The current study reports the development and characterization of soy lecithin based novel self-assembled emulsion hydrogels. Sesame oil was used as the representative oil phase. Emulsion gels were formed when the concentration of soy lecithin was >40% w/w. Metronidazole was used as the model drug for the drug release and the antimicrobial tests. Microscopic study showed the apolar dispersed phase in an aqueous continuum phase, suggesting the formation of emulsion hydrogels. FTIR study indicated the formation of intermolecular hydrogen bonding, whereas, the XRD study indicated predominantly amorphous nature of the emulsion gels. Composition dependent mechanical and drug release properties of the emulsion gels were observed. In-depth analyses of the mechanical studies were done using Ostwald-de Waele power-law, Kohlrausch and Weichert models, whereas, the drug release profiles were modeled using Korsmeyer-Peppas and Peppas-Sahlin models. The mechanical analyses indicated viscoelastic nature of the emulsion gels. The release of the drug from the emulsion gels was diffusion mediated. The drug loaded emulsion gels showed good antimicrobial activity. The biocompatibility test using HaCaT cells (human keratinocytes) suggested biocompatibility of the emulsion gels. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.