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.
– This recipe was made in a 4 quart crockpot (slow cooker).
– 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)
LEARN TO USE HERBS & FLOWERS IN SOAP
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
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.
I’ve got dandelions soaking in some oil on the window sill right now, just about ready. I love cold process for so many reasons, but I may just try hot process again. I just love dandelions! You’re so gracious to share your formula and process, thank you!
Hi Melanie! Cold process is my favorite too, but it’s fun to switch it up every now and then. :) I’ve got another dandelion soap idea (CP) brewing in my brain I’m going to try out today. Hopefully it will work like I think it will and I can share that one soon.
I started cp soap making just 6 months ago, and only soaping with 100% fresh goats milk using around
15% to 17% coconut oil and around the same amount with tallow for less lauric and less palmitic but i find my soaps are still drying. I also used almond oil, castor oil and Shea butter and normally super fat at 5 %. Just wondering why it is still drying.
Hi Jenny! Do you think that it’s drying just to your skin, or have others mentioned it as well? I usually superfat at 6%, but tried a few 5% superfat batches at one point and found with the 5’s that over time, they made my skin feel dry and tight. I wasn’t sure if it was just because I have skin that is naturally on the dry side, but I went back to 6% and it’s been fine. My kids and husband didn’t even notice the difference though. I did like the outcome of 5% otherwise as far as hardness/lather/longevity, just not how it left my skin feeling. Your oils all sound really nice and nothing jumps out at me as a red flag – maybe if you try notching your next batch up to 6% superfat and see how you like it? My only other thought (if you find that it’s just drying to your skin, but others like it fine) is that you might have a low grade allergy to one of the oils being used?? (Just something of a wild guess, since I get a TON of people writing in who are sensitive to soaps with coconut oil & find it irritates their skin.)
Hi Jan, I can’t wait to try this recipe today. I love dandelions and have made all your recipes. My products with dandies have really taken off for my sales at the farmers markets and on my web page. I totally love the benefits of this beautiful yellow flower and its greens. Its spring and so many are dancing on my lawn. All my soaps are goat milk but I may do this recipe with the dandelion tea today.
thanks you are the best! ~mary ps I love cold process best but starting to love the CPHP method for some bars. especially love the crock pot shampoo soap.
Hi Mary, I’m so happy that your dandelion products are selling so well! I’ve found that they’re super popular here too. Plus, I love how effective they are! I am really going to have to try CPHP method soon – another person was telling me about how they used it and it sounds like the best of both worlds!
Hi Jan, I’m excited to try this recipe but I have a question about infusing the olive oil with the flowers. How dry are your dandelions when you infuse them? I thought I read somewhere cautioning against fresh flowers in infused oils for soaps?
Thanks for sharing!
Hi Janeen! Mine are usually completely dry when I infuse for salves and such, but when I know that the whole batch of oil is going to end up in soap anyway, I’m not as particular about the flowers being 100% dry first. Since soap has water in the recipe anyway, that little bit won’t hurt. (Plus, I get to make my soap faster!) :)
That makes a lot of sense thank you for explaining ! I learn so much from you and your website, it’s started me on making my own products and I’m loving it!
I’m so happy to hear that! :)
thanks so much for posting the crock pot recipe! This is on my to do list this weekend. The dandy’s are blooming fools in my yard now!
I’m glad you like the recipe and I hope you enjoy the soap! :)
I absolutely love dandelions and you’ve inspired me so much to use them more in my soaps and other products. :)
Hooray, it’s the Soap Mage! :) (You have the best name ever; I love it!) I’m so glad to know that you’re inspired to use more dandelions in your products!
Thank you so much. I love the name too and it’s a combo of my love of gaming, alchemy, and of course, soap! :) But yes, the dandelion salve is my absolute favorite! I used it on my son’s rash and it was gone in a couple of days! I tweaked it by adding chamomile powder, green tea finely ground, and arrowroot. :)
That’s wonderful about your son’s rash – I like the sound of your recipe! :)
HI!! I am gathering dandelions as I type (sot of :)). I was curious about something related to this recipe but maybe a more general question. I also make almost exclusively goat milk soap. I tend to use the raw milk and have never had a problem. I love using teas though as well – something about a tea gives my soap an extra little something. I was wondering…. given I infuse oils as well…. if you or anyone had ever tried making a milk based infusion with herbal additives… So instead of a water based tea; maybe making a milk based tea ish sort of thing. I was going to try it but was wondering if anyone had tried that. I sell milk based soaps exclusively and would love to incorporate the herbs this way too.
