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Lecithin (emulsifier)

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Lecithin--featureWhen preparing raw food recipes a time will come when you need to thicken a recipe.  Lecithin replaces eggs in the “cooked world”. Learning to use raw thickeners will help to make all your creations successful creations!

Ways to Use Lecithin

  1. Lecithin takes the place of eggs in recipes that require mixing of oil/fat and water-based components.
  2. An essential ingredient for making raw desserts such as Cream Pies and Puddings.
  3. Be sure to use an organic and NON-genetically modified lecithin.
  4. In addition to  its culinary benefits, lecithin nutritionally supports fat burning, healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels, cardiovascular health, liver function, nerve function, brain function and memory.
  5. Lecithin will thicken anything it is added to (allow 10 or more minutes for full thickness).
  6. Lecithin adds a nice creamy flavor.
  7. Lecithin can be soy or sunflower based.
  8. The majority of lecithin is extracted from soy beans meaning it is both vegetarian and vegan friendly.
  9. Use it in recipes to replace some of the fat content, and it will also improve the moisture and texture of your recipes.
  10.  As an emulsifier, it helps oil-and-water mixtures such as those in gravy, nut butters and soups to blend and remain combined.
  11. It helps the body utilize certain vitamins such as Vitamin A, B, E, and K. Lecithin granules also help to break down fat and cholesterol into smaller pieces.
  12. For the suspending and emulsifying properties, it is added to various sauces, gravies, soups, nut butters, and gravies.  Lecithin is an important ingredient in chocolate, caramel, confectionary coatings for spattering control, to prevent crystallization, and as an emulsifier.
  13. Add the lecithin slowly towards the end of any recipe.



Lecithin works as an emulsifier and helps with mouth-feel.  There are other food scientific reasons, but for the sake raw… these are the two that I am going to mention.

As an emulsifier it helps prevent the separation of two ingredients that do not mix under normal circumstances. For example, fat and water will separate unless mixed with an emulsifier. This is one of the primary purposes of lecithin in foods. This helps salad dressings, nut-milks, sauces, and gravies (just for example) hold together. With this emulsifying property, it helps to enhance the shelf life of foods. By how long, I am not sure. Food manufacturing companies are required to have their foods tested to determine the shelf life of food.

Using in Recipes:

To add a creamy texture in salad dressings and gravy…

  • Add one teaspoon of granules or a half-teaspoon of liquid lecithin per one cup of salad dressing, gravy or other mixture.  Stir vigorously. You will find that as well as maintaining an emulsified mixture, the lecithin will also add a creamy texture to your recipes.
Use in smoothies…
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of liquid lecithin or one tablespoon of granules to one cup of fruit smoothies. Blend until smooth and creamy.  Lecithin is a source of B vitamins including choline and inositol, and greatly helps increase absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A.

Use in nut milks…

  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of liquid lecithin or one tablespoon of granules to one cup of non-dairy milk drinks. Blend until smooth and creamy.

For added nutrition…

  • Add a tablespoon to any cake or pastry recipe for added nutrition.

To reduce oil in recipes…

  • Replace only half of the oil and/or butter in your recipe when using lecithin in its liquid form, as liquid lecithin is more concentrated than fats or lecithin granules.
  • Replace the oil and/or butter equal part for part when using lecithin granules.
  • Combine lecithin with oil and butter in your recipe if you want the taste of butter or oil, but without all of the fat. If using liquid lecithin, only add half the amount of lecithin as the amount of butter or oil you want to leave out of the recipe. If using lecithin granules, substitute the omitted butter or oil equal part for part.

Do you cook?  

  • Replace each egg in meatball recipes with 1 tablespoon of soy lecithin granules.
  • Substitute 1 tablespoon of liquid soya lecithin for each large whole egg in yeast breads. Add one cup of granules per loaf of bread dough, and knead in. Lecithin’s emulsifying properties will interact with gluten, the protein in the flour, to strengthen the gluten network. The dough will rise evenly and the holes created by gas escaping during the yeast process will be small and consistent, ensuring a good texture.
  • Many people who strive for a healthy lifestyle cut most or all of the fat from their baking.  Reduced-fat food tends to dry out in the oven, you can counteract this with lecithin.  Lecithin replaces oils and butter as an emulsifier and keeps food moist.  Adding lecithin to standard dough recipes also helps what you are baking retain moisture.  Dry lecithin works for some recipes, while others call for a blend of the granules and pureed prunes.


