Cooking Soy-Free 101

Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!

Over the next two weeks, we will be covering the basics of cooking, baking, eating, and buying soy-free food. When we first started cooking soy-free food, Ashley and I had many struggles, false starts, and unintentional learning opportunities. We knew that we wanted to eat soy-free food, and we knew that meant that we had to cook a lot of it ourselves (at least initially). 

We've learned a lot over the past few years and want to share that information with you! We know it can feel complex and complicated when first trying to cook soy-free meals. But the good news is that anyone can do it! With a little practice you can cook soy-free for yourself or others!

Image via pixabay

Image via pixabay

All it really takes are a few basic rules. They might not cover you in a few rare instances, but these rules will get you on a solid soy-free footing and will take the guess work out of cooking with a soy allergy or soy intolerance. Use our tips below to help when selecting what to cook and what ingredients to use. After selecting soy-free foods, always make sure you read the ingredient labels to ensure your food actually is soy-free.

The five places to watch for soy are: oils, butter, soy products, breads, and emulsifiers (chocolate, powders, non-stick spray, etc). The tips below are centered around these five areas.


  • Use canola oil or olive oil.
  • Don't use vegetable oil--it almost always consists of soybean oil!
  • Products with oil in them (pre-made sauces, marinades, mayonnaise, etc.) may contain soybean oil.
  • Some packaged foods like beef broth and tuna may include soy products, so be sure to check the label!


  • Use real butter!
  • Margarine is often made from soybean oil.

Soy Products:

  • Avoid foods with "soy" in the title--no soy sauce (use coconut aminos as a replacement).
  • Avoid edamame.
  • Avoid tofu and miso.


  • If it is bread-like and comes in a wrapper it probably has soy!
  • Most pizza, bread, boxed crackers, boxed cookies, and take-and-bake items contains soy.
  • When in doubt, read ingredient labels! Soy isn't necessarily required to be called out as an allergen, so be sure to read the entire ingredient list.


  • Read the ingredients on powders and mixtures--seasoning packets and powdered lemonade often have soy lecithin.
  • Be careful with chocolate! Almost all chocolate has soy lecithin in it.
  • Most non-stick spray has soy lecithin in it.
Image via pixabay

Image via pixabay

Using the tips above, cooking soy-free food shouldn’t be challenging. It just takes a little more awareness of what is in each ingredient.

This post is the first of our Soy-Free 101 series. Check back in the coming weeks for more information on baking, eating, and buying soy-free food!