Homemade Body Butter Recipe

by Susan on January 17, 2012


*Because of the popularity of this recipe on pinterest, I am getting many, many questions that are more suited for an expert. This is a raw food site, this was my first attempt at body butter, it worked better than I could have hoped for and if you make this recipe as stated, it will work great for you too!! I am sorry but I can’t answer the technical questions. Cheers!*

I made my first batch of body butter today. I think my life has changed forever. Delightful, decadent and easy, I have wanted to try making it for a long time. I was convinced that it would be difficult and not work the way I wanted. Boy, was I wrong. 

I love creamy body butters. Living in a climate that gets quite cold and dry in the winter, they are a must in my house. But two things have always bothered me. They can be quite expensive and also, full of ingredients that are less than desirable for your skin and health. 

We often forget that our skin is the largest organ on our body and absorbs what we put on it. If you are using lotions and body butters with chemicals in them (fragrances, preservatives, color additives, etc.) be aware that your skin absorbs the chemicals, too. Not exactly desirable. I often just use almond oil on my skin after a shower but sometimes I want something a little more decadent. Body butters, made with pure oils and essential oils for fragrance are just the thing. 

I called my friend Jen Vertanen, who writes the blog, “The Wholehearted Life”, knowing that she has spent years playing with recipes for home made soaps and lotions and asked her opinion on ingredients. She told me to use 75% solid to 25% liquid oil. Sounded easy enough.

I measured out shea butter (I use this shea butter: organic raw shea butter and coconut oil for the solid, and melted them in my home-made double boiler. (If you don’t have a double boiler, make sure there is space for the steam to escape and you are using heat proof glass.)

I wanted to use rosemary as one of my scents. I didn’t have any rosemary essential oil so I added fresh rosemary as the oils were cooling. I also stirred in the almond oil at this point. Once the oil was cool, I strained out the rosemary, added peppermint (just a few drops, it is strong) and sweet orange essential oils and tried to whip the butter as instructed in other body recipes that I had researched. Nothing happened. I was about to give up and just let the oil harden when I had an idea.

I placed the oil mixture outside (it’s cold…it’s Minnesota) and let it partially set up. At that point, I tried whipping it again in the kitchen aid mixer and, success! A beautiful body butter, so simple to make, smelling delicious and with a texture that was like clouds of silk.

IF YOU ARE HAVING TROUBLE WITH YOUR BODY BUTTER WHIPPING: you probably rushed this step. It needs to be cooled significantly….like in the picture.

I have to admit, I am pretty excited at how easy it is to make. I used sweet orange, lemon and lavender in my second batch. Heavenly. You can just use the basic recipe and add your favorite essential oils. Just make sure they are skin friendly!

A few people have asked about jars. I use these: Weck jars

Don’t want to make your own? We highly recommend Just the Goods!



Body Butter

Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups whipped butter.

1. Melt shea butter and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. 

2. Stir in almond oil and essential oils of your choosing.*

3, Place oil mixture in freezer or outside to chill.

4. Wait until oils start to partially solidify (see photo) then whip until a butter-like consistency is achieved. 

4. Place in clean, glass jar and enjoy! A little goes a long way.

*Not all essential oils are skin friendly or child friendly. Please do your research before adding.


1. You can use what ever oils you wish, just make sure you keep the ratio 75% solid to 25% liquid. SO IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO ANY OF THE ABOVE LISTED OILS, JUST REPLACE THEM WITH AN OIL THAT YOU ARE NOT ALLERGIC TO. Just make sure you replace a solid for a solid and a liquid for a liquid. 

2. The chilling step is crucial. If you don’t chill it properly, it won’t whip or stay whipped. About 20 minutes in the freezer usually does the trick for this batch. Make sure you scrape down the sides before mixing.

3. Since this recipe does not contain any water, it will not mould. You should keep in a cool place but it does not have to be refrigerated. 

4. I do not know the exact shelf life but I know it will keep at least a few months, plus. 

5. The body butter melts as it goes on and gets a little oily but absorbs beautifully, quickly and leaves your skin very soft.

6. You can order the shea butter here: Raw Shea Butter

     You can order the coconut oil here: Coconut Oil

     You can order the almond oil here:  Almond Oil

     You can order the Weck Jars here:  Weck Jars

Alternatively, coconut oil and almond oil are quite easy to locate at your local coop, Whole Foods or health food store. 

7. This recipe has been tested many times. If you don’t follow the recipe, you will not get the same results. 

8. Many people ask for exact amounts of essential oils. I start with at least 20 drops of what ever oil I want to use and just increase slowly until I am happy with how it smells. So…be free! Use your own creativity here. 

