Finding the proper oil for a bakery application can be a challenge. Whether the job in question involves frying doughnuts, whipping up the perfect puff-pastry recipe, glazing a coffee cake, or something else, there are a number of factors to balance, including performance, appearance, stability, health, and of course taste.

According to John Jansen, vice president of strategic partnerships, United Soybean Board, soybean oil can fit the bill in a wide variety of bakery products. To learn more about how the substance can be used in baking applications, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery checked in with Jansen.

Jenni Spinner: Could you please share an overview of how soybean oil has been used in commercial food formulation, especially in baked goods?

John Jansen: Soybean oil is the most widely used edible oil in the U.S.  It has a neutral flavor that is ideal for use in a variety of applications, from sautéing and frying to salad dressings and baked goods.

One of the many reasons there is growing interest in high oleic soybean oil in particular is due to its resistance to oxidation, providing extended shelf life for packaged products and fresh baked goods. High oleic soybean oil also provides increased high-heat stability, which makes it perfect for a variety of baking applications, including doughnut frying. In fact, doughnut shortening formulated from interesterified high oleic and commodity soybean oil has been shown to provide excellent adhesion of glazes and icings to the doughnuts and delivers the appearance, texture, and mouthfeel expected by consumers, resulting in high oleic soybean oil becoming an excellent choice in baking industry formulations.

JS: Please share some of the health benefits of soybean oil.

JJ: There is a nutritional attribute of soybean oil – both conventional and high oleic. U.S.-grown soybean oil is recognized by the FDA as heart-healthy, suggesting soybean oil may be able to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and contribute to lowering cholesterol. High oleic soybean oil specifically contains lower saturated fat and three times the amount of beneficial monosaturated fatty acids when compared to many conventional vegetable oils, which makes it heart-healthy.

JS: How can these benefits be communicated to consumers?

JJ: Consumers are more likely to recognize bottled vegetable oil as soybean oil at the supermarket and can look out for its “heart-healthy” labeling. In fact, 62% of shoppers are more likely to purchase U.S.-grown soybean oil if it is labeled as “heart-healthy.”

It is also worth mentioning that U.S. Soy is committed to providing sustainable solutions for every life, every day – and sharing helpful information about soy directly to consumers. Our mission is to help people understand the nutritional benefits of soy foods through our website, podcasts, expert insights, and other resources. I’d recommend checking out Soy Connection online. 

JS: Could you please share some of the varieties of soybean oil available to bakery companies, and which are optimal for which applications?

JJ: High oleic soybean oil and soybean shortenings are great, versatile options for use in baked goods, each offering unique benefits for different bakery applications. 

For frying purposes such as doughnuts, I recommend using high oleic soybean oil for its high heat stability, extended fry life, and neutral flavor profile.

All-purpose, high oleic shortening works well in puff pastries, on par with butter. Testing showed that puff pastries made with high oleic soybean baker’s margarine produced pastries of an ideal height with uniform honeycomb layers.

JS: How can a company best determine which soybean oils might be most suited for a particular application—what resources might suppliers and organizations like yours offer?

JJ: Affordable soybean oil and soybean shortenings are readily available for food industry professionals and their specific formulation needs, increasing overall functionality. Food companies should work with their suppliers to determine which soybean oils and shortenings are best suited for their particular applications.

U.S. Soy’s oil experts are also happy to share soybean oil information and educational resources with food companies. Our website,, offers extensive information on soybean oil applications and bakery testing results. Food companies interested in incorporating soy can request a sample to introduce as a test-and-learn approach before scaling.

JS: How will you be celebrating National Pastry Day on December 9?

JJ: I celebrated National Pastry Day this year with a perfectly flaky tart and a cup of coffee from my favorite bakery. I also love doughnuts. These Easy Crescent Doughnut Twists from Soy Connection are a unique take on a make-at-home doughnut. This recipe pairs well with sweet frosting that can also be made with soybean oil.

JS: Anything you’d like to add?

JJ: For more information and inspiration on incorporating soy foods, I encourage readers to head to for recipes and for more on the heart-health claims and history of soy oil and additional resources.