A Lesson in Lecithin

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Struggle:

Lecithin is a common ingredient that is naturally found in a variety of foods. Eggs, soy beans, and sunflower seeds all contain lecithin. But when purchasing these ingredients or simply using them in a recipe it can be tricky to figure out which one to use. Liquid, powdered, de-oiled. What do all these things mean and how can you figure out which one goes where. Let’s look at the differences between all the types so we can find the right one for your recipe. 


“What lecithin do I need to use?” 


Two Ends of the Spectrum

Lecithin is an emulsifier which means it walks a fine line between water and oil. Generally emulsifiers have two sides, an oil loving side and a water loving side. When an emulsion is made such as mayonnaise, the lecithin in the eggs will slowly start to incorporate tiny globules of oil into the water. The lecithin acts like a moderator between the two opposing sides. This quality is called being a surfactant. Now this is the basic idea of how lecithin works. But how will you know what type to use for your recipe. Are you adding the ingredient to a water based recipe or a fat based recipe. The reason this is important is because powders soy lecithin or powdered sunflower lecithin are known as “de-oiled” lecithin. The powdered lecithin had more of the hydrophilic properties which means it can be dissolved in water easily. Liquid soy lecithin contains more of the lipophilic properties which make it great for high fat content recipes. An example could be using powdered soy lecithin for foaming liquids or extending the shelf life of breads through emulsification. Liquid soy lecithin is amazing for preventing the fat from separating out of chocolate. The last thing to note would be allergens. If there are any concerns about allergens we suggest using sunflower lecithin. Sunflower lecithin can be substituted for soy lecithin in a 1 to 1 ratio if need be. As you look for a way to improve a recipe whether it be a foam, bread, vinaigrette, or even chocolate use these tips to help you find the right lecithin for your recipe.


Do you have a recipe you just can’t seem to figure out? Shoot us an email or drop us a line and we will do our best to guide you to the right option. Ready to start cooking? Try our Caramelized Corn Bread or Honey Balsamic Dressing!



  • I purchased the Sunflower Lecithin to help with emulsifying oat milk. I am still having trouble with it staying mixed. I am using 1 cup oats, 4 cups water, 1 t coconut oil and 1t lecithin. Suggestions?

    • We haven’t made our own oat milk yet, but the initial thought is that 1 teaspoon ~3g is far too low for ~1125g of oat milk. Try starting at 10g or 1 Tablespoon of sunflower lecithin.

  • I am making vegan gummy candy with hash oil and I am trying to figure out what lecithin to use and how/when. The recipe uses juice, agar powder, sugar, and recently powdered sunflower lecithin. The soy lecithin liquid tasted awful and made a sticky mess and also would have separation issues when added to the candy mix. How should I use the powdered lecithin? When disolving the agar in cold juice for 10 minutes?

    • The lecithin and agar can be dry mixed in with the sugar in the recipe and then they can process as normal. Neither the agar or the lecithin needs to be bloomed in water prior to making the recipe.

      • Alan Stevenson
        June 8, 2021 2:58 pm

        How much powder lecithin do I use in place of 1tsp of liquid lecithin when making thc gummies

        • Cole Whitney
          June 9, 2021 4:45 pm

          powdered soy lecithin and liquid soy lecithin are not 1-1 interchangeable, but they both could work for this application. I would suggest increasing the powdered soy lecithin slightly. But since I have not made your exact recipe, I don’t have a suggested amount. The amount will be based on the testing for your recipe.

      • I am trying to make CBD lemonade, using CBD oil. How much sunflower lecithin would I need for a 16oz bottle?

        • While we’ve never made this recipe, we can suggest to start at ratio 0.5% of the total weight of the lemonade in the recipe.

          • I’m trying to increase the shelf life of a chewy cereal bar. Would powdered sunflower lethicin help?if so, how much would I use per 1kg batch?

          • Yes, powdered sunflower lecithin will work. Start with 1% to the weight of your recipe. In this case, for a 1kg batch, you’d need 10g. Hope this helps!

    • Hi. I’m making ice cream and am using liquid lecithin. I use a high far base for dairy recipes but want to go non dairy options which tend to mean less fat. 1. How do I properly incorporate the liquid lecithin into the high fat (assuming this is the best type lecithin to use) and which lecithin do I use to help the less fat base thicken as opposed to freeze. Is agar agar an alternative to thicken?

      • You can incorporate liquid soy lecithin into your base as it’s heating up. If you move to a low fat option then we would recommend switching to another stabilizer like our Perfect Ice Cream.

