The smoke point of soy bean oil | everything you need to know

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  June 15, 2020
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Soybean oil is said to have a high smoke point, which is good for cooking.

This article will help you to understand the concept of smoke point and how it matters for soybean oil.

To give the answer right away, the smoke point of soybean oil is at 453-493°F or 234-256°C. It’s not the highest temperature any oil can reach though.

Smoke point of soy bean oil

Soybean oil is one of the most common types of oils used in the United States. Here are some ways to use the oil:

What Does Smoke Point Mean?

The definition of a smoke point is the temperature at which the oil starts producing white visible smoke and stops shimmering.

This is noticeable when cooking, you can smell it and see smoke.

The situation indicates that the oil is breaking out, releasing toxic chemicals that may penetrate your food.

What happens when heat exceeds the smoke point

You’ll know the oil has reached or exceeded the smoke point temperature when it starts to smoke intensely and makes vapor.

This is normal if you are cooking something in the wok, but that’s an exception. 

When oil breaks down, it releases chemicals and free radicals that harm the human body. These chemicals are compounds known to cause cancer and other diseases.

Make sure to stay away from the vapors of overheated soybean oil and turn off the heat when the oil reaches the smoke point. 

Besides making the food unhealthy, oil that has broken down also gives out a burnt aroma and bitter flavor to the food.

If you let the oil smoke for a little longer, your food will quickly turn black and become ruined.

As well, if you cook with oil past its smoke point, any beneficial nutrients or phytochemicals are destroyed by the heat.

Thus even a healthy refined oil becomes unhealthy and quite harmful to consume. 

The bottom line is that the ideal condition for cooking with oil is when the oil has not reached its smoke point yet. 

The higher the smoke point means we can use the oil for cooking in higher heat and for a longer duration.

Hence, an oil with a high smoke point can be your best bet in the kitchen.

Why you need to consider the smoke point

Always consider the smoke point of an oil before you use it. The type of oil you should use depends on what type of food you are making.  Y

ou cannot use a low smoke point oil such as olive oil to fry french fries, for example. The olive oil will burn and make the potato bitter and awful to eat.

If you are making a salad dressing for example, then soybean oil is not the best option: you should use this type of oil for baking, frying, and sauteeing. 

Refined Oils

Did you know that refined oil has a higher smoke point? This is because, during the refining process, free fatty acids and impurities are removed.

The impurities cause the oil to smoke. Soybean is considered a refined oil. It is usually refined for three applications and hydrogenated.

As well, soybean oil is a low-allergen food, thus it can be consumed by most people. 

The Smoke Point of Soybean Oil

The smoke point of soybean oil is at 234-256°C, which is similar to 453-493°F. If you compare this number to other cooking oils, you might find it rather high.

This makes it excellent for baking and deep-frying. Even so, soybean oil is not the one with the highest smoke point. 

Here are the smoke points of other oils commonly used for cooking:

Here Cityline looks at 6 healthy cooking oils with various smoke points:

You may have noticed on the list that solid fats tend to have lower smoke points than liquid oils.

That is because the solid fats usually contain more free fatty acids (FFA), which are very easy to break down.  

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Using Soybean Oil for Cooking

You don’t have to use the kind of oil with the highest smoke point.

What is important is to know the temperature of a cooking method you are about to do, and make sure you choose the oil that can withstand the temperature.

You can choose the oil that you prefer taste-wise. 

For example, here are some of the cooking methods and the temperature it may hit:

We can see how Soybean Oil‘s smoke point is much higher than the regular cooking temperature.

Hence, you can use it for any cooking methods without worrying that it might break down before your food is well done.

However, you might need to pay attention while cooking, especially if you let the stove on for a bit longer.

The temperature may gradually rise and eventually smoke will start to form.

To avoid this, you can lower down the heat when you feel like your stove is getting hotter.

Can you use soybean for deep-frying?

Many people love deep-fried foods and use a deep-frier to make delicious foods such as french fries, potato wedges, or deep-fried chicken drumsticks.

In this case, you’re probably wondering if you can use soybean oil to deep-fry? 

Soybean oil is cheap, especially when bought in bulk. So, yes, you can use soybean oil to deep fry your favorite foods.

Soybean oil is a good option to choose because it is high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats. Its high smoke point makes it ideal for frying. 

Also read: 2 important reasons to use soy bean oil for teppanyaki

Other Benefits of Using Soybean Oil for Cooking

A high smoke point is not the only benefit you can get from using soybean oil to cook.

Many other things could add up as you consider making this oil your main cooking oil, such as:

Versatility

Apart from its high smoke point, soybean oil is also widely available and inexpensive. The flavor is neutral so it can go with any food.

Not only that you can use soybean oil in almost any cooking technique, but you can also use it as a salad dressing or marinade. 

If you own a fast-food establishment or a restaurant, you should consider using soybean oil.

This is because this oil is affordable and considered the most inexpensive cooking oil.

Soy doesn’t overpower the food flavors so restaurants can use this one oil for a large variety of dishes, which makes it versatile.

The oil can also be reused, thus it is efficient for big batch cooking. 

Promotes Cardiovascular Health

Soybean oil contains less saturated fats and a lot more polyunsaturated fats than any other cooking oil.

Saturated fats are the type of bad fats that could increase the risk of many cardiovascular diseases.

On the other hand, polyunsaturated fats are the much better variant that may even reduce the LDL cholesterol in your body.

Maintain Bone Health

One tablespoon of soybean oil contains about 25 mg of vitamin K, which is about 20% of the recommended daily value.

The vitamin is essential for wound recovery and maintaining bone health.

Studies found that the insufficiency of vitamin K intake may lower the risk of bone fracture and osteoporosis.

Rich in Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids have many major benefits for our bodies. It can protect you from terminal illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

The fatty acid also plays a vital role in fetus development, brain development, and immunity system.

Can be Used as Skin and Hair Care

Soybean oil also contains a high amount of vitamin E, which is very beneficial for the health of your skin and hair. You can use soybean oil as a natural moisturizer.

It can also protect your skin against ultraviolet radiation, acne, and atopic dermatitis.

Bottom line

Soybean oil is one of the most common oils to be used in cooking. It is widely available and cheap, making it affordable for many people.

With a high smoke point and many other benefits it holds, soybean oil becomes one of the most favorite cooking oil in many households and restaurants around the world.

Read more: what’s the ideal Teppanyaki grill temperature?

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.