Pumpkin Soap Recipe

Pumpkin Soap Cold Process Recipe
Today’s recipe is for Pumpkin Soap! For this batch, I added a vanilla spice swirl to give the bar just a hint of warm, fresh-baked scent.

Because I have several sensitive family members, I usually leave bars unscented or very lightly scented with natural ingredients only. If you want your soap to have a more detectable smell, you’ll need to greatly increase the amount of essential oils I list, keeping in mind that vanilla absolute will color your soap brown.

Pumpkin Soap Video

Here’s a video of me making a layered Pumpkin Spice Soap you may enjoy viewing! (Sometimes an ad plays first, but the video will play right after. If you have an adblocker, you won’t see the player.)

This is a Cold Process Soap recipe. An overview of directions can be found in my Soapmaking 101 article.

I also recommend my Handmade Natural Soaps eBook Collection in order to learn more about the craft, how to color your soaps naturally, lots of my favorite palm-free soap recipes, and more!

The recipe is sized to fit a homemade wooden loaf mold, that my husband made for me. The inner dimensions are roughly: 8 inches long x 3.5 inches wide x 3.5 inches tall if you’d like to make your own.

You can also use a silicone bread loaf pan.

Pumpkin Soap CP Cold Process Recipe

Pumpkin Soap Recipe

Liquid & Lye Portion:

  • 4.19 ounces (119 grams) lye (6% superfat)
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) distilled water

Oil Portion (30 ounces total):

  • 16 ounces (454 grams) olive oil (53%)
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) coconut oil (27%)
  • 3 ounces (85 grams) sunflower oil (10%)
  • 3 ounces (85 grams) cocoa butter (10%)

Make according to general cold process soap making directions. (See Soap Making 101 for an overview and directions.) I use and recommend Essential Depot’s food grade lye, found HERE on Amazon.

At light trace, blend in:

  • 2 ounces canned pumpkin

Portion out roughly 1/3 of the batter in a small plastic container (I use a large recycled yogurt container.) Blend in 1 teaspoon vanilla absolute and 20 to 30 drops clove essential oil. (Adjust per your personal scent preference.)

Pour half of the pumpkin soap into the parchment paper lined mold, add the vanilla spice layer next, then top with the rest of the pumpkin soap. Cover and let sit undisturbed for two to three days.

I found this soap needed a longer dry time than most, so don’t worry if it seems too soft at first. Once unmolded, let the soap log sit out in the air for an additional few days before slicing into bars and allow for plenty of cure time.




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  1. Hi! I love the looks of this recipe, really want to try it. I have one problem though, I can’t really get that much essential oils here in Sweden, do you think it will work with natural 100% vanilla powder instead?
    And this is probably a stupid question but how do you make pumpkin puree? Do you just take any pumpkin and mix it to puree`?

    1. Hi Sonja-Marie!

      I have wanted to try vanilla powder in soap, but just haven’t done so yet. I read a review about using it in cold process soap & it seemed like she had bad luck with it though – but I wonder if it was completely dissolved in a small amount of oil first, before adding, if it would be less likely to be spotty? You could experiment with a small bit and see how you like it.

      1. My powder is black, wondering if it is not from the flower.. Think you can infuse it.. I will give it a try and let you know how it went! :)

  2. Hi Jan,
    I recently started following your posts. I really enjoy what you do. I also make soap, lip balms, and keep bees. I make this recipe. The fresh pumpkin smell doesn’t make it through the process but it makes a lovely soft soap and the vanilla and clove make up for it. I also add pumpkin pie spice to mine which gives the 2nd layer a chocolate color. I enjoy following you.
    Michelle :)

    1. Hi Michelle,

      I almost added pumpkin pie spice, but wasn’t sure how it would do – thanks for letting me know that it works well for you!

    2. Hi Michelle,
      I’m going to make this soap this weekend and I have some pumpkin pie spice in my kitchen and would like to add it. How much did you use? Did you add it at trace?

