Simple, Basic Soap Recipe Base


I have been meaning to list a simple handmade soap base recipe, but without using Palm oil. Say No To Palm Oil
Any of my recipes can be edited to suit the needs of the crafter. Just always remember to run it back through a lye calculator whenever you make any changes to the oils or size of the batch.

I loved experimenting with different oils, but my two favorite recipes were just so simple. No special label appeal with shea or cocoa butters.. just a basic, creamy good soap.

A 3 base oil Soap recipe

Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Palm Kernel Oil

1 pound

70%  Olive Oil                11.2 ounces
15% Coconut Oil             2.4 ounces
15% Palm Kernel Oil     2.4 ounces

5% superfat – Lye           2.2 ounces

4 pounds

70% Olive Oil                44.8 ounces
15% Coconut Oil               9.6 ounces
15% Palm Kernel Oil       9.6 ounces

5% superfat – Lye            8.99 ounces

For even more basic, Olive Oil and Palm Kernel Oil

Olive Oil and Palm Kernel Oil

1 pound

80% Olive Oil                          12.8 ounces
20% Palm Kernel Oil             3.2 ounces

5% superfat – Lye                   2.16 ounces

4 pounds

80% Olive Oil                               51.2 ounces
20% Palm Kernel Oil                12.8 ounces

5% superfat – Lye                       8.65 ounces


Either of these basic recipes will be a good base for a plain bar of soap, or to add additives and fragrances or essential oils.

You can use either of these bases for just about any recipe on MommaMuse – you can change your liquid (distilled water, teas, milks (read up on using goat milk before trying), cucumber, use your imagination), your fragrances or essential oils, colorants, additives (powders, clays, teas).

How much Liquid should I add?

To figure your liquid, you want 2.2 times the lye amount.  Lye X 2.2 = Liquid in ounces


What does ‘superfat’ mean?

When you make soap, the oil molecules bind with the lye molecules.  To make a gentle soap, you want to have a little bit more oil molecules than you do lye.. But at the same time,  not too much more – or you’ll have a soft oily mess of nothing.


Cold Process or Hot Process Soap?

Some people have their favorites, I like both ways of making soap.  I have tutorials on how I do each, but mine aren’t the only way to make soap.. there are other variations.  For Cold Process, read Rosemary Mint Cold Process Soap Tutorial with Recipe. For Hot Process, my favorite way is in the crock pot. I recommend getting a crock pot you can use specifically for soap making (check thrift stores, garage sales or ask friends – someone is bound to have one they never use). Instructions for Making Crock Pot Handmade Soap – a ‘how to’ with pictures.
– Be sure to use a soap calculator specifically used to calculator amounts, particularly making sure you have the correct amount of sodium hydroxide.
– If you need to make substitutions within your recipe, be sure to recalculate, as the lye amount may change. Don’t just double your recipe, run it through the calculator again. and again. and again.
– Remember your safety and for those around your soap making area. Label items appropriately, wear appropriate safety gear.

Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells

The past few times I’ve picked up the box of large shells in the pasta isle at the grocery, I couldn’t find the recipe I liked to use. Going through all my recipes, I realize I’ve had it all along posted on my other site. So I’m condensing and moving this recipe here to MommaMuse. This is my favorite Cheese stuffed shells recipe.

While this may seem like a time consuming meal to prepare (for some reason it always does to me), it really isn’t bad at all.

Periodically, I’ll buy ground beef in bulk. I’ll brown and drain it all, then separate it into baggies marked with the date made. Either freeze or plan to use in the next couple of days. Doing this makes this recipe run much smoother during preparations… while the pasta shells are cooking on the stove, I prepare the meat and cheese stuffing.. it takes me almost as long to make the stuffing mix, while cleaning up after myself as it does for the shells to cook.
The cheese stuffing
1 package of jumbo pasta shells
1 jar of favorite spaghetti sauce (I actually use tomato sauce usually)
1 lb browned ground beef, drained
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded cheese (mixed or mozzarella)
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbs parsley (I used dried, but fresh would be best)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta shells as package directs.

While pasta is cooking, add together all ingredients EXCEPT the spaghetti sauce and a little extra shredded cheese to use for a topper.

In a large casserole dish, spread some of your pasta sauce on the bottom of the dish.

Once the pasta shells are done cooking, I drain and rinse under cold water so handling the shells is easy to do – not hot.
Ready to Bake - Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells
Using a large spoon, scoop the cheese and meet mixture into each shell, then placing it into the casserole dish.

