How to Make No Cook Soap

Soap is cut after it sets.

Learning how to make no cook soap is not difficult. There are some important safety rules to follow, and precautions to take. However, once these are learned, the variety of soaps that you can make is endless.

What is No Cook Soap?

No cook or cold process soaps are soaps that are made without cooking over heat, or melting in a microwave. The soaps have many variations, but the basic ingredients remain the same:

  • Lye
  • Fat
  • Distilled water

You can add numerous items to these basic ingredients for different types of soap. The fats can be varied, or mixed. The soaps can be molded or cut. Cold process soap is the soap that is used to make the more luxurious and complex hand milled soap. Consider it the foundation soap that many other soaps are based on.

Equipment You will Need

There is some basic equipment that you will need before you get started. Much of the equipment for making no cook soap may all ready be in your kitchen cupboards:

  • Kitchen scale: This is important for the accurate measurement of ingredients.
  • Soap pot: You will need an eight quart, unchipped enamel or stainless steel pot for mixing. Lye will corrode anything else.
  • Large plastic container: The container should have a lid. It should be at least twelve quarts in size, and will be used to hold the soap while it sets.
  • Two plastic pitchers
  • Long handled wood spoon
  • Two kitchen thermometers
  • Safety goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Stainless steel ladle
  • Sharp knife

Basic Ingredients

Different types of fats behave differently in the soap making process:

  • Suet makes a mild soap.
  • Beef fat makes a soft soap that can be difficult to work with.
  • Tallow makes the soap hard with soft bubbles.
  • Lard makes soaps that are mild but do not lather much.
  • Palm oil makes soap with rich, long lasting bubbles.
  • Coconut oil can be hard on the skin, but it makes a rich creamy lather.
  • Olive oil makes a brittle soap that is mild.

There are other fats used in soap making, but these are used most often.

It is important that you use pure lye. Red Devil Lye is easily found in most hardware stores and is the one most recommended for the making of soap. Always follow all directions when working with lye. It is a very caustic substance and will burn if it gets on your skin. Always wear gloves and safety goggles when working with this ingredient!

In addition, you may want to add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance. Some popular fragrances are:

  • Lavender
  • Tangerine
  • Rose
  • Ylang ylang

How to Make No Cook Soap with Mixed Fats

The mixture of olive and coconut oil added to the tallow makes this creamy soap especially mild, with a luxurious lather and long lasting bubbles.


Use the scale to weigh the following ingredients. Be sure that you are weighing carefully and accurately.

  • 8 oz olive oil
  • 8 oz coconut oil
  • 8 oz rendered tallow
  • 3.49 oz Red Devil Lye
  • 9 fluid oz distilled water


  1. Put on the goggles and the gloves. In a well ventilated place, combine the lye and the water in the enamelware pan. Stir well with a wooden or stainless spoon. It will heat up by itself, this is normal. Set aside and allow to cool to 100-125F. Check the temperature with one of the kitchen thermometers. Always add the lye to the water. Do not ever add the water to the lye.
  2. Combine oils and heat gently. Once the fats and oils are melted allow the temperature to drop to 100° F to 125° F.
  3. Combine lye solution and melted oils. They must be at the same temperature. Be careful not to splash while combining the mixtures. Stir until the mixture has the consistency of thick custard. This is called tracing. It can take fifteen minutes or more to get to this point so be patient.
  4. Once tracing has occurred, pour the soap into the plastic bin. Allow to set for a few days and then turn out of the mold. Allow it to air dry for a day or two before cutting, wrapping and storing. Allow to cure for two weeks before using.

This is an overview of the process. Detailed soap making instructions as well as safety instructions should be read and understood before it is attempted.

Problems and Causes

There are a few things that can happen when you are making soap. They normally have an easily identifiable cause, and a solution. Here are some common problems for the neophyte soap maker:

  • Streaks in bars are caused by insufficient mixing or too much lye.
  • Ingredients must be measured exactly. Poor quality soap is often the result of poor measurement.
  • The lye must be pure or the soap will not set up.
  • The water should be distilled or the soap may not set up.

Other Recipes for Cold Process Soap

The basics of how to make no cook soap are just the beginning of what you can do. Here are some more recipes to try:

When you have learned how to make no cook soap, you will be able to use it in many ways. Learning to make this soap can be the first step in a lifelong hobby.

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