    • Hi I’m making a simple sponge cake that requires egg whites and egg yolks. I’m using aquafaba for the whites. Should I use powder or liquid lecithin for the yolk substitute?

      • You could use a small amount of lecithin to replace the lecithin in the egg yolks, but you will loose a majority of the fat and all of the protein in the recipe by doing this. You will need to find other replacements to get the same structure

    • I mix the sunflower lecithin (powder) with the oil , mine was kinda clumpy so I ran it through a sieve a few times – set aside. Then follow your recipe and add the oil when instructed. The issue my be the lack of gelatin (vegan)? Not sure what your recipe says but you probably need to boil the sugar and juice/water til it reaches a thick syrupy consistency.

    • Jennifer Zimmerman
      February 21, 2022 9:36 am

      Dissolve the lecithin in the water. I’ve used liquid in gummies hundreds of times, it honestly is easier and the taste isn’t noticeable.

  • Would lecithin work in an (uncooked) energy bite recipe if I was trying to increase shelf life and also to allow the nut butter and honey in the recipe to blend together without hardening? In this instance would you recommend the powder or the liquid form?

    • Yes, this would work in an uncooked product as long as it is mixed well. We recommend powder lecithin.

  • I want to use powdered sunflower lecithin in a combination of heated liquid ingredients to prevent them from separating when cooled. Do I have to let the powdered lecithin dissolve in water before using it? If yes, what ratio of lecithin to water do I use; and what ratio of that liquid to the total liquid volume?
    Thank you?

    • sunflower lecithin does not need to be hydrated prior to use. Generally for emulsions we recommend starting at 1% by weight of your liquids and adjusting from there based on your desired results.

      • Does powdered soy lecithin need to be hydrated before mixing into other food like garlic puree?

        • Cole Whitney
          July 9, 2021 10:22 am

          It can just be added directly in, and pureed with the garlic

        • I am trying to make ice cream with watery rice milk and need to emulsify high oleic oil in the milk to thicken significantly which lecithin should I use if I want to use 8x as much milk to oil. would a small amount of oil mixed with the liquid lecithin be appropriate to then pour the milk over it. I’m afraid if I try to pour the oil onto the milk mixed with powdered lecithin I’ll use to much oil………I’m also considering buy your company’s mono and diglycerides or modified starch i already have guar gum locust bean gum and carrageenan. But it needs a higher fat content so it has flavor and body and doesn’t turn into a nasty watery glue! Thank you! I’m very invested in this and I love your products so if you could point me in the right direction it would save me a tremendous amount of experimentation.

          • We would suggest starting with powered soy lecithin and possibly adding a gum, Guar Gum could work as a starting point considering you already have it. Good luck and let us know if that works out and let us know if you need any more assistance in the future!

  • HI–thank you for inviting questions. I have been formulating herbal tinctures using a blend of ethanol and mct oil and liquid sunflower lecithin as the emulsifier. For FDA reg reasons (don’t ask!) I have to switch to powdered lecithin. Will powdered sunflower lecthin dissolve in a) ethanol or b) mct oil? If I have been using 2 Tablespoons of liquid lecithin in a recipe, how much powdered would I use to achieve the same effect? Thank you so much.

  • Lynne haddon
    March 22, 2021 4:01 am

    I’m attempting to encapsulate vitamin c and the instructions ask for powdered lecitin. Is there any reason that I can’t substitute the powder it granules with liquid. So much different info on internet it is really confusing

    • We’re not familiar with this since it’s more of a nutraceutical application and we don’t do any encapsulation.

  • valerie russell
    March 29, 2021 2:06 pm

    If a recipe calls for 1 tsp liquid lecithin but I have the powder…how much powder do I use? Do I mix it with something to make it liquid first?

    • As we mention in the article, liquid and powdered lecithin are not really interchangeable. The liquid soy lecithin will need to be mixed with fat whereas the powdered can be mixed with water. They can be used in the same recipe but it may take some testing to get similar results.

      • Hello! Thanks for inviting questions. I’m in Canada and I want to make Swiss meringue buttercream frosting. I’ve seen some YouTube videos where they add lecithin to the mixture to help make the gel food coloring vibrant. Without it the color doesn’t mix well with the fat. However the lecithin they use is thick and looks like honey. I’m confused if this is considered “liquid” lecithin in your article as I have never purchased before and I’m hesitant to do so since I want the thick texture and not runny like water. Any help is appreciated.