Sunflower lexithin is a great alternative to the soy based lecithin which is often GMO.  I for one have to stay away from soy so I am quite thankful for having a sunflower version of this product. You can order this on-line through Mountain Organics.

Raw sunflower seed lecithin contains a high level of choline, which breaks up cholesterol in the body and it is vital for the proper functioning of the brain. Unlike soy lecithin, sunflower lecithin is 100% raw! The dark, syrupy lecithin is cold pressed, meaning that no heat or solvents are used during extraction. Sunflower lecithin is useful in maintaining normal cholesterol levels as part of a low cholesterol diet and is also a rich source of phosphatidylcholine for the prevention of gallstones. The high levels of choline are necessary for healthy liver and brain function.  Sunflower lecithin is great when added to smoothies, soups and sauces.  It also is very useful as a thickening agent.

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45 thoughts on “Lecithin (emulsifier)

  1. Bridget says:

    Would this be safe for gluten-free diets?


    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Bridget,

      It’s great to hear from you. You asked if lecithin is gluten-free. Soy lecithin is a gluten-free food because it is not made from wheat, rye or barley. While soy lecithin by itself does not contain gluten, additives to lecithin may contain gluten. Therefore, I would research the brand that you are able to purchase. Personally, I have switched over to raw sunflower lecithin because I can’t eat soy products. Which can be found here – http://www.bluemountainorganics.com/by-brand/love-raw-foods/super-foods/sunflower-lecithin-16-oz.

      Sunflower Lecithin is 100% raw, non GMO, gluten-free, kosher, and cold pressed. Semi liquid form (like thick honey). There are absolutely no heat or solvents used during extraction.

      I hope this helps Bridget, have a great day! amie sue

  2. Cathi says:

    I have been trying to learn how to use the Sunflower Lecithin that you talk about. I have may food Sensitivities along with Celiac Disease. so how much would you use to thicken a 4 quarts of nut or seed milk? Also, could it be used for thickening gravies and how much would be needed for that or for a sauce. Have you ever tought about creating a cook book using this product to help others like me that aren’t quite getting it?
    Thank you for your help.
    Cathi G.
    Ventura, CA

    • amie-sue says:


      As far as using lecithin recipes, the amount used will depend on the volume of your recipe and what your end desired result is. I haven’t ever “cooked” with it, only have used in my raw recipes. So, as you can see, this is a difficult question to answer. After doing some Googling about it, I also see that this would be a great thing to further investigate and provide better guidelines regarding how to use it. Until then, if you have a particular recipe that you want to use it in, i would be happy to look it over and see if I can help. amie sue

      ** I added some more information above. I hope you find it helpful Cathi.

  3. suzie blair says:

    ami-sue, I just went to the site you told us to go to, to order sunflower lecithin, but it said no product. I went to Vermont Fiddle Heads. Could I have done something wrong? I have lecithin powder, it is soy, and not granular.
    Like you I try to stay away from soy as much as possible.

    Thank-you for your help, I want to try your Key Lime Pie.

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Suzie…

      It looks like either Vermont Fiddle Heads stopped carrying it or are out of stock. I did find it through Mountain Organics so I attached that link. Have a great evening, amie sue

  4. suzie blair says:

    I’m sorry, I did not read the whole post before writing to you. Again, I am so afraid of making a mistake and not having the right ingredients.

    As per your post, what I have will work. Thank-you for being so patient with me.

    • amie-sue says:

      hehe No worries Suzie. That is what I am here for. :) If you use the granular lecithin, go ahead and grind it in a coffee or spice grinder. :) Good luck! You can do it!!! Blessings, amie sue

  5. Adaria says:

    Hi Amie Sue,

    Had trouble finding liquid sunflower lecithin, too. But here is another resource for liquid, organic, non-GMO, raw sunflower lecithin… a product of Spain, and prices are reasonable:


    Just rec’d my first 16 oz jar – will let you know how your “Key-Lime Pie” recipe turns out using it!

