Honey-Walnut Milk Soap

Honey-Walnut Soap

I started making soap this past fall, and since then I’ve enjoyed researching recipes, ingredients and techniques. I love experimenting, and when my first soaping mishap turned out to be fixable, I realized making a mistake wasn’t that big of deal – so why not try some new things? After taking a break over the holidays, I decided that one of my first crafting tasks for 2013 would be  a new soap recipe. I wanted to experiment with ingredients I’ve never used before, so I worked on creating a milk-based soap.

Bars of soap

Milk soaps are pretty common and many soapers choose to use goat’s milk. Me, being the impulsive late night soaper that I am, decided to get this recipe going at about 11pm when stores were no longer open. Needless to say, I didn’t have any goat’s milk on hand. (Now that I’m using milk in soap recipes, that will be a new staple in my pantry). But what did I have? Yup, a big gallon of regular cow’s milk. After reading up on milk soap recipes quite a bit, I determined that my good ‘ol cow’s milk would do the trick. (For more information on using milk in soaps, click here.)

Honey Milk Walnut Soap

The rest of my recipe was inspired by, you guessed it, the contents of my pantry. I thought walnuts and honey sounded good, so why not throw those in? I usually have a  number of different oils on hand since I’ve gotten into soap making, but you can always change up these oils according to what you have available. To learn about the properties of different oils and how to create recipes, use Tiffany’s instructions here.

Soap - Bird's Eye View

This recipe doesn’t use any fragrance or essential oils but the honey and walnut combination makes it smell amazing. The milk base makes for an extra moisturizing soap that’s perfect for the winter or for anyone with dry skin.

What ingredients in your pantry could be inspiration for a soap recipe?

Honey-Walnut Milk Soap
Makes about 16 4 ounce bars of soap

For the full cold process soap making instructions, check out Tiffany’s beginner’s soap making tutorial

Base Oils
5 oz. canola oil
15 oz. coconut oil
15 oz. olive oil
5 oz. safflower oil
5 oz. sunflower oil

Lye Solution
12.6 oz. milk, frozen to a slushy state
6.4 oz. lye

When making soap with milk, it’s imperative that your milk is at a frozen slushy state when you mix it with the lye, otherwise the milk will burn. When creating your lye solution, very slowly mix the lye, a small amount at a time, into the frozen milk slush. Complete the rest of the recipe as you normally would.

Additives
Add 3 tablespoons of honey right before mixture reaches trace. Mix in 3 ounces of finely ground walnuts at trace.

As always, remember to let your soaps cure for 4-6 weeks before using or gifting!

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Comments

  1. The soap sounds amazing and your pictures are absolutely GORGEOUS!

  2. Soap looks fantastic, iv never used walnuts before, did it give a good texture and was it exfoliating?

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks! This was the first time I’ve used walnuts. I ground them extremely finely for a light exfoliating texture, but you could always just grind them a little more coarsely if you want more exfoliation. Hope that answers your question! :)

  3. Laura Beth says:

    That soap looks fabulous!! Almost like it should be served as dessert good….wow, I’ll definitley have to try this recipe :o )

  4. Heather says:

    Great recipe! These soaps look so beautiful!! Great giftie idea!!

  5. Love it! Another recipe I want to try.

  6. I have huge soap obsession and never even considered making my own…yours sounds devine! Thanks for the fabulous tutorial! Pinning!

  7. Chelsea says:

    awesome!! I love the simplicity of this recipe – sounds great!!

  8. Marsha says:

    Looks great! Where did you get the lye?

  9. It looks really wonderful! I was just wondering the other day about the possibility of walnuts in soap because I also love eating them. Thanks for the tutorial, I am definately trying this one! Marieke

  10. Heather says:

    Sounds great! Just want to put in another vote for the soap mold tutorial! I’m still using a shoe box…

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks! And thanks for the soap mold vote! Hopefully we can get that up for you, although I have to say that using a shoe box is quite genius. :)

  11. Don says:

    Maybe a weird question, but, why do we need to wear all this protection when making soap? I mean, if we need all this protection, should we be putting this stuff on our skin? Thanks!

    • Sarah says:

      That’s a great question! It all has to do with the chemical reaction (called saponification) that take place when making soap. Saponification is the chemical reaction between fats, lye and water that produces the substance we call soap. It takes about 2 days for saponification to complete (but we suggest waiting 4-6 before using your soap simply to give the soap time to harden up so it doesn’t fall apart when you use it). Before this chemical process is complete, especially when you’re mixing lye, water and fats, the lye (sodium hydroxide) is caustic and can cause serious burns if touched (hence the protection required). When the lye is mixed with water, the water rapidly heats up and can also cause burns. However, when the lye is finally mixed with the fats in the soap making process, saponification begins to take place. That chemical reaction that started with fats and lye/liquid mixture results in two other substances that are safe to be used on your skin: soap and glycerin. There is no longer any actual lye in the final soap product. Click here to check out a short article on saponification.

      I hope that answers your question! Thanks for your feedback!

  12. Ashley says:

    This is so great! Could you tell us what size mold you used to yield 16 4oz bars?