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{ 751 comments… read them below or add one }

Sylvia December 25, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Thanks for this great recipe! I just made mine, and it turned out amazing!
The ingredients yielded so much after whipping. I was able to give a container to my sister and my mom, and still had two left for myself.
Thanks again :-)

karmazrevenge December 26, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Teresa, Shea butter can go bad. If it smells rancid it has turned on you.

Corlea December 28, 2013 at 7:46 am

Hi, made the body butter for female friends and family as Christmas pressies. They all love it, and want to know when they can return the containers for refills. Thanks so much for the recipes. Also made the zuchini wrap, and again every body at the party wants the recipe. I am now a confirmed Rawmazing follower in South Africa

Lori December 28, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Can you actually freeze it for too long? Mine was pretty hard when I started to whip and really didn’t whip up to a nice consistency. There are actually chunks in it???

Susan December 28, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Yes, you can freeze it too long. Just remelt and try again.

Megan December 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm

I just made this for the first time and it turned out very well! Silky and wonderful! This is my first time making any homemade lotion-type thing and I tried adding rosemary sprigs, a vanilla bean, and lavender spike oil (about 15-20 drops) to the mixture while it was cooling (before putting it in the freezer). I’m sad to say that after all that, the only thing I can smell in the finished product is Shea butter. I understand Shea butter has it’s own natural smell (and good thing I like it!), but I was hoping there might be some hint that I’d added these other things to the mix.

Any tips on the quantities of oils (or other scented things) that would need to be added to this recipe in order to impart any scent?

Alia December 30, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Hello! Thank you for sharing this recipe, as I look to make it this week! I really want to know though, do you put this on your face too? I am looking for a total body moisturizer and wondered if you use this regularly on your face as you put it on your body daily? Thanks so much! Peace and love in Jesus, Alia

Abigail January 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm

I’m also wondering how much essential oil to use for fragrance. I don’t love the smell of the shea butter but can get past it, its just frustrating when you’re adding tons of drops of expensive organic essential oils and never know how much you have to use to get the smell to come through:-\. Everything worked great from the recipe! I just didn’t know if anyone had any tips here.

Raven January 2, 2014 at 9:14 pm

I love this recipe!! It was so easy to make. Thank you for sharing!
I do not like the smell of Shea butter though. I thought next time I might try peppermint oil to see if that would come through the Shea smell. When I’m out of Shea I thought I would use mango butter.

J.M.M. January 3, 2014 at 1:25 am

How many drops of essential oil does one use?
Can you use a hand mixer?
Thank you,

melissa January 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Abigail, I made half of this recipe (1/2 cup shea butter; 1/4 almond & coconut oil), and put 25 drops of lavender to get a noticeable scent. Hope that helps.

Lisa Crandall January 4, 2014 at 9:13 am

Based on the recipe above how much essential oil would you use? you mentioned the ratio….are you referring to the total volume once you have mixed the oils and butter? thank you.

Priscilla January 4, 2014 at 10:28 am

I’m a cosmetologist, and love making my own
skin products, I love this recepy and will be making it very soon
But like many people, I’m not crazy about the smell of Shea butter
what can I use instead.
Thank you.

Susan January 4, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Please read the post…your question is answered there.

daniellejudith January 4, 2014 at 10:39 pm

“You can use what ever oils you wish, just make sure you keep the ratio 75% solid to 25% liquid.”
i am confused about this ratio. the recipe calls for 1 cup of butter and 1cup of oil which is 50/50. math is not my forte. did i miss something?

John January 5, 2014 at 9:20 am

Use any other butter as a replacement. Avocado butter, mango butter, etc. Cocoa butter leaves you smelling like chocolate.
Solid oils (coconut) will melt at lower temperatures, so may work well in the winter, but may melt in the jar in the summer. You may be able to melt in a small amount of beeswax to stabilize this. I’ve only used beeswax with salves to date.

Susan January 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Coconut oil is a solid at room temperature so considered to be a solid oil for this recipe.

Mary January 6, 2014 at 2:28 am

I don’t know where you are in Minnesota, but “Joyful” African food store on White Bear Avenue sells shea butter. She sells it very reasonably priced. I’ve found this to be a wonderful resource.

Mary January 6, 2014 at 2:47 am

Things we consume, our bodies have the protection of our liver. Products we put on our bodies that are absorbed through our skin, do not. Just sayin…..

Trish F January 6, 2014 at 3:38 am

Coconut oil is solid at temperatures below 75/76 degrees above that it will liquify. If it is in a liquid state, simply put it in the fridge for a little while to allow it to solidify to measure it out for this formula .

