Holiday Spice Soap

Clove and orange are two of my favorite ingredients in a holiday-inspired soap. Late fall and early winter just feel and smell like citrus and spice

Three years ago I made Orange Clove Pomander soap for Christmas gifts and ever since that time I've been hooked on the combination of orange, clove and rosemary essential oils. If you try this recipe I think you'll see why.

Clove adds spice, like warm cookies out of the oven. Orange is that refreshing citrus zing. And rosemary hints at evergreens (with a somewhat pine-y essence), reminiscent of a Christmas tree or a walk in the winter woods.

The poetry of soapmaking. 

The recipe I'm sharing reflects that I now live north of the 49th parallel. And up here we use metric measures. This has been an adjustment to me, mostly in my supply ordering. Having been used to ounces and pounds for so many years I'm having to do a lot of math these days to figure out quantities and costs.

Below is the recipe in metric (except tbsps, we use those). But don't worry because I have both metric and imperial recipes available as downloads.

Carrier Oils

  • 675 gm olive oil
  • 675 gm coconut oil
  • 405 gm shea butter
  • 325 gm canola oil
  • 270 gm cocoa butter
  • 195 gm soybean oil
  • 155 gm castor oil

Lye & Water

  • 370 gm lye
  • 1075 gm water


  • 2 tbsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder

Essential Oils

  • 30 gm rosemary essential oil
  • 60 gm clove essential oil
  • 60 gm orange essential oil

Just so you know, both orange and clove oil can be irritating to sensitive skin. This hasn't caused a problem in our household (and my husband has sensitive skin). I'm just giving a heads up.

The method is explained in the download. See the below posts for exact "how to make soap" instructions.

To get that lovely swirl read the instructions in this post (scroll down to the Holiday Spice header).

I hope you enjoy making this. Your house will smell like the holidays when you make it, while curing, and when you use it. 

Filed Under

Resource Library

« Soap Making Q & A ~ An Invitation
Brienne's Miso Soup »
  • Charity

    Charity on Nov. 11, 2011, 1:48 a.m.

    This soap looks so beautiful! I think we are going to have to make some of this. Thank you so much for posting your recipe!!!


  • Hannah@ Lovely Woods

    Hannah@ Lovely Woods on Nov. 12, 2011, 2:24 a.m.

    Renee, I can almost smell it! What source do you recommend for the lye and other ingredients? Do you buy them in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs or the like? I can imagine this being a great pre-holiday project with my kiddos.


  • Lisa

    Lisa on Dec. 17, 2011, 2:53 a.m.

    Quick question: In your recipes using Imperial measures, are the dry ingredients measured in weight ounces and the liquids measured in volume ounces?


    • renee

      renee on Dec. 17, 2011, 9:04 p.m.

      Lisa, I measure all the ingredients (except those listed in tsp and tbsp measurements) by weight ounces. I've never used fluid ounces in soap measuring. I'm consistent in this and it seems to work ok. Every recipe I read when I was starting soap making years ago gave the measurements in weight ounces so that's how I learned and have been doing so every since.  PS. no worries about the multiple comment posting, it happens often with the captcha. Sorry you had to go through that.


  • Erin

    Erin on Feb. 16, 2012, 2:20 p.m.

    I'd love to try this; it includes some of my favourite scent combinations! I'm new to soap making, though, and need advice on substituting the canola and soybean oils, as they are two oils I can't use. Thank you! :)


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 17, 2012, 12:25 p.m.

      You can use any oil for making soap. If you are removing canola and soybean you can use olive or grapeseed oil. Or just more olive. Your soap will have slightly different properties, but probably not noticable. Any time you change a recipe make sure to re-do your lye calculations using a lye calculator.


  • Anonymous

    Anonymous on March 20, 2012, 7:15 a.m.

    Hi! I discovered this just now. I recently got interested in soap-making too. I was wondering, would it be okay to decrease the amount of lye? I know lye in its natural form is corrosive but it becomes SAFER after saponification. Even so, Is is really 100& safe and mild for the skin? Hope you can enlighten me. Thanks Ma'am! :)


    • renee

      renee on March 20, 2012, 10:25 a.m.

      It's not ok to decrease the amount of lye without decreasing oils also. The only way to make cold process soap is with lye, please read here for more information.


  • Laura

    Laura on Nov. 20, 2012, 2:11 a.m.

    Hi Renee, I made this last night and it came together without a hitch. It looks gorgeous and is curing now. My only concern is that it smells off or rancid. Any thoughts on what could cause this? I haven't found anything online to explain bad smelling cold process soap. Since it's my first batch I'm not sure if this weird smell is typical of fresh soap or what. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


    • renee

      renee on Nov. 20, 2012, 12:04 p.m.

      I honestly can't say Laura. I haven't had soap smell rancid before, give it some time and see I guess.


      • Laura

        Laura on Dec. 29, 2012, 1:06 a.m.

        The rancid smell ended up hanging around for the first week of curing but by the time the batch had fully cured, it was gone! This is a GREAT soap, lots of rich lather.


  • Kelsie

    Kelsie on Nov. 24, 2012, 8:39 a.m.

    Hey. I love the sound of your soap recipe and I am excited to get my shipment of materials so I can get started. In the past when I made soap (I have limited experience) I did not use all of the different types of oils and I didn't have any problems. Do you think this recipe is flexible in that way? I wanted to use Olive oil, Coconut oil and Avocado oil. I would keep the weights the same. Wondering what your opinion is.. Aslo did you use sweet orange essential oil? Thank you


    • renee

      renee on Nov. 24, 2012, 2:13 p.m.

      I almost always change my oils when making soap also! However, if you'are going to change the oils you need to recalculate the lye. You can find lye calculators on my soap resource page.


  • Jen

    Jen on Nov. 24, 2013, 6:12 p.m.

    This recipe seems like a lovely holiday recipe.  I've been searching for good fragrance mixing options, as well as colorants, and it seems your recipe achieves both with the added bonus of being a relatively simple recipe. I will be making this tomorrow! Thanks for sharing! 


You can subscribe to comments on this article using this form.

If you have already commented on this article, you do not need to do this, as you were automatically subscribed.