What is Soybean Oil?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Soybean oil is a cooking oil that is extracted from soybeans. Like other cooking oils, it can be used in such culinary tasks as frying, seasoning, and baking. Some proponents of this oil claim that the product has similar health properties to those of olive and peanut oil.


The process for extracting the oil from soybeans involves using yellow soybeans in most cases. After cracking the beans, the meat of the soybean undergoes a process that adjusts the moisture content of the product. The mixture is then rolled into flakes and pressed to release the oil. At that point, the extracted oil is refined and cleansed to produce a final product that has the clarity of any other type of vegetable oil. It is sometimes mixed with other oils to create a hybrid vegetable product that is typically one of the less expensive cooking oils on the market.

Soybean oil may be used to make salad dressing.
Soybean oil may be used to make salad dressing.

Soybean oil is used in both home and commercial food production. Around the house, it works well for frying foods such as chicken or battered vegetables. The qualities of the oil tend to make it possible to achieve a golden brown appearance that is very pleasing. It also tends to not interfere or inhibit the flavors derived from any spices that were added to the batter.

Salad dressings can also be created with the use of soybean oil. A simple recipe using equal parts of oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and any other spices desired produces a zesty and healthy dressing that works well with any green salad. As with any type of salad dressing, this combination can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated for later use.

It is also possible to substitute soybean for other types of vegetable oils in various types of baked goods. This is especially true for cakes and various types of pastries. Because soybean oil does not change the flavor of other ingredients in the recipe, the oil does not leave behind any type of aftertaste. In addition, it can help maintain a slightly higher degree of moisture in the baked good, providing a more pleasing texture.

Pure soybean oil can be purchased at many supermarkets today. Health food stores also sometimes carry unrefined oil made with brown soybeans rather than the more common yellow soybean. While typically more expensive than vegetable oil blends, soybean oil is often competitively priced in comparison to peanut and olive oils.

A dressing made with soybean oil may go well with any green salad.
A dressing made with soybean oil may go well with any green salad.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


@feruze-- I can't say anything about your comment on genetic modification. I haven't heard much about that.

But soybean oil is very healthy. Or maybe I should say that it's less harmful than all other oils used in foods. In one teaspoon of soybean oil, there is 40 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. In one teaspoon of olive oil, there is 119 calories and 13.5 grams of fat! In vegetable oil, that's 120 calories and 13.6 grams of fat! That is a huge difference!

Plus, you won't really want to use soybean oil for frying or cooking since it has a low smoke point. And the amount you need for flavoring and dressing is not much. I don't think there could be much harm in that. And you would be cutting out so many unneeded calories from your diet!


Everyone says that soybean products are healthy and good for us, but I'm not so sure. Aren't soybeans genetically modified in the labs?

I don't understand how something that is not in its natural form could be beneficial for us. There are even studies now looking into cases of cancer and trying to find out if there is a link between them and the consumption of soybean.

And there are so many different types of oils available for cooking, that I don't have to rely on soybean oil. Not to mention that soybean oil prices are higher than vegetable oil prices.


@melisap-- An emulsifier binds two things together that normally wouldn't stay together.

Have you ever made salad dressing at home with olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar? If you have, you'll notice that the lemon juice remains at the bottom and the olive oil separates and remains above. Before you use this as dressing, you have to mix it really well and pour quickly so that the oil and juice is equally divided.

You don't have to do this if you are using soybean oil because it's a natural emulsifier. Soybean oil (like other emulsifiers) have molecules that love both water and oil. So the molecules attract the water and oil molecules equally, keeping them together.


why is soybean oil a good emulsifier for salad dressings?? what does it contain that makes it a good emulsifying agent?


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