    • amie-sue says:

      Wonderful Adaria! Thank you for sharing another option with us. I prefer the sunflower myself. I can’t wait to hear how the pie goes. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. amie sue

  6. Dana says:

    Hi. Can lecithin be used alone to hold the ingredients together when making bread in the dehydrator? I use flaxseed meal, but I’m not a big fan of it. I’m trying to find alternatives. Thank you!

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Dana,

      Lecithin isn’t good for acting like a “glue” in these type of recipes, it is more meant to thicken and emulsify. A few options to use instead of flaxseed is chia seeds and psyllium powder. Have you looked through my bread recipes to see the basic ingredients that I use? I hope you are having a great day, amie sue

      • Dana says:

        I thought chia seeds and psyllium powder would be a good idea, but I didn’t want to try it until I asked :). I made your onion cheese bread and caramelized onion spread yesterday and both were good, but I just wanted a lighter texture than flax seeds for the bread. Thanks so much for the quick response! Good day/night :)!

  7. Min says:

    My friend makes wonderful cinnamon rolls with a recipe that calls for liquid lecithin. Can lecithin granules be substituted somehow? I haven’t been able to find a conversion or method. Thank you!

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Min… is it a raw or cooked recipe? So far in all my experimenting and creating raw foods, I find that I can use the same measurement whether it be wet or dry lecithin. I hope this works for you. amie sue

  8. Dace says:

    Hi, I have made several raw cheesecakes using lecithin and they look beautiful and the texture is just perfect as long as they are eaten cold straight from the fridge. However, in hot weather my cakes start to lose their shape and the filling becomes very soft. Is there anything you can recommend to ensure that raw cheesecakes remain intact in warmer temperatures? Would I get better results from using agar or irish moss? Thank you

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Dace…

      Warm temps are not a good friend for any cheesecake, baked or not. A few ingredients that will help some are; agar agar, raw cacao butter, and raw coconut butter.

      Agar can handle warmer room temps but it will also depend on what other ingredients are being used in a recipe. Citrus can weaken it.
      Raw cacao butter starts to soften at 95 degrees (F) But it will impart a chocolate undertone, all depending on what other ingredients are being used with it.
      Raw coconut butter softens around 76 degrees.
      Irish moss is stronger than lecithin and is a better choice, but I am not sure what temp it can take on.

      I hope this helps some, there are a lot of factors that come into play which makes it difficult to give a black and white answer. Have a great weekend, amie sue

  9. Lane says:

    Hi Amie Sue,

    I like coming to your blog for info and I was sold on the soy lec. However, I find that I’m choosing to stay away from soy. You once had the difference on your blog for Xantham Gum and Guar Gum to use as an emulsifier. I can’t seem to find it now. Did you remove the info as it will really come in handy for me.

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Lane,

      I am reworking and doing more research on those two products so I have them in draft mode right now. I will be restoring them soon. I don’t use soy lecithin either instead I use sunflower lecithin. Have you heard or tried that version before? amie sue

      • Lane says:

        Hi Amie Sue,

        Thanks for your answer. No, I haven’t used the sunflower version. As many times, as I’ve been to your site I only saw it today (oops on my end).

        BTW, in your research of the Xantham and Guar Gums, I hope you add that Guar gum has a bit of a slimy texture. I learned that the hard way. Then I researched and found that it was true. Ugh!

  10. Maureen says:

    Hi Amie-Sue,

    I usually use sunflower lecithin which I can get from Australia but we have relocated to the UK and I can’t seem to find it anywhere. I therefore bought non GMO soy lecithin granules. I have read though that they go off pretty quickly? Where do you store them and how long do they keep? Do they dissolve in water or do they need some oil in whatever they are going in?

    Thanks so much!