  3. Your soap looks very beautiful. I made a pumpkin soap this weekend. I wasn’t sure what vanilla absolute was, is it from the vanilla bean in alcohol or the oil from the vanilla bean??
    I was wondering if you allowed for a water subtraction for the pumpkin.
    How do you know when to subtract if you use a fruit or purée like pumpkin from the total amount of water? I am thinking about using mango purée and designing a soap with mango. Trying to figure out the water.

    1. Hi Maureen,

      I forgot to allow for it in my original recipe, but adjusted this one to account for a small discount. I always try to target my water to be in the middle of the range that the lye calculator gives me, when I create a new recipe. So, if it says 17 to 23 ounces of water, I aim for 20 ounces. If you’re adding a fruit/veggie puree though, then you want to drop it a couple more ounces. In this case, I added 4 ounces puree and dropped the water 2 ounces so ended up with 18 ounces. I’m not sure if this is the “proper’ way to do that though; I wing a lot of stuff! :) It still took longer to set up and cure, so I could probably drop it further, but I’d rather err too much water than not enough, because I don’t want the soap to set up too fast on me.

      The mango soap sounds fun! I hope it turns out great for you!

  4. Gorgeous looking soap! Wondering what the pumpkin in it does… does it add the color? I guess it doesn’t add a pumpkin-y smell?

    1. Thanks Leona! The pumpkin adds a pale orange tint to the soap, but no smell to speak of (which is why I added the clove and vanilla absolute.) I’ve also read that it enriches the bar with vitamins and nutrients that are good for skin conditions (like eczema, etc.) We’ve been rotating through about six bars here, testing them out, and the pumpkin soap is the creamiest. I really like how smooth it leaves my skin! :)

  5. Hi, this seems like a great experiment to try! However, how do you keep the pumpkin from going bad in the soap, since it’s food?

    1. Hi Melanie! That’s a great point to bring up. This soap will have a shorter shelf life than a plain bar, but it should still be good for at least 6 to 9 months. The heat & alkalinity of the curing soap seems to help and you can also add something like rosemary antioxidants to make it stay fresher longer. In fact, I more often do add those, but I knew this batch of soap would all be used up by family & friends within a very short time frame. Another thing you can do with fruit/veggie puree is to add it to the water that the lye goes in, counting on the heat reaction from that to ‘cook’ it. Still, it shouldn’t mold or anything, it will just be prone to losing the fresh, clean smell of soap sooner and may develop DOS (dreaded orange spots.)

  6. so, i prefer to make my cold process soap with all coconut oil by superfatting…what would your recommendation be for switching out the other oils? just add all of the oil weights together and apply to the coconut so 54oz of coconut oil? i don’t usually vary from my pure coconut and this i like the sound of, so i want to give it a go to see…

    1. Hi Maria! I think you could just take your regular pure coconut oil soap recipe and drop the water a bit to make up for adding the pumpkin puree. While I’ve not tried it with a single oil soap, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work! :)

    2. Whenever I make a 100% coconut oil soap [such as my sea salt bars], I superfat at 20%.

  7. hello!

    This is definitely the recipe I want to make my first soap as!

    So, I’ve looked at like 842 recipes for soap and I realize American measurements are frustrating. The oils are measured in fluid ounces and the our Is measured in weight ounces?

    1. Hi Felicity! I measure everything in a soap recipe by weight, including the water. No fluid ounce measurements used. I hope that helps, but if you have more questions, just let me know! Have fun making your first batch of soap! :)

  8. Everyone loves pumpkin soaps! They smell so delicious with the cinnamon, clove and vanilla, no matter how you make it. Love it.

    1. Hi Kristin! :) I’ve never tried using vanilla extract, but I’ve read of others who have and the general consensus is that the smell doesn’t hold up. (Same deal for vanilla bean infused oil, sadly.)

