ABSTRACT: Soy protein hydrolysate was conjugated with curdlan through the naturally occurring Maillard reaction to extend its application in food processing. The gel-forming and emulsifying properties of soy protein hydrolysates were significantly improved (P < 0.05) by conjugation with curdlan. The soy protein hydrolysate–curdlan conjugate (SPHCC)–soy protein isolate (SPI) mixed gel had a much thicker network than the soy protein hydrolysate and SPI mixed gel judged from scanning electron microscopic images. The improvement of gelling properties of soy protein hydrolysate by curdlan-conjugate was attributed to both the decrease in the repulsive forces among soy protein hydrolysates and the increase in the solubility. The covalent binding of soy protein hydrolysates and curdlan also showed a profound effect on the antioxidative activity of the soy protein hydrolysates. The higher antioxidative activity of SPHCC was related to the peptide reductants produced from the Maillard reaction and the higher emulsifying property of SPHCC. The conjugates of soy protein hydrolysate and curdlan can be used as a functional food additive having excellent gel-forming, emulsifying properties and antioxidative activity.