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The Best Cold Process Soap Recipe

A super bubbly homemade soap with great cleansing and moisturizing properties. Once you try this recipe, it will be all you want to use!

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

stack of pink soap bars

❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Perfectly balanced between cleansing and moisturizing: Every oil brings its own properties to a bar of soap, and finding the perfect soap recipe is a balance of those things. This recipe does it.
  • Tons of lather and big bubbles. This is most people’s complaint about homemade soap, and this recipe takes care of it.
  • Suitable for beginners. Yes, it has a lot of oils, but the basic process is the same as any recipe. If you’ve never made cold-process soap before, you should read my Beginners Guide to Soapmaking first.

This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.

ingredients on counter

You’ll need the following for this bubbly bar:

  • coconut oil
  • olive oil
  • palm oil
  • sweet almond oil
  • castor oil
  • avocado oil
  • mango butter
  • lye
  • water
  • fragrance and color (optional)
  • sodium lactate for a harder bar

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🍴Instructions

Step One: Measure water and LYE

pyrex cup with lye on top
Remember “snow floats on the lake”: the lye goes on top

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.

Step Two: Measure, melt, and cool the oils

oil and butter 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.

If you’re using sodium lactate, add it now to the cooled lye water.

Step three: Blend to trace

stick blender combining water and oils

Once your temperatures are right, it is time to combine.   Pour the lye water into the pot of oils and stick blend.

Important: Before you do this, make sure any color and fragrance you want to add are ready to go, and that your mold is prepared. Things will move very quickly and you don’t want your soap batter hardening in the pot. 

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 on top, it would stay instead of sinking in.  

Step FouR: Add Color and fragrance and pour into mold

pouring pink soap batter into loaf mold

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

Then pour everything into your prepared mold.

Step FIVE: CUre and cut

cut bars on tea towel

Let the soap cure in a warm, draft-free place (such a turned-off oven that has been warmed to 140 degrees, then turned off), or wrapped in quilts.

The next morning or afternoon you take it out and cut it into bars.   Let it cure for 3-5 weeks before using in the shower

🥫 Storage instructions

Once fully cured, homemade soap should be stored in a dry, well-ventilated spot. I like to put it in shoe boxes in the closet with layers of newspaper in between the bars.

While it is in use, use a soap saver to keep your bar dry. It will last much longer.

🔍 FAQs

What kind of mold did you use?

A 10-inch silicone mold. It’s my favorite for most soaps.

What type of color is this pink?

It is a pink mica from Nurture Soap. You can find it here.

Can I use this recipe in individual cavity molds?

Yes, absolutely. I’d recommend using sodium lactate since it can be a bit soft when unmolding it.

What are the best soap fragrances?

This is 100% personal preference (except for the fact that florals are more difficult to work with). My personal favorites are Comfort and Joy from Nurture Soap and Mango Mango from Brambleberry

Will this recipe work with swirls or embeds?

Yes! I used to swirl it all the time before I got too lazy. 😊

Can I resize this?

You sure can. You’ll need the following percentages:

Coconut Oil: 26.83%
Mango Butter: 4.88%
Olive Oil: 21.95%
Palm Oil: 21.95%
Sweet Almond Oil: 4.88%


Enter them into a soap calculator with the desired size of your batch and it will give you the correct amounts.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • Working with lye is dangerous and you must be in a well-ventilated, distraction-free workspace. Wear goggles and gloves to protect yourself and keeps kids and pets away.
  • You must follow soapmaking recipes exactly. If you’re going to make changes or substitutions, you must first run the recipe through a lye calculator and accept that you’ve created your own recipe at this point.
  • Castor oil is the “secret” to big bubbles. Don’t substitute!

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📖 Here’s the recipe

4.23 from 121 votes

The Best Cold Process Soap Recipe

Print Recipe
A super bubbly homemade soap with great cleansing and moisturizing properties. Once you try this recipe, it will be all you want to use!
Prep Time:30 mins
curing time:1 d
Total Time:1 d 30 mins
Click here to grab a free seasonal e-cookbook!