  9. I used vanilla extract, and yes the smell did NOT hold up. I couldn’t find the vanilla absolute at the time and didn’t want to wait to order it. It did take a lot longer to dry than any other soaps that I have made. I put the pumpkin, crushed cloves, pumpkin pie spice, and the essential oils all into the swirl. I really love the way it smelled, but the way it ended up getting spread out, some of the bars have very little in them. Although most of them they look very nice. I actually got tired of waiting for some of the bigger bars to finish drying and I put them in my dehydrator! I was afraid they would get to warm and melt, so I only did 2 the first time. They did get very warm and soft initially, but within about a half an hour after taking them out and letting them cool, they firmed right up. I don’t know that this is the best method to use, but it worked to speed things up for my impatient self!

    1. It sounds like the dehydrator worked out for you – I never thought about trying that! Thanks for sharing your experience and ideas! :)

    1. Hi Devin, This batch is sized to a 5 lb wooden loaf mold that is 16 inches long. I always figure that the ends will have crinkles, so will be cut off and used as test bars. That leaves 14 or 15 inches of the loaf of soap left. If you cut each bar 1″ thick, you’ll get 14 or 15 bars. If you cut them a bit thicker or thinner, that number will change by one or two. When dealing with loaf molds, the length in inches will give you a close estimate of number of bars to expect.

  10. Hello,

    I am planning to make my first batch of soap this weekend. I’ve been making bath bombs, lotion, massage bars, etc for quite a while now but haven’t yet tried soap. The idea of using lye has also frightened me a bit, but I’ve finally decided to conquer my fear. I have a few questions about your recipe, as this is the one I plan to make.

    First, I would like to cut the ingredients in half, to make a smaller batch. I will run it through the Lye Calculator after reducing the ounces in each ingredient to make sure I use the correct amount of Lye. I would like to add some Castor Oil to this recipe, as I read it makes for a nice, creamy soap. Would that be okay? Will the soap still cure correctly?

    Second, how do I account for the canned pumpkin and essential oils in the Lye Calculator? There isn’t an option for that. Do I not count them in since they’re added at trace? Will adding the pumpkin and EO to the reduced/smaller recipe change the amount of Lye needed? Also, if I cut everything in half for a smaller batch, should I also cut the amount of pumpkin i half.. using 2oz instead of 4oz?

    Lastly, since this is my first experience with soap, I want to make it as simple as possible. I am planning on skipping the swirl this time (but trying it at a later date!) Can I add the essential oils at trace instead of putting it in the swirl? I have a lovely smelling Vanilla Essential Oil from Wild by Nature. Sadly, it is extremely expensive.. $25 for 15ml. Can I use this instead of clove or cinnamon EO? I do have cinnamon EO, but I prefer the smell of the vanilla. Would this work? In your article, you said it can take a while to cure. For say, a 2 1/2lb batch, how long would you estimate the curing time? 3-4 weeks?

    Thank you in advance for your help! I’m sorry for so many questions, I just want to be sure I get everything right! I have a lot of people in my town who buy my bath bombs and batch products, and they always ask me why I don’t make soap! I feel so silly saying that I’m petrified of using Lye, so I’m hoping that with practice, I will be able to start selling these, too! I have a 3 y.o daughter and 1 y.o son, which is where my fear stems from. I don’t want anything to happen to them. Would you recommend I mix the lye with the water outside on my back deck? Can the other steps be done safely inside, if proper precautions are taken? Thanks again!!

    All the best,

    1. Hi Megan!

      First of all, grats on deciding to make your own soap! I think your customers will love it. You might want to consider trying a plain recipe for your first attempt, so you can get a feel of what the process is like, without fooling with colors and scents. Plus, if the first batch goes wrong, you can troubleshoot easier and not worry about wasting expensive additives. However, that’s just an idea – if you’re comfortable you have a handle on the process, then go for it! :)

      Yes, you could add castor oil to the recipe. It does give a nice lather and in fact, I’ve been including it in all of my recipes lately. This recipe has coconut oil and cocoa butter which both contribute to lather & the castor oil will add more. So, it should turn out to be a very bubbly soap. I suggest adding only enough for about 5% of your soap oils.

