Goldenrod Soap Recipe

This pretty herbal soap features goldenrod infused oil and tea, plus a design imprint created by using a fondant mat.

fresh goldenrod and bars of decorative goldenrod soap being cut

In September, I wrote a post on using goldenrod, and in it, I mentioned making goldenrod soap.

So in this article, I’m going to show how I use two goldenrod infusions to make soap: a water infusion (tea), plus an oil infusion.

Before I get into the recipe, do you see the pretty floral imprint that’s on the outside of my soap? I got the idea to use a fondant mat to line my mold from THIS guest tutorial over at the Soap Lovin’ Blog. I thought that was a really fun and clever idea, shared by Angela of Alegna Soap!

Dried Goldenrod for Making Infused Oil for Soap

To Make Goldenrod-Infused Oil:

Place around 1 cup of dried goldenrod flowers in a heatproof jar. Pour 12 ounces (340 g) of olive oil over them. You could infuse this the slow way (tuck in a cabinet for at least 4 to 6 weeks), but I used the quick method.

Quick method: Set the uncapped jar down into a saucepan containing several inches of water. Place the pan over a burner and turn the heat to low. Let this steep for 2 to 3 hours. (I let mine do this, then let the oil infuse almost another 3 days at room temperature before using.)

Strain. Weigh the oil and add more olive oil, as needed, so that you have exactly 12 ounces (340 g) to use in the soap recipe.

1 cup of goldenrod flowers for tea

To Make Goldenrod Tea:

Place around 1 cup of fresh (or dried) goldenrod flowers in a heatproof jar. Pour 10 ounces (283 grams) of simmering hot distilled water over the flowers. Let cool to room temperature, then let the tea steep in your refrigerator overnight. (I let mine steep for almost 3 days, because I got too busy to make the soap right away as planned.)

Strain and weigh the tea. Add enough distilled water so that you end up with 8 ounces of liquid.

If you’ve never made soap before, be sure to thoroughly research the process and precautions before proceeding. You can find more information in my Soap Making 101 article or check out my Handmade Natural Soaps eBook Collection & Course .




Subscribe to Soap Tip Tuesdays and I’ll send you my quick start digital guide to Using Herbs & Flowers In Soap. Each Tuesday, you’ll receive one of my best natural soapmaking tips, recipes, or printables. 

  • Discover 21 of the top herbs and flowers for making handmade natural soap
  • How to make nourshing oil and tea infusions
  • Benefits & final color that each herb gives soap

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Cutting Goldenrod Soap

Goldenrod Soap Recipe:

  • 12 oz (340 g) goldenrod infused olive oil
  • 8 oz (227 g) coconut oil (*or babassu oil, if allergic to coconut)
  • 3 oz (85 g) rice bran oil (or more olive oil)
  • 3 oz (85 g) cocoa butter (I used deodorized)
  • 2 oz (57 g) sweet almond oil
  • 8 oz (227 g) goldenrod tea, chilled
  • 3.98 oz (113 g) sodium hydroxide (lye)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) Karma essential oil blend (optional, see step 6)

Yield: 2.5 lbs of soap (28 oz oil + 8 oz liquid + 4 oz lye), or around 8 bars

Recipe Notes & Tips:

  • I used oils, cocoa butter and an essential oil blend (Karma) purchased from Bramble Berry to make this soap. (They’ve since discontinued this essential oil blend, sadly.)
  • Use a light colored olive oil, if you don’t want the green shade of extra virgin to potentially tint your finished soap.
  • Goldenrod flowers were gathered from the fields around my house, but Etsy sometimes has small shops selling freshly dried goldenrod.
  • Lye was purchased from Amazon.
  • I bought the imprinted fondant mat from Amazon, but your local craft store likely has some too, in the cake making section.
  • This recipe has a 5% superfat; if you’d like to go up to 6% then use 3.93 oz (111 g) of lye.
  • *If using babassu oil, use 3.93 oz (111 g) of lye for a 5% superfat.
Lye Solution for Goldenrod Soap

Step 1: Make and chill the goldenrod tea, as directed above. Strain. Pour the tea into a heat proof plastic or stainless steel pitcher or container and add enough water, until it weighs 8 ounces (227 g).