  • I would like to create an MCT oil and water emulsion for my morning coffee. Could you recommend the proper form of lecithin and the ratio of oil/water/lecithin? I would prefer to use as little water as possible. Thank you so much!

    • This would require a fair amount of R&D… we can’t really give you a quick guide on this.

  • I’ve been attempting to make my own nut milks and have been using sunflower lecithin as an emulsifier. I usually mix 1/2 cup of soaked cashews to 2 cups of water and blend in a nutribullet until smooth, then add 1 teaspoon of sunflower lecithin and reblend.. The consistency is of whole milk, perfectly blended, but then when I heat it, it splits again, but while cold form, it’s stays combined for days in the fridge. This was kind of frustrating because I would pour it into my coffee and the heat would instantly split it or if I warmed it on the stove, same thing. Any idea why this is happening?

    • While the sunflower lecithin is a good emulsifier the separation happens because the proteins in the nut milks will tighten when they are heated. This especially happens with coffee due to the heat and acidity.

  • Great information.
    Lucky me I discovered your site by chance (stumbleupon).

    I’ve book-marked it
    for later!

  • Hi,
    I want to mix thc oil with honey. Can I use liquid sunflower lecithin and could I just mix the oil, honey and lecithin all together, not heated? How much lecithin per tablespoon of oil?

    • The best thing to do would be to melt the liquid soy lecithin into the oil and then emulsify in the honey. The ratio I would suggest would be between 1-3% of the total weight of the recipe. There is no exact amount to use per teaspoon.

  • I am making. a smoothie that calls for 2 tablespoons granulated lecithin but am using powdered lecithin instead. Should I still use 2 tablespoons of the powder, or would I use less powder vs. granulated?

    • You’ll want to use less since powder is a lot less voluminous than granules. How much less would require a little testing.

  • Hello, thank you very much for your site!
    I am trying to make a syrup from oranges and white chocolate. The ratio is 11 kg of liquid (macerated oranges and water) and 1 kg of white chocolate. I have added 1% ratio of powdered soy lecithin and 0,5 % ratio of xantan while cooking, and mixed it together with immersion blender. It looked great but sepparated again while cooling down.

    Do you suggest using more lecithin? Or skip this idea completely? I couldn’t find any simmilar recipes online and after reading your articles i am even more confused bcs I am trying to emmulsify water and chocolate.

    Thank you!

    • This sounds like an interesting idea but will likely take a lot of experimentation if it can possibly work since chocolate is always going to be a solid when it cools. You would be better off trying to emulsify cocoa powder into your liquid.

  • James Ausmus
    June 2, 2021 8:23 pm

    In making a “real Aioli” recipe I have, it is necessary to crush garlic and salt into a paste and add oil to create a thick sauce. This emulsion is very fragile and would benefit from lecithin. Which mixture, garlic paste or oil, should I add the lecithin, and how much, should I add the lecithin to at the start of mixing?

    • Cole Whitney
      June 7, 2021 10:09 am

      We recommend adding a powdered lecithin (soy or sunflower, which ever you prefer) to the garlic paste mixture. Then you can make your emulsion as your normally would from there. Try using 1.5 and 2.5% of the weight of the garlic as a starting point.

      • Hi there, I’m trying to make a spread from cookie crumb, oil and oats. I want to use liquid sunflower to help stabilise it but won’t be adding any water. Would there be enough water in the dry goods to create a stable emulsion?

        • Liquid sunflower lecithin is what you will want to use since there is low to no water in the ingredients you will be working with

  • James Ausmus
    June 3, 2021 7:50 pm

    aioli recipe: 4 large garlic cloves (pureed), 1/2 tsp coarse salt, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 cup oil
    How much liquid lecithin should I use to get a stable emulsion and should I mix it with the oil before slowly mixing the oil with the garlic puree?

  • Hi – I am trying to create a home made Nutella. The recipe calls for 2 tsp sunflower lecithin liquid. I would like to replace this with cocoa butter.
    How much should I use?

  • Siddharth K
    July 3, 2021 11:53 am

    Hello! I’m trying to make a protein shake with whey supplement, milk and liquid sunflower lecithin. But try as I might, the stubborn lecithin just won’t mix. To top it off, I already got myself a 1 kg jar and now I don’t know what to do.

    • Cole Whitney
      July 6, 2021 11:43 am

      Generally for something like this, we would recommend a powdered lecithin. Unfortunately we don’t carry a liquid sunflower lecithin so we are unfamiliar with the exact properties of the product you are using.

