Honey-Walnut Milk Soap

Honey-Walnut Soap

I started making soap this past fall, and since then I’ve enjoyed researching recipes, ingredients and techniques. I love experimenting, and when my first soaping mishap turned out to be fixable, I realized making a mistake wasn’t that big of deal - so why not try some new things? After taking a break over the holidays, I decided that one of my first crafting tasks for 2013 would be  a new soap recipe. I wanted to experiment with ingredients I’ve never used before, so I worked on creating a milk-based soap.

Bars of soap

Milk soaps are pretty common and many soapers choose to use goat’s milk. I, being the impulsive late night soaper that I am, decided to get this recipe going at about 11pm when stores were no longer open. Needless to say, I didn’t have any goat’s milk on hand. (Now that I’m using milk in soap recipes, that will be a new staple in my pantry). But what did I have? Yup, a big gallon of regular cow’s milk. After reading up on milk soap recipes quite a bit, I determined that my good ‘ol cow’s milk would do the trick. (For more information on using milk in soaps, click here.)

Honey Milk Walnut Soap

The rest of my recipe was inspired by, you guessed it, the contents of my pantry. I thought walnuts and honey sounded good, so why not throw those in? I usually have a  number of different oils on hand since I’ve gotten into soap making, but you can always change up these oils according to what you have available. To learn about the properties of different oils and how to create recipes, use Tiffany’s instructions here.

Soap - Bird's Eye View

This recipe doesn’t use any fragrance or essential oils but the honey and walnut combination makes it smell amazing. The milk base makes for an extra moisturizing soap that’s perfect for the winter or for anyone with dry skin.

What ingredients in your pantry could be inspiration for a soap recipe?

Honey-Walnut Milk Soap
Makes about 16 4 ounce bars of soap

For the full cold process soap making instructions, check out Tiffany’s beginner’s soap making tutorial

Base Oils
5 oz. canola oil
15 oz. coconut oil
15 oz. olive oil
5 oz. safflower oil
5 oz. sunflower oil

Lye Solution
12.6 oz. milk, frozen to a slushy state
6.4 oz. lye

When making soap with milk, it’s imperative that your milk is at a frozen slushy state when you mix it with the lye, otherwise the milk will burn. When creating your lye solution, very slowly mix the lye, a small amount at a time, into the frozen milk slush. Complete the rest of the recipe as you normally would.

Add 3 tablespoons of honey right before mixture reaches trace. Mix in 3 ounces of finely ground walnuts at trace.

As always, remember to let your soaps cure for 4-6 weeks before using or gifting!

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  1. The soap sounds amazing and your pictures are absolutely GORGEOUS!

    • Thanks! So glad you like the post! 🙂

      • Hi Sarah I find soap making very fascinating I love your recipe and can’t wait to try it.
        however I don’t know what you mean every time you mention the word “trace”
        by the way I have never done any soaps. Your recipe would be my first.

  2. Soap looks fantastic, iv never used walnuts before, did it give a good texture and was it exfoliating?

    • Thanks! This was the first time I’ve used walnuts. I ground them extremely finely for a light exfoliating texture, but you could always just grind them a little more coarsely if you want more exfoliation. Hope that answers your question! 🙂

  3. That soap looks fabulous!! Almost like it should be served as dessert good….wow, I’ll definitley have to try this recipe :o)

  4. Great recipe! These soaps look so beautiful!! Great giftie idea!!

  5. Love it! Another recipe I want to try.

  6. I have huge soap obsession and never even considered making my own…yours sounds devine! Thanks for the fabulous tutorial! Pinning!

  7. awesome!! I love the simplicity of this recipe - sounds great!!

  8. Looks great! Where did you get the lye?

  9. It looks really wonderful! I was just wondering the other day about the possibility of walnuts in soap because I also love eating them. Thanks for the tutorial, I am definately trying this one! Marieke

  10. Sounds great! Just want to put in another vote for the soap mold tutorial! I’m still using a shoe box…

    • Thanks! And thanks for the soap mold vote! Hopefully we can get that up for you, although I have to say that using a shoe box is quite genius. 🙂

  11. Maybe a weird question, but, why do we need to wear all this protection when making soap? I mean, if we need all this protection, should we be putting this stuff on our skin? Thanks!

    • That’s a great question! It all has to do with the chemical reaction (called saponification) that take place when making soap. Saponification is the chemical reaction between fats, lye and water that produces the substance we call soap. It takes about 2 days for saponification to complete (but we suggest waiting 4-6 before using your soap simply to give the soap time to harden up so it doesn’t fall apart when you use it). Before this chemical process is complete, especially when you’re mixing lye, water and fats, the lye (sodium hydroxide) is caustic and can cause serious burns if touched (hence the protection required). When the lye is mixed with water, the water rapidly heats up and can also cause burns. However, when the lye is finally mixed with the fats in the soap making process, saponification begins to take place. That chemical reaction that started with fats and lye/liquid mixture results in two other substances that are safe to be used on your skin: soap and glycerin. There is no longer any actual lye in the final soap product. Click here to check out a short article on saponification.

