How to Make Apple Cider Soap

How to Make Apple Cider Soap - Cold Process and Palm Free

This soap recipe was inspired by a trip to my local apple orchard on a beautiful fall day.

It features freshly pressed apple cider (unsweetened apple juice could work well too), along with the subtle warm spicy scent of essential oils.

While the scent of the apple cider won’t make it through to the final soap, try using essential oil option 2 (below) to regain a hint of fruitiness in the finished soap.

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Apple Cider Soap

Liquid & Lye Portion:

  • 4.16 oz (118 g) lye (6% superfat) (I used THIS KIND)
  • 9 oz (255 g) COLD apple cider (or half water/half apple cider)

Oil Portion:

  • 15 oz (425 g) olive oil (50%)
  • 8 oz (227 g) coconut oil (26%)
  • 2 oz (57 g) castor oil (7%)
  • 2 oz (57 g) mango (or  shea or cocoa) butter (7%)
  • 3 oz (85 g) sunflower, sweet almond, or avocado oil (10%)

Essential Oil Options:

  • Option 1 (Simple Spice) – 5 g (1.5 tsp) cinnamon + 5 g (1.5 tsp) clove essential oils
  • Option 2 (Fruity Spice) – 5 g cinnamon + 5 g clove + 3 to 5 g (1 to 1.5 tsp) folded orange + 4 g (1.5 tsp) patchouli essential oils




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If you’ve never made soap before, be sure to thoroughly research the process and precautions before trying this recipe.

Want to see how apple cider soap is made? Check out this wonderful video from The Soap Throne!

This recipe perfectly fills a Crafter’s Choice regular loaf mold.

You can find more information in my Soap Making 101 post or check out my Handmade Natural Soaps eBook Collection which includes:

  • Handmade Natural Soaps eBook
  • All Natural Milk Soaps eBook
  • DIY Specialty Soaps eBook
  • Natural Facial Soaps eBook
  • Essential Oils in Soapmaking Guide
  • Troubleshooting Guide
  • Plus Helpful Printables and Charts
How to Make Apple Cider Soap - a cold process and palm free simple natural soap recipe
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  1. Although I may also be tempted to eat/drink this soap, Jan, I’ll bet it smells great, particularly in the bath. Thanks again for such a painstakingly prepared and informative post.

  2. Ah!!
    Thank you, that’s where I was confused… in the rest of the world, apple cider IS alchoholic. We would just call your sweet/soft cider ‘apple juice’. It’s all apple juice for us, if it’s filtered or treated, or just raw or sweetened.

    I was wondering how you could use something alcholic like that for the water! Now, I get it.

    Hahaha, the common language that divides us :-)

    1. Hi Jaya, Thanks for letting me know that! It is so funny (and very interesting!) to hear how different people see and say things. I think that’s one of my favorite parts about the internet in that it helps me remember that the world is wide and varied and that I don’t live in a solitary little bubble! :)

    2. If you were to use an alcoholic beverage for your liquid just let it go flat. Some also recommend freezing it!

    1. Hi Michele, That’s a great question. In general, the alkalinity & heat generated during saponification prevents spoilage. It should stay fresh at least 9 months to a year. The bigger cause of early rancidity in soap is usually an overly high amount of oils compared to the amount of lye or using oils that are past their prime. If your soap starts to smell like old, rancid oil, it’s time to toss it.

  3. Hi Michele I am very new on making soap, I made the very simple recipe twice, but I wanted to make it different for just a bet adding green tea, in my lye water, twice my soap turn out greasy and like apple sauceIt is in the mold right now it do not looks good at all please hell.I make my soap in the crockpot Thanks Osiris

    1. Hi Osiris, Can you write out and tell me the exact recipe that you used and how much water and green tea you added? Then I can look at it and see if I can help!

      1. Hi Jan sorry this is such a late response. I found this recipe somewhere online and it usually works for me;

        32 oz olive oil
        3 oz castor oil
        4.50 oz lye
        12 oz water

        Like I said, this recipe works for me, but when I add green tee instead of water, and still using the same amount, (12 oz) the recipe no longer worked. Could be because the lye was static? Thanks for your help!

        1. The amounts of lye and water look good. If it has turned out greasy for you the last two times, I wonder if your lye has gone bad. Does your lye have lumps in it? Clumpy lye means that moisture has gotten into it and it won’t measure out correctly for your recipe. Maybe try a fresh container of lye? Also, high olive oil soaps take a little longer to set up, so perhaps just giving it time will help too. If you find the site again where you got the initial recipe, you could ask there for advice. They’ll have more experience with their own recipe and could probably be more help! :)

  4. Thanks, Jan, you are wright, I bought my 4 pounds of lye at the Amish, and it was fine but after a while it did get lumpy.

  5. Does this soap retain any of the apple scent or just the spiciness from the eo? I’m trying to find a way to create an apple scented cold process soap without using fragrance oil.

    1. Hi Elisa! This soap just has the spiciness from the essential oils. I’m not sure if there’s a way to create a natural apple scent in soap, but if you find a way – we’d love to hear about it!

