Handmade Dandelion Soap (Crock Pot Method)
While Honey & Dandelion Soap is one of the most popular cold process recipes on my blog, I’ve often gotten questions about how to make it using a crock pot (hot process) instead.
Since dandelions are popping out like crazy around here (hooray!), I thought this would be a good time to make some up and share a more detailed tutorial with you.
A few notes before we start:
– For my extra oils added after cook time, I used jojoba and tamanu oil from Mountain Rose Herbs. However, you can use any combination of your favorite oils – such as avocado, rosehip seed, meadowfoam, sweet almond and hemp, or try melted shea, mango or cocoa butter.
– You can buy lye (sodium hydroxide) on Amazon.
– If you don’t want to cook your soap, you can make this cold process instead. Just add the extras at trace, stir well and pour into your mold. Let it sit for 24 to 48 hours and then unmold, slice into bars and let them cure for at least 4 weeks.
– I experimented with a little plastic mold and stamp set that my daughter bought me while on vacation. This size of a recipe though will fit in a mold about the size of a 8.5″ x 4.5″ bread pan. (In fact, I often use my glass loaf pan as a soap mold – just be sure to line it with parchment paper or an inexpensive trash bag first, to prevent sticking.)
– This recipe yields around seven or eight regular bars of soap, depending on your mold and how you thickly you slice the bars.
Check out my 12 Things to Make with Dandelion Flowers article for more ways to use your dandelions!
Dandelion Soap (Crock Pot Method)
All measurements are by weight, not volume.
- 8 oz (227 g) coconut oil (27.5%)
- 16 oz (454 g) olive oil, infused with dandelions (55%)
- 2 oz (57 g) shea butter (7%)
- 3 oz (85 g) sunflower (10.5%)
- 4.05 oz (115 g) lye (6% superfat)
- 11 oz (312 g) dandelion tea
After cook time, add:
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of your favorite oil (I used half jojoba and half tamanu)
- 1/8 tsp annatto seed powder (optional for a pale yellow tint)
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon water (to dilute honey so it won’t scorch)
Infuse the olive oil with dandelions. To do so, pick around 1 cup of dandelion blossoms (saving some for the bees too!), spread them out over paper towels or a clean dishcloth and let them wilt overnight. The next day, place them in a large mason jar or glass pitcher and pour 16 oz of olive oil over them.
Set the jar or pitcher down into a saucepan containing a few inches of water, to form a make-shift double boiler. Place the pan over a medium-low burner and allow the oil to infuse over the heat for around two hours. Keep an eye on things while this is going on, to make sure the water doesn’t evaporate out.
Strain the oil, weigh how much it yielded and then add enough extra olive oil until you have the 16 ounces (454 g) total of olive oil needed for this recipe.
Make the dandelion flower tea and let it cool. Place a handful (half a cup? You don’t have to be precise here) of fresh dandelion flowers in a heat proof container. Pour 11 ounces (312 g) of simmering hot water over the flowers and let the tea steep until cool. Strain, weigh how much it yielded and then add enough extra water until you have the 11 ounces (312 g) of dandelion tea that you need for this recipe.
Wearing proper safety gear of gloves, goggles and long sleeves, weigh out the lye and pour it into the dandelion tea. I like to do this in my kitchen sink, to contain any potential spills. Stir well and set aside for a few minutes.
Melt the coconut oil and shea butter together, in a small saucepan. Weigh out the olive and sunflower oil and add directly to your crockpot. Once melted, pour in the coconut oil and shea butter as well. Turn your crock pot on low. (If you have an old crock pot that heats up super slow, then you might want to pre-warm it for ten to fifteen minutes before you start.)
Pour the lye solution into the oils in your slow cooker. Stir with a stick blender (immersion blender), like THIS ONE, until you reach trace. Trace is when the mixture has gotten thick enough to leave a slight, fleeting imprint when the batter is drizzled across itself. (See photo, below.) With a stick blender, this process will take maybe five to ten minutes.
Once you’ve reached trace, put the lid on your slow cooker and cook the soap for one hour. I like to set my timer and check every fifteen minutes, to make sure things are going okay. Some people like to stir while the soap cooks, I don’t usually do that though.
Soap after 15 minutes:
Soap after 30 minutes:
Soap after 45 minutes:
Soap after 60 minutes:
After cook time, stir well and mix in any additives you’d like. Stirring in a spoonful of yogurt, or a teaspoon or two of sodium lactate usually helps the cooked soap batter turn more fluid and easier to work with.
When adding honey to hot soap, it’s a good idea to dilute it with a tablespoon or two of water and any other extras that you might want to add. This helps lessen the chance of scorching.
If you don’t add anything, the soap will be an off white color. If adding honey and annatto seed powder, the soap will look orange-ish (the color will lighten up as it cures.)
This photo shows the difference between the plain soap (left) and honey/annatto seed soap in the mold:
and then again, after being unmolded:
PS: I knocked both of these soaps on the ground while trying to take this picture – ooops! – so your finished soap should not have dirt speckles on them, unless you’re klutzy like me! :)
Spoon the soap into your mold (or molds). I used this little mini-mold and stamp set my daughter bought for me at a thrift shop while on vacation, but you can use a regular loaf mold too. (Look for about a three pound mold.)
Whatever mold you use, tap it lightly on the counter, to help the hot soap settle in. One downside to crock pot soap is that it’s not as smooth as cold process, so the backs or tops of your soap – depending on your type of mold – will be rough and rustic looking.
Set the molds aside to cool until the next day. Unmold carefully and slice into bars, if using a loaf mold.
Hot process soap can technically be used right away, but it will be much improved with at least a 3 to 4 week cure time.