      I hope that answers your question! Thanks for your feedback!

  12. This is so great! Could you tell us what size mold you used to yield 16 4oz bars?

  13. Such a great idea! Thank you for sharing. I am a newbie and looking for new “easier” recipes and this one sounds great!! 😀

  14. I made this soap, and it is divine, lovely lather and the natural scent to it is just delicious.

  15. I feel like I’m stalking you as I made your basic orange soap yesterday (my first soap batch EVER!) and am trying this walnut soap today (with pecans- I’m in Georgia, so it makes sense). My question is- did you still smell the lye solution after working it all together to trace? There’s still an odor and I’m *hoping* I didn’t screw it up somehow. I also subbed agave nectar for the honey, if that makes a difference.

    Thank you so much for your easy and fun to read instructions!

    • We’re so glad you’re liking the site and getting into soaping! I don’t remember a bad smell at trace but my memory could also be wrong. There’s a chance that maybe the milk burned a little bit? I would just let the soap sit for a day and then see what it smells like when you cut it into bars. I do remember that the really good fragrance started coming out about a day after I made the recipe. It can change a bit after a day or two, so hopefully it will smell great tomorrow! Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions. Hope this batch turns out great!

  16. I have recently began making soap… do you find lye to be safe? What brands do you use?
    Do you know of any lye alternatives?

    Thank you - love your site!



    • Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) is a caustic substance that can cause severe burns if it’s inhaled or makes contact with skin. You do need to take precautions when using lye in soapmaking (wear gloves, goggles, etc.). With that said, soap by definition involves the combination of lye and oils. No lye, no soap. During the curing process, the soap undergoes a chemical process called saponification that creates soap and glycerin. When the proper amounts of lye and oil are used in soapmaking, no lye is left in the final cured product and that soap is perfectly safe for your skin. I buy my lye from https://www.thelyeguy.com/store.php. Hope that helps!

  17. I have been making your recipes with great success. I want to make the Honey Walnut Soap next. May I ask you if you insulated this soap to bring it to gel after pouring or did you put in a cool place with no wrapping. I have never made soap with honey or milk but read that it can overheat. I think I understand the frozen milk part pretty well.
    My goal for 2014 is to make all your soaps !

    • So glad you’ve been enjoying making our soap recipes! Sometimes if I see my soap start to overheat a bit, I put it in the refrigerator. I didn’t have to do that with this one, but I’ve done it before. I usually just keep an eye on it periodically after I pour it into the mold to see if it needs to be cooled off. If it does, I just refrigerate it until it’s at a normal temperature. Hope that helps!

  18. I am interested in making my own soap and have read many wed sites on it . My question is , is Lye considered organic and natural , if not , what can I use as the base to make it natural ??

    • Soap by definition involves the combination of lye (a caustic substance) and oils. No lye, no soap. If you want to make a hard bar of soap, there’s no way to avoid using lye. During the curing process, the soap undergoes a chemical process called saponification that creates soap and glycerin. When the proper amounts of lye and oil are used in soapmaking, no lye is left in the final cured product and that soap is perfectly safe for your skin. Click here to check out a short article on saponification.
      So to answer your question, lye is definitely not organic and all soap has been made with lye somewhere in the process. If you want to avoid the use of lye for yourself, you have to use a melt and pour soap kit - but even then, that soap has been made with lye before that kit got to you. Here’s a helpful blog post if you want some additional into. Hope that helps! http://www.humblebeeandme.com/why-there-is-no-such-thing-as-making-soap-without-lye/

  19. I’ve been making soap for years but got out of it for the last few years as I wanted to try several other projects and crafts. Seeing this recipe on Pinterest has resparked my desire to get back into it. Can I ask you one question though? What was your target temp to combine the oils and the lye/milk solution? My recipes vary from 90-105 degrees so I want to make sure I’m I the right area of the ballpark. Can’t wait to try it! I usually add castor oil or sugar for lather so I’m curious to see how this one lathers up. Thanks…

  20. Julianna says:

    Hi! I’m just getting into soap making so I’m trying to find some new “easy” recipes and yours happens to be the one I want to try next!
    I bought too much goat milk for another soap recipe I did the other day… How would I go about substituting the cow’s milk for goat’s milk now? I know you had to do it the other way around (no goat milk so you used cow milk)… Would it just be same measurement?
    Thanks so much!

  21. jeanette says:

    Can this recipe be safety halved? I like these ingred. without all the EO/ fragrance. But…its only me, and I am a newbie.

  22. Hi, I am also brand new at soaping. I’ve read that all ingredients should be measured by weight. Is that also true with the milk or with whatever liquid the lye in added to ?

