Basic Soap Recipes For Beginners

If you are new to making soap, and have done your research on the basics and safety precautions, you do not need to buy any fancy ingredients to make a quality bar of soap.

Please do not attempt Beer or wine soap for your first batch. Beer has to be totally flat, and both should be diluted with water due to the alcohol content and frozen into a slush if you do not want a lye volcano. I will cover that later in another post.

Most basic ingredients such as Coconut oil, Olive oil, Lard, and Castor oil can be found at any grocery store. Use Paprika added at trace to add a Red/Orange color to plain White soap, or Cocoa powder and/or coffee for a rich dark Brown.

Sodium hydroxide (lye) can be found at Ace Hardware, or I have provided a link below where I buy mine. Its less expensive than Ace and it is a high quality food grade lye. Yes, there is such a thing as food grade lye used to make pretzles, which sounds srtange to me. If you buy it anywhere else Just make sure the label says 100% sodium hydroxide, not other drain openers.

Here is the very first soap recipe I started with as a practice batch and to my surprise it turned out awesome, and gave me the confidence to go ahead and make more, lots more.

A good tip: Before you start any soap project, gather all the ingredients and weigh the oils and butters.


2 pounds 10 ounces Crisco (soap ingredients are always weighed not measured, but I just used a whole can that happened to be 2 lb. 10 oz.) Come on, it was an experimental first batch:)

7 ounces cold distilled water or clean rain water

4.5 ounces 100% sodium hydroxide, lye

Always add the lye to the water not visa versa. Pour very slowly in a well ventilated area. Use a stainless steel pot or ceramic crock pot and spatula or wooden spoon. If you are using the crock pot method be sure the pot is creamic not teflon or any other material.

For color I added 1 T. Paprika to 1/3 of the batch at trace and poured it on top. Then used a spoon to make cool peaks on top.

Any soap making method can be used. I started out with cold process, but soon learned that the Room temp. and Hot Process Crock Pot methods are much easier and faster. See my page titled Room Temp. Method. Be sure to always wear long sleeves, long rubber gloves, safety glasses, and open all the windows or work outside.

At the time I did not use a soap calculator (I did not even know how to use one) and the soap turned out beautiful, I guess by luck. It came out of the mold just right the next morning, and were nice hard bars with a smooth texture.

For the mold I used a recycled wooden sewing maching drawer lined with waxed paper. Cut the waxed paper at least an inch larger all the way around and tape it down. It will be easier to pour the batter into without the paper falling in.

Silicone molds make great soap molds and are easy to remove the soap once it is hardened.

To cut into bars I used a 10″ drywall knife and sliced straight down.

To let the bars cure I stood them up in a box with low sides (the kind soup is delivered to grocery stores in) with waxed paper in the bottom. They were spaced about an inch apart.

Since this batch was cold process, they had to cure 4-6 weeks before they could be used. Can you see now why I looked for faster methods? It is hard to wait that long to try out your new creation! With hot process the soap is ready to use right away after testing the pH.

Easy Fragrance-free Soap Recipe

Basic soap using Paprika for interesting color.


This is the second cold process recipe I used in my soap making adventure. It also turned out better than expected:) It made a nice hard bar of soap with good lather.

14 ounces Coconut oil

16 ounces Lard (one small 1 pound package)

2 ounces Castor oil (adds great lather)

7 ounces cold strong brewed coffee with 1 T. Dark Cocoa powder added to it for a deep rich color

4.5 ounces sodium hodroxide, Lye

For exfoliating soap add 2 T. finely ground Coffee, and for a nice scent add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon fragrance oil at medium trace. The coffee grounds are great for kitchen odors, gardener’s hands, mechanic’s hands, and pets. I love this soap, so does a mechanic friend!

Dark Mocha Soap

Made with coffee and dark cocoa powder for color.

Made with coffee and dark cocoa powder for color.

Good quality food grade lye that I use:

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If you would rather learn from a video Click Here!

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