An improved composition for recovering bitumen from oil sands is used in the traditional "hot water extraction process. An aliquot of a solvent mixture is mixed with bitumen ore and water. A pH builder is added and following mixing primary and secondary froths are recovered. The solvent mixture contains a monoterpene, nonionic surfactant, a short chain alcohol and a short chain ketone. Primary and secondary froth recovery is at least 80% at temperatures of about 35°C. Only very small amounts of solvent are used, and all solvents are biodegradable.