Abstract Docosahexaenoic acid vanillyl ester (DHA-VE) was synthesized from docosahexaenoic acid ethyl ester (DHA-EE) and vanillyl alcohol by a solvent-free alcoholysis process catalysed by Candida antarctica lipase B. Oxidative stability of pure DHA-VE and the crude reaction medium consisting of 45% DHA-VE and 55% DHA-EE were compared with that of DHA-EE under various storage conditions. Oxidation progress was followed by determination of conjugated dienes and FTIR measurements. Analyses showed that DHA-EE was rapidly oxidised under all storage conditions in comparison with DHA-VE and crude reaction medium, whatever the temperature and the storage time. The grafting of vanillyl alcohol appeared as a powerful way to stabilize DHA against oxidation. Thanks to their stability, both DHA-VE and the crude reaction medium, allowing the production of the ester, offer huge potential as functional ingredients.