Abstract Methanolysis of triolein was investigated at room temperature by 40 kHz ultrasonic irradiation to make biodiesel fuel as methyl esters. It was found that the yield of methyl esters strongly depended on the amount of KOH and the molar ratio of methanol to triolein (M/T) and was highest at the M/T molar ratio of 6/1, KOH concentration of 1 wt% and irradiation time of 30 min. In addition, the effects of sonication on the methanolysis of triolein were discussed in comparison to the effects of stirring experiments. The optimum condition under stirring experiments showed that the molar ratio of M/T, KOH concentration and reaction time were 6/1, 1.5 wt% and 4 h, respectively. These results clearly indicated that the ultrasonic irradiation method would be a promising one compared to the conventional stirring method. The high yield under the ultrasonic irradiation condition would be due to high speed mixing and mass transfer between the methanol and triolein as well as the formation of a microemulsion resulting from the ultrasonic cavitation phenomenon.