Nilar January 6, 2014 at 2:14 pm

hello I did it today..I used Olive butter instead of shea butter. It was fine. Now it is remelting again as I keep it in my bed room. Does it because of room temperature? This is the first time. I wanna do that again to give presents to my friends

Susan January 6, 2014 at 7:10 pm

I am guessing that olive butter is very soft? I don’t know how it compares to shea butter.

dana smith January 7, 2014 at 7:52 pm

So, this could NOT be easier!!! I didn’t even bother with a double boiler, just put a glass jar in the pan with a little water and heated it up until the solids melted. The consistency is heavenly. Here is my problem…and I hope you are still out there even though your original post is from 2 years ago…anyway, I cannot get mine to smell like anything other than shea butter! I am using the same shea butter you used. I also used dried rosemary leaves…a ton of them…then added peppermint and lemon essential oils. I added all the scents after I removed it from the heat…probably 2 drops of peppermint and 5 drops of lemon. Then I added roughly that same amount after it had cooled. Still smells like shea, and I don’t really like the smell:(. Do you know of a different product or maybe different brand of shea butter I can use? I really love making my own lotions and creams but would like to smell good! Thanks!

Jen January 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Thank you for the beautiful recipe. Mine turned out wonderful (with a little tweaking). First, I overlooked the first cooling step and I thought it was taking a while to start to solidify. It finally started to get opaque, and then I tried to whip it and it still hadn’t been left long enough outside (the extreme cold the last few days in the midwest has served some purpose for me!). I put it back outside and then I whipeed again and it started to get creamy. But I think I let it whip too long and it started to get softer so I put it back outside and rewhipped it and it became so nice and thick. I probably used closer to equal parts shea butter and coconut oil, along with almond oil. I thought maybe using more coconut oil was causing it not to be creamy enough, but after putting it back outside the final time it became pretty much like your photo. Next time, I think I will try to use closer to your proportions with more shea butter. I added some rose essential oil and also a bit of ylang- ylang essential which I had from a number of years ago (seemed fine). This is a wonderful, simple, and so healthy recipe. It feels great on the skin, and it feels so satisfying to make. Thank you again for this and everything else you share on your blog.

phoenixnicki January 8, 2014 at 10:15 pm

I read that you can add a few drops of tea tree oil to keep it from going bad. I just tried this and the smell is intense but if it works, I will be happy.

Jo January 9, 2014 at 7:19 am

Thanks for sharing your recipe!! I know I’ll be trying this out soon…

As for some of questions mentioned in the comments I might have a clue..

For essential oils are used for fragrances here, which means the whole thing needs to be cool enough not to vaporize away the scents.

Coconut oils are solid at room temperature (around 20-25 degrees, C) but they tend to melt at a lower temp jcompared to other solid ‘oils.’ In summer, coconut oils are pretty much liquid.

Just trying to help out!

Candice January 9, 2014 at 9:51 am

I tried this recipe for the first time yesterday and it was also my first venture into homemade body butter. What a great, simple recipe!! I also froze mine a bit too long, but simply put my oven at its lowest temp, melted a little bit and, voila! I was able to whip it to the right consistency.

I was also concerned about the smell from the shea butter. It just seems you need to add many, many drops of essential oil (I added almost 40–20 of sweet orange, 20 of chamomile) to overpower that smell.

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

Susan January 9, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I have not had any problems with this recipe going bad, even after months. Usually the introduction of water will cause that.

Desiree January 10, 2014 at 9:10 pm

I am so excited to make this!! Thank you, thank you for sharing. One question about the essential oils. Since they can be purchased in different strengths, did you use 100% strength or a ratio. I hope this makes sense. Thanks!

I’m certainly not an expert, so please correct me if I’m wrong! Responding to Jo’s comment suggesting the scent of the oils will vaporize (when not cool enough). I don’t believe vaporization would occur in strict, all natural, oil formulations such as this…. ??

Healthy day, all! -xo

Cecilia January 16, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Very exiting recipe, I can’t wait to try it.

I was wondering if anyone out there knows anything about adding vitamin complexes to stuff like this? Like Vitamin A and E?

Ken January 16, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Great article. One question: I see this contains 2 cups of raw materiel. How much volume do you get out of the finished product? 3 cups? 4? It looks like the volume increases significantly during the whipping process.

Mais K January 19, 2014 at 1:58 pm

I had to melt and filter my raw shea butter. It took forever and I want to avoid that process! Do you think I could soften up the shea butter in the microwave enough to mix in my oils?