Hi Annie, Yes! You sure can infuse milk for soap making. This is something I keep meaning to write about, but haven’t made up enough soap batches with photos and detailed notes so that it can make a good post. I think one of my favorites is a soap made with fresh rose petal infused milk. I just put the herbs/flowers in a mason jar with milk, cap it, and let it infuse in the fridge for a couple of days before straining and proceeding as normal. (Cold infusion versus the hot infusion a tea is. BUT I have wondered about lightly heating the milk first and trying an infusion that way too…. it’s on the things-I-want-to-try-but-there-is-never-enough-time-or-money-for-spare-ingredients-if-this-messes-up list!) :)
Awesome. I am going to try a hot (warm) infusion and will report back. Im going to use calendula first. I will let you know how it goes!
PS – love the rose idea. just ordered organic dried roses. Sounds pretty. Plus there are so many higher end rose milk facial products so thinking it might also be worth using/trying for a face cream. (???)
Just finished my homemade drying racks from old picture frames. Two are filled with dandelions. Can you infuse the oil longer via window to get a richer color by chance?
Heading out to pick some Wild Violets next. Soap is on my to learn list and very thankful for your easy to follow recipes
Hi Thaleia, Your homemade drying racks sound awesome! If you’re making soap, most often the color of the oil is lost during the saponification process. (Chamomile & forsythia will hold just a bit of a yellow tinge though.) However, I’m now trying to infuse coconut oil with dandelions to see if that will help keep more color. I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out! I hope you enjoy your soap making and let me know if you run into any questions when you get started! :)
OK – question. I gathered about 3 gallons (nothing like starting off with a bang!) of dandelions. Should I remove all stems and just focus on the flowers? Do you recommend “washing” or “rinsing” before infusing? I currently have them all on a screen to wilt and dry a bit. THX!!!
Hi Annie, That is a lot of dandelions! :) I keep the stems on sometimes. The sap reputedly has properties that are beneficial to your skin and has been used in the treatment of acne & warts by some people. So, I figure it’s good to have some in there! I don’t usually rinse my herbs and flowers before drying, I scan the available blossoms and just make sure to pick only ones that are clean and that don’t appear to be covered in ants. If you do end up with any that are sandy and dirty though, a quick rinse or shaking/brushing off before drying could help, but I’d avoid extra moisture otherwise. Have fun making dandelion-y things!
Good morning Jan,
Question? My dandelion tea is cloudy, will it be safe to use?
Hi Ruth! If you squeeze or press on the spent dandelions as you’re straining them from the tea, then it might turn cloudy, but that’s not a problem at all. You want to keep your tea refrigerated if it’s going to be longer than half a day or so before you’re going to use it in a soap recipe though, or it might start going off.
How long can I hold the inffused oil and dandelion tea before use? I want to make this soap with my mother in law who I wont see for about a month but am seeing many dandelions now.
Hi Tammy, The oil will last for many months (probably around a year), but the tea is very perishable and is only good for a few days in your refrigerator. However, it freezes wonderfully! You can either freeze it in ice cube trays or a big plastic container/milk jug, just like you would save juice for making jelly later in the year. I’ve frozen it in glass freezer-safe canning jars before too, but still had one break, so am a little more cautious about using those!
I’ve been scanning your posts to see if I can freeze dandelion tea! I gathered my first dandelions this morning & found a large amount in one of our farm fields. It would be great to have dandelion tea saved for use when dandelions are not so plentiful. THANK YOU!
Hi TiltedEars, You sure can freeze your tea! I freeze lots of flower infusions and teas and petals… that way I can keep on creating even when the flowers are long gone. :)
Oh great! Thank you so much!