  • Margaret Mooney
    July 16, 2021 3:08 am

    I want to make a ranch-like salad dressing using cashew milk. Can you give me any guidance on using powdered sunflower lecithin to achieve this!

    • Cole Whitney
      July 16, 2021 10:46 am

      Sunflower lecithin powder would work great as an emulsifier in this application, but it may not reach your desired viscosity on it’s own.

  • I want to make a big batch of salted caramel sauce but sometimes it separates after cooling. I tried gsm and it helps a bit. Is liquid lecithin a solution ?

    • Cole Whitney
      July 19, 2021 12:07 pm

      If the sugars are crystalizing, then you would need something like a glucose syrup, we recommend Glucose DE42. If that’s not the case, then an emulsifier such as soy lecithin would help.

      • Wich ratio of soy lecithin ? And wich one is the best choice , fry or liquid ?

        • Powdered soy lecithin is our recommendation. We suggest a starting ratio of 1% and work from there. Best of luck!

  • Can you safely *freeze* powdered sunflower lecithin? I don’t want to degrade the lecithin with improper storage…. and worry it will go bad/stale if refrigerated for too long a period. ( I have a large bag, and it will take longer than 6 months to use it all.)

    • There is no benefit to freezing the lecithin powder. It will remain shelf stable in the pantry at least to the best by date.

  • Patricio Garza
    July 22, 2021 2:27 pm

    Hi , love all your recipes,…….. ,l am making tamales at first l whas using corn masa,pork lard ,anduse to mix them and had a good masa to do my tamales ,,but l saw that once they cooled down the masa gets a little dry ,so l add some oil to my respy so day can be little
    softer and it work but when l cook them l loose allot of oil and lard an also my husk is loosing moisture. now when I mix the masa some oil separate from masa l have been seeing your videos and seams that l can use lecithin or xanthhan gum what do you recommend or can use both,,,,when can l add the product or what order (product lacitinor xanthhan) oil,lard or ????? Does order is important , do l cancel the oil and the product will give me the softness,,,?can pork lard be mix with oil? ,

    • Cole Whitney
      July 23, 2021 11:25 am

      You can use Xanthan Gum to help bind all of the ingredients. You shouldn’t have to change any of the ingredients in the recipe. I would start with a small amount of xanthan gum, about 0.2% of the total weight of the recipe. When adding it, you can place it right into the dry masa flour.

  • Hi, would soy lecithin work to stop aquafaba meringues from weeping? And if so, would you suggest powdered or liquid form? I find that the aquafaba works brilliantly in place of egg whites when whipped with sugar and then used straight away or chilled, but does tend to weep/leak after 12 hours or so, and I end up with a lot of liquid in the bottom of the dish.

    • You can use powdered soy lecithin, this may help with weeping by creating a more stable emulsion.

  • Hi! I’d like to ask if it would be possible to blend lecithin capsules into my emulsion? Since the capsules are the only form available on hand right now…

    • We are unfamiliar with this particular product so we are un able to give advice on how to use it.

  • I am needing to make an egg free pastry cream. Would the liquid sunflower lecithin be a suitable substitute? Do you have a suggestion on how much to use per egg yolk being replaced?

    • Pastry cream requires the protein from eggs, not just the lecithin, so you would also need some sort of gelling or gumming agent to create this. What might be suitable replacement is a fluid gel filling with our vegan gelatin. We think this could work for you but we have not tested a recipe for this specific thing.

  • I would prefer to use the powder sunflower lecithin to get 20 drops of organic oregano oil to be miscible with 32 oz water. Do you think the powder form of sunflower lecithin will work?

  • Hi I’m making eggles mayonnaise using milk powder. Currently I’m using xanthan gum and corn starch as emulsifier as I read through your article I bought a powdered lecithin you suggest us to use 1% by weight. Can I proceed with it

    • is should be fine, you may find that you can remove the corn starch and/or xanthan gum or reduce the quantities as powdered lecithin is a great emulsifier on it’s own for this application

  • I am making caramels using butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk, salt and vanilla. I want to use lecithin to keep the caramels from sugaring. How would you suggest I do this?

  • Hi there, I make a vegan butter using cashew creme that’s cultured with probiotics mixed with coconut oil, avocado oil, and carrot juice (for color). One batch yields 5.6 pounds of butter, of which 1 pound is water. I’ve been using powdered sunflower lecithin and it seems to work fine but it looks like the liquid is much cheaper. Does it seem likely that using a liquid would work just as well, or even better? And if so, since I currently use 3.5 tablespoons of powder how much liquid should I use?