      If you cut the recipe in half, then yes, use half as much pumpkin. The pumpkin and essential oils don’t count when determining lye amounts – it works on oils, so anything that’s not one, won’t matter.

      You can use your essential oil at trace, yes. I just add and sniff and add and sniff some more, but that’s not very technical. :) Keep in mind that the curing time will really reduce the smell of essential oils, so you want it to almost smell too strong at first. It will lighten up as it cures. You can leave out the essential oils in any recipe, and put in ones that you like. Those are personal tweaks you can make, no problem.

      Cold process soap will take 4 to 6 weeks to cure, no matter the batch size. It takes that long for moisture to evaporate from the bar & it grows gentler each day you wait.

      I completely understand being fearful of the lye. I think my son was about 2 & my daughter 5 when I first started making soap. I had my husband help and we made it when the kids were napping. We did mix on the back deck for the longest time, then I moved to the kitchen sink. My best tip: sit down and write yourself a very detailed check list of every single little thing that you need to do. Even tiny things like make sure kitchen window is open (if you’re working at your sink) – then you can check off each item, step by step as you do it. That was how I made sure not to forget anything. It’s intimidating at first, but after your first batch or two, you’ll feel like a pro! It was much easier to make, than I thought it was.

      Good luck with your first batch. I’d love to hear how it turns out, so keep me posted if you can! :)

      1. Jan,
        Thank you so, so much for your kind and detailed response. You have been most helpful! I went into Brambleberry’s Lye Calculator and reduced each ingredient of the recipe by thirds. I want to start with a small batch, just in case I mess up (knock on wood!) I also added in the Castor Oil, but I made sure to adjust it- keeping it under 5%, as per your recommendation. I’m including the recipe below for you to see.. if you have any suggestions as far as adjusting goes, please don’t hesitate to tell me!

        1oz Castor Oil (5%)
        2oz Cocoa Butter (11%)
        5oz Coconut Oil (26%)
        8oz Olive Oil (42%)
        3oz Sunflower Oil (16%)
        2.6oz Lye
        6.2oz Water
        1.5oz Pumpkin Puree
        Vanilla EO & Cinnamon EO

        I rounded the percentages just to make it simpler. Does this seem like it would be ok? Does the smell of the pumpkin last or does it just add an orange color? Does it have any good properties for the skin?

        I like your suggestion to start with a simpler recipe for the first time. Do you have a good simple recipe for a first time soaper? If you do, I could try that first and then use the pumpkin recipe the second time. Ideally, I’d like to use a Cold Process recipe to start, as my crock pot is rather small. I’m not sure it would fit all of the ingredients. I had found one simple soap recipe online, but it seemed so simple. It was 450ml water, 172grams lye, 1000grams olive oil and 250 grams coconut oil. That was the whole recipe. Do you think I should start with that? I’d kind of like to do something a little more intricate than that, but a little less complicated than the pumpkin one for my first time. I’d like the bars to be very moisturizing and lathering. I love the smell of cocoa butter, does it last after the soap cures? I also love the smell of this Dr. Bronners Virgin Coconut Oil I have, but I’m assuming the smell of that doesn’t stay.. is that correct?

        Ok, one more question for now! I am planning on mixing the lye and water in a large Pyrex measuring cup that I have. I plan to melt my oils and butters in my double boiler (handmade pot inside pot type.) I’m not sure if the pot I have is aluminum or stainless steel. It doesn’t have any markings or indications on it, maybe it used to and it faded? Anyway, it has been fine for melting oils and butters..but if it does happen to be aluminum, would that be bad for the lye mixture to go in? Where should I combine the oils/butters with the lye mixture? Will it be cooled down enough by this step to put in any old pot or a regular mixing bowl? I’m not sure what my mixing bowl is made of..some sort of plastic, but it also has no markings on it. I do have a medium size Pyrex bowl (more of a pan with tall sides) but I don’t think my stick blender would fit in there very well. It might cause splashing and I don’t want that! What is the best way to go about this? Where should I combine everything? Also, once it reaches trace, how long do I have to pour it into my mold? Do I need to rush?

        Thank you again for your previous response. All of your info has been so helpful!! I feel much more confident about starting my soaping venture now.

        All the best,

        1. Hi Megan,

          At first glance, the recipe looks good! The pumpkin adds a tiny tint of color and is reported to be great for your skin!

          The simple coconut oil/olive oil recipe that you found sounds nice and basic & might be good to practice on. If you’re afraid it will be too boring, you could add some peppermint or lavender essential oil at trace, so it at least has some scent. (Remember that the smell will start off strong, but will fade a lot as it cures.)

          You won’t smell coconut oil in the final product. If you use unrefined cocoa butter though, there will be a residual smell. Some people like that, some don’t. If you don’t, you can use refined cocoa butter.

          In the past, I did use glass/Pyrex to mix oil and lye in, but have heard some stories of the glass breaking so swapped to a plastic pitcher this last year. In 10 years of soap making, I never had glass break, but figured better safe than sorry.

          You most definitely don’t want to mix lye with aluminum. That can produce some toxic byproducts. If in doubt, don’t use it. You can check out your local Target or Walmart for a large enamelware type stock pot. I bought one quite inexpensively and have been using it for many years.

          I think you would be assured of most of those last questions by reading Soap Making 101: https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/soap-making-101-making-cold-process-soap/ and watching the video tutorials here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAADF6209996265D2
          Once you reach trace, you will want to work fairly quickly, but it’s not crucial to speed rush to the point of feeling frantic or anything. Just notice the trace, stop stirring and lay the stick blender on a piece of wax or parchment paper, then pour the soap into the mold. I scrape down the sides with a spatula and try to get most of it out of the pot.

          You’ve got this covered! Good luck!! :)

          1. Jan,
            I did it!! I officially made CP soap for the first time in my life! It was both frightening and extremely exciting at the same time! I ended up using the simple soap recipe with a little bit of variations.. just to spice it up a bit. I used 35oz olive oil, 8oz coconut oil, 3oz cocoa butter, 3oz castor oil, lye and water. At trace, I added canned pumpkin, vanilla EO, cinnamon EO, pumpkin pie spice, ground almonds and ground oats and lastly, 1/2 tsp of sweet almond oil. It smelled delicious! I ran the recipe through the lye calc just to be sure I used the correct amount, since I made my own adjustments to the recipe. I was afraid it wouldn’t reach trace or that it would take a long time, but it reached trace after 6 minutes! The whole process went smoothly.. except for one little part. First, I put my oils/butters in double boiler, then I mixed my lye & water. I waited about an hour for them both to cool down to 110 degrees. After an hour or so, I went to check their temps and apparently the tip of my kitchen thermometer was made of aluminum because the lye mixture ate it! It dissolved it right into the mix!! I was freaknig out. I was thinking in my head, “what a waste, now I’m going to have to throw out all this product, how am i going to know when to mix it together if i don’t have a thermometor now!!.” Thankfully, my husband ran out to the store and bought a heat-proof thermometer which worked just fine. By the time he got home, everything was ready to mix together. I made a little less than 5lbs of soap.. I filled a 3lb mold, 10 silicone hearts and 3 silicone bunny rabbits! It smells so good, too! The whole process was relatively leisurely and much simpler than I had expected. Now, I can only hope my soap comes out okay! What do you think? Currently, I have my molds sitting high up on the kitchen counter, uncovered. It’s been 12 hours since I poured it. Do I need to cover them? Someone in a soap forum told me I can unmold the little silicone ones after 12-24 hours, what do you think? How long should I wait to unmold the small and large molds? Should I be covering the molds with something? I’m a little confused about what “gelling” is, so I don’t know if I should be trying to prevent that or not by covering my soaps.

            Thank you again for all your help! You have made my first soaping experience so much simpler than I could have hoped for. These should be the last of my questions (hopefully!), until I try the hot process method in a few weeks or so, hah!

            Warm regards,

            1. Yay! You did it! :) Some people like their soaps to gel (get heated up all the way through to the center), some don’t. A major difference is that gel phase usually helps your colors stand out more & gives your soap a more polished type look. If you prevent gel phase by keeping the mold uncovered & in a cool place, it will have a more matte look, with more muted colors. If you let a milk based soap gel, it will turn a dark caramel shade of brown, but if you prevent gel (by keeping it cool right after pouring by popping it in the fridge or freezer for 12 to 24 hours), it will stay a lot whiter – so in that case, no gel phase can be a good cosmetic thing – if you’re aiming for a whiter toned soap. It really is a matter of personal preference – there is no wrong way. I usually cover and let mine go through gel phase, but just because it’s less fuss to do so. Way to go on your first batch!!! :)

  11. Hi,
    Just a quick note, you can get vanilla essence in a bottle in Sweden, saw that someone had trouble with it. Although the crushed seeds/pod (I assume) she had should work well in an infusion…

    1. Hi Adrienne, Everything in the recipe is measured by weight, not fluid ounce. Though, the water is the one part of soap making where it isn’t as critical to be exact. There’s a range of liquid you can use in each recipe. So, in this recipe you could use 7.5 or 8.5 ounces and still be okay. (Though too much extra liquid might make your soap softer and take longer to set up and conversely, too little might make your soap set up too fast before you can get it in the mold.)

    1. Hi Greta! I haven’t tried this recipe as hot process, but I know you can make pumpkin soap that way, so my guess is that it would work fine. (Just a guess though!)

  12. Thank You! I am to “hasty” to wait for coll process. I taught a local class for hot process soap and didn’t very much encouragement. We expected 3 to 5 in the class and got 18 people. They were so enthused a new club was born on the spot called “Simple Living”! There are so many questions!

  13. I am making Melt and Pour soap while I learn more about CP and all that goes into it. Though I want to make something seasonal and having a hard time finding a natural way to get pumpkin spice. Do you think adding pumpkin to M&P soap would be ok?

    1. Hi Caitlin! I might be wrong, but I don’t think you can add pumpkin to melt & pour soap base, without it going bad.

  14. Thanks for the recipe! I added a few things to make it pumpkin spice soap. I made mine with a 2nd layer mixed with cinnamon to give it a darker color, and added a touch of nutmeg and clove extract. Also I happened to have organic pumpkin powder on hand and it worked really well at holding the pumpkin smell in and giving it that great orang-ey pumpkin fall color!

  15. Hi Jan! How many bars of soap does this recipe make? I want to compare the prices of high-quality soap that you’d buy in a store with homemade soap I would make myself – plus, the vanilla absolute in this recipe can be a little pricey. Thank you so much for this recipe, can’t wait to try it!

    1. Hi Felix! To figure out how many bars of soap a batch will make, you can use the length of the soap mold. I used one 8″ x 3.5″ x 3.5″ – so we’re working with a finite length of no more than 8 inches. If you slice one inch thick bars, you can get 8. (I don’t slice bars this size, but to further the example, if you cut 2″ thick bars, then you’d get four from the batch.) Don’t forget though that some of the ends will be lost in trimming. So, I would safely say around 6 or 7 bars, depending on how you cut them.

  16. Hi Jan,
    I am currently doing a science project about making soap. I was wondering, do all your soap recipes make about 18 bars? I need to convert the measurements a bit and I wasn’t exactly sure how.

    1. Hi Audrey! To find out how many bars a batch of soap makes, look at the dimensions of the mold listed. This pumpkin soap fits a mold that is roughly: 8″ long x 3.5″ wide x 3.5″ tall. So, you are working with a maximum soap loaf length of 8 inches. If you cut one inch thick bars, you’ll have 8 bars. If you cut the bars a bit thicker, you’ll end up with 6 or 7. My oldest soap recipes on the blog are bigger batches, but the majority now have around 30 ounces of oil and make around 7 bars. Good luck with your project!

