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Simple Lard Soap for Beginners

Learning how to make soap is a valuable homesteading skill that everyone striving for greater self-sufficiency can acquire. It doesn’t matter where you live or how many acres you are on, we can all make soap at home! Start with a simple recipe like this lard soap. It's perfect for beginners!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Curing Time 30 days
Total Time 30 days 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 10 bars
Cost $3 per bar


  • 3 Large glass or plastic bowls
  • 1 small glass bowl
  • small saucepan (for double boiler)
  • kitchen scale
  • silicone spatula
  • immersion blender
  • soap mold
  • safety gear, gloves and glasses
  • instant read thermometer, optional


  • 16 ounces lard
  • 9.5 ounces coconut oil
  • 6.5 ounces sunflower oil
  • 12.16 ounces frozen ice cubes, water, milk, herbal tea, juice
  • 4.63 ounces lye
  • 1 ounce essential oils, optional (my favorite scent is 50/50 lavender and lemongrass)


  • Gather all of your equipment and ingredients.
  • Weigh the lard and coconut oil into a large glass bowl. Set it over a small saucepan filled with water to create a double boiler.
    Double boiler for making lard soap
  • Boil the water until the solid fats in the bowl are melted. Remove from heat.
  • Meanwhile, weigh the sunflower oil into a separate bowl.
    weighing sunflower oil for lard soap
  • In a third large bowl, weigh the ice cubes.
    ice cubes and lye mixture for lard soap
  • In a small glass bowl or pyrex dish, weigh the lye while wearing safety glasses and gloves.
  • In a ventilated space, slowly sprinkle the lye into the container with the ice cubes while stirring until you have added all of the lye. Continue stirring until the lye is fully dissolved. Set aside in a safe place where it won’t get spilled.
    ice cubes melted after mixing in lye
  • Measure out the essential oils, if using, and set aside.
  • Once the solid fats have melted, combine them with the sunflower oil and stir well.
    oils for soap making
  • Take the temperature of the mixed oils and the temperature of the lye mixture. You will want them to be about the same temperature, in the 90-110F range. (Or that when they are combined, the average temperature will be in that range.)
    lye mixture base temperature for lard soap
  • Slowly pour the oils into the lye mixture and stir well with the silicone spatula.
  • While you are stirring, take the temperature of the oils and make sure they are within the correct range.
    oils mixed with lye starting temperature
  • If so, use the immersion blender to combine the soap batter until it reaches trace.
  • (Trace is achieved when it is a runny pudding-like consistency and you can drizzle the batter from the blender across the surface and you can see the drizzle sit on top of the batter. Trace can be confirmed with the thermometer. It will be at least 2-3 degrees higher than it was when you first mixed the oils and lye water together.)
    soap temperature after saponification begins
  • After you have reached trace, use the immersion blender to fully combine the essential oils if using.
    lard soap at trace
  • Pour the batter into your soap mold.
    soap batter in mold
  • Cover the mold with plastic wrap and set in a cool place for 48 hours or until the soap is hard enough to remove from the molds. (When making milk soaps, I refrigerate the soap in the molds during the saponification process to ensure it doesn’t overheat and turn the soap brown.)
  • Cut the soap into bars.
  • Set on a shelf to cure for 4-8 weeks. The longer you allow the soap to cure, the harder the final bar will be and the longer it will last.