Turkey & Hamburger Soap

Yup.  I did it.  I made soap out of

dun dun duuuuuunnnnn…….

Make soap from turkey fat and hamburger grease


Hamburger grease and turkey fat!

Eewwww, you might say.  Well, let me tell you, it actually made quite a nice bar of soap!

Seriously! How to make soap from hamburger grease and turkey fat

Just look at this pretty, creamy white bar of soap!

If this is something you might fancy doing, just save all of your (previously discarded) cooking fats!

All of them. Just keep your hamburger grease in one container, your chicken fat in another, etc., because each fat requires just a slightly different amount of lye (sodium hydroxide) for the chemical reaction of saponification to work it’s soapmaking magic!

When I boiled the Thanksgiving turkey carcass, along with all the skin and parts unknown, before it cooled down too much I strained the broth into a large saucepan, then set it into the refrigerator overnight.  The next morning I had a nice creamy layer of turkey fat sitting on top of some wonderfully healthy turkey broth.  Just carefully lift the fat off the top of the broth, scrape anything off the bottom that isn’t clean white fat, pop it into a container and then into the freezer!  You can also do this with chicken fat, duck fat, just about any kind of poultry you have! Once you have enough for a batch of soap – Make Soap!

Soap from Hamburger grease

You can pour your hamburger grease into a paper cup, cleaned milk carton, cleaned tin can – whatever you have (thought it’s harder to get it out of a can). When hardened, pop it out of the container and store in a baggie or some sort of air-tight container in the freezer.

The hamburger fat?  Well, to be technical, hamburger fat is really just another name for tallow!  When you brown your hamburger, save the fat that you drain off into a cup or tin can, then pour in just a touch of hot water and set it in the fridge to cool. Once the fat is congealed on the top of the water, you have tallow!

Did you know you can also make soap with bacon grease?  Yes Indeedy!

Because of the chemical process called saponification, you can make soap out of just about any kind of fat or oil known to man!  I suppose that if the SHTF anytime soon, I could make soap out of chipmunk fat, though I’m not sure how much chipmunk fat it would take to get a pound of soap!

Sorry, Simon, Alvin and Theodore!  Just joking……. maybe.  😉

So, here is what I did:

After saving my fats, I had 390 grams of turkey fat and 192 grams of tallow.  I went to the handy-dandy calculator at Brambleberry.com and plugged these numbers into their calculator and found that I would need 192 grams of liquid (for this batch I used water, but you could also use milk, tea, coffee, etc.) and 77.29 grams of lye (sodium hydroxide).  The yield would be 850 grams, which is a little less than two pounds of soap.  Cool!

I won’t go through all the details about how to make soap here, you can find that just about anywhere.  You can also peruse several of my other soap making recipes on the soapmaking tab above, or CLICK HERE.

soap made from turkey fat

This soap cut very easily and was a beautiful creamy white color.

Anyway, I decided, when I reached trace, that I would add in some Rosemary essential oil along with Clary Sage. Not because I was afraid of what turkey and tallow soap would smell like, because I have already found out that the chemical reaction of the lye and the fats make the soap smell clean and very pleasant – even without added scents!  But because I enjoy experimenting with different scents!  I am blessed that my daughter-in-law, Wendy, is a distributor of How to make soap with turkey fatDoTerra, a wonderful brand of essential oil.  In fact, for Christmas she gave me some more, along with a wonderful, handy dandy holder! If you would like to try DoTerra essential oils, you can go to her webpage HERE.  So, when I tested the sage and rosemary EO’s together by taking off the lids and holding the two bottles together, swirling them beneath my nose, I liked the combination. I further tested the blend by adding one drop of the Clary Sage on a napkin, then added one drop of Rosemary right on top, let it sit and blend for a few minutes, then smelled it again. I really liked the blend of these two scents.  It was woodsy and clean smelling with just a hint of manliness – a little like one of my husband’s favorite aftershaves. Also, the scent seemed to barrel it’s way right into my sinuses – so I thought this would be a wonderful combination of scents during the winter cold and flu season!      Right?

Besides….    doesn’t sage go well with turkey? 🙂

Well…  ahem…   I wouldn’t call it a mistake….     maybe just a little faux pas.

You see – the soap is reallyHow to make soap out of cooking fats nice and seems to clean well with a good creamy lather. However, every time I smell it I am reminded of Turkey stuffing!  The sage scent took over and I think I added too much!  I also found that I don’t need to use as much DoTerra as I would other essential oils.