  17. I have a friend who’s quite sensitive to scents. I want to make her these bars as a surprise, as she loves all things natural, so I can’t test the scent on her. Would it work for me to mix some normal vanilla into my water, and work with that, or would it mess up the recipe?
    Also, am I right in thinking that I can make this recipe hot-process in my slow cooker?

    1. Hi Beth! Water based vanilla/ vanilla extract won’t last in soap – sadly, the scent will disappear during the process. Also, if the extract is alcohol based, then yes, it will cause some issues. If you make the batch unscented, it will barely have a smell at all, perhaps a tiny bit like pumpkin, but mostly just like plain, unscented soap. My son is super sensitive to scents too, but he does okay with vanilla absolute. It just smells like… vanilla, which doesn’t bother him like florals and such. You should be able to make almost any cold process soap in a slow cooker instead. (Unless it has milk, which needs special treatment.) That is so nice and thoughtful to want to make your friend soap that she can use. I know she will love it! :)

  18. Hey! I am a newbie in soap making and looking forward to trying out some of your recipes.

    I am planning on trying this one fairly soon, but was wondering do you measure the coconut oil melted or un-melted? I have been told there is a difference in weight that way. however i have not noticed it make a difference in any of my washes and lotions when i tried it.

    Sorry if this has already been asked!

    Thank-you :)

    1. Hi Anna! It will weigh the same whether it’s solid or melted. The form shifts from solid to liquid, but you lose no oil in the process, so it’s still the exact amount/weight you started with. :)

    1. Hi Laurie! I’m not familiar with that product, so I’m not sure. Is it something like a fragrance oil? You’ll want to use actual canned pumpkin in this soap recipe. (You could also try cooked pureed carrots or probably sweet potato too.) If you want to use a pumpkin fragrance oil for scent, you should use one that’s been specially formulated to be safe on your skin.

  19. I know you said regular vanilla extra wouldn’t work in this recipe, but I wonder if my homemade vanilla extract I made last year from vanilla beans and vodka would work.

    1. Hi Joy! Sadly, water/alcohol based extracts just aren’t durable enough to survive the soap making process. Alcohol also doesn’t react well with lye and might make your soap seize up on you.

  20. Hey, Jan. It’s me, again. I made this soap a couple of days ago and tweaked it a bit. I used 14.4% olive oil, 7.2% coconut oil, 2.7% cocoa butter and 2.7% sunflower oil, and of course, the pumpkin puree. I divided and colored one with annatto seed powder and one with med. red brazilian clay. It was my first using this color clay. I used clove EO and a body safe vanilla fragrance oil. I made the center the lighter color, but did not ‘swirl.’ I put it through gel-phase. It unmolded well because I started using sodium lactate. It’s very pretty and smells good enough to eat. What I’m wondering is why the outside is encapsulated in a thin, dark brown layer. Can you help me? I can send you a pic of it, if you’d like to email me your email. :-) P.S. This was my 13th loaf. I’m having a LOT of fun.

    1. Hi Joy, That sounds like a lovely recipe! I think I know exactly what you mean – I’ve had that outer brown ring happen once or twice too. Once it cures in the air for a few weeks, it should even out quite a bit. I’d suspect your vanilla fragrance, though oddly enough, I had that happen once to a batch of carrot soap and I still can’t quite pinpoint why it did that one time only! (Except I used a store-bought carrot juice instead of homemade & maybe it had a hidden additive??) I’m so happy that you’re enjoying your soap making adventures! :)

  21. Thanks for your quick reply. Yep, that’s it…just like the pic. So, vanilla is the culprit. Hmm.. I guess I’ll just wait and see what it ends up looking like after a few weeks. But, I may change the name of it, as it looks nothing like pumpkin! lol
    Hey, I made carrot soap, too! It’s so pretty and curing as I type. About a year and a half ago my husband bought an electric juicer. We hadn’t used it for a whole year, and I was about ready to sell it. It was just taking up space in my valuable closet. I discovered it works great for my soapmaking! (Oh, and it’s not too shabby in making blackberry jelly, too.) It worked wonderfully juicing my carrots for the carrot soap, and I’ll be trying it next for a cucumber soap. :-)

