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Tutorial: Fresh Turmeric and Almond Milk Soap Recipe

Nothing gets my creative juices flowing more than trying new ingredients. So, when I spotted fresh turmeric at my local Fresh Market store, I knew right away what my next soap would be!

Turmeric and Almond Milk Soap Recipe and Tutorial

Although turmeric has been around since ancient times, it has recently become more mainstream as people discover its benefits. I recently tried a delicious warm turmeric and milk drink – the inspiration for this fresh turmeric and almond milk soap.

First of all, we’ll¬†be making our own almond milk and turmeric-infused olive oil to incorporate fresh ingredients into our soap! And then, we will complement those fresh ingredients with orange essential oil for the fragrance.

Preparing the Ingredients

To begin, we need to prepare our fresh ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need to make our homemade almond milk and turmeric-infused olive oil.

Ingredients Used

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 3-4 ounces fresh turmeric root
  • 15-16 ounces of olive oil

Other Tools Used

  • cutting board
  • cheese grater, garlic press, or micro zester (choose one, I used the micro zester)
  • colander
  • cheesecloth or nut milk bag
  • fine mesh strainer
  • blender

Making the Almond Milk

PREP THE ALMONDS: Place 1 cup of raw almonds into a container with lid. Cover with filtered or distilled water.  Finally, place lid on container and set aside overnight.

Use only raw unsalted almonds to make the almond milk for your soap.
Use only raw unsalted almonds to make the almond milk for your soap.
Place the raw almonds in a jar with water overnight.
Place the raw almonds in a jar with water overnight.

RINSE ALMONDS: Strain almonds and rinse gently.  And then, place in blender with 3 cups distilled water.

Strain and rinse the almonds after soaking. Then, place the almonds in your blender with distilled water.
Strain and rinse the almonds after soaking. Then, place the almonds in your blender with distilled water.

Gradually bring the blender up to high speed and blend for 3-5 minutes, until it appears to be fully combined. While you may still see a few brown specks, the overall color should be white.

STRAIN: Strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.

Reserve pulp, if desired. This makes a wonderful vegan cheese (simply add a bit of olive oil, season to taste, and enjoy!)

FREEZE: Pour the almond milk into ice cube trays and freeze it. (You should have about 2-3 cups of liquid)

Freeze your almond milk into chunks for making the turmeric and almond milk soap.
Freeze your almond milk into chunks for making the turmeric and almond milk soap.

Now that you’ve created your own almond milk, we’ll be using it as a water replacement in the white soap portion of the fresh turmeric and almond milk soap.

Making the Turmeric Olive Oil

Note: If you do not have access to fresh turmeric or prefer not to use it, you can substitute with dried ground turmeric. Use one third the amount of turmeric in the same amount of olive oil, then follow the same steps for infusion.

PEEL: Since turmeric root is in the ginger family, you can treat it the same way. Using the back of a spoon, scrape the peel from your turmeric. It is a good idea to wear gloves when handling the turmeric, as it stains very easily.

Peel the turmeric with the back of a spoon. It is the easiest way to peel it without losing too much of the inside. Wear gloves!
Peel the turmeric with the back of a spoon. It is the easiest way to peel it without losing too much of the inside. Wear gloves!

GRATE: Grate the peeled turmeric using a box grater or a micro-zester. You can even use a garlic press or garlic mashing tool. Next, place grated turmeric in a jar with 15-16 ounces of olive oil. Cover tightly and set aside.

You can use any of these tools to grate and/or crush your fresh turmeric root. I used the micro-zester on the far left.
You can use any of these tools to grate and/or crush your fresh turmeric root. I used the micro-zester on the far left.
Add the fresh turmeric to a jar and cover with 15-16 ounces of olive oil. As a result, the oil will immediately become a neon yellow color.
Add the fresh turmeric to a jar and cover with 15-16 ounces of olive oil. As a result, the oil will immediately become a neon yellow color.

INFUSE: If you are unsatisfied with the intensity of the color of your oil, you can place your container with the oil and turmeric mixture in a pot with simmering water and simmer for 15-20 minutes. This will further infuse the turmeric into the oil. Allow to cool completely (I left mine overnight).

After cooling, I chose to blend my oil in the blender to further infuse the color. If you decide to do this, strain the blended oil through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. The oil will be a beautiful neon yellow. Don’t worry if all the small particles don’t strain out. They will not affect the final soap.

Strain the turmeric infused olive oil through a fine mesh strainer or use a cheesecloth.
Strain the turmeric infused olive oil through a fine mesh strainer or use a cheesecloth.

Making the Fresh Turmeric and Almond Milk Soap

This turmeric and almond milk soap recipe is sized for a¬†11.25″ Essential Depot silicone mold.¬†You can resize it using a lye calculator¬†for whichever mold works for you.¬†

(If you aren’t sure how much soap your mold holds, you can find out with this guide to resizing your soap recipes to fit your mold.)