Step 2: Wearing safety goggles, gloves and long sleeves, weigh out the lye and pour it into the pitcher of goldenrod tea. Stir well to make sure the lye is fully dissolved. It will heat up quickly and give off strong fumes that you should avoid breathing in directly. I like to do this step in my kitchen sink, in order to contain any spills or splashes.

Set the solution aside in a safe place, out of the reach of children and pets, and let cool for about 30 to 40 minutes. The temperature should drop to around 100 to 110°F (38 to 43°C) during that time.

Step 3: Weigh the coconut oil (or babassu oil) and cocoa butter into a small saucepan or double boiler. Melt gently over low heat, keeping a close eye on it. Weigh the other oils into your soap making pot or container and then pour the melted oils into there too. The melted oils should bring the temperature up to around 90 to 100°F (32 to 38°C), though you don’t have to get too hung up on trying to make the temperatures match.

Step 4: Now, you’re ready to mix! Working carefully and still with gloves, goggles and long sleeves on, pour the lye solution into the oils. Stir by hand for around 30 seconds then begin mixing with an immersion (stick) blender. Do not use a hand mixer – you want a stick blender that looks like THIS.

Step 5: Blend for around 30 to 40 seconds, then hand stir with the motor off for 30 to 40 seconds. Alternate until trace is reached. “Trace” means that your soap batter has gotten thick enough so that when you drizzle some of it across the surface of itself, it leaves an imprint or “tracing” before sinking back in.

Step 6: When light trace is reached, stir in essential oil, if using. Use EO Calc to figure out how much essential oil to use in a soap recipe. Since the Karma essential oil blend was rather strong (at least to my nose), then I only used 1 tablespoon (15 ml) so the soap would have just a hint of scent. Use more, if you like more strongly scented items.

Goldenrod Soap in the Fondant Mat Lined Soap Mold

Step 7: Pour the soap into the prepared mold and cover with a sheet of wax paper, then the mold’s top or a piece of cardboard. Insulate the mold with a towel or small quilt, but peek every so often to make sure that the soap isn’t overheating. It will darken in spots and take on a gel-like appearance at some points (that’s all normal as it goes through “gel phase”), but if you see a crack developing down the middle, it’s getting too hot and should be uncovered.

Step 8: Allow the soap to stay in the mold for at least 24 to 48 hours. Remove from the mold and slice into bars. Let the soap cure for at least 4 weeks before use.

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  1. Pingback: Foraging & Using Goldenrod
  2. I love the design on these soaps! These turned out perfect. The Goldenrod infusion sounds so nourishing.

  3. Where do u he the liner with the design on it? I love it. THANKS for sharing .I make soaps as well try to stay simple…Neenee’s cupboards on facebook

    1. Hi Denise! Usually I line my mold with parchment or freezer paper, but in this case, I used a fondant mat instead. Fondant mats were designed for those who bake cakes, but it works great to cut the pieces (just like you would the parchment/freezer paper to fit inside the mold). It’s re-usable too! :)

  4. Hi Jan I also love this design for this soap. I have plenty of goldenrod in my yard. I will try a sample batch also. I’ll try anything that is good for you skin. Diana

  5. I didn’t see any instructions for the print design, how to put it into the mold, or where you got it. I have never seen anything as beautiful as this on soap. Just gorgeous. I have to say, there are many people making soap, but very few that do the infusion of fresh flowers from their garden like you. Just awesome! Thanks.

