Key message: We identified QTL associated with protein and amino acids in a soybean mapping population that was grown in five environments. These QTL could be used in MAS to improve these traits. Abstract: Soybean, rather than nitrogen-containing forages, is the primary source of quality protein in feed formulations for domestic swine, poultry, and dairy industries. As a sole dietary source of protein, soybean is deficient in the amino acids lysine (Lys), threonine (Thr), methionine (Met), and cysteine (Cys). Increasing these amino acids would benefit the feed industry. The objective of the present study was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with crude protein (cp) and amino acