3 Ways to Use Soy Lecithin in the Kitchen

by Melissa Chichester

Soy lecithin is a yellow-brown substance extracted from soybean oil during processing that is a mixture of phospholipids and other non-phospholipid compounds.

That description probably doesn’t make you very excited about soy lecithin. However, let’s consider what this amazing ingredient can do in the kitchen and for your health! 

Cooking and baking with soy lecithin provides several beneficial nutrients, such as essential fatty acid linoleic acid, choline, and inositol. Both choline and inositol are essential components of cell membranes that contribute to cell growth and function.*

Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid that contributes to heart health.* 

Another important health benefit to consider is that because phospholipid levels in the brain may decline with age, it may be important to supplement with a high-quality Lecithin formula from Puritan’s Pride.*

>>Shop all lecithin supplements

Besides its health reasons, soy lecithin is incredibly useful in the kitchen. And although soy lecithin is usually used in liquid form, it can also be used in granule form and powder form. Soy lecithin is highly useful for baking and cooking because it attracts both water and fat. Here are some of the amazing things a little bit of soy lecithin can do:

  • Lecithin is a natural preservative 
  • Lecithin is an emulsifier and helps bind foods together
  • Lecithin helps stabilize mixtures, such as dressings
  • Lecithin can be used with foods of any temperature 
  • Lecithin starts working right away 
  • Lecithin can replace certain fats in recipes

Here are three simple ways you can use soy lecithin while cooking and baking.

Soy lecithin used as a dough conditioner. Hands holding a loaf of bread dough

Egg replacement

If you need more evidence of how useful lecithin is, consider the egg yolk: egg yolks contain 10-20% lecithin and are frequently used to bind ingredients together while baking. Soy lecithin is a plant-based alternative for those who don’t eat eggs or are limiting their intake of animal products. 

You can replace eggs with soy lecithin in two ways:

To make 1 egg, combine 1 ½ tablespoons lecithin granules with 1 ½ tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon baking powder. 

Another alternative to replace eggs is to add 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of soy lecithin powder to your recipe. This replaces one egg. 

Dough conditioner 

Soy lecithin acts as an emulsifier in baked goods. When baking dough, using soy lecithin results in a softer and finer end product. 

To use as a dough conditioner, add ½ to 1 teaspoon of lecithin granules for every cup of flour in a recipe.

Simply dissolve the soy lecithin in the liquid ingredients and prepare as usual. You can add more or reduce the amount of soy lecithin to achieve your desired texture and taste. 

Stabilizing emulsions

In the kitchen, “emulsion” means combining ingredients that do not combine easily, such as oil and water. Soy lecithin stabilizes emulsions such as dressings and other liquids by holding ingredients together. For example, when making a vinaigrette dressing, oil and vinegar do not mix well because their molecular structure repels each other. That is why you have to shake up vinaigrettes before using them. Adding soy lecithin to your vinaigrette recipe stabilizes the recipe by holding the oil and vinegar together. Liquid soy lecithin should be about 1% of the total weight of the vinaigrette. 

Basic Vinaigrette Recipe

  • 1 cup oil(s) of choice, such as extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil 
  • 1 teaspoon soy lecithin liquid, powder, or granules
  • ¼ cup vinegar (e.g., balsamic, red wine, apple cider) 
  • 2 tablespoons dried herbs of your choice (e.g., Italian herbs blend)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Blend with a whisk, shaker bottle, or blender. Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator. 

What if I don’t want to use soy lecithin in the kitchen? 
Don’t worry: you can still get the benefits of soy lecithin with supplements.