Beginner’s Cold Process Soap


This is my first recipe for basic cold process soap. This recipe will allow for 8% excess fat in your soap.

Ingredients for twelve 4 oz bars of soap (in a 48 oz loaf mold, ~3 lbs of soap):
*All measurements are weight measurements, not liquid measurements.

  • 9.6 oz olive oil
  • 9.6 oz coconut oil
  • 9.6 oz palm oil
  • 3.2 oz sweet almond oil
  • 10 oz water
  • 4.5 oz lye (solid sodium hydroxide) – calculated via a handy web lye calculator

The proportions of oils above are roughly:

  • 30% olive oil
  • 30% coconut oil
  • 30% palm oil
  • 10% sweet almond oil

Try the following combinations of essential oils, or make up your own:

  • 0.5 oz peppermint essential oil & 0.5 oz rosemary essential oil
  • 0.375 oz tea tree essential oil & 1 oz orange essential oil
  • 0.5 oz cedar essential oil & 0.5 oz lemon essential oil

Warning: certain essential oils can accelerate trace, so check and test the oils before you make a big batch. (e.g. cinnamon leaf essential oil is known to accelerate trace)


  • infrared thermometer
  • scale
  • mixing container
  • soap mold that holds 48 oz of soap
  • stick blender
  • safety goggles and gloves
  • spatula

Before you start:

  1. Clear the area of small children and pets.
  2. Set up equipment and ingredients in a well-ventilated area.
  3. Put on safety gear.


  1. Slowly add lye to the water. The temperature of the solution will rise. Calmly stir the mixture (without breathing fumes) until the water is clear again. Set aside to cool.
  2. Submerge the solid oils (in the bottles) in warm to hot water until liquid. Measure out your oils and heat them on 30-second blasts in the microwave until they reach ~130 F.
  3. Mix the oils.
  4. Once the oils and the lye water have cooled to below 130F (and ideally are within 10 degrees of each other), slowly pour the lye water into the mixed oils. Pour the lye water down the shaft of the blender to avoid air bubbles.
  5. Pulse the stick blender to mix the oils and the lye water initially, then blend at one speed until the soap almost reaches trace.
  6. Add the essential oils.
  7. Once the soap has reached trace, pour the soap into your mold. Tamp the mold to release any air bubbles.
  8. Allow the soap to stay in the mold for 24-48 hours. Unmold, cut, and cure for 4-6 weeks.