Pour more sauce on top of the stuffed shells and place in over for about 45 minutes. In the last 10 minutes or so, top with the remaining shredded cheese. Once melted, remove from oven and enjoy!
Baked Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells
Serve with salad and bread.

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Rosemary Mint Cold Process Soap Tutorial with Recipe

In doing some updates on MommaMuse, I realized I didn’t have a dedicated post for my Rosemary Mint Soap recipe. It is included on my Crock Pot Soap Making Tutorial, but it’s such a good soap, it deserves a post all to its self… Instead of just sharing the recipe, I ended up with a Tutorial on how to make cold process soap.

Gather your ingredients and additives:

Rosemary Mint Handmade Soap
4 pounds
– 38 ounces olive oil (59.38%)
– 14.4 ounces palm kernel oil (22.5%)
– 11.6 ounces palm oil (18.13%)
– 8.7 ounces sodium hydroxide (5% discount)
– 17.5 ounces distilled water
– 3 ounces rosemary mint blend essential oils
– 2 teabags of Organic Peppermint tea

This soap makes a 4 pound batch. That may be a bit large, or too small, for your needs, so the percentage is included to help you downsize (or up-size, as the case may be).

If you follow the link for the Crock Pot Soap tutorial, you’ll find step-by-step instructions, including pictures, on how to make it with your crock pot. One thing I really like about the crock pot is that it produces a sort of translucent soap.. it’s a very lovely soap. But, you may prefer the cold process of soap making.

This process may be used for any soap recipe. Read through the directions before starting, to familiarize yourself with the process.

1. Measure your solid oils and melt them over low heat.
Melt your measured oils for soap recipe

2. a. While your oils are melting over low heat, measure you liquid (in this recipe, distilled water) in a dedicated lye mixture container – this is something you will not use for anything but your lye mixture.

2. b. Measure you lye, and add your lye TO your water. note: Always add the lye TO the water to avoid sudden splash-up. This will heat up pretty hot.. so set it aside to cool.. or you could put it outside (if it’s cool/cold) or in the fridge (Be sure you container is labeled clearly so no one uses it, and be careful in moving it around so as not to spill it).. so, your lye mixture is mixed and cooling.

2. c. You could use extra tea bags to make a tea with the distilled water. Steep the teabags, as you would when making tea. Allow the tea to cool. Make sure you use more water than is called for for the recipe, so when the wet tea bags are removed, you’ve got enough water left to make the lye mixture. Cool, or chill, measure and then follow steps above for the lye mixture.

3. Measure out your extra ingredients. Set aside.
– In one bowl measure your fragrance or essential oils.
– In another bowl, open the tea bags, so the teas are loose.
Measuring Soap ingredients

4. Make sure your soap mold is clean, lined and ready to use. My first soap mold was an old cigar box. I then made myself a flat, square wooden mold. I lined each of these with freezer paper, or wax paper. Once I started making soaps for sale, my husband made me wooden molds that produced nice soap logs. One short end was able to screw on and off, for easy log-removal. I used high temperature quilting mylar (found in the quilt section of your local fabric shop – make sure to get high temperature), cut to fit all four sides and the bottom.
Soap Mold

5. Once your solid oils are melted, add your olive oil. This will help bring down the temperature of you melted oils. You want your melted oils to be close to room temperature when you add your lye mixture. I found room temperature (or the slightly cooler) was best when combining your lye mixture to your oils.

When the temps are warmer it seems to speed up ‘trace’ (when the mixtures thickens), causing the combined lye mixture and oils to thicken up faster. This could be a problem if you are adding colorants, or other additives, when you need a few extra minutes to get things mixed well.

6. Add your lye mixture to the oils, and with your handy-dandy stick blender and begin mixing and blending. Mix and blend, mix and blend.
Blending lye and oil mixture for soap making tutorial.

7. When you see a light trace.. this will be like a “trail” that is left when you move the stick blender through the soap mix. It will take a few seconds to melt away on its own.
Reaching Trace - soap making tutorial

Trace has been reached.. now it’s time to add your fragrance or essential oils and your loose tea. Blend it in well and get ready to pour it into the prepared mold.

