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Lard and Calendula Soap Recipe

Another lard soap recipe, this time a more modern one, where lard is part of an oil mixture. In my experience lard works better in soap up to 30%, due to rancidity issues. Enriched with calendula petals and poppy seeds for a deeper cleansing soap. You can use it on your body, face or hands. 


Lard and lard soap is very moisturizing and mild to human skin. That is because lard is highly compatible with the structure of the human cells. Our cell membranes are largely composed of saturated fats, just like the ones found in lard, and it has a similar pH.

In addition to its fatty acid profile, rich in saturated and monosaturated fatty acids, lard also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E and vitamin D, all essential nutrients for our body.

Lard has been having a bad reputation, especially as a cooking oil, but comparing it with similar, more-processed products, it’s actually a relatively healthy alternative. As a skin moisturizer, and I mean raw lard directly applied to your skin, it is said to be great

Check out also this experiment with store-bought lard. It is also said to be good to treat eczema. I am so curious about this, that I have to try to make a face cream out of fresh lard. That is going to be one of my next projects.

Have in mind that the best results are reported when the lard is fresh/homemade. Store-bought is not so good, due to the addition of preservatives and stabilizers to make lard last longer. 

… And Calendula…

Calendula is a cherished medicinal plant. It’s a cheerful flower in various yellow or orange tones, with several medicinal properties: potent anti-inflammatory, a strong skin wound healer, soothing for burnt and irritated skin, astringent, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, soothing, healing, anti-allergic, antiviral, skin toning and bactericidal properties among others!

This recipe uses all oils infused in calendula to try to capture some of its medicinal properties in this soap bar. See here how to make herbal-infused oil. Calendula dried petals are then used as the natural colorant, in lye water and as decoration.

… And Other Ingredients

Besides lard, the soap is also made with olive oil, coconut oil and castor oil, combined with lard to make a hard but creamy, foamy, and very conditioning soap bar. Added to it the medicinal properties of calendula petals. And add to it poppy seeds to make it a medium exfoliant soap, and you have here a wonderful cleanser for your skin.

Why not make a 100% lard soap, but a soap with 16% of lard only? The reason is because 100% lard soap gets rancid in a couple of months after making it. Mixed with other oils it seems to last much longer without any rancidity. Check out What Does Lard Do In Soap to learn more about this.

As fragrance, we will use lemongrass essential oil and cedarwood, for a citrusy and fresh scent. 

Final Soap

The final soap became darker than I was expected. I suppose that it was the added effect of calendula-colored lye water with infused oils together. And poppy seeds made it look even darker. I have made soap afterwards with calendula petals as a natural colorant in lye water, and the resulting color was a light pretty yellow.

Still, the final golden brown from this soap is so pretty and natural for a handmade soap that everyone would believe if I said I’ve made it on purpose… Maybe some soapmakers find using natural colorants annoying as they are unpredictable. I find it charming, a way to say that nature is actually unpredictable. It’s the beatuy of making handmade soap!

I hope you give it a try at this recipe. Enjoy your handmade soaps!!

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.

Related Posts

Watch These Videos Before Starting Your Recipe

Lard and Calendula Exfoliant Soap Recipe

Sofia Matias
Try this soap recipe filled with lard and lovely calendula infused oils. Foamy, creamy, moisturizing, scented with lemongrass and May-Chang. Add it poppy seeds and it becomes a lovely exfoliating soap to wash your hands from heavy dirt, like gardening or kitchen work. Or just give your body a good scrub.
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 800 g (28.22 oz)
Lye concentration: 33%
Superfat: 5%
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
MethodCold Process
ProductSoap Bar
Servings11 soap bars
Cost$15 – $45 / 12€ – 38€


Lye Water


After Trace Ingredients

Essential Oils Blend


Get Ready!

  • Wear goggles and gloves, and mask! Look at the Safety Precautions in the video above or in Safety Precautions In Soap Making
    gloves, goggles and maks to safely make soap at home
  • Watch the video above or read the post How To Make Soap by Cold Process Step-by-Step for instructions on cold process. These are generic steps for all recipes.
    Pouring essential oils into soap batter
  • Assemble everything: ingredients, equipment, safety equipment. Prepare your workstations. Measure all the ingredients. Don’t start the recipe without having everything ready!
    outdoor counter with organized soap ingredients and equipment
  • Prepare the infused oils in advance. Learn how to make them in How To Make Infused Oil. This will work as a natural colorant to your soap. However, the color obtained in this recipe's photo was given by adding calendula petals to the lye water, in addition to the infused oils.
    2 jars of olive oil and sweet almond oil infused with calendula petals

Heat the Oils

  • Heat the oils until the solid oils are completely melted (it is not necessary to heat all to the end).
    Heating soaping oils in a microwave

Make the Lye Water

  • Make the lye solution according to How To Make Lye Water. Mix it until the vapors start to dissipate. Add the dried calendula petals in the end (optional).
    Lye water colored with calendula petals

Make the Soap Batter

  • Use as a target temperature 35ºC for the oil-solution mixture. If necessary, you can reheat the oils, but not the lye solution.
    measuring the temperature of soaping oils with a thermometer
  • When adding the lye water to the oils, strain the water to avoid lye crystals in your soap batter.
    Lye and oils in a bowl, unmixed
  • Start mixing the soap batter with the immersion blender. Although this is a balanced recipe in soft and hard oils, be watchful about trace accelerating (soap batter going solid quickly)
  • Add the extract, essential oil (s) and poppy seeds after trace and stir with just a spoon.
    Bowl with poppy seeds

Molding and Curing

  • Pour the soap batter into the soap silicone molds and sprinkle with alcohol or witch hazel.
    Lard and calendula soap batter poured into soap molds
  • Wait 48 hours, keeping an eye on the hardness of the soap. Unmold and let the bars cure for 4 to 6 weeks. See How To Cure Soap.
    Curing soap in a dry and well vented place


Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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4 thoughts on “Lard and Calendula Soap Recipe”

  1. 5 stars

    Love it! I like this easy to find oils recipe. Ready to make it. I already have the calendula infused olive oil. Keep posting soap recipes please!!! Thank you Reply
    • Hello Mayela and thanks for your really nice comment!

      I am so happy you liked the recipe! And yes, I even encourage soap makers to use the oils they have locally available, that’s what makes sense to me, as you can make soap with pretty much any oil or fat.

      And be sure I will keep posting recipes, I have already a queue of 14 recipes to post, and much more ideas 🙂

      Last but not the least: enjoy making your soap, I am sure it will be a good experience!! Post your questions if you have them.

      See you soon!

  2. Hello Sofia, I was fascinated to read your post about the Lard and Calendula Soap Recipe. This was especially because I had no idea that Lard could be used in handmade soaps. My only experiences with Lard have been my mother’s recipe for making good shortcrust pastry – the secret is in the addition of Lard! Your recipe for soap certainly sounds quite luxurious and I really liked your use of all natural ingredients. Jenni.

    • Hello Jenni,

      Thank you for your nice comment, I am glad you liked this post about lard soap. 

      There are more, this is the newest one: How To Render White Lard At Home. Lard is indeed a “vilified” ingredient, as long as you don’t eat too much of it (it has a lot of saturated fat), it’s actually a healthy one, better than many hydrogenated butters. And it’s great for cosmetics!! As long as it’s natural, and not over-processed.




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