  6. I was wondering if you could substitute the caster oil, mango butter, and avocado oil for palm oil and shea butter? If so, what would the recommended amounts of each be to put into this recipe?


    1. Hi Tess! I have a BIG post on making substitutions that I’ve been working on forever and will have a soap oils chart too to make it easy to see, but a short answer for now would be yes, I think you could do that! I think it would be easier to just use an already well tested recipe that has the ingredients that you want, which if I’m reading right is: olive, coconut, palm and shea? You could do a basic formula (as found on the blog) of 30/30/30/10 (30% each of olive, coconut, palm and then 10% of shea or some other particular oil you want to use.) Then just use the apple cider/liquid portion and essential oils at trace to get a similar look & smell. Let me know how that goes, if you try it! :)

      1. Thank you so much!! I will be trying it later this week and will let you know how it goes :-)

    1. Hi Dana! I use regular apple cider that has been freshly pressed from my local apple orchard. (You may be able to find some in the refrigerated section of grocery stores too though.) Unsweetened apple juice could work too!

  7. How much does this make? I’m used to doing 5lb batches- how much would that be? I’m super new to making soap and still figuring out the headache that is lye calculator.

    1. Hi Biz, Yes, the lye calculator can be painful at first! (especially for non-math-brained types like me!) :) To find out how many pounds of soap that a recipe makes, just add up: lye + water + oil weight. So, for this recipe (I round numbers): 4 oz lye + 9 oz liquid + 30 oz oils = 43 ounces total. Then divide that 43 ounces by 16 ounces in a pound and you get 2.7 pounds so you’d need a three pound mold to fit it in. I hope that helps!

  8. always run your recipe through a lye calculator. Good one is Majestic Mountain Sage . Sometimes .25 to .5 of an ounce of lye will make a big difference in your soap especially if you are making small amounts. You can buy good fragrance oils out there. Been making soap for 18 years and find people want “all natural” with non natural scents and get upset when its a fragrance oil. You will never get a completely natural soap unless it is lavender, teatree, rosemary, citrus blends, patchouli etc. as the essential oils are too expensive or diluted

  9. I was wondering if the sugar content in the apple cider speeds up the gel process? Do you have a high heat reaction? Also do you insulate for this batch?
    Could I use fresh pressed grapes in place of apple cider in the same manner, expecting similar results? Thank you!

    1. Hi Lyddie! I didn’t notice any unusual speeding up in this soap, but with juices and such, it is good to work with lower temps and even chill your juice before adding lye. I don’t believe I insulated, because of the added sugars in the cider. I haven’t tried fresh pressed grapes in soap, but I’ve read of people trying grape juice before – the consensus seems to be that it turns brown in the soap, but the sugars add bubbles and a nice lather to the finished bars of soap.

  10. Can you use this recipe as hot process? Or can I use a basic recipe and just change the water to cider?

    1. Hi Josie! I haven’t tried apple cider in hot process soap, so I’m really not sure how it would do. If you do decide to test it out, I’d try only a small basic recipe batch and probably dilute the cider with water by at least half (or more.) I’m not sure how the sugars in the cider will do in the heat – if you can find a HP recipe online that uses juice and see how they handle adding it, it might give you a better idea!

  11. Did the soaps take on an apple-ish smell at all? I was going to try this exact same thing but chickened out.

    1. Hi Brittany! It’s hard for me to tell because of the EOs in them, but I don’t believe the scent would carry through strongly, if at all. They smell cinnamony to me – and everyone I know loved picking them up and sniffing them. :)

  12. I’ve never made apple cider handmade soap but I would love to try it. The apples and cinnamon sounds delicious too.

  13. Hi again Jan,

    I’m going to make this recipe next but was hoping to use just castor, olive and coconut oil since I don’t have the others (I do have almond, jojoba, hemp and rosehip but don’t want to use them in soap as they’re more expensive). Can I just omit the avocado and mango or do I need to substitute something else? I know I will need to run it through the lye calculator once I know which oils to be using. So just to confirm, instead of using water, I sub-in apple cider to mix the lye in with, correct?

    I’m also wanting to substitute cardamom for the ginger or maybe do half and half.

    I bought some handmade apple cider & cardamom soap which I absolutely love and what inspired me to start making own because I can’t find that soap locally!

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi SP! Yes, you sure can make a soap with just castor, olive, and coconut oil.

      If you left out the mango butter and avocado oil then you’d have:
      60% olive oil (15 ounces)
      32% coconut oil (8 ounces)
      8% castor oil (2 ounces)
      3.53 ounces of lye (6% superfat)
      6 to 9 ounces liquid (I’d probably aim for 7.5 ounces)
      That’s a wee bit over the recommended higher range of 25 to 30% coconut oil (which I personally don’t find too drying if there’s enough superfat, but some people do.)

