Purpose: The objective of this study was to evaluate the antioxidant effect of oregano and thyme extracts isolatedly and combinedly applied in soybean oil. Design/methodology/approach: Soybean oil containing 3,000 mg/kg of oregano and thyme oleoresins and the mixture of both, as well as soybean oil containing TBHQ (50 mg/kg) and soybean oil free of antioxidants, were subjected to accelerated oven test (60°C/10 days). Samples were collected every two days and analyzed as to their peroxide and conjugated diene values. Findings: The mixture of oleoresins and consequent increase of concentration were as effective as the antioxidant TBHQ. Practical implications: These studies may prove to be beneficial to the exploitation of natural antioxidant sources for the preservation and/or extension of raw and processed food shelf life. Therefore, they could also be applied in the area of pharmaceuticals for the protection of human life. Originality/value: This study offers information on the use of natural antioxidants as an alternative to the use of synthetic antioxidants, which might be considered toxic. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.