dry mix

c) liquid balsams and resins like Copaiba and Peru Balsams can be poured over your incense and kneaded into it. spread out your prepared loose incense mixture in the bottom of a bowl and drizzle the liquid balsam resin all over it

soft resins like soft galbanum are easiest to use when warmed - heat in a hot water bath - place sealed jar of galbanum into bowl of hot water, about half-way up the galbanum jar

 
4 you can experiment with adding honey, balsams, essential oils, etc.  
5

wear latex, plastic, or rubber gloves

mix thoroughly... then knead, knead, knead...

 
6 pinch off a small piece and roll it in your hands to make a pea-sized pellet

*depending upon the recipe and fruit used, you may not be able to bind the mix together, in which case it can be left alone and stored as a loose incense mix or... you can add a sticky binder like honey or a balsam to help it knead and form into pellets

 
7 place pellets or the loose mix on a board covered with wax paper to dry, enclose the whole board inside a large paper bag, close the end of the bag

turn pellets or mix twice daily to help dry evenly

 
8 once the pellets are dry enough to be handled, place them in a sealed unglazed ceramic or glass jar but in one layer only, for at least 48 hours

the longer you age the mix, the more it will develop and refine itself, the better it will be

in Japan they make a kneaded incense called Nerikoh which uses dried plums and honey as the binder and they age the mix in an unglazed ceramic pot buried near a stream... sometimes for years

alcohol can be used to clean your tools

 
9 your incense pellets are ready for enjoyment!  
  back to top 

"How to Heat Incense Pellets"

 

Have Fun!

Back to Top