    • You can attempt to use the same amount of liquid as powdered, but you may need to adjust with testing. If the recipe is predominantly water we suggest sticking to powdered lecithin.In general, liquid works best with majority fat, and powdered works best with majority water.

  • Can Soy or Sunflower powder lecithin be used to prolong shelf life and make a scratch made cake moister? I have a home baking business and I did not to want to use anything with a chemical type name as these must be listed on the label.

    • powdered lecithin does not necessarily make it more moist, but it can help prolong the moisture and prevent staling as quickly. If you wanted to use liquid soy or sunflower lecithin, that does slightly improve the moistness in baked goods.

  • Hi im trying to make foamy marshmallow fluff made with egg whites,sugar and glucose syrup.I wonder if soy lecithin could act as a preservative and prolong its shelf life and keep it from weeping?.If yes what kind of lecithin (dry or liquid) should i use and in what amount?

  • I tried to make cuppa soup with powdered dried vegetables. The soup is fine when rehydrated with boiling water but doesn’t stay in suspension. Would some type of lecithin help. Which one and how much.

    • What are you looking to suspend in the soup? The vegetables or something else? Let us know so we can better understand and help.

  • I am making gummies with THC infused coconut oil. I have liquid sunflower lecithin. Do I mix it with the oil and then mix it into water? Do I need to whisk to emulsify or does that not matter? My recipe includes 12 oz flavored Jello, 3 packets gelatin, 1 cup total water, 1/2 tsp citric acid, 1 tsp liquid SL, 1/4-1/3 c THC oil. Thank you in advance for helping me to understand the correct use and application.

    • Hi, I would suggest mixing it into the oil in the recipe until it has fully dispersed. Then you can go about your recipe as normal. There will need to be some mixing to emulsify in the oil, but it should incorporate when mixed well.

      • Thank you. It seems that many people use this in making gummies but it is being used in the wrong way. Ironically the person I learned about liquid SL from was mixing it with the jello mixture (water, jello, gelatin) and then added the oil to that. I am going to be using your advice today and I hope I will notice a difference. Also, I want to use Potassium Sorbate to help preserve them. With using just one cup of liquid for the whole recipe how much PS would I need? I have the Kitchen Alchemy brand. Thanks!

        • I use Kitchen alchemy potassium ornate in all my gummies and gumdrops. I mix 1 tsp into 1/2 cup of boiling water. Mix until dissolved, reduce heat, add jello mixture, mix well and add to your oil/lecithin combo. Has never failed and is shelf stable!

  • I use lecithin for candy, such as toffee. For the past few times I made the candy, the oil still separates. I just checked the best by date, it said August 2020. My mom says that it being past that date probably wouldn’t effect it. Can you help? I use sunflower liquid lecithin if that helps.

    • If you’re working with product from a different company we would recommend reaching out to them. We can’t speak to the efficacy of other peoples’ products.

  • I make caramels and am trying to increase the shelf-life of the caramel and prevent the fat from separating during warm transit when shipping. Would liquid sunflower lecithin be the product I am looking for?

    • Yes, I would suggest liquid sunflower lecithin to help with the emulsification of your recipe.

  • Hello, I am making Salvadorian Quesadillas at a wholesale bakery. I am transitioning from liquid to powdered eggs to prevent the cold liquid eggs from causing the batter to break after the fat is creamed with the sugar. BUT now I faced with a lot of water in the formula changing the procedure. To aid in the quality of the product and emulsification of the high percentage of fat in the formula I was using powdered sunflower lecithin but due to cost have to utilize Liquid Soy Lecithin. How much would you recommend ?
    ….and at what stage should I add it ?
    Thank you in advance for any guidance

    • Scott Guerin
      March 11, 2022 3:56 pm

      I would suggest adding it add a ratio of 1% to the total weight of the recipe. You can add it in with the eggs.

  • Hilary K Kass
    May 3, 2022 3:32 pm

    I am making a vegan confectionery filling made with water, powdered sugar, and rice flour, that cooks for 45 minutes. Then I add the cocoa butter. I want to add sunflower lecithin to improve the shelf life and reduce the moisture migration. Can the sunflower lecithin powder go in at the beginning and cook the entire time or should it be added at the end with the cocoa butter?

    • Scott Guerin
      May 5, 2022 4:27 pm

      You can add it at the beginning of the cook to make sure it is fully dispersed.

Comments are closed.