Nearly everyone has heard of, or actually owns, a Crock Pot, especially if you’re over, let’s say…40, however, I’ve got a recipe for your crock pot that you probably haven’t tried!
Now to be clear, the term “Crock Pot” is a brand name, just like Kleenex, Band-Aid or Popsicle. The actual appliance is technically termed a “slow cooker,” and generally, all brands work on the same principles — providing good insulation, low temperatures, and long cook time.
The first slow cooker was the creation of Irving Naxon and was intended to slow cook beans; in fact, when he applied for its patent in 1940, he called it the Naxon Beanery.
Eventually, Naxon sold his design to Rival Manufacturing Company in 1970, and they began marketing it as the Crock Pot.
The slow cookers of today are not much different from those made 50 years ago, with the exception of removable inserts and better electronics. Otherwise, the basic principles of slow cooking still work as they always have. Some things just can’t be improved on.
What HAS changed is that people have found all sorts of new ways to use this old technology. Cooking food isn’t the only use for this device that once only cooked beans.
Still related to cooking, a Crock Pot (slow cooker) is the perfect cooking device to make stocks, condiments, yogurt, or rice. You can even, with a little effort, hack it into a pretty spiffy Sous Vide machine!
An appliance like a slow cooker that’s well-insulated and has a low temperature setting can also be the perfect piece of equipment to do all sorts of non-food things, such as using it as a potpourri-style air freshener or for melting wax to make candles or to make cosmetics like body lotion or soap.
So, in accordance with my responsibilities as Nino’s Culinary Director, I decided to embark on a mission to make something non-foody, but entirely culinary. The results were great!
Making Soap in Your Crock Pot!
Now, I’ve created thousands of original recipes over the course of my career, but I’ve never made my own soap. So I borrowed a recipe from The Prairie Homestead for “Homemade Hot Process Kitchen Soap,” which you can make in a crock pot, however, before you entirely screw up your crock pot, I HIGHLY suggest you purchase a disposable crock pot liner, so you won’t destroy your insert.
Hot Process Kitchen Soap
10 oz. Olive Oil
20 oz. Coconut Oil
9 oz. Distilled Water
4.78 oz. *100% Pure Lye
Essential Oils for Scent (optional)
- Digital Scale
- Safety Gear (safety glasses, long sleeves, gloves)
- Stick Blender
- Crock Pot
- Non-Metal Dishes and Utensils
- Measure out the olive and coconut oils.
- Place the coconut oil in the slow cooker and turn it on.
- Measure out the other ingredients, weighing each and every one on the digital scale first.
- Once the coconut oil has completely melted, add the olive oil to the Crock Pot and allow it to mingle and warm up.
- Add the lye to the water, stirring slowly. Do this in a place with ample ventilation while wearing your safety equipment.
- Add the dissolved lye/water mixture to the melted oils in the Crock Pot. Stir gently.
- With the stick blender, continue to mix/stir for several minutes until you reach “trace.” You’ll know this has occurred because your soap mixture will have the consistency of pudding and will hold its shape when you plop some on top.
- Once “trace” has occurred, the hard part is over! Simply place the lid on the Crock Pot, set the timer for 50 minutes and allow the mixture to cook on LOW.
- If the soap tries to bubble out of the Crock Pot, give it a stir. Soap molds can be made from silicone like cupcake cups or small wooden trays lined with parchment paper. Get yours ready now.
- Once the 50 minutes has elapsed, perform the “zap” test. I like to do this by grabbing a small amount of the soap mixture, allowing it to cool for a second, and then touching it to my tongue. If it “zaps” me, I know there is still lye remaining in the mixture, and it needs to cook longer. If it just tastes like soap, we’re ready for the next step.
- Allow the mixture to cool slightly before adding any additives. Additives can be scents or colorants that you can buy from a craft store. Follow the directions, depending on what brand you buy.
- Press/pour the soap mixture into the mold, making sure to press it into all the corners, and smooth out the top as much as possible.
- Set it aside for 12 to 24 hours, or until it sets completely. (Usually, overnight is plenty of time.)
- Remove the soap from the mold and cut it into bars.
- Allow it to dry for another day so it hardens up a bit.
I used some silicone molds that I otherwise use to make molded desserts, and my bars came out great. So well, in fact, that I think I might make some for Christmas gifts and the occasional house party gift.
*A word of caution: Lye is a pretty nasty chemical, so you want to be sure you keep it safely out of reach for children and pets.