The Best Cold Process Soap Recipe

5 from 11 votes

This cold process soap recipe is the best ever. It makes a moisturizing yet cleansing bar with tons of lather.

three bars of pink homemade soap stacked up on white surface

I love the process of making soap, but what I love even more is developing recipes for it. Every oil brings its own properties to a bar of soap, and finding the perfect soap recipe is a balance of those things. You have to walk the line between cleansing and moisturizing, long lasting and high lather, and all the other different characteristics that make a good bar of soap.

What makes the best soap recipe?

In my mind, a good cold process soap should clean well, not dry the skin, and have a noticeable fragrance. But mostly improtantly, there should be plenty of lather and big bubbles. This is most people’s complaint about homemade soap, and this recipe takes care of it.

What size mold works with this soap recipe?

This recipe makes forty ounces, which nicely fills a good sized wooden mold.  I also use it with a 10-inch silicone mold but it fills it to the top and then some (you see in the video). The bars with a ten inch mold are oversized but you can still get the full recipe in there.  

Of course, if you have individual bar molds it works fine with them as well. It is a bit softer at first than some recipes, use sodium lactate if you are using a mold with any detail.

You can resize this recipe, or any other, by using a soap calculator like this one.

Simply enter in these percentages and it will calculate the ounces of oil you need for this recipe in whatever size you need:

  • Avocado Oil: 9.76%
  • Castor Oil: 9.76%
  • Coconut Oil: 26.83%
  • Mango Butter: 4.88%
  • Olive Oil: 21.95%
  • Palm Oil: 21.95%
  • Sweet Almond Oil: 4.88%

Step by step cold process soap making

???? If you have never tried homemade soap before, please see my beginner’s guide to cold process soap making, which will walk you through everything you need to know!

The basic soap making process is the same no matter what recipe you use. This recipe does require a lot of different oils, so if you don’t want to invest in all of these oils before you get comfortable making soap, try my homemade cleaning soap or mango butter hand soap first.

But it is no more difficult to make this recipe than any of the others. It’s still the same process.

First measure your lye and water separately using a digital scale, then carefully combine them.  Pour your water into a cup you don’t care much about, then add the lye to the water, stir it until it dissolves, and set it somewhere it will not be knocked over, drank, or otherwise messed with.

lye being poured into water for cold process soap recipe
add the lye to the water: snow floats on the lake!

Then you measure your oils, using your scale, zeroing out the scale before each addition. 

soap making oils on digital scale in stainless steel pot

Melt them on your stovetop, bringing the temperature up to around 140.

Now everything needs to cool to about 110 to 120 degrees.  It will take a few hours.  Check with a thermometer.

Once your temperatures are right, it is time to combine.  

BEFORE you do this, make sure any color and fragrance you want to add are ready to go, and that your mold is prepared.  A wooden mold needs to be lined with freezer or parchment paper.  A silicone mold requires no prep.

Blend….

Until everything is combined and you have reached a thin “trace”.  This means your soap had thickened up JUST a little.  If you were to drizzle a bit of soap of top, it would stay instead of sinking in.  

Add color and fragrance and stir by hand or slowly with the stick blender.

Then pour everything into your prepared mold.

pink batter for cold process soap being poured into white silicone mold

Wrap in some old quilts to keep it warm, OR put in an oven set to 140 degrees or less.  Let the oven run for an hour and then turn it off, leaving the soap overnight.  Or just leave it wrapped up overnight.

The next morning or afternoon you take it out and cut it into bars.  Use three or four weeks later.  You will love it.

finished cold process soap bars laying on old dish towel

My favorite soap making tools:

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8 bars of pink homemade soap

Here’s the recipe:

If you love this recipe, please give it five stars!

5 from 11 votes

The Best Cold Process Soap Recipe

Print Recipe
Prep Time:30 mins
curing time:1 d
Total Time:1 d 30 mins

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 11 oz. coconut oil
  • 9 oz. olive oil
  • 9 oz. palm oil
  • 2 oz. sweet almond oil
  • 4 oz. castor oil
  • 4 oz. avocado oil
  • 2 oz. mango butter
  • 5.83 oz of lye
  • 10-15 oz. water
  • 3 T. of fragrance for a strong scent, vary this to your preferences

Instructions

  • Using a digital scale, measure out the lye and water in separate glass containers.  Combine them by adding the lye to the water.  (Remember: snow floats on the lake.). Stir until the lye dissolves.  The temperature will shoot up.  Place this in a safe place to cool.
  • While the lye solution is cooling, measure out the oils and butters and combine them in a large stainless pot.  Melt them over low heat and heat them up to 130-140 degrees.  Set them aside to cool.
  • After 2 hours, check the temperature of both solutions.  They should be around 110 degrees.  (A range of 100-120 is fine.). If not, allow them to cool longer.
  • Prepare your mold and measure out any fragrance or color you will be adding.  (For best blending of colors, mix some color into a few drops of melted oils.). If using sodium lactate, add it to the lye water at this time.
  • Pour the water and lye solution into the pot with the melted oils.  Blend with a stick blender until thin trace is reached.  The soap batter will noticeable thicken and a trail of soap will sit on top of the liquid rather than immediately sinking in.  (This will take about 1 minute.). Add the color and fragrance and stir by hand.
  • mmediately pour the soap batter into the mold.  Place in a turned off oven or wrap with blankets to insulate the soap.
  • After 24 hours of curing, unmold and cut into bars.  The bars may seem slightly soft but will harden considerably during the curing process. Allow to cure at least 3 weeks in a well-ventilated place.