I am very excited to try this:)
Made the dandelion soap yesterday. Turned out great! Doing spring Violet today !
Thank you for your wonderful recipes and salves.
I’m so happy to hear that Ruth! :)
I’ve been making hot process soap for quite a while and love the soap! I superfat at 7% and have no skin problems whatsoever. I didn’t see anywhere above advice on using a dedicated crockpot for soapmaking. Lye will get into teeny scratches in the crock. Not worth the risk to use it for food again. I use dedicated glass bowls and plastic spoons as well. Good to keep soapmaking and food separated always.
Hi NancyB, That’s an excellent point, thanks for bringing it up! The bottom of my crockpot is getting visibly worn from the stick blender as well. Using dedicated equipment just for soap making is definitely the wise way to go!
I know I will enjoy doing these projects for myself and for gifts.
Hi Marianne, I’m happy to hear that! :)
Is there a way to make this without a digital scale, say…a fl oz conversion or such ?
Hi Deni! It’s really difficult to make a good batch of soap without precise measurement. Too much lye will make it too caustic on your skin and not enough lye will make your soap too soft and squishy. You can find a pretty inexpensive scale in a place like Wal-Mart for $10 or $15. It’s really worth it!
Thank you for your response! I did just that!
That’s great! Happy soap making! :)
I would LOVE to try this recipe but where can I get these flowers from?? Do you just have to be lucky enough to have them growing in your yard or can they be purchased somewhere?
Hi Lisa! I’ve looked, but have yet to find a place that sells dandelion flowers. I think it’s because they go to seed so quickly and their color fades (indicating lost vitality) within a few short months. I wish I could help more, but if I ever find a supplier, I’ll be sure to update everyone!
I made the hollyhock/ Rose infuse soap. Waiting for it to cure. It jelled really bad, not a bad thing , just takes longer to cure.
My question is : can the hollyhock blossoms be dried to is later.
Thank you for you wonderful blb and recipes.
Hi Ruth! You sure can dry the hollyhock flowers. They will probably start to look really faded after several months and won’t be as potent, so I’d try to use them up within 2 to 3 months if you can. You can also make a hollyhock tea or infusion and freeze that for up to a year for making soap later.
Making this right now!!! So excited to try this soap recipe. I’ve been making dandelion salve and everyone loves it. Thank you so much for sharing!!!
Wonderful! So glad you enjoy the recipes! :)
Small error :) You have (5 g) for sunflower oil and I’m guessing that’s wrong. I was just going over the recipe because I’ll be making some of this soon. I have dandelions galore to pick and use! I love wild-harvested ingredients even more than organic because it’s usually something I can pick myself for FREE.
Oops! You’re exactly right – that should be 85 grams – thanks for letting me know!! I hope you enjoy the recipe! :)
Where did you buy the soaps molds? Oh my god they are gorgeus…I will try to do this recepie Jan… I am thinking about Wild dandelion and that yellow flowers in the flowers store? Uhmmm… Yellow flowers are not the same for dandelion Wild White? Could i use camomile tea? Or caléndula flowers? Thank you for this recipie ,:-D
Hi Beatriz! My daughter bought those molds for me at a thrift store. I thought they were so pretty too! :) Chamomile tea or calendula flowers would be wonderful in this recipe!
Please my question is how do i know the right tempreture of oil and lye solution if i dont have a thermometer.
Hi Agnes! Fortunately, when making soap in your crockpot, the temperature doesn’t matter so much. You would mix the lye solution together and only need to set it aside to cool long enough to melt the solids butters and/or coconut oil.
When making cold process, you could make the lye solution and set it aside to cool 30 to 45 minutes. Melt the solid butters & coconut oil, mix with the liquid oils and then set those aside until the lye is cooler, after the 30 to 45 minutes.
Everything should then be cool enough to mix well without a problem. Also, some soapmakers like to use room temperature method, where you mix up the lye solution and let it sit longer, even overnight before mixing with room temperature oils.
A thermometer helps give you a more accurate idea of when to mix, but you have some flexibility too, until you can purchase one. :)
Jan, I’ve made this recipe three times and it turns out too soft each time. I ran the recipe through Bramble Berry’s calculator and the liquid and lye amounts don’t match. Can I save my soap by rebatching it? Any ideas on what went wrong?