    1. Hi Kirsten! I bought the fondant mat from Amazon (there’s a link under “Supply Sources” to the exact one I got.) Usually, it’s intended for people that bake fancy cakes to use with fondant. It’s got a pretty raised design, so when you line the inside of your soap mold with it, the soap picks up the imprint. It’s non-stick too, so it just peels away with no mess! What I did was cut the mat into 2 strips to fit just inside my mold – one the long, skinny way, and the other the wider way – including enough allowance for overlap on the sides, just like you would if lining your mold with parchment or freezer paper. I definitely need to write up a post about it. I think it’d be easier to explain with a series of pictures and I can take measurements too, for reference. I’ll try to get one up this week or next! :)

      1. thank you so much for your reply. I found it on Amazon, you are right, the cutting part looks tricky, and I wish I could get the imprint on the side of each bar in a loaf mold, but at any rate, it is worth exploring and playing with this. Thanks!!

  6. Hi there!
    I love your blog and have recreated many of your recipes for soaps, lotions, and so on. I just made a lotion and it separated. I’ve read why this happens, my question is it safe to use like this or do I have to start over?
    Also, when I make soap, mine always comes out darker than what I see online, especially if I’m using an herbal tea. Am I doing something wrong, using bad/spoiled ingredients? Any help would be appreciated and I look forward to your next great recipe.

    1. Hi Jessica, Thank you for the kind words! I’m happy to know that you enjoy the blog. :) You can still use a separated lotion. Just stir it really well before each use. Darker soap can come from a few reasons – first, are you using a light colored olive oil? If you use green-tinted extra virgin olive oil, or a dark colored avocado/hemp/etc, it can affect the final color of your soap and make it green-tinged or darker. Second, when making a tea for soap, don’t let it steep so long that it becomes really dark. You want to keep it on the lighter side, or your finished soap may pick up some of the brown color. Both of these are just cosmetic happenings though and your soap is still perfectly fine to use!

      1. Thank you for your response, it is very helpful. I will keep an eye on the herbal teas and check my olive oil.

  7. Hi Jan what size is your soap mold and where did you get it? I would love to see a post with pictures on how you did the fondant mat also. Thanks.

    1. Hi Beth! I use a wooden loaf mold (inner dimensions are 8″ x 3.5″ x 3.5″) that my husband made for me. It holds almost 3 pounds of soap I believe & I had plenty of mat left over where I could’ve line a bigger mold. I will definitely get a post/photos up soon! :)

  8. Hi I just wanted to thank you for the great newsletters. I always enjoy reading them. I also love the fondant mat idea. Beautiful!

  9. G’day Jan
    Wow! It looks amazing! I can’t wait to try out my fondant mat now!
    I didn’t realise soap can overheat, I have always wrapped it in pure wool blankets. Is there an optimum temperature during the first 24 hours?

    1. Hi Mary! It really depends a lot on your environment and soaping temperatures. I love insulating my soaps too, but my house gets VERY warm in the summer (no central air) and in the winter (my wood stove is near my soap making area). So, my soap sometimes overheats and cracks even if completely uncovered. When it’s cooler in the room and I leave it uncovered, I risk a partial gel (the middle is darker than the edges), so I’m sure to insulate. It can also depend on the mold, since some types hold in heat more than others. Soap gets up to around 180 degrees F (82 degrees C) during gel phase. If you’ve been wrapping your soap with wool blankets and it’s been doing well for you, then I would just keep on doing what you do – it sounds like you have figured out just what your soap needs! :)

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  16. So happy you liked the tutorial in The Lovin Soap Blog. I love working with fondant mats. They give such a pretty look to the soap.

  17. Hi! I was wondering if I could make this as a hot process soap, adding eo’s at the end of the cooking cycle? Thanks for a great recipe for using all of this Goldenrod I have collected!

    1. Hi Trina, Yes, you sure can! The only change I’d make is to increase the water amount to 9.5 or 10 ounces for hot process, since I have a water discount in place to help the cold process soap unmold easier. :)

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