    1. Oh, that’s a great idea for using the juicer to make jelly! I just borrowed my mom’s juicer this week (mine bit the dust last year) and I believe we have some blackberries left to pick. I’ll have to try that out! If you think about it in a few weeks, I’d love to hear how your soap cured! :)

  22. Hi! I so hope you can help me identify what happened in my soap today! I used your recipe but doubled it and added 2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt with the 2 oz pumpkin purée at trace, split the batch 1/3, 2/3. Into the 1/3, I put 1 tsp homemade vanilla extract (vodka), 20 drops clove EO and 5 drops Ginger EO. Into the 2/3 batch I added only 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Everything combined nicely. I poured not quite half the 2/3 portion as the first layer in my wooden soap mold … Looked great! Poured the vanilla spice portion in next… Looked great! (Despite hearing now how alcohol based vanilla extract was a bad idea!) I turned around to pour the last of the 2/3 portion in to finish the layering and was horrified to see the creamy consistency and color had vanished and now I had dark oil separation and lumpiness that wasn’t there just moments before. What happened? It was perfect just 2-3 minutes prior when I poured the first layer. So I panicked and tried to stick blend it to no avail. This is only my third batch of soap. My first was a hot process-successful, second batch was a liquid soap- successful, and this my third soap was my first attempt at cold process… Ahhh! so, in my panic, I didn’t know what else to do, so I poured in on top as my third layer…. Started oozing out the bottom. I’m scared to think I ruined the whole batch but I’m trying to keep a happy thought while I wait til tomorrow to maybe unmold?? What do you think?? Thank you!

    1. Yikes! I’m sorry that happened to you! I wonder if the greek yogurt threw it off. Was it plain, with no fillers or did it have sugar, gums, flavors or other additives? (Those can make wonky things happen in soap.) Milk products in general can really make your soap heat up – did it look or smell scorched? Another idea – sometimes false trace happens, where you think that you’ve reached trace, but it’s just mechanical emulsification from the stick blender. Once you reach trace, if you wait half a minute and then hand stir it, see if it thins back out and you’ll know that you’ve gotten a false trace. That’s about all the troubleshooting ideas I can think of, off the top of my head. How did it unmold for you?

      1. Well, the first layer and second layer looked perfect when I unmolded it… The third (top) layer did harden up but not as nice as I would have liked. It still had some separated oils on top but I think most of the rest of the originally separated oils leaked out of the mold as opposed to being reabsorbed. All in all it came out better than worst case scenario but I still decided to “hot process hero” it and it came out beautifully. Solid (albeit with no fancy layers) and super yummy smelling. How long do you think it should cure before using considering the extra cook time now?

  23. Hi! My brother and I made this soap today, but without the vanilla layer. We did add a tablespoon of ground oats. We placed the soap in silicone molds. Mine looks fine; however, his started sweating within a few hours. What can be done about this? Thanks!

    1. Hi Rachel! That’s very interesting that you made the same recipe and one started sweating and the other didn’t. Sometimes, temperature changes cause sweating during gel phase. Were you working in a really cold room? The soap heats up quite a bit when it goes through gel phase in the hours after it’s first poured into the mold. So, if that hot surface meets really cool room temp, then sweating can occur. (Sort of like when something cold is taken from the refrigerator & meets the warm air from your house and condensation builds up. Only reverse in this case.) :) Or, conversely, was his soap sitting in the direct sunlight and perhaps yours wasn’t? Salt bars also sometimes sweat, but unless you added salt to the recipe, that’s not a factor. Since you wrote this a few days ago, is the soap still doing that, even after unmolded & cut? Are you in a high humidity area? If so, you might need to place them near a dehumidifier or let a box fan gently blow over them a few days, to help dry them out. Keep me posted on how they turn out!

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