BACKGROUNDFor many chemical systems, it is of great importance to find a durable, active and efficient catalyst that improves the process performance. Epoxidation of oleic acid with peracetic acid (Prilezhaev oxidation) was carried out in an isothermal loop reactor in the presence of heterogeneous catalysts. The kinetic experiments conducted under microwave heating (MW) were compared with identical experiments carried out under conventional (conductive/convective) heating. Extensive screening of heterogeneous catalysts was conducted and the influence of microwave irradiation on the reaction kinetics was studied. Several ion exchange resins were screened to explore their applicability and activity in the epoxidation of oleic acid. The perhydrolysis reaction (peracetic acid formed in situ from acetic acid and H2O2) was promoted with the use of various solid acid catalysts: Amberlite IR‐120, Amberlyst 15, Smopex®, Dowex 50x8‐100, Dowex 50x8‐50, Dowex 50x2‐100 and Nafion™.RESULTSFrom the selected group of catalysts, Dowex 50‐x8100 and Dowex 50x8‐50 produced the highest yield of epoxidized oil. Only minor differences in the reactant conversion and the product yield were found in the experiments carried out under microwave exposure compared to the conventionally heated experiments in the presence of several ion exchange resins.CONCLUSIONSThe catalytic effect was much more prominent than the microwave effect, because the solid acid catalysts enhanced the slow step of the process, the perhydrolysis of acetic acid. The catalytic effect was very dominant and a considerable improvement of the oleic acid conversion and the epoxide yield was observed in the presence of the top‐performing catalysts.