What Is Soy Lecithin?

Soy lecithin is a food additive that is most commonly used as an emulsifier. Emulsifiers break down oil to help keep ingredients from separating in recipes.

Soy lecithin in dressings, sauces, & butters

The ingredient is commonly used in salad dressings, nut butters, spreads, and gravies to keep everything mixed together without having to constantly stir or shake to mix. It helps ensure you’re getting equal parts of each ingredient with each portion and getting a smoother consistency.

Soy lecithin in Bread & baking

When used in bread soy lecithin will give the loaf greater volume, a softer consistency, and a longer shelf life, as it won’t dry out as quickly. A baking recipe may include the ingredient to help the end product hold its moisture and prevent it from going stale too quickly. 

Soy lecithin as a supplement

It also provides some health benefits such as lowering cholesterol levels and boosting brain function. It may be taken in pill form, or sprinkled onto or into foods when purchased in a powder or granule form. 

A recipe may specifically call for soy lecithin but you can also add it if it doesn’t. The rule that Kitchen Alchemy suggests for baking is multiplying the weight of the flour by 1% to get how many grams of lecithin powder you should add. The same rule applies for liquid form, however, go by the total weight of the oil.

Is soy lecithin vegan?

Soy lecithin is vegan because it is derived from soybeans.

Soy Lecithin granules vs powder vs liquid

Soy lecithin comes in a few different forms:

Soy lecithin granules

In granular form, it’s typically sprinkled on foods or mixed into drinks to be used as a supplement. The granules won’t dissolve in liquids so it’s best not use them in dressings or baking.

Soy lecithin powder

In powder form, it’s most often used in baking to prolong the shelf life. It may also be used as a supplement and sprinkled onto foods, which adds a bit of a nutty flavor. The powder can be sprinkled into drinks as well, but liquid soy lecithin is more commonly used.

Liquid soy lecithin

This is best used in recipes where the content is mostly fat and the end result is more of a liquid, such as salad dressings.

You find a list of substitutes for soy lecithin here.