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 11 ounces coconut oil
  • 9 ounces olive oil
  • 9 ounces palm oil
  • 2 ounces sweet almond oil
  • 4 ounces castor oil
  • 4 ounces avocado oil
  • 2 ounces mango butter
  • 5.83 ounces lye
  • 10-15 ounces water
  • 3 tablespoons fragrance oil for a strong scent, vary this to your preferences
  • 2 teaspoons sodium lactate optional, for a harder bar
  • colorant or mica optional

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.
  • Immediately 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.

Notes

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

194 thoughts on “The Best Cold Process Soap Recipe”

  1. Hey KAtie! this recipe looks really good and i want to get better at soap making.
    However I want re scale the ingredients. Can you tell me what’s the superfattening and lye concentration in this recipe?

    Thanks a lot!!!!

    Reply
  2. I’ve been exploring soap making – research stage – and your videos and posts are incredibly helpful!! Quick question please: After you cut the soap and are waiting the weeks to use it, how best does it need to be stored? Each bar separated and laying flat or can they be stacked? Covered/wrapped or open air?
    I am hoping to make it in one location, but will be moving to another for the winter, so want to know if or how I can transport the bars. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Lorna! I typically lay them flat for the first few days: on an old tea towel laid on top of a baking sheet so I can move them out of the way if needed. Then I put them in a cardboard box in between layers of newspaper. They need some air.

      Reply
  3. Hi Kate, can you recommend a good scent for this pretty pink soap? I am new at this and was wondering what you used.
    Thank you for sharing, I am so excited to try it.

    Reply
    • My favorite fragrance is called Mango Mango from Brambleberry: sweet and fruity. If you like florals, they have a nice lilac, and for fresh scents, a lemony one called energy.

      Reply
  4. Hi Katie in the recipe it says 3T of fragrance is that Teaspoons? Sorry if this sounds silly I’ve got everything but sweet almond oil to try this recipe thank you😌

    Reply
  5. Hi! I as wondering why it says to cure the poured batter in a warm place rather than the freezer? Also, can I substitute the water with goat’s milk?

    Reply
  6. 5 stars
    I want to say thank you for helping us future soap makers. to help us learn how to make soap the Right way! God Bless

    Reply
  7. Hi Katie
    Can you tell me what you used to get this beautiful pink color. I make bars that are not swirls of color and this picture is what I would like to achieve. Thanks

    Reply
  8. I’m sure you’re soaps are amazing,but I’m not willing to try anyone’s recipe that contains palm oil, with your experience can you recommend something else please. Thanks.

    Reply
  9. Hello, thank you very much for this lovely recipe. What is the exact amount of water that we need to put please? I can see in the reicep that it says 10-15 oz water.
    I want to do a very small batch because I am so new and I am afraid of messing it up. However when I am resizing on soap calc it is asking for the superfat amount and lye concentration amount. Could you please enlighten me on those. I am too excited to try your recipe.
    I had tried another basic recipe from the net and it turned out not too well for me unfortunately.
    Where I live I get palm olein oil instead of palm oil. Is it ok to use? Is it almost the same.
    Thank you SO much.

    Reply
    • Edit: I went to your recommended lye calculator and was able to find the lye amount. But still confused as to how much water exactly I should use if I would like a 5% superfat.
      Thank you again

      Reply
    • hi sam- the lye amount and oils are what determines the superfat. so it will 5% no matter what amount of water you use. the water will affect how quickly the soap batter comes to trace and how fast it cures. so it’s really personal preference and doesn’t affect the finished bar, just the process. i’ve never used palm olein oil so i’m not sure how it would change the recipe.

      Reply
  10. HI Katie If I want to make a very large batch of this soap (like 6 or 7 loafs) then any pointers or advice you can give me? and how do I know how much to put when entering info in the lye calculator? and which lye calculator do you recommend>?

    Reply
    • No, every oil has its own properties and amount of lye that is needed to turn it into soap. At that point you would simply be creating your own recipe that you would run through a lye calculator. if the the calculation work, you will get a bar of soap that will “work” but it will be different than this recipe. there’s nothing wrong with that, of course, it’s just a new creation. 🙂

      Reply

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