8. Pour gently, so as not to splash up, the soap into the mold.
Soap poured into soap mold

9. Set aside to finish the saponification (this is what the chemical process of the lye mixture and the oils go through in order to “change” and make soap) process. Some people like to “insulate” their soap while it goes through this process. To do this, you can wrap it in a towel or blanket. I would put a folded towel on the rack (or table or shelf) and then lay a piece of saran wrap across the top of the soap and then put another folded towel on top. This helps contain the heat of the soap. OR, if you mold fits in your oven, you can turn your oven on low heat (about 175 degrees) and let it sit in there over night.

10. Now, you’ve got a sink full of dirty dishes. What I like to do it rinse the bowl with the fragrance oil and set aside. Leave the dirty pot you mixed your soap in until the next day. If you wash it right after making your soap, it will be greasy / oily feeling and won’t wash well. If you leave it until the next day, it will have hardened up, and when you wash it, you won’t have to add any soap to wash it, because it’ll be lined with soap! Add some hot water, and see how well it bubbles. Mmm.. and it smells good too. 😉

11. It’s 24 hours later, give or take, and you’re ready to unmold your soap. Yay! Gently remove the soap from the mold.
Handmade soap log

12. Slice and allow to cure… 3 or 4 months is good, if you can wait that long. Your soap will harden up and shrink some, as the remaining liquid is evaporated from the soap. If you can’t wait long, give it a week or so before you use it. It won’t be as good as it will be in a few months, but it will work.
handmade soap log and cut soaps

This soap is not suitable for your face or ‘tender parts’. It makes a wonderful wake-me-up morning soap, but do be careful where you use it. Or in a soap tray for hand washing. It’s great for after cooking and gardening.

If you are looking for a soap for your face (and all over parts), try Nana’s Lavender Goat Milk Soap Recipe, or it’s Vegan alternative Nana’s Vegan Lavender Soap recipe.

How To Make Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

(This recipe is for Liquid Laundry Soap. Here’s a Powdered Laundry Soap Tutorial.)

Have you ever wondered how easy it would be to make your own homemade liquid laundry soap? This recipe is not only easy, the cost is less than a few dollars per batch and each batch makes enough for 110 loads of laundry.

This liquid laundry soap works Great for High Efficiency washers as it’s not a super sudsy soap.

The ingredients you’ll need should be available at your local grocery stores or maybe big box stores.

1 cup – 20 Mule Team Borax
1/2 cup – Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1 bar of ivory soap (I used my own handmade soap and part of a bar of castile)
Large clean bucket enough to hold 3 gallons of water easily – I used a 5 gallon bucket we acquired from a fast food restaurant – it used to be filled with bags of pickles.. we got it free.
Essential Oil or Fragrance Oil (optional)
– 1/8 ounce to 1 ounce

The ingredients are simple enough. Should only cost maybe $10 if you are purchasing the boxes for the first time. The two boxes of powders will last you through several batches (or use to make powdered laundry soap, or even liquid hand soap).

First, shave your bar of soap using a peeler. I used 1/3 bar of castile and a 1/2 bar of handmade soap

Once your soap is in small pieces, place a pot on the stove big enough to hold 5 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil. When it begins to boil, lower heat to simmer and put the soap in the water. I covered with a lid and let it sit.

While your soap is melting, add 3 gallons of hot water to your bucket. For ease, I used a 2 qt pitcher to fill it.

To the hot water, add 1 cup of Borax and 1/2 cup of Washing Soda. Stir with long handled spoon until dissolved.

Add the melted soap water to the bucket and stir well. If you want to add any fragrance, add it now. Since I make soap, I have tons of fragrances around. I used one called Eucalyptus Thymes – I got from a place called Sweet Cakes (their eucalyptus is the best clean smell – not like medicinal eucalyptus). Or add essential oils. If you plan to make your soaps regularly and want it fragrances, I’d suggest finding a good soap/candle supply company (maybe one local to you?) and order it – it’s Much cheaper to order your essential oils and fragrances rather than purchase from the health food store or craft store.

How much Essential Oils or Fragrance oils:
I would say it’s up to you.. but somewhere between 1/4 ounce to a full ounce.. completely depending on your sensitivity, preferences and the scent. Remember, some scents are stronger than others and adjust accordingly.  You need less essential oils than fragrance oils.

Cover the bucket and set aside for 24 hours. Your soap may be watery or gel up in areas, may be slightly lumpy in areas. This is normal and nothing to worry about. Make sure to smoosh up the clumps when you add it to the washer. If you have smaller containers to put your in, it may be easier to handle – I have old detergent bottles and filled mine with my “new” soap. My soap is very watery – but very soapy.