  23. stephanie says:

    I have been watching the soap making 101 for about 2 weeks now, trying to make sure that i understand 80% of it before I go out and get all my ingredients and order stuff, but I guess I really want to make sure of something. when you work with the lye, you pour the lye in the water, or you pour the water in the lye? If i’m not mistaken I believe I pour the water in the lye. Am I right?..Let me know before I blow up the house (smile)

    • stephanie, you absolutely DO NOT want to pour the water into the lye. It could cause an “explosion” (for want of a better word) of lye particles that immediately react with the water and reach very high temps. Be sure to pour the lye into the water slowly, stirring as you go. If you pour it all at once, same thing…big reaction that could cause you harm. Always wear goggles and gloves. I haven’t blown up the house yet myself…LOL =)

      • stephanie says:

        Thank you for your quick and kindly response. I will start on my soaps this weekend. Have a wonderful day. If you watch CNN news this weekend and see a house go up in soap puffs, thats me!

  24. Hi! Thanks for the recipe!
    I tried making this a couple weeks ago.
    Some trouble shooting questions:
    - mine came out quite dark
    - slightly crumbly when I first cut them
    - somewhat sticky (very slightly) all over

    Any ideas what may have gone wrong?

    • stephanie says:

      I just finished making this, and tomorrow will be the end results, I used a pringle can because I wanted them to be round. I do have a question, I believe that 6.4 oz is a bit high, I was pouring, and then cleaning up, and Some of the soap batter got on my finger, and I felt a tingle, so I am wondering if the lye was too high. I measured the exact amount.

      • If you enter all the oil amounts into a lye calculator, 6.4 ounces should be correct. (Try this lye calculator: https://www.thesage.com/calcs/LyeCalc.html.) If you use too little, the soap will be really soft and won’t hold together. Not sure why you felt a tingle - always make sure the lye is completely mixed in, but know that the soap does take the full 4-6 weeks to completely cure. Hope that helps!

        • stephanie says:

          The reason why it tingles is because of the LYE. Its in the process of what it needs to do. Just like if you put salt on your tongue, and then put the salt in your ice-cream,,,But my soap is curing, and it is iin its 3 week stage of curing, so as soon as it gets done, then I will have to see how to post it here. I have seen that my soap is getting lighter, but the odor is still there. I followed the recipe like it said, and I have no crumb soap. I don’t know if you used the Pringle can, and you have to use that can differently than the PVC pipes that you buy at the hardware store. Did you line your Pringle Can correctly?

          • Right - the tingle is from the lye, but just make sure that the lye is completely mixed into the soap mixture. Also, we always suggest to wear gloves when making soap because caustic lye is being used. I haven’t ever used a Pringle can or PVC pipe to make soaps - I always use a wood soap mold so I can’t speak to any changes that may happen with a different mold.

    • Michelle - I’m so sorry this didn’t turn out for you! A few thoughts -
      -Sometimes the soap does lighten up a bit as it cures. Did it lighten at all for you?
      -The crumbliness can be a result from something going wrong in the mixing process - often too much heat loss during the mixing period. Here’s a link that may help as you troubleshoot: http://www.millersoap.com/trouble.html. Check out the chart that’s on the bottom of that page.
      -Not sure why it’s sticky - maybe the honey didn’t mix in enough?
      So sorry this didn’t work for you! The link above also gives tips for “rebatching” so you can save the bad batch!

  25. stephanie says:

    How do you post my soap on here so you can see it? I am ready to get my GOLDEN STARS from you all (smile)..

  26. Hi Ladies! This will be my first batch of soap. I thought this is an easy first time recipe. Can I substitute canned coconut milk for cows milk? It will still be moisturizing right? We don’t drink cows milk, so I don’t want to buy it just for this. If I do, then I will just have to look for some more fun recipes. 😉

  27. Hi, just to make sure, this makes 164 ounces of soap? how many, medium size molds is that? Thanks!

  28. Hi, I did this recipe but once i poured my soap in the mold i see now it doesn’t have an even color, it’s brown in some places and lighter in others.. does this mean i didn’t mix it well? it was my first time and i don’t really know if it reached trace or not… should i throw it away? thanks!

    • stephanie says:

      Why is so many folks having problems with this Honey-Walnut recipe? Ana, my soap had different shades of color as well. and it didnot look like what they made here. Something isn’t right

    • Tiffany | offbeat + inspired says:

      Hi there! The color will be darker where there is still moisture! At the end of the curing process, the bars will even out in tone, as all the moisture will have evaporated! 🙂

  29. I made this soap a little while ago and loved it! The smell was amazing. Mine came out a little darker because I adjusted the recipe to make it using hot-process. I also substituted goats milk for regular milk and it worked great. Thanks for sharing!!

  30. I SO wanted this to work! I used goats milk, but followed everything else to the letter. It was a beautiful orangey brown color. I poured it into molds, it instantly separated and superheated. :(. My first soap fail. I am trying to rebatch it and hot process it as we speak. Any idea as what could have gone wrong??

  31. Hi, I have recently started making soaps using the melt and pour method. It’s just a passion am following since am a huge fan of handmade products and aromatherapy. I have goat milk M&P base at home so wondering if the same can be adapted to M&P method? What gives your soap the brown color? Would love to try out this recipe. Hopefully you say yes 🙂

  32. How could I half this recipe? Just cut them all in half or something else?


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