In traditional soap making, lard was our ancestors’ most common fat. To this day, it remains a very accessible and cheap soap-making ingredient. Make a batch for yourself and a friend too with this simple lard soap recipe.
Those who have tried my other soap recipes will know I always make them from plant-based oils. Over the years, I’ve made many soap recipes with ingredients like cocoa butter, rice bran oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, shea butter, and more.
But the truth is, these can get expensive. While I’ve made soaps with cheaper oils such as sunflower, I wanted to make an ultra-accessible soap. And lard is one of the cheapest ways to do so.
I also love how great it is for beginners. You can make mistakes and practice techniques without worrying about wasting plenty of expensive oils.
Lard soap is still quality soap. It creates a whiteish bar that’s very creamy and moisturizing. This recipe will still give you plenty of lather! Lard bars are always very hard and, therefore, long-lasting. You’ll get a lot out of just one bar.
Jump ahead to…
- The Case for Lard Soap
- Lard for Soap vs Cooking
- Tallow vs Lard
- How to Make Lard Soap
- Make It!
- Frequently Asked Questions About Lard Soap
- More Soap Recipes to Try
The Case for Lard Soap
I won’t deny that lard is a controversial soap ingredient. But it’s what our grandmothers and ancestors used before us. It’s taking it back to the basics.
Many people worry that it will be overly greasy. But really, it’s the opposite! Lard is closer to our skin’s natural oils than most plant oils. It’s very compatible with our skin cell’s structure and has a similar pH.
The soap is mild and moisturizing, so it’s really great for dry and sensitive skin. And whether you believe it or not, it won’t clog your pores.
As I said, lard is very cheap. It’s even cheaper than palm oil, which is probably the most inexpensive plant-based oil on the market. Buying lard also means using every bit of the animal that we can and aren’t being wasteful.
Lard for Soap vs Cooking
Traditionally, lard is rendered pig fat, but you may also see other animal-derived fats labelled as lard. It’s typically used in cooking and has a very neutral and mild flavour. While it used to be a popular choice for baking and deep-frying, now we typically use butter or plant-based oils in its place.
Processed lard from the grocery store does make fine soap. But some of them contain BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene). These are synthetic antioxidants which act as preservatives to make the lard shelf stable.
While BHA and BHT won’t affect the soap, they aren’t something we necessarily want to add to our natural soaps. Health Canada lists BHA as a high human health priority, and studies have shown that it may cause cancer and affect hormone function. BHT is flagged as a moderate human health priority, and studies have shown it is toxic to mice and rats. So let’s avoid putting that on our skin.
If you’re buying from the grocery store, look for lard without BHA and BHT. If you find natural lard, remember that it may need to be kept in the fridge or freezer before using it and may have an expiration date.
You may also find it in tubs by the meat section or can buy it directly from the butcher. You can even make it yourself! I love this tutorial if you want to try it yourself, using leaf lard and rendering it.
For soap making, you want only to use rendered lard. Rendered lard has been heated, which at that point melts and separates from anything else that may be in the lard.
Tallow vs Lard
You may also encounter tallow. Tallow and lard are both rendered types of fat. But the difference is the origin. Lzard is rendered pig fat, while tallow is rendered beef fat and occasionally other ruminants like sheep or goat).
Lard typically comes from either back fat or kidney fat. Leaf fat is the one that comes from the kidney area, and it tends to be higher in saturated fat. This makes it a bit stiffer and harder at room temperature, though any kind of lard will be softer and more compliant than tallow.
Tallow, meanwhile, most often comes from the kidney area. It’s going to solidify easily at room temperature and appear like cold butter, while lard will remain liquid-like after melting.
If you use tallow for this soap recipe, it may make a different consistency.
How to Make Lard Soap
This lard soap recipe also includes coconut oil and mango butter to give it some extra cleansing properties, a good lather, and make it even more moisturizing. Even with these two additions, it’s still a very affordable soap!
- Safety gear such as gloves, goggles, and long sleeves
- Kitchen scale
- Infrared thermometer
- Stainless steel double boiler
- Heat-resistant measuring cup
- Immersion blender
- Large mixing bowl
- Sleeping woman soap mould
Scroll to the end of this post for the exact measurements in the recipe card.Jump to Recipe
If this is your first time making soap, refer to this post for more information on making cold-process soap. I’ll go over everything here, but with less detail.
Start by getting yourself dressed in your safety gear and ensure you’re in a well-ventilated area.
Measure out all your ingredients on a kitchen scale. When it comes to soap making, we want to be as accurate as possible, and weight will give us the closest measurements.
Once you have measured all your ingredients, you will want to combine the lard, mango butter, and coconut oil in a double boiler over low to medium heat. You want to melt the oils together gently.
Meanwhile, make your lye water by adding the lye to the water in a heat-proof container. Lean away while you stir the mixture, as the chemical reaction creates strong fumes you won’t want to breathe in. Once mixed, set it in an ice bath to cool down.
When your oils and lye water have reached 115°F, you can combine them in a large mixing bowl. Use an immersion blender to blend your mixture together until it reaches a trace.
Add in your essential oils, then blend again.
Once blended, pour your recipe into your soap mould. I used these sleeping woman moulds, but you can put them into any soap mould you like.
Let your soap sit somewhere warm for 48 hours. After this time, you can unmold the soap. Cut it if necessary at this stage.
Let the soap cure for six weeks before using it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lard Soap
Lard is a natural ingredient, making it very safe for the skin. With a high oleic fatty content, it’s very moisturizing while providing gentle conditioning. Like our skin’s natural oils, it also won’t clog your pores despite its high-fat content. It also forms a protective barrier on the skin.
Lard contains vitamins A and D, which are great for the skin for reducing inflammation and protecting from free radicals and UV.
You will notice a slight fatty smell if you don’t add any smell to your lard soap recipe. Essential oils will cover up any smell, so adding some to any lard soap recipe is a good idea. For this recipe, I scented mine with bergamot and grapefruit essential oils.
Enjoy your soap-making! As always, if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able.
More Soap Recipes to Try
- Make Your Old Soap New Again with Confetti Soap
- Gentle on The Skin Rose Soap Recipe
- Refreshing Basil and Peppermint Soap Recipe
- Soothe Irritated Skin with This Chamomile Soap Recipe
Lard Soap Recipe
- Safety gear (glasses, glove, apron, etc.)
- Large mixing bowl
- Sleeping woman soap mould
- Get dressed in safety gear, and then measure all your ingredients using a kitchen scale.
- Combine the lard, coconut oil, and mango butter in a double boiler over low to medium heat.
- While oils melt, add lye to the distilled water in a well-ventilated area. Mix until fully dissolved, then let sit in an ice bath to cool.
- When both the oils and the lye water have reached 115°F, add the lye water to the oil in a large mixing bowl. Use an immersion blender to mix them together until they reach a light trace.
- Add in essential oils and blend again until trace.
- Pour your soap into your soap mould. Let it sit somewhere warm for 48 hours.
- After 48 hours, unmold your soap. Cut it if you used a loaf soap mould.
- Let the soap cure for 6 weeks before using.