I've read about the beneficial use of soybean in the food industry, so I wonder what it tastes like? How can it be explained?

Does soybean taste like regular beans? Also, what's the difference in its processed forms, such as soymilk?

  • 1
    Buy some and try, you can't describe taste properly. There are many different types too, shops around at Asia supply stores, they usually have the best selection
    – TFD
    May 20, 2014 at 7:58
  • Unfermented soy is toxic - google it.
    – Cynthia
    May 20, 2014 at 10:39
  • 4
    @Blessed Geek- Soymilk is made from unfermented soy. Edamame is unfermented soy. Millions of people have eaten unfermented soy for thousands of years. I'm not buying it. May 20, 2014 at 15:24
  • 4
    In fact, they are toxic, raw. So are lima beans (although in a different way). They need to be cooked, or fermented or otherwise processed. That is why edamame are not eaten raw, as spring peas might be. I found one scientific, non-sensationlist link (those dominate the plain google search results): researchgate.net/publication/…
    – SAJ14SAJ
    May 20, 2014 at 15:44
  • 1
    The taste and the reason why it is used in the food industry are unrelated.
    – rumtscho
    May 20, 2014 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


I can get soy beans in two varieties here: As dried beans and as edamame.

Edamame is a particular type of soybean that is harvested when it is still young. The pods are cooked (usually boiled or steamed) and then served with salt. The beans are popped from the pod and eaten. The pod is discarded.

Edamame is sweet and a little grassy because it is young.

Dried soy beans can be cooked like any other bean. Their hulls tend to come free and have an unpleasant texture so it is nice to skim most of them off. The flavor is good but not unique. It tastes like a normal white bean. The raw beans have a very strong "beany" flavor but cooked beans should not.

Soymilk is made from dried soybeans. The beans or the milk are cooked to remove the very strong beany flavor. The finished milk does have a hint of sweetness and bean but not strong at all.

Tofu, made from soymilk, tastes the same as the milk. Besides being sweet and a little beany, it can be a little nutty tasting. It can get chalky if it isn't fresh.

All of these soybean preparations are very bland. They tastes fresh and clean but there shouldn't be any overly strong flavors. Strong flavors in these products are often a sign that the product is past its prime.

Some soybean preparations ferment the beans. These have a wide range of flavors and textures.

  • Edamame has a similar taste to boiled green peanuts, a dish common in the American South, but which might not be well known elsewhere. May 20, 2014 at 20:33
  • 1
    Are you are referring to North American soybeans only? In the rest of the world there are many varieties, of many colours. Some have very strong flavours. North American soy was chosen to be flavourless see soyinfocenter.com/chronologies_of_soyfoods-edamame.php . OP not in North Amercia
    – TFD
    May 20, 2014 at 22:03
  • 2
    the next time you cook edamame, use your favorite garlic chili paste instead of salt ... you can thank me later.
    – Joe
    May 20, 2014 at 22:13
  • @TFD You're really misrepresenting things. It's hard to know where to start. What you call "flavorless" is really just mostly lacking a particular component of the flavor that many people dislike - not at all flavorless. It's not just in North America that people dislike that flavor; people in other countries (especially for things like soymilk and tofu) avoid it too. The fact that a particular variety is popular doesn't mean that the other varieties don't exist. This may not be an absolutely all-encompassing answer, but it's hardly North American only.
    – Cascabel
    May 21, 2014 at 6:17
  • @Jefromi I many parts of Asia and other parts of the world, soymilk and tofu (among other soy products) are not sterile while nothing, but actually well flavoured. Hence the comment on "flavourless". Flavour of course is a personal perceptions. Anyway OP from Europe and AFAIK most of Europe won't accept N.A. GM soy, so OP unlikely to get your varieties there?
    – TFD
    May 21, 2014 at 6:37

One cannot say what the taste is although if you ever consumed Kikoman's sauce it has that flavor. Not dissimilar to Worcester sauce although not as savory either.

It has a slight bread sort of taste. Like if you liquidized it (the medium whole wheat sort) and put a bit of lemon into it

Soy has been used in both non and fermented forms. There is no need to use it if you are not vegan or have an issue with dairy.

If you are not sure about soy and want a non dairy milk there are still many options such as almond milk. If you don't like that there are milks made from many nuts all with different flavors and some very close to real milk which will blend with food the same way and also be a source of calcium as well as many nuts contain some.

  • "Health issues" are off topic here, so I'm removing that part of your answer.
    – Catija
    Mar 7, 2016 at 23:58

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