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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

4.24 from 112 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!

184 thoughts on “The Best Cold Process Soap Recipe”

  1. The oddest thing happened when I made a batch of this. I measured exactly, waited for both oils and lye/water solution were at 110 degrees. Mixed both together for a quick second and then added my essential oils. I used lemongrass and sandlewood. It came to trace super super fast, looked like cottage cheese in a split second, so I transferred to my mold. I knocked out what I thought were as many bubbles that could surface and stepped back to be thoroughly disappointed. I cleaned my tools and went back to transfer the ugly batch of soap to my waiting area and the entire batch was liquid. I went ahead and stirred it until it started to setup, covered it in towels and walked away. Not sure what will come of all of this, but I’ve never had any of your recipes act like this. Any ideas? I’m at 7,000 ft altitude and I’ve always wondered if a batch of stuff (like cooking) doesn’t work out it is because of the altitude.

    Reply
    • Hi Jan, Are you using a new fragrance oil by any chance? Sometimes one with a lot of florals in it will cause your soap to seize up (the cottage cheese texture you described), but it hadn’t fully come to tract it would stay liquid. That’s the only thing I can think of. I hope it set up for you!

      Reply
      • No new fragrance, same essential oils I normally use. It setup after 24 hours and I was able to cut the bars. It was the weirdest thing. The bars are not all uniform in structure, some areas more translucent than others. Now to wait and see how it cures. Thanks for the reply, I’ll let you know how they turn out. BTW, Your recipes turn out better than most I try. Thanks for the awesome resources.

  2. 2 stars
    To be honest – by look at this recipe… soap will be drying. No way that soap with almost 27% od coconut oil won’t dry you out, unless you superfat it at about 8-10%… and then there will really small lather. Too much expensive, useless oils. I bet that my basic much more simple recipe will beat this soap.
    When I was starting, I thought that more=better… in soapmaking it is opposite.

    Reply
    • That’s a very arrogant comment about Katie’s recipe especially if you can’t produce yours for viewers to test.
      If you can’t walk your talk then shut up… Just saying😜

      Reply
      • This is a wonderful recipe- I do trust her recipes and if there has ever been a problem- it was operator error. ME. You are a good person Lelani- arrogant trolls are everywhere. So is envy- a very ugly thing indeed. I Love love love watching Katie’s videos.

  3. Approximately how many bars will this make? I don’t know whether to size up or down because I don’t know how much it makes. What size mold makes a huge difference, but as an average size bar goes, 2×3″ or thereabouts.

    Reply
    • Measure your loaf pan you are using length x width x height = volume x .40 = oil amounts needed and take to soapcalc.net and enter the percentages and you will come up with the exact amount of each oil to use in grams or ounces, whichever you prefer. Watch YouTube for how to make soap for beginners and when you feel confident, you can make this recipe. Hope this helps a little.
      Kathy M.
      PS You can watch Soap Queen, MoRiverSoap, Jerika Zimmerman Soap Making tips and many more. Good luck.

      Reply
  4. 5 stars
    I used this recipe for my first try at soap making. I am so pleased with the results that I can’t image ever being without this soap. I calculated an 8% super fat and used no coloring or scent.

    Reply
  5. Hi Katie I did make your The Best Cold Processed Soap recipe and have received nothing but compliments on it! About to make another batch tonight. My question is how did you get it to turn pink? My soap turned out an orange color I think due to the organic palm oil? I also added calendar flowers throughout the soap and it truly is amazing on the skin! Thanks for all your hard work and recipes that you offer I truly appreciate them!

    Reply
  6. 5 stars
    New to soap making. Love your recipe. 2nd batch I used 14 oz of water, no sodium lactate but it still got too thick too fast to swirl. Any suggestions?

    Reply

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