Olive Oil Castile Soap Recipes

Great Basic Soap Recipes

Bars of soap in a bowl
altrendo images / Getty Images

Olive oil was probably one of the first non-animal-based oils used to make soap. Castile soap is reputed to have originated in Castile Castle as early as 1567.

Many soap purists will say that to truly be "Castile" soap, it has to be made from 100% olive oil. Technically, I suppose they are right. And while you certainly can make soap from 100% olive oil, I don't really like the lather it makes. Some will describe it as "smooth and creamy," but most will describe it as "slimy."

I encourage you to try it at least once...but just know that the lather is different that what you're probably used to...and that this soap takes a long time to cure - rather than 3 or 4 weeks, many people let their Castile soap cure 6-9 months or more before they use it. I can attest, the lather of a 9 month old Castile soap is much nicer than when it is just a few weeks old.

Why, you may ask, is the lather different? Each oil in a soap recipe contributes different qualities to the soap. A one-oil soap (like Castile) will have just the soap qualities of that oil - a blend of oils gives you a blend of qualities. The art of creating a basic soap recipe is the art of balancing the various oils all together.

That said, most people make "Castile Soap" with predominantly olive oil, but add other oils in to help balance out the bar. Here are four basic recipes using mostly olive oil. Follow them as written, or just use them as a guide.

They will all be slightly different, as the ratio of oils is slightly different. But rest assured, they all make great soap!

More information on which olive oil to choose/use for making soap.

In this recipe, I added just a little palm oil to give the bar hardness and stable lather, and a little coconut oil to give it some bubbly lather.

There's not a lot...so you'll still retain most all of the qualities of true Castile Soap.

Recipe #1

  • 80% olive oil
  • 10% palm oil
  • 10% coconut oil

Or, to make about 4.5 lbs of soap, you would use:

  • 40 oz. olive oil
  • 5 oz. palm oil
  • 5 oz. coconut oil
  • 16 oz. water
  • 6.7 oz. lye
  • Between 1.5 and 2.2 oz of fragrance or essential oil, according to your preference

Follow Basic Soap Making Instructions

Make sure that you run your recipe through a lye calculator to make sure that all of your measures are correct!

In this recipe, I added a little more palm oil and coconut oil. As the previous recipe, you'll still retain most all of the qualities of true Castile Soap, but it will have better lather.

Recipe #2

  • 60% olive oil
  • 20% palm oil
  • 20% coconut Oil

Or, to make about 4.5 lbs of soap, you would use:

  • 30 oz. olive oil
  • 10 oz. palm oil
  • 10 oz. coconut oil
  • 16 oz. water
  • 7 oz. lye
  • Between 1.5 and 2.2 oz of fragrance or essential oil, according to your preference

Follow Basic Soap Making Instructions

Make sure that you run your recipe through a lye calculator to make sure that all of your measures are correct!

In this recipe, I added canola oil to give it some creaminess and mildness. Plus, it's an inexpensive oil that's readily available in the supermarket.

Recipe #3

  • 60% olive oil
  • 10% palm oil
  • 20% coconut oil
  • 10% canola oil

Or, to make about 4.5 lbs of soap, you would use:

  • 30 oz. olive oil
  • 5 oz. palm oil
  • 10 oz. coconut oil
  • 5 oz. canola oil
  • 16 oz. water
  • 6.9 oz. lye
  • Between 1.5 and 2.2 oz of fragrance or essential oil, according to your preference

Follow Basic Soap Making Instructions

Make sure that you run your recipe through a lye calculator to make sure that all of your measures are correct!

In case you don't have palm oil, or just want to keep things simple, just adding a bit of coconut oil to the olive, improves the lather greatly.

Recipe #4

  • 80% olive Oil
  • 20% coconut Oil

Or, to make about 4.5 lbs of soap, you would use:

  • 40 oz. olive oil
  • 10 oz. coconut oil
  • 16 oz. water
  • 6.9 oz. lye
  • Between 1.5 and 2.2 oz of fragrance or essential oil, according to your preference

Follow Basic Soap Making Instructions

Make sure that you run your recipe through a lye calculator to make sure that all of your measures are correct!