Video

Notes

Follow standard soap making safety guidelines!
Keyword: best cold process soap recipe, extra lather cold process soap
Author: Katie Shaw, Heart’s Content
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @heartsccontentfarmhouse so I can see!

Click here to subscribe By on September 2nd, 2019

123 thoughts on “The Best Cold Process Soap Recipe”

  1. 5 stars
    This is my absolute FAVORITE soap recipe! It’s wonderfully moisturizing while bubbling beautifully. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. My family and I are grateful. ☺️

    Reply
  2. I really appreciate your lecture and I wish one day I can. Be ableto blend my own my question is that can i use palm oil olive oil only or can I just use soyabean oil to do the same only thanks you I appreciate your tutorial ideas

    Reply
  3. Hi! I am a first time soap maker and I am excited to try your recipe. I have been reading and researching and prepping before I begin. My question is do you have to melt and heat the oils on the stove to the given temp or can I just melt in microwave? Thank you!

    Reply
  4. Hi Katie, when you made this recipe, what was the source of the SAP values that you used to calculate the solid lye (NaOH) quantity? There seems to be quite a range of values for each oil, depending on the supplier or on the online database source. For example, for avocado oil, I get a 177 to 230 range from the “fromnaturewithlove.com” saponification tables, while Bramble Berry just provides one value: 200. If I use the Bramble Berry values I get 6.1 oz of NaOH (for 5% superfat) for this recipe, but you are using 5.83 oz of NaOH, which would put you between 5 and 10%. If I rely on the wider range, then 5.83 oz lands me between 0.9% and 9.3% superfat.

    Reply
  5. 5 stars
    I have been researching for months before trying to make soap for the first time and this was the recipe I tried. It is such a beautiful, creamy, bar that lathers like crazy which I absolutely love! After washing my hands with it they are not stripped what-so ever and is just moisturizing enough. Thanks for this recipe! I love your YouTube videos and you’ve taught me quite a bit of useful info on making cold process soap!

    Reply
  6. I’m interested in this soap recipe, but wonder if there’s a substitute for the palm oil and avacado oil; also could I use shea butter instead of mango? I’m just new at this, and I’m not exactly sure how to run this through a soap calculator. Thank you for you help!

    Reply
    • hi WT: you can definitely make substitutions! if you don’t want palm or avocado oil you might like the lemon soap recipe i have. https://heartscontentfarmhouse.com/lemon-soap-recipe/ to just do a straight up substitution with THIS recipe, you could substitute babbasou oil for the palm oil (it’s expensive) and more almond oil for the avocado. but you would have to use a lye calculator to see if the lye amount changes. hope this helps 🙂

      Reply
      • If this recipe is drying out your skin and you want a vegan recipe, reduce the Coconut oil and skip the Palm. Sub with more olive oil or canola oil to be economical. Also be sure your lye formula is mild. 1:3 is a good rule of thumb ratio. Cover it to keep carbon absorption out. You can put a little of the butter aside and add it in with your choice of fragrance as well. I try to avoid fake fragrances because of my sentsative Irish girl skin. Jess, Barblender Soaps.

    • hallie, the amount of water is flexible in soap recipes. I typically go for an amount in the middle. less water and it will come to trace faster and the bars will cure faster, it just give you less time to add fragrance, etc before the soap sets up. a higher amount of water and you have more time to work but the bars will need more time to cure. its just personal preference.

      Reply
    • hi Anna! there are very annoying decimals involved, unfortunately! 🙂
      Avocado Oil: 9.76%
      Castor Oil: 9.76%
      Coconut Oil: 26.83%
      Mango Butter: 4.88%
      Olive Oil: 21.95%
      Palm Oil: 21.95%
      Sweet Almond Oil: 4.88%

      Reply
  7. Hello! I have made many batches of this soap and the soap has cured for 4 weeks. I used one of the bars last evening and it was very drying to my hands. They felt tight etc. I love the recipe and all the ingredients. Any thoughts? Will curing longer help?

    Reply
    • Pamela, do you mean previously batches have turned out well but this particular one did not? It could have been a measuring error- leaving out a certain oil and thus too much lye, or something like that. if you mean that all of your batches have been too drying, I would recommend increasing the superfat to 7%, but it will be a softer bar. 🙂

      Reply
  8. I made your recipe the other day and I absolutely loved it! So tonight I made it a second time, it’s been poured and sitting in the mold for a couple hours now. I just realized that I forgot to add the avocado oil! ???? How bad have I messed this up? I’m a new soaper, please help.

    Reply
    • so the main issue that the lye is going to be a bit out of whack. there won’t be enough oils to balance out the lye. what I would do is use a soap calculator and input the recipe as you made it. see what the superfat percentage comes out to. if it’s below 4, it’s probably too harsh to use on your skin 🙁 but you could use it as a cleaning soap! here is my favorite lye calculator: https://www.the-sage.com/lyecalc/

      Reply
  9. Hi Katie

    I am planning to make this soap and it will be my first time! A soap virgin. Where does the pink colouring come from? I love it and want my soap to look just like that!
    Wish me luck.

    Reply

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