While there’s a wealth of soap making information online (yay technology!) there’s something to be said about learning the old fashioned way: from a book. The best soap making books for beginners walk you through each step of the soap making process, and have awesome recipes to boot.
I learned to make soap in the pre-internet days, when books were the only option. And this as back when soap making was reserved for hard-core homesteaders and hippies, and most soap making books contained tallow-based recipes that made 20-plus pounds of soap.
Today you have lots more options than those musty soap making books of yesteryear. These books will take your soap making skills to the next level, guaranteed.
Below I’m sharing the best soap making books for beginners, the absolute favorites on my bookshelf. These are the ones that I turn to time and time again for information and inspiration. I think they’ll become your favorites too.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means I may receive a small commission—at no extra cost to you—from any sales made through these links. I only recommend products that I personally use and love!
I had an old 1st edition of this book that was my go-to reference for years. I lent it out once and that new soap maker must have loved it as much as I did, because it never got returned! No matter, though, because the 3rd edition has updated info and marvelous pictures.
If you only buy one soap making book, make it this one. It has everything, and I mean everything, you will ever need to know about making soap, including:
Plus, it’s literally packed with recipes, tips, and tricks to making amazing soap. The troubleshooting section saved me many a time as a new soap maker.
This is the #1 soap making book I recommend to all my students and clients. It’s the closest thing you’ll find to a soap making textbook, and a steal at less than $20.
Another great book for novice soap makers. While The Everything Soapmaking Book covers the entire range of soap making methods, this book focuses solely on cold process soap.
If making 100% natural bars are important to you, this one is right up your alley. It teaches you how to color and fragrance your soap with all natural ingredients such as essential oils, clays, herbs, and more.
This book is also BIG on recipes, with over 55 recipes all written for the beginning soap maker.
My favorite thing about this book are the gorgeous photos. I love browsing through it to find inspiration.
This is another book I turn to when looking for cold process soap making inspiration. Pure Soapmaking is written by Anne-Marie Faiola of Bramble Berry fame.
The step-by-step recipe instructions are clear and well-illustrated with beautiful photos. Perfect for beginning soap makers to follow along.
This book, unlike the others, is spiral bound which is brilliant. It lays flat so you can easily read the recipes, hands-free, while making your soap batch.
This book has simple recipes for beginners, but plenty of more advanced techniques to help grow your skills.
Are you dedicated palm-free? THIS is the book for you, my friend. All recipes in this book (yes! every one!) are made without palm oil.
This sweet little book by Jan Berry of the Nerdy Farm Wife, is packed with recipes, all for cold process soap making. While the pictures aren’t as sumptuous as the aforementioned books, it is full of great soaping info for the complete soap making novice.
But my personal favorite thing about this book is the natural soap colorant gallery. If I’m ever stuck trying to create a specific color for my soap, naturally, I can browse the gallery and usually find the perfect natural colorant.
If you’re not ready for making soap with lye, the melt and pour soap method is what you need. This gorgeous book, another gem by Jan Berry, will help you craft lovely melt and pour bars using natural colorants and ingredients.
The recipes are super simple, but look impressive. They’re uniquely organized into collections, such as “Sunlight and Seashore,” “Field and Forest,” “Desert Inspiration,” and more, so that you can find your favorite theme.
If you want to dive deep into soap making, you’ll want to get The Soapmaker’s Companion. What it lacks in pretty photos, it makes up for in substance.
Much more than just a “how-to” book, this guide will walk you through the chemistry of soap making plus in-depth looks at soaping ingredients. There’s also a great troubleshooting and common questions section.
If you think, at some point, you may start your own soap business, I’d highly recommend this book in particular. It will get you very comfortable with the science of soap (a must for anyone turning pro) and it has 4 full chapters on setting up your soap making business, from start-up to selling plus regulations all soap sellers must know.
Are you ready to make handmade soap?
I’ve got you covered there! For the fastest, simplest way to get a bar crafted and ready to use, the melt and pour soap method can’t be beat.
If you’re itching to make soap completely from scratch (no premade base required) then you’ll want to make soap using the cold process soap method.
This method does require working with lye, which can be intimidating to brand new soap makers. If you’d like some extra instruction and personal support learning how to make soap, you may be interested in taking my course How To Make Soap From Scratch.