Jennifer January 19, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Great recipe, thank you for sharing. I am a bath and body products crafter/ business owner and have been making a similar body butter for years now. This recipe would work just as well without melting the ingredients first as long as they are room temp. All you need to do is whip them together until you reach your desired consistency. For everyone who doesn’t like the smell of unrefined Shea butter simply use refined Shea. It has all of the same benifitial properties but without the smell. It is often not even processed using chemicals but rather refined and bleached naturally. Cheers, Jennifer

amalia January 19, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Easy & beautifull recipe, made about half of your measure. Skin is wonderfull! About scent, i put just 3 drops ylang- ylang & 3 red mandarin essential oils, smells great! Use raw shea, coconut and sunflower seed oil. Maybe your essential oils is lower quality, 20 drops is too much for skin.

crystal January 19, 2014 at 7:58 pm

If you don’t want to waste expensive bottles of essential oils to fragrance you body butter you can use candle fragrance oils instead. Make sure you purchase from a reputable company and that it says it’s safe for your skin. Google is you friend…just search “candle fragrance oils.”

crystal January 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm

You typically need to double the size of your container to allow for the increase in volume during whipping.

Dimple January 23, 2014 at 11:33 am

Very nice recipe…I am gonna try soon…Can I use kokum butter instead of Shea butter?
If yes should I follow the same ratio?

Carmen January 24, 2014 at 4:04 pm

I’d been looking for a general rule for making a body butter and found your blog. Using the above explanation (3 parts hard oil to one part liquid) I made a coconut and grapeseed oil body butter. It turned out wonderfully. Thank you!

Carolyn January 26, 2014 at 10:26 am

This recipe is fantastic! I’ve made it a few times now, at first with shea butter and then with cocoa butter, and it comes out so nice. I also gave some to my mom, who suffers from psoriasis, and it’s completely cleared up her skin. Thank you for posting this.

Jessica Browning January 26, 2014 at 11:40 am

Loving all the reviews so far!!, I am hopping this turns out well. I subbed for almond oil for sunflower seed oil, and added tangerine essential oil and also added some rose hip see oil for healing, as well as 2 capsules of vitamin e oil! should be a great healing body butter! My coworkers and I are trying to find something amazing, we are a bunch of hair dressers and as you can imagine with our hands in so much water how chapped they get! Thank you for sharing this recipe! hope it goes well.

Dianna January 26, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Can you add anything to it that will give you the look of a tan?

Katherine January 27, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Could you use cocoa butter instead of shea butter? I have some organic unrefined cocoa butter at home.

Joana January 29, 2014 at 11:03 am

Great ideas on this website! One general question for this and other softer lotions. Can it be stored in a plastic container, or that will go bad fast?

Susan January 29, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Hi, Joanna, Honestly, I can’t comment on other lotions, I have no experience with them. But I do not keep this in plastic because I don’t really keep anything in plastic. And there is a chance that the oils might interact with chemicals in the plastic. That includes food. Cheers!

leslie January 29, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! Just made my first batch tonight and am thrilled with the results! I will be making this again in the future and trying different scents to really make it mine!

christy January 30, 2014 at 7:23 pm

I haven’t ventured to make a homemade skin product yet, but have read that you can whip shea butter or coconut oil to soften and make them silky. My question for you is, why do you melt yours first? Thank you for the recipe!

Susan January 30, 2014 at 7:50 pm

I melt them because they combine beautifully and make a stunning body butter. :-)

Mark February 1, 2014 at 3:22 am

Hey there, Also Minnesotan :) (Uptown). I’ve been making shea butter moisturizers for quite awhile now and wanted to make everything easier for you. You don’t have to heat and cool any of the ingredients. That actually was something I experimented on and on with, with only moderate success, for over a year. Throw everything in a food processor and blitz it till creamy. If you blitz it for too long (you know, to make it nice and fluffy), it’ll heat it a little too warm, and when it’s finally settled, cooled, and jarred for a day, it hardens again. Womp womp. So, whip it! Whip it good!

Diane January February 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm

For those who do not want to heat shea butter, a Kitchen-Aid works beautifully. Using a whisk attachment, butter can be left to whip while other things are getting done. Scrape the sides of the bowl down periodically to incorporate any lumps or unwhipped butter and continue whipping your butter until it is light and airy. This is virtually an effortless butter, and you don’t have to wait for the butter to cool down to incorporate essential/fragrance oils. It gives your butter a lighter-than-air texture, which melts almost instantly.

Susan February 2, 2014 at 12:37 pm

It’s interesting…I have done it both ways and still prefer melting and cooling. I guess it’s an individual thing. Cheers!

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