Soap Recipe Used

I divided the turmeric and almond milk soap recipe in half, so I could keep one half white and the other yellow. The turmeric infused olive oil is used in the yellow portion, and the almond milk is used in the white portion.

Total Soap Recipe Oil Amounts

  • 16.8 ounces of Coconut Oil (35% of the oils)
  • 14.4 ounces of Olive Oil (Divided into 7.2 ounces olive oil, 7.2 ounces turmeric infused olive oil) (30% of the oils)
  • 4.8 ounces of Avocado Oil (10% of the oils)
  • 4.8 ounces of Shea Butter (10% of the oils)
  • 4.8 ounces of Rice Bran Oil (10% of the oils)
  • 2.4 ounces of Castor Oil (5% of the oils)
  • 6.5 ounces of Sodium Hydroxide (10% superfat)
  • 9.8 ounces of Liquid¬†(Divided into 4.9 ounces almond milk, 4.9 ounces distilled water) (40% lye solution)*

* I know that this is a steep water discount. I like to do this so that my soaps harden quickly and cure quickly. Please feel free to adjust this recipe for more water: a 33% solution would use 13.2 ounces of water total. If you need help understanding lye solutions in soapmaking, this article will help.

I buy most of my soaping oils from Soaper’s Choice and Wholesale Supplies Plus

Essential Oil Used

  • 1.5 ounces of¬†Orange Essential Oil

I buy most essential oils from New Directions or Mad Oils.

Colorants and Additives Used

  • 4 teaspoons of¬†Sodium Lactate (Soaper’s Choice)***¬†–¬†Split in half between both portions
  • 3 teaspoons of¬†Kaolin clay ***¬†–¬†Split in half between both portions

*** Optional ingredients

Divide the entire soap recipe in half. Prepare your oils, lye solution, additives, and essential oil for each half of the recipe.

ALMOND MILK SOAP: Slowly pour your lye over the frozen almond milk ice cubes and stir.

Next, pour your lye solution into the oils, add your additives (kaolin clay and sodium lactate) and essential oil, and stick blend to a light trace.

FRESH TURMERIC SOAP: Pour your lye solution into the oils, add your additives (kaolin clay and sodium lactate) and orange essential oil. And then, stick blend to a light trace. You will notice upon adding the lye solution, that your soap batter becomes a gorgeous deep orange color.

I chose to do a simple drop swirl pattern, alternating pours of the turmeric soap and the almond milk soap until I had used all of the soap from both containers.

Alternate pouring each half of the soap until the mold is full. I started with the almond milk soap half first.
Alternate pouring each half of the soap until the mold is full. I started with the almond milk soap half first.
Pouring the turmeric infused soap into the mold! Keep alternating until you fill the mold.
Pouring the turmeric infused soap into the mold! Keep alternating until you fill the mold.

DRESS IT UP: I added a small sprinkling of dried turmeric powder and orange peel powder on the top to give it more interest. Finally, I swirled the top with a chopstick.

After filling the soap in the mold, I added a swirl using a chopstick and a pinch of dried turmeric and orange peel for decoration.
After filling the soap in the mold, I added a swirl using a chopstick and a pinch of dried turmeric and orange peel for decoration.

I chose not to cover this soap as I didn’t want it to overheat. I left it out on the counter to saponify overnight. Then, it is time to cut, cure, and enjoy!

The finished turmeric and almond milk soap. I am so excited about the deep orange color and the swirls.
The finished turmeric and almond milk soap. I am so excited about the deep orange color and the swirls.

The turmeric and almond milk soap recipe featured in this tutorial is vegan and palm free. In addition, it can easily be made nut free by replacing the almond milk with another plant based milk (see my previous tutorial for options). It uses a 10% superfat and a 40% lye solution. But, feel free to adjust as necessary!

I really enjoy using food in soap, especially when it’s unconventional! So, let me know in the comments below if there is a food item or liquid you’d like to see in my next Using Food in Soap tutorial!

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37 Responses

  1. This is a great recipe and I am so excited to try it!!! I would like to try using fresh pineapple or pumpkin in cp soap. I am new to soaping but it feels like I have discovered a new path in life. I strive to make soaps and skin care that heals and nourishes the body and mind. Your articles help me a lot.
    Thank you
    Sonia
    Whole life organics
    P.S. Can this process be used to make a body cream? And do you think comfrey is a good additive to use in this recipe?

    1. Hello Sonia,
      I’m so glad you have been enjoying my tutorials! Body cream is a whole different process. The use of food in body creams is not usually recommended because it can lead to rancidity.
      I haven’t used comfrey in soap myself, but I encourage you to try it!
      Enjoy all of your soaping!!!

