Updated on February 6, 2024
5 min read

Shake and Bake Meth: Causes, Effects, Risks

Key Takeaways

What is Shake and Bake Meth?

Shake and bake meth is produced in a two-liter soda bottle or smaller container. This manufacturing method is called small capacity production lab, SCPL meth, or one pot.

The recipe requires only a few over-the-counter cold pills and common household chemicals. The mix produces enough meth for a user to get a few hits.

Some of the chemicals that manufacturers might use to make shake and bake meth include:

  • Pseudoephedrine or ephedrine tablets
  • Acetone
  • Lithium
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Ammonium nitrate
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Toluene
  • Iodine
  • Lye
  • Phosphorous
  • Water

Unlike traditional meth-making, this method uses fewer ingredients. In the past, the purchase of large quantities of cold pills drew the attention of authorities. In some locations, laws exist to restrict the sale of bulk purchases. 

Most retail stores and pharmacies set limits on sales and record the names/identification of anyone purchasing common cold formulations containing pseudoephedrine or ephedrine.

After a traditional meth manufacturer gathers the correct amount of ingredients, they still have to deal with foul odors, open flames, and flammable liquids. Cooking meth is dangerous and hard to conceal.

Using the shake and bake process, meth makers can avoid scrutiny because they’re buying only small amounts of cold medications.

This method is still just as dangerous than the traditional method. However, it’s easier to do in secret.


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Risks of Shake and Bake Meth

The shake and bake method of making meth is extremely dangerous — just as much or more than the traditional manufacturing method.

Any of the following mistakes can cause the bottle to explode during the manufacturing process:

  • Oxygen enters the bottle
  • Cap loosens too quickly
  • Other shaking mistakes

In larger-scale meth production, meth makers could often flee the site if the lab caught fire. In the shake and bake method, if the bottle explodes, it’s in immediate proximity to the ‘shaker.’ They will almost certainly be injured or killed. 

Shake and bake meth also poses a risk to people not involved in the manufacturing process. For example, if law enforcement (or anyone else) finds one of these bottles during a vehicle or home search, opening it too quickly can cause an explosion or at least cause chemical burns.

Additionally, unopened bottles filled with toxic chemicals can explode without warning. If someone is driving around with a shake and bake meth bottle or has one in their home, it puts everyone around them at risk.

Risks of shake and bake meth making include:

  • Explosions
  • Chemical burns from exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Poisoning
  • Injuries to bystanders
  • Addiction
  • Overdose
  • Health problems

How is Shake and Bake Meth Made?

Shake and bake meth making requires no cooking or specific meth lab setups.

Instead, you mix the ingredients in the bottle or container and shake until a chemical reaction occurs. The combination of these chemicals shaken over time creates a mostly liquid form of the drug that can be smoked or inhaled by users.

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Why Do People Use the Shake and Bake Method?

The main reason people use the shake and bake method is that this method allows manufacturers to avoid the laws associated with traditional meth. You don’t need to buy large quantities of over-the-counter (OTC) medications. This means you don’t attract any attention when gathering ingredients for making the drug.

Additionally, the shake and bake method is mobile. You can carry a bottle filled with the ingredients with you anywhere. There’s also no need to set up a lab in a building. This method allows manufacturers to create small batches in mobile locations.

Symptoms of Meth Use

Symptoms of meth use include:

  • Skin sores
  • Tooth decay and gum disease known as meth mouth
  • Intense itching
  • Violent or reckless behavior
  • Insomnia
  • Hyperactivity
  • Decreased appetite
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid breathing
  • Signs of addiction

Meth use has dangerous and severe risks and warrants medical attention. There is no safe amount of meth or risk-free way to experience the highly addictive drug. Meth dangers include addiction, injury, and death.

How Common is Shake and Bake Meth?

Shake and bake has evolved to be one of the most common ways of producing meth. Fewer and fewer meth manufacturers in the United States are using large labs for cooking. 

Drug cartels still use large labs, but portable shake and bake bottles make it convenient for anyone to make meth in small quantities. 

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Treatment for Meth Use

Addiction treatment options for meth use include:

  • The Matrix Model
  • Contingency management interventions
  • Motivational Incentives for Enhancing Drug Abuse Recovery (MIEDAR)
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Group therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • 12-step programs
  • Medications to ease withdrawal symptoms
  • Naltrexone and bupropion (not yet FDA-approved)

 Most often, a combination of therapies is used to help meth users.


Shake and bake meth is a newer way to manufacture the drug using smaller amounts of precursor materials and no formal manufacturing lab or location. It’s convenient and doesn’t typically attract the attention of legal authorities like the traditional method.

Making and using shake and bake meth carries all of the same risks as traditionally made meth. In some cases, the risk is higher because of the proximity of the maker to the materials during the manufacturing process.

Meth is highly addictive. It’s important to know the signs of meth use and addiction and find appropriate treatment if you or a loved one is abusing meth.

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Updated on February 6, 2024

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