Try this easy one-fat homemade soap recipe, excellent for soap-making beginners, this time made with an animal fat: lard. Lard has been used by our grandmothers to make great homemade soap. Lard soap is very moisturizing, makes a good hard bar, and has light foam.
All the soaps I have made so far use vegetable fats (be them oils or butters). Not only are they accessible fats, they also give rise to very moisturizing and mild soaps of superior quality.
Then why an animal fat soap, like lard?
1- For economic reasons. It may be easier in some cases to use animal fat than vegetable fat, or it is simply cheaper. In addition, lard alone creates good bars of soap, requiring no oil mixtures.
2- For sustainability reasons. Lard, or animal fat in general, requires simpler resources to obtain, and can even be processed at home, unlike oils! Normally, animal fat is a by-product of meat production, and instead of being thrown away, it can be used to make soaps, thus making it a sustainable process.
3- Lard soap will not smell like meat. The fat will have to be treated well and have no meat residues; the lard sold in supermarkets is perfectly acceptable. You can also try the one that is sold in butchers. At most, the soap may have a very faint scent of lard that can be masked with essential oils.
4- Lard has a composition very similar to palm oil, resulting in a long lasting soap with a light and creamy foam. In addition, it is similar in composition to human skin fat making it a moisturizing and mild soap. You also don’t need to use other oils to have a balanced soap. Meaning it’s easier, and simpler, making this another good recipe for beginners along Olive Oil Soap Recipe and How To Make Coconut Soap.
This time it didn’t go well for me
I had to try this recipe for handmade lard soap. Especially after hearing so much talk that our grandmothers used to make soap with animal fat.
I tried to make this recipe with lard bought at the supermarket. It is true that the lard, when I made this recipe, was already about 2 months old despite being within the expiration date. That can make all the difference.
Fact is, despite having added the anti-oxidant (rosemary oleoresin extract), the soap started to smell a lot of rancid and lard after 3 months of curing … And I saw for the first time dreaded orange spots.
But my experience in using lard does not end there, nor was it always bad. I used lard in soaps, mixed with other oils which I made for Christmas gifts. This one went very well, the soap was good, very moisturizing and making good lather, and smelled a lot of lavender.
Very recently, I’ve found out that I am not the only soap maker observing that 100% lard soap goes rancid while using lard at around 30% in soap gives great results, especially if you are not a fan of using palm oil. Please, read more in Lard In Soap.
Why you should try it!
This recipe for natural lard soap with a superfat of 5% results in a moisturizing soap for the skin, which can become very economical – and of good quality! – if you have the patience to render your own lard at home (learn how in Lard In Soap).
Just be careful with the lard you use, do not use lard store-bought, or if you do, make sure you use the soap quite fast. The secret is to use fresh handmade lard (which you can also buy to artisans, but it will no longer be economical).
I assure you that the soap does not smell like lard after the saponification process. You can also add an essential oil for a special aroma, as suggested in this recipe.
This is also another great recipe for beginners, due to its simplicity. Try it and enjoy !!
Find Where to Buy Handmade Lard Soap
If you’re not yet ready to try to make this recipe at home, but you still wish to enjoy natural soaps, you can find handmade lard soap in the following links:
Looking for more natural soaps? Check out my review about Apple Valley Natural Soap.
- More about Lard: Lard In Soap
- More about Essential Oils: Essential Oils for Soap Making
- More Soap Recipes: Cold Process Soap Recipes
- More Recipes for Beginners: Homemade Soap Recipes For Beginners
Watch These Videos Before Starting Your Soap Recipe
Homemade Lard Soap Recipe
- 137 g distilled water
- 60 g lye (100% sodium hydroxide)
- 450 g lard or tallow
- Wear goggles and gloves! Look at “Safety Recommendations” in the video above or in How to Make Soap From Scratch
- Watch the video above about "Cold Process Soap Making tutorial" or read the post How To Make Soap by Cold Process Step-by-Step for instructions on cold process soap making before starting. These are generic but important steps for all recipes.
- Assemble everything: ingredients, equipment, safety equipment. Prepare your workstations. Measure all the ingredients. Don’t start the recipe without having everything ready!
- The essential oil is optional. It adds scent to your soap. You can choose the one from the recipe or another like lavender, peppermint, litsea cubeba. You can also choose a fragrance oil. But do not exceed the 13 ml limit.
Heat the Oils
- Melt the lard as it remains solid at room temperature.
Make the Lye Water
- Make the lye solution according to How To Make Lye Water. Mix it until the vapors start to dissipate.
Make the Soap Batter
- Use as target temperature 38ºC for the oil-solution mixture. If necessary, heat the lard a little.
- Reach trace with the immersion blender.
- Add the extract and essential oil after tracing. Mix with a spoon.
Molding and Curing
- Pour the dough in the molds with a pitcher and sprinkle with alcohol or witch hazel. You can put in pre-heated oven for gel phase.
- Let it set for 48 hours.
- Unmold and let the bars cure for 4 to 6 weeks. See How To Cure Soap.