      If you substitute more of the three basic oils instead for the mango & avocado, you could try something like:
      60% olive (18 ounces)
      30% coconut (9 ounces)
      10% castor oil (3 ounces)
      8 to 11 ounces liquid (or around 9.5 is what I’d do)
      4.21 ounces lye (6% superfat)

      (Double check all that math, because I only did a quick run through on it.) :)

      And yes, instead of using plain water for the lye solution, use apple cider (or half apple cider/half water) instead. You can also use a favorite recipe you’ve already made before and know for sure that you like and just use apple cider in it instead, with your cardamom scent at trace as planned.

      It sounds like a lovely combination and should make a terrific soap – I hope it turns out well for you!

  14. Been reading all the comments. I want to make soap but never have attempted. This Christmas I want to give all hand made items. Quilts, soaps, laundry cleaners, etc. Is it hard to learn the process?

    1. Hi Cyndy, I love your idea of giving a homemade Christmas! I think everything has a bit of a learning curve to it, but now is a wonderful time to get started, so by the time Christmas rolls around, you’ll have perfected your technique. Once you get your first successful batch of soap under your belt, I think you will find it’s a lot of fun and much easier than you thought it would be. It took me a long time to try it out, since I felt intimidated by the long list of instructions, but I’m so glad I gave it a try. I think you’ll do great! :)

  15. Have you every drank warm mulled apple cider? Yum! I might make some this week to see how if would work in the soap recipe and then omit the EOs. I am also making the pumpkin spice soap so they will be cured by fall. Seriously have spent a few hours on this site today. So many great ideas!

    1. Hi Tammy, Yum, warm mulled apple cider is delicious! You can use it in soap, but the scents of things rarely carry through, which is why we replace them with essential oils. That’s just what I’ve read though and haven’t tried it myself to know 100% sure how mulled apple cider would work. If you test it out, I’d love to know how it turns out for you! I’m so happy that you enjoyed reading through the web site! Summer has been busy, so I haven’t been on here as much, but I have lots more ideas to share once I can sit down and type them all up! :)

    1. Hi Cara! This recipe is almost 44 ounces (oil + liquid + lye) or 2.75 pounds. I use a non-standard homemade loaf mold, but usually find that batches this size will make around 7 or 8 bars, depending on how you cut them.

  16. I’ve tried this twice now and get a violent reaction when I stir the lye and cider. I have had no issues with using distilled water and the cider is fresh pressed. Is there something I am missing?

    1. Hi Colby and yikes! Is your cider chilled and still cold from the refrigerator? Cold is good and colder is even better. You could try freezing the cider in ice trays and using half distilled water and half frozen cider & making it somewhat like a milk soap, with low temperatures. I’m curious if the pH of cider varies depending upon the orchard making it? Or maybe even upon that year’s crop? Our local orchard cider is generally very sweet. Is your cider sweet or is it more tangy tasting? I hope to grab more of this year’s cider soon and I’m going to test the pH of it, out of curiosity, then I can add that to the recipe, in case it’s a factor.

      1. Just curious,could Colby be having a respitory allergic reaction to the powdered lye ? If so what could one use in the place of it ?

        1. Hi Friend! I think Colby meant a violent reaction as far as the liquid got too hot and started to bubble over. You definitely want to avoid breathing in lye powder too though! There’s no replacement for lye in soapmaking (oils can’t turn to soap unless a caustic substance, such as lye, is introduced to them), but if you’re worried about breathing in the fumes/powder, you could use a mask with respirator on it.

  17. Could all of the oils in this recipe be substituted with the oils for the rosa rogusa recipe?
    thank you, in advance!

    1. Hi Layla! Yes, you’re exactly right. You could take the entire rosa rugosa recipe (oils + lye + amount of liquid) and instead of 26 oz rose tea, use apple cider (or diluted apple cider) instead. At trace, instead of rose scents, you could add the cinnamon and ginger essential oils. You could really take that one rosa rugosa recipe and make tons of different soaps from it, simply by changing it up with teas, infused oils, essential oils and extras like oatmeal, clays or colorants.

  18. I’ve been making my own apple cider soap recipe for a few months now! I found that using a red apple fragrance oil plus a spice EO or FO really captures the essence of apple cider

  19. Can this recipe be made with out any oils? I am extremely allergic to coconut, Shea, olive oil, cocoa butter or any type of nut.

    1. Hi Anne! In order to make soap, you have to combine oils or fats with a caustic solution (lye), but there should be some options hopefully for you! Can you use animal fats like Lard (from pig) or Tallow (often made from beef)?
      There’s also Rice Bran Oil or Sunflower Oil (a seed) or Hempseed Oil (also a seed). What oils do you use for cooking? You should be able to use those for soapmaking as well.

    1. Hi Savita! The kind I used can be found at Amazon (there’s a link in the ingredient list). You could also check local hardware stores; sometimes they have some, but check the bottle before using. If you shake it and hear lumps rattling around inside, that means it’s past its prime & won’t measure correctly.

  20. Did you use cinnamon leaf essential oil? I’ve seen cinnamon bark & cinnamon cassia but not sure if either of these can be safely used in soap.

  21. Thanks a lot for the recipe, I love it! Did you add colorant or is it just from the natural apple cider?

  22. Can you use apple EO and cinnamon EO in a melt and pour soap with a crystal white base? Thanks

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