  2. Hi Leanna, what a great recipe. I will definitely try this out. Just wondering, was the orange essential oil you used straight, 5x or 10x.
    Thank you.

  3. I use powdered turmeric in my soaps all the time and do not get that color at all in my finished soaps! the mixture becomes bright orange with the lye, but then it fades to cream. does your orange EO bring some of that color? if not, then using fresh turmeric is much more effective. (I do make only milk soaps, so I do keep my temperatures down and that could be part of the reason, I guess)

    1. I found the same thing, Tami. Started off a beautiful, rich pumpkin color and faded to cream. Not at all like Leanna’s. I bought fresh turmeric today and will try again!

  4. The almond milk part calls for liquid ounces. Is that the only portion that is measured via liquid instead of by weight? Very confusing, recipe should all be by weight strictly.

  5. I am new to soap making and am really enjoying the process and learning more and more! Curios if i can use bought almond milk vs. making my own??

    1. Hey, Stephanie,
      You sure can. Just be aware that added sugar or other ingredients can often accelerate trace or cause other issues. Look for an option with minimal additives.

  6. I just love the way and the thoughts of your natural soap making. Does the infused oil used in this recipe tend to change the color of soap over time?

  7. Hi!

    Is there a reason the initial steps call for infusing 16-17 oz olive oil with turmeric but the recipe only needs 7.2 oz?

    Thank you!

    1. Ivana,
      I like to do my ratios using 16 ounces. It is a personal preference. You could certainly just make exactly what you need. I also like to have the extra on hand for a second batch.
      Hope this helps!
      Leanna

  8. Hi Leanna,

    I’m gonna try this recipe, but instead of the turmeric I’m going to add fresh Loquat Fruit. In case you don’t know this fruit, it is orange in color and very sweet the seeds have the same chemical components of apricots and Peaches. We have 3 huge trees in our garden, we eat a lot and give to friends and family but still too much is left over so this year I’m planing on making Jam too.

    I think I will keep the water amount at discount and add like maybe 2 oz of the fruit puree (what do think)
    I read somewhere that it has amazing skin benefits, so I’m going to try and see what happens. Wish me luck ūüôā

  9. i feel the concept is good, but recipe not match to good soap requirement, theoretically it have low harness and no conditioning and not bubbly.

  10. When using fresh turmeric does it still become scratchy as with dried turmeric because if the scratchiness is gone this is wonderful news to infuse fresh turmeric.

  11. Thanks so much! I look forward to trying this recipe! I am curious about where you got your mold pictured. I am wondering how big is it? I am interested in more cucumber and mint soap recipes. I just harvested several herbs and am interested in making naturally colored and scented cps! I have used dried turmeric but not fresh for soaping so this will be fun! Any mold issues? Very creative, Leena!

  12. Before I go to the next article….I am so glad I found you. I stopped making soap, life changes. Now stating again. Have about 20 years in but I have needed refreshment with others. I love this recipe, have used Turmeric before! Great soap..thank you for your blog. It is wonderful

  13. Hi! Thank you for this recipe, just a couple of questions: Do I need to warm up the turmeric oil and other half of the oils 110-120 (same as lye solution) before I pour in the lye solution? Thank you!

  14. I’m new to soap making. I made this & the turmeric blend didn’t firm up so I have a mess. Can I melt it all & add something else to it to make it firm up.

    1. Hey, Teri,
      This is a rather complicated recipe for a new soapmaker, both because of the duel soap batters that need to be made and the alternative liquid (almond milk). And, without knowing exactly might have gone wrong, I can’t advise you of what you could add.

      You might want to take a step back and try a more plain recipe – water for the liquid, no scent/color/additives – until you are super comfortable knowing what the process looks like.

      Common mistakes that cause the soap not to firm up are too much liquid, too little lye, or not enough time in the mold, and not mixing ingredients fully. Did you weigh all the ingredients on an accurate scale? Check them off as you added them? Can you recognize a light trace and did you reach that? Did you make any substitutions or alter the process in anyway?

  15. I have infused the grated fresh turmeric in olive oil for a few weeks and stickblended it today. The resulting oil has an odd smell. Is that normalfor this turmeric oil? Or have I infused it for too long ?
    I guess the smell will be gone anyway after soaping….

    1. Claudia,
      Fresh ingredients that contain moisture can cause issues if infused for a long period of time in oil, so I would be wary of your infusion. Consider trying the heat and set overnight method in the recipe instead. That said, fresh turmeric has what some would call an “odd smell”, so, the infusion might have an unfamiliar scent even if you use the mentioned method. That’s normal. Smelling “off” or rancid isn’t good, though.

  16. Instead of using so many types of oil, can I replace avocado oil and rice bran oil with other types of oil that are available in my cupboard? Then I do not need to get so many ingredients for the first try. Would that affect the texture of my soap? How long does it take for the soap to cure before I can use it?

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