How to make soap using 100% grass-fed beef tallow

To kick off our Open Farm Day season this past April teammate Shaun led a workshop on how to make 100% grass-fed beef tallow soap. We had a great turn out and folks loved the sample soap that Shaun had made prior to the workshop. Teammate Tyler made wooden soapmolds that were offered for purchase and seemed to be a hit. Check out the recipe complete with step by step pictures below!


Why use Grass-fed beef tallow?

  • Mild soap
  • Gentle lather
  • Full of antioxidants, vitamins such as A, D and K, anti-microbial palmitoleic acid, and the anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid called CLA – Conjugated Linoleic Acid – which has been linked to cancer prevention, fat loss and improved brain function. (1) (2)
  • Contains the same fats or lipids found in healthy, supple human skin oil. Therefore, tallow is believed to prevent dryness at the cellular level without suffocating the skin’s barrier like petroleum-based lotions do.
  • Assists the skin in retaining moisture, restores youthful looking skin and replenishes the building blocks of our cells that decrease with age.


Supplies needed:

  • Grass-fed tallow
  • Lye aka sodium hydroxide (grocery store/ hardware store)
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Goggles
  • Mask
  • Measuring cup
  • 3 bowls
  • 1 pan (for melting tallow)
  • Wax or freezer paper
  • Soap mold
  • Bar cutter (Michael’s Arts and Crafts)
  • Thermometer
  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Wooden spoons for mixing
  • Immersion blender or hand mixer
  • White vinegar in case any lye gets on skin (neutralize it)


  • 30 ozs. Grass-fed beef tallow
  • 3.88 ozs. Lye
  • 11 ozs. Distilled water


Stir lye (sodium hydroxide) into the water until it is dissolved.  **DO NOT add water to the lye as it can cause a volcanic like eruption** It is best to do outside because of fumes.  Set aside until temperature drops to 100-110 degrees F (38-43 degrees C)


  • Heat tallow on low until it is melted

  • When both (lye and tallow) are around the same temperature (100-110 degrees F), pour the dissolved lye mixture into the tallow

  • Use an immersion blender or hand mixer to blend the batter until it reaches a light trace (pudding or custard type consistency)

  • If scenting, add essential oil (s) at this time and mix (if making scented use a good quality essential oil (c. 50 drops) but it adds to the cost of the bar & it takes a fair amount to get a strong scent)

  • Pour batter into a soap mold lined with wax or freezer paper, cover

  • Leave in mold until it is easy to remove (a couple of days), slice into bars when firm enough, should not to stick to cutting tool

  • Cure for 6 weeks before using, set on wax paper or coated cooling racks so excess moisture evaporates out


Resources: (calculators)