Hi Lynette! I’m so sorry to hear that! Are you hot processing or cold processing?
The liquid amount given is full water amount for hot process soap.
I use the lye calculator at Majestic Mountain Sage and for this recipe they say:
“For the size of fat batch that you are using, we recommend that you use approximately 7 to 11 fluid ounces of liquid.”
If making hot process, use the high number, but if making cold process, that would be too much water.
Instead for cold process, use something more in the middle of that range, like 9 oz of water.
If you’re making hot process and it’s still soft, you could try using 10 oz of water instead and see if that helps.
This soap is also fairly high in olive oil, plus sunflower oil, making it more likely to start off on the softer side and harden as it cures over time.
What lye amount does the Bramble Berry calculator suggest? I just double checked with MMS’s calculator and it still reads 4.05 oz for 6% superfat.
Also, on rebatching it – how long has the soap cured for? It may just need extra cure time.
Another question to help us troubleshoot: have you used the same lye you used for those batches, in any other soaps that didn’t turn out soft?
If not, then it’s also possible that your lye has picked up some moisture and lost its potency, leading to a softer soap.
I’d love to hear an update of how it’s doing now!
I rebatched the 3 batches together and after curing for several weeks it did harden up. My lye was pretty new and no other batches turned out soft so I don’t think that was the problem. I’m a newbie so who knows? ;) Maybe I’ll try the cold process recipe. As a side note, several little girls at church had a blast picking dandelions with me!
Hi Lynette, I’m glad to hear you got the batches to harden up! :)
Hello could you let us know where you got the square soap mold with the flowers please? Has been most helpful! Thank you for sharing the recipe!
Hi Joy! My daughter picked those little molds up for me at a thrift shop on a cross-country road trip, but I later spotted some on clearance at my local Michaels craft store too. I haven’t found an online source that sells them yet, but always keep my eye out when I’m looking at molds. Will update this post if I do! :)
Hi, can you USE the crockpot for food after making Soap in it? Will the lye ruin the ‘coating’ inside?
Hi Solveig! The crock pots that I use for soapmaking quickly become etched and worn from the stick blender, so I recommend using a different one for food.
Ladies you are definitely Soap Goddesses. I learned more about soap in the comments, than the class I took. Soap wisdoms. It’s not just about books and videos, it’s Trial and Error, and creative Mentors. Thanks from a newbie.
Hi Annana! So glad that you found the comments helpful! :)
I would like to try this soap recipe but would like to cold process it. Is that possible? Would I have to change the recipe? Thanks
Hi Deanne! Yes, you sure can make it cold process. I would reduce the dandelion tea amount by 1 or 2 ounces (so it sets up in the mold faster & isn’t too soft) and instead of adding extras after cook time, just add them at trace, before pouring in the mold. :)
I’m hoping to make this soap this weekend! We have an abundant supply of dandelions right now.
Have you tried drying out some of the petals and placing them either on top or in the bottom of your single molds?
Hi Emylie! I’ve not tried that before, though I keep meaning to do so! Dandelion flowers do fade pretty fast though, so you’d want to cure & store the soap in a dark place. Maybe try just a little bit in one section of the soap & then see how it goes! :)
Hi Jan, I’m wondering if I can use dandelion powder in place of the infused
oil ? If so, when would it be best to add?
Hi Michelle! If you want to use plain olive oil and add herbal powder to the recipe instead, you could either add it with the lye solution (making a tea), or you could blend it into the warmed oils (before pouring the lye solution into them.) Another idea, to avoid a speckled look, is to pre-infuse the oil for a few hours with the powder and then strain it. If you’re using dandelion leaf powder, your soap will probably turn some shade of light green, depending on how much you use; dandelion root powder will turn brown. I haven’t experimented with those two much, so I’m not really sure how much to use, but I’d keep the amount pretty low – maybe a teaspoon or so?? Another idea is to use chamomile or calendula instead of dandelions and those would give a similar look and feel as dandelion flowers. Good luck with your soap! :)
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