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Old Fashioned Cold Processed Lard Soap- Like Grandma Use to Make

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This recipe is from a friend of mine, Sam Crandall. Sam and his family are good, salt-of-the-earth people and like to do things the old way.

Sam shares his family recipe of Old Fashioned Cold Processed Lard Soap- Like Grandma Used To Make. No frills- just good soap.

Old Fashioned Cold Processed Lard Soap- Like Grandma Used To Make

Old Fashioned Cold Processed Lard Soap- Like Grandma Used to Make. No frills, just good soap.

Cleaning out one of the freezers in anticipation of butcher season and found a boatload of back fat left over from the last pig we did.

Threw about 10lbs of fat into the slow cooker and rendered it down for lard and soap, have about another 20lbs to go that I’d completely forgot was in the freezer.

This Cold Processed Lard Soap Recipe works really well. Good lather in both hard and soft water. We give quite a bit to my ma and she uses it as a shampoo too.

Cold Processed Lard Soap Safety

First, let me point out, you can not make soap without lye. Period.

However, you can make soap without handling lye by using soap bases where the lye process is already done for you.

What is Lye?

Solid sodium hydroxide, solid potassium hydroxide, solutions containing high concentrations of sodium hydroxide, and/or solutions containing high concentrations of potassium hydroxide may cause chemical burns, permanent injury or scarring, and blindness.

Lye (sodium hydroxide) and/or caustic potash (potassium hydroxide) may be harmful or fatal if swallowed.

Solvation of sodium hydroxide and/or potassium hydroxide is highly exothermic, and the resulting heat may cause heat burns or ignite flammables.

Avoid all contact with organic tissue (including human skin, eyes, mouth, and animals or pets). Keep away from clothing. Avoid all contact with aluminum.

What Is Lye

Back in the day, they would make lye out of processing wood ash. They would take wood ash and heat them in water.

It’s quite the laborious process but well worth it.

Safety Precautions when using Lye for cold processed lard soap

  • Make soap in a well ventilated area
  • Keep children and pets away from the soap-making process
  • Wear gloves
  • Use protective eye ware
  • Wash all equipment thoroughly


Cold Processed Lard Soap

Use a digital scale to measure ingredients, one that has all the measurements is best.
Place your bowl or cup on the scale, tare (bring the scale to zero) the scale, then add your ingredients to weigh.


  • 1,200g strained lard
  • 456g distilled water
  • 160g lye.

If you would like to know How to Render Lard, check out this article by Mommypotamus

Directions to Make Cold Processed Lard Soap

  1. Using a stainless steel pot, slowly pour the lye into the water (always lye into water! Volcanoes are no fun!).
  2. Stir constantly until the lye is dissolved
  3. Let it cool back down to 100-120 degrees.
  4. While you’re waiting for the lye mix to cool back down I heat up and strain the lard.
  5. Get both items to as close to the same temp as possible (and keep them both between 100-120 degrees).
  6. We use a stick blender to combine the two and then switch over to a standard whisk and mix until trace is achieved (about half an hour or so typically for us)
  7. Then we pour it into the molds, cover with saran wrap and a towel and stick it in the pantry.
  8. After 24 hours we’ll throw the molds in the freezer for a bit to help prevent the bars from breaking while unmolding.
  9. Set the bars on a non reactive rack and let them cure in a cool, dark, spot for a minimum of 3 weeks -longer is always better, the bars in the picture are 5 months old and just about perfect.

DIY Natural Skin Care

In addition to making your own soap, we offer recipes for homemade natural lotion, sugar scrub and more.

Old Fashioned Cold Processed Lard Soap- Like Grandma Use to Make. No frills, just good soap

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Stormy Demers

Sunday 26th of February 2023

Can I use corn oil for a lard. I have a 4 liter jug of corn oil I need to find a use for. It's past it's date by about 2 years. Yikes! I never new you could buy lye. I have been collecting recipes to make my own lye. I am fortunate enough to have 2 friends that have woodstoves. My research tells me that ash from hard woods are best for making lye for soap bars. In addition soft wood ashes seem to be best for shampoos. This is my understanding but I only wrote this as others may have a similar question. Any help would be greatly appreciated. TIA.

Amber Bradshaw

Sunday 26th of February 2023

Any time you change the oil in a soap recipe (any time), you need to enter the new oil calculations into the lye calculator.

Here is the link for the lye calculator I use >>>

In addition to the lye calculator, for this recipe you will want to use store bought lye. Although I have made soap for years, I have yet to make it from wood ash. I have watched videos and it's a laborious process. However, I would like to try it at least once so I can say I've done it!

Let me know how your soap turns out.


Monday 30th of August 2021

Hi how much does this recipe make and any suggestions as to essential oil use and how much essential oil needs to be added to keep a good scent in the bars. I have two huge containers of rendered beef tallow in my freezer that was actually really fun to make and have used it for another soap recipe that turned out quite well. Thank you for this recipe though. Can’t wait to try it.

Amber Bradshaw

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Hi Anstice and thanks for asking! For a standard batch (1,200g fat) makes 18 bars or a loaf and a half is using soap loaf molds. For essential oils, While the usage varies based on different essential oils, the usage rate in general, is 3% by weight.

From Armoaeasy: Essential oils to use in one pound of soap.

Essential Oil Weight% Weight for 1lb soap Approx amount in tsp Rose 0.2% 1g – Lavender 3% 0.48 oz / 13.6g 3 teaspoon Lemongrass 3% 0.48 oz / 13.6g 3 teaspoon Chamomile 3% 0.48 oz / 13.6g 3 teaspoon Eucalyptus 3% 0.48 oz / 13.6g 3 teaspoon Peppermint /Spearmint 2% 0.32 oz / 9g 2 teaspoon Rosemary 3% 0.48 oz / 13.6g 3 teaspoon Tea Tree 3% 0.48 oz / 13.6g 2.5 teaspoon Ylang Ylang 3% 0.48 oz / 13.6g 3 teaspoon


Friday 24th of July 2020

thank you for your fast response about lard made the soap just need to run mold it next time I will not make the mistake of getting the lard to HOF and waiting for it to cool to match lye other than that I found instructions so easy to follow thank you sk much x used shop bought lard


Tuesday 9th of June 2020

I'm in the process of making this right now but the mixture is not coming to trace. It's been 45 mintues... what could I be doing wrong? Can I salvage the recipe?


Tuesday 9th of June 2020

Hello again :) I was mistaken in my previous comment. I was looking for something like whipped cream peaks. But I figured it out and have trace! Already poured in the mold, now I wait.


Friday 8th of May 2020

I am in the UK it is hard to get fat to render can I use shop bought lard

Amber Bradshaw

Friday 8th of May 2020

Yes, that will work just fine