This makes over 110 loads of liquid laundry soap – and you only need to use about a 1/2 cup.

Instructions for Making Crock Pot Handmade Soap

Crock Pot Soap Making

Making soap in a crock pot is an easy way to use the “hot process” method. This method of soap making is also referred to as crock pot hot process, or in short, cphp.

This how-to tutorial outlines my steps for making crock pot soap and assumes you are familiar with the soap making process.

Start with a good recipe (Soap Recipes). I prefer recipes that have a higher amount of liquid oil to solids. One of my favorite recipes is very simple: 60% Olive Oil, 20% Palm Kernel Oil, 20% Palm Oil. Run it through a lye calculator to determine the amount of lye and [distilled] water needed. I do not discount my water when making hot process. One of my favorite recipes is at the end of these instructions, with more here: Soap Recipes – or use the search.

Detailed Photos, check my flick set: Crockpot Soap

I use a 6 1/2 quart crock pot. A 4 pound batch of soaps fits perfectly. It fills the crock pot about half full – giving room in the case of it bubbling up, but not too little an amount that it could burn.

First, measure cold water and set aside.

Then measure the lye into a separate container. Slowly pour the lye into the pitcher of cold water. Stir until dissolved. Set aside in a safe place.

Once I have my lye mixture set aside, I measure my solid oils. These can be put into the crock pot to be melted. But, it takes longer this way, so I generally put them into the microwave for a couple minutes until melted and then pour into the crock pot.

At this point, my crock pot is on low.

Mixing the Soap

I recommend using a good rubber spatula to scrape the bowl – no sense leaving any good oils behind.

Next, I measure my olive oil – and/or any other liquid oils I happen to be using – and pour this into the crock pot.

Get out your handy-dandy stick-blender and using low speed, slowly pour the lye mixture into the melted oils. Gently move the stick-blender around, up, down, around, ensuring a nice even blend. If you don’t have a stick-blender, a stainless steel wire whisk works great too – just requires a little more arm power, and of course, will take longer.

Once it has reached ‘trace’, I put the lid on the crock pot and turn the heat setting up to high. However, the first few times I made crock pot soap, I left it on low until I was confident in how it worked (both the soap AND my crock pot).

Now while it is cooking, I ready my mold, measure out any fragrance oils or essential oils and any additives I plan to use.


After about 15 or 20 minutes, I take the lid off and, using a potato masher, mash the soap around. It has a look of a vaseline texture; glossy, slick. It will have a waxy feel if you rub a piece of it between gloved fingers.

Add your additives, colorants, herbs, etc and mix well using the potato masher. Once that is blended fairly well, add your fragrance and mix again.

It is done! At this point, it’s really soap. It only needs to be put into your mold. I do this in large spoonfuls, pounding my mold on the counter every few scoops to ensure it packs into the mold tightly. Once I have it all in the mold, I put a baggie on my hand and flatten the top – making sure to “squish” it into the corners really well.

Now is a good time to wash all the dishes. And you don’t even need to add any soap! You should see some lovely lather from the soap you’ve just made.

I let this sit over-night. The next morning, I unmold and slice into bars to air out for a week or so. Once each bar has had time to harden, I bevel each one and it’s ready for use, or sale.

Rosemary Mint is my favorite crock pot soap recipe:
Rosemary Mint Handmade Soap
4 pounds
– 38 ounces olive oil (59.38%)
– 14.4 ounces palm kernel oil (22.5%)
– 11.6 ounces palm oil (18.13%)
– 8.7 ounces sodium hydroxide (5% discount)
– 17.5 ounces distilled water
– 3 ounces rosemary mint blend essential oils
– 2 teabags of Organic Peppermint tea

If you want a smaller or larger batch, just run the ingredients through a soap / lye calculator to ensure your lye to liquid ratio is correct – Don’t take chances on this, you don’t want soap that won’t set up, or worse, soap that burns.

handmade soap

A search of MommaMuse will provide other soap making recipes which may be used for cold process soap, hot process soap, or crock pot soap. Soap Recipes

Note: Sodium Hydroxide is highly caustic and should be handled carefully and knowledgeably. It is the soapmakers responsibility to research safety procedures for soapmaking.

Detailed Photos, check my flick set: Crockpot Soap