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Maureen,

      I always store my lecithin in the fridge. The container you buy ought to have an expiration date on it. I have worked on a jar of lecithin for a year before and it stayed good in the fridge. I use it in my cream cakes and nut milks mainly… I don’t dissolve them ahead of time and blend in beautifully. Have a blessed weekend! amie sue

  11. Maureen says:

    Thanks so much!

  12. Kate says:

    How to best store sunflower lecithin? I purchased a gallon to obtain best price. Should I refrigerate It? Thanks, BTW, for all this good information.

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Kate, please tell what brand and form that you bought (liquid / powder).

      Have a great day, amie sue

  13. sanaa saad says:

    pls. can i get lecithin powder sample

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Sanaa, I don’t sell it directly or make the product so you need to contact the manufacture for samples. They are often good about that so don’t hesitate in contacting them. amie sue

  14. john wilson says:

    been trying for seems a lifetime toget sunflower lecithin hexane free it seems you have it i would like a kilo for making liposomes

  15. Zack says:

    Does sunflower lecithin syrop good for pregnant woman, how much is ok to take?
    Thank you

  16. PenelopeX says:

    Hi, Amie Sue!
    I’d like to try and use Sunflower Lecithin as an emulsifier and preservative (have been told it can extend shelf life) for a Jalapeno-Honey peanut brittle I make. We already use honey instead of corn syrup (we are hobby beekeepers), and have heard so much about the use of Sunflower Lecithin as an alternative to soy. I’d like to know, since the brittle base is primarily sugar/honey, and the butter isn’t added in until the end, how might I introduce the lecithin during the cooking process, and do you know at what temperature lecithin is adversely affected in cooking? I also make toffees with a 60% cacao chocolate and plan to use it in the chocolate, but I’m not sure how much I should add to the chocolate to (typically use 3 cups to spread on the toffee) keep it smooth, and retard spattering. Can you advise me on these issues?

    Thanks, Amie Sue!!

    • amie-sue says:

      I appreciate your time in typing this all out Penelope but I am afraid that I am the wrong to ask for the questions that you have. I don’t cook with sugars/honey. I would maybe check with a cooking baker. :) Good luck! amie sue

  17. Nick says:

    Hi Ami Sue. Can you suggest a raw setting agent that could be used to make dehydrated banana pancakes? I have an idea to blend fresh bananas with a raw setting agent to make a frothie batter and then make pancakes out of these. I am willing to use some fat in these, perhaps coconut flesh or chia seeds but would prefer not to and if I do to minimise this. Do you have any experience with this?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hmm, this will take some thinking. Psyllium can add a spongier texture… that might be worth playing around with for starters. :)

  18. Christina says:

    I cannot use sunflower seeds so my only option is the soy which I don’t have issues with. can you recommend a good non -gmo organic soy lethicin? this items sounds like a miracle for a cool! :)

  19. Olabisi Yough says:

    Hello Amie-Sue,

    I cannot get liquid lecithin to buy and I need it for my tigernut milk prep. Please, I want to ask – which is a better alternative – Sunflower Lecithin Non-GMO or 100% Pure Lecithin grnules?

    I will be happy to hear from you.

    Thank you!

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Olabisi,

      Personally, I would use the sunflower lecithin which is soy-free and GMO-free. If it is grainy, that is fine. If you have a high powdered blender it will blend in fine, if not, I would grind them to a fine powder before adding. You don’t want to detect the grains when drinking the milk. :)

      What is the “100% Pure Lecithin grnule” made from?

      Blessings, amie sue

  20. Elvira says:

    You said that can lecithin substitut the oil in raw cakes. If I had 1/2 cup oil how much granulates can I substitut?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Elvira. I don’t indicate using lecithin instead of oil in raw cakes. Bakers do. I have used it in smoothies, salad dressings, nut/seed milks, I have added some to cheesecakes, and cakes for nutrition… not as a oil replacement. It’s worth experimenting with and it would all depend on the raw recipe that you are making. Since you are replacing a liquid with a powder, other ingredients would need to be adjusted.

      I use lecithin regularly for liver health. Good stuff! Keep me posted if you tinker around with it. Blessings, amie sue

  21. mubunga says:

    am interested in lecithin to use in chocolate making . how direct me where i can buy it i need 5000 grams

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