  13. Nickie says:

    Such a great idea! Thank you for sharing. I am a newbie and looking for new “easier” recipes and this one sounds great!! :D

  14. dee says:

    I made this soap, and it is divine, lovely lather and the natural scent to it is just delicious.

  15. Melissa says:

    I feel like I’m stalking you as I made your basic orange soap yesterday (my first soap batch EVER!) and am trying this walnut soap today (with pecans- I’m in Georgia, so it makes sense). My question is- did you still smell the lye solution after working it all together to trace? There’s still an odor and I’m *hoping* I didn’t screw it up somehow. I also subbed agave nectar for the honey, if that makes a difference.

    Thank you so much for your easy and fun to read instructions!

    • We’re so glad you’re liking the site and getting into soaping! I don’t remember a bad smell at trace but my memory could also be wrong. There’s a chance that maybe the milk burned a little bit? I would just let the soap sit for a day and then see what it smells like when you cut it into bars. I do remember that the really good fragrance started coming out about a day after I made the recipe. It can change a bit after a day or two, so hopefully it will smell great tomorrow! Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions. Hope this batch turns out great!

  16. Nicole says:

    I have recently began making soap… do you find lye to be safe? What brands do you use?
    Do you know of any lye alternatives?

    Thank you – love your site!

    Blessings,

    Nicole

    • Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) is a caustic substance that can cause severe burns if it’s inhaled or makes contact with skin. You do need to take precautions when using lye in soapmaking (wear gloves, goggles, etc.). With that said, soap by definition involves the combination of lye and oils. No lye, no soap. During the curing process, the soap undergoes a chemical process called saponification that creates soap and glycerin. When the proper amounts of lye and oil are used in soapmaking, no lye is left in the final cured product and that soap is perfectly safe for your skin. I buy my lye from https://www.thelyeguy.com/store.php. Hope that helps!

  17. lizzie says:

    I have been making your recipes with great success. I want to make the Honey Walnut Soap next. May I ask you if you insulated this soap to bring it to gel after pouring or did you put in a cool place with no wrapping. I have never made soap with honey or milk but read that it can overheat. I think I understand the frozen milk part pretty well.
    My goal for 2014 is to make all your soaps !

    • So glad you’ve been enjoying making our soap recipes! Sometimes if I see my soap start to overheat a bit, I put it in the refrigerator. I didn’t have to do that with this one, but I’ve done it before. I usually just keep an eye on it periodically after I pour it into the mold to see if it needs to be cooled off. If it does, I just refrigerate it until it’s at a normal temperature. Hope that helps!

  18. Allison says:

    I am interested in making my own soap and have read many wed sites on it . My question is , is Lye considered organic and natural , if not , what can I use as the base to make it natural ??

    • Soap by definition involves the combination of lye (a caustic substance) and oils. No lye, no soap. If you want to make a hard bar of soap, there’s no way to avoid using lye. During the curing process, the soap undergoes a chemical process called saponification that creates soap and glycerin. When the proper amounts of lye and oil are used in soapmaking, no lye is left in the final cured product and that soap is perfectly safe for your skin. Click here to check out a short article on saponification.
      So to answer your question, lye is definitely not organic and all soap has been made with lye somewhere in the process. If you want to avoid the use of lye for yourself, you have to use a melt and pour soap kit – but even then, that soap has been made with lye before that kit got to you. Here’s a helpful blog post if you want some additional into. Hope that helps! http://www.humblebeeandme.com/why-there-is-no-such-thing-as-making-soap-without-lye/

  19. Jill says:

    I’ve been making soap for years but got out of it for the last few years as I wanted to try several other projects and crafts. Seeing this recipe on Pinterest has resparked my desire to get back into it. Can I ask you one question though? What was your target temp to combine the oils and the lye/milk solution? My recipes vary from 90-105 degrees so I want to make sure I’m I the right area of the ballpark. Can’t wait to try it! I usually add castor oil or sugar for lather so I’m curious to see how this one lathers up. Thanks…

  20. Julianna says:

    Hi! I’m just getting into soap making so I’m trying to find some new “easy” recipes and yours happens to be the one I want to try next!
    I bought too much goat milk for another soap recipe I did the other day… How would I go about substituting the cow’s milk for goat’s milk now? I know you had to do it the other way around (no goat milk so you used cow milk)… Would it just be same measurement?
    Thanks so much!

  21. jeanette says:

    Can this recipe be safety halved? I like these ingred. without all the EO/ fragrance. But…its only me, and I am a newbie.

Trackbacks

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  2. [...] Here’s how you can make honey and walnut soap. This delicious recipe also starts with a milk base. It doesn’t use any fragrance or essential oils. It’s only made with honey and walnuts and this gives it a very pleasant smell. The soap is moisturizing and perfect for winter, not to mention that it can also be a nice Christmas gift.{found on offbeatandinspired}. [...]

  3. [...] Here’s how you can make honey and walnut soap. This delicious recipe also starts with a milk base. It doesn’t use any fragrance or essential oils. It’s only made with honey and walnuts and this gives it a very pleasant smell. The soap is moisturizing and perfect for winter, not to mention that it can also be a nice Christmas gift.{found on offbeatandinspired}. [...]

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