Next time I make turkey fat soap, I think I will use a citrus blend. 😉

The soap itself is just a bit softer than a pure tallow or pure lard soap would be, but it’s hard enough to work well in the bath or shower, or at the sink for handwashing.  As you can see from the picture above, I got seven nice sized bars of soap.  Not bad from something most people just throw away!

how to make soap from cooking grease

Have you made soap with any animal fat other than lard or tallow?


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Rendering Tallow

A few weeks ago I bought about 15 pounds of untrimmed tri-tip roasts.  My plan was to trim the fat off the meat and make Beef In Red Wine Sauce – which was fantastic! Now, what to do with all the fat trimmings?  Render it down into tallow!  I used to do this years ago, when I was learning a few homesteading skills.  My purpose for rendering the tallow at that time was to use it in deep fat frying. Unfortunately, that’s when we started hearing more and more about how bad it was to fry food in animal fats, so I stopped doing it. What a shame. Of course, the trend is sliding the other way, and now it apparently isn’t so bad after all! 🙂 However, I hear that tallow also makes a wonderful soap, and since I have always wanted to learn how to make soap from scratch, my first step into soap making will be to render a nice batch of tallow!

Here we go!

How to render tallowI started out with a big bowl of fat that I had kept cold in the refrigerator, which makes it easier to work with. The first step is to cut most of the meat off the fat.  You don’t have to get every single piece, but I understand that too much meat left on the fat will give your tallow just a tad bit of an odor. If you are cooking with your tallow, this isn’t such a big deal, but since I want to make soap from this tallow, it was essential that I get most of the meat off.  Of course, I guess if I wanted meat scented soap…

Don’t laugh!  I hear bacon scented anything is the rage now! 😉

Once the fat is clean of the last bits of meat,How to render tallow to make soap you can either cut it up with a knife into small chunks, or use your food processor to get smaller chunks, or do as I did and grind the fat in a meat grinder.  For me, this was the easiest and quickest way.  Whichever method you choose to get small pieces of fat – keep your fat cold or even frozen!  If the fat gets warm, it is really hard to work with, as I’m sure you can imagine. Besides, the smaller your pieces of fat are, the faster it is rendered, which means the less energy you will use to render it!


As you can see, I started with 3 pounds, 5-3/4 ounces of ground beef fat.tallow for soap making Warning:  rendering tallow or lard can be a stinky enterprise!  If you want a sweet smelling house, render outside! 🙂  I love canning and cooking outside, so rendering the fat outside is fun for me anyway. How to render tallowPlace the pot over medium low heat – not too hot, but warm enough to melt the fat.  You also don’t want it bubbling so rapidly that it will make a terrible mess.  Trust me.  Keep it down to a happy simmer.  Once you start to see some fat separating, give it a good stir, then stir it about every 5 minutes or so. How to render beef fat The whole process takes about 30-40 minutes, depending on how big (or small) your fat pieces were to begin with and how much fat you are rendering.  What you want to see is that the pieces in the pot are starting to look crispy when you lift them out with a spoon, and the fat in the pot is an amber color. Pull the pan off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes while you prepare your jars.  I like to wash my jars out, fill them with water and pop them in the microwave for a few minutes.  I then take out the very hot jars (careful), pour out the boiling hot water and dry them quickly.  Not only does this sterilize the jars, but now I have hot jars to pour a hot liquid into!  Never pour a hot liquid into a cold jar or, worse, cold liquid into a hot jar!How to get pure beef fat Next, just pour the melted fat through a strainer into your jar or bowl.  Be very careful while doing this, because we are talking about molten lava  very hot melted fat at this point!how to render beef fat  Not a time to have kids and dogs running through the kitchen!  You can see that I got almost exactly one quart (four cups) of beef tallow.  Since I am going to use this tallow in soapmaking, I wanted to get out as many impurities as I could.  When you look at the bottom of your bowl or jar, you may see a thin layer of “sludge” at the bottom.  Since I didn’t want any sludge impurities in my soap, I poured about a cup of hot water into the hot fat, stirred it a bit, then let it set.  Since fat floats, and the impurities fall to the bottom due to gravity, once the fat solidifies all you have to do is lift it off the water and pour the water and impurities down the drain.  rendering beef fatWipe off the bottom of the now creamy white solidified pure tallow with a paper towel to get the water off, pop into a freezer bag, and throw it into your freezer.

Done! Getting pure beef tallow from fat

Perfect for soapmaking!

Now I need to find a good recipe to make soap.  Hmmm…. I’m thinking one with goat’s milk and/or olive oil would be fun to start with!  Do you have any good, easy (remember, I’m a first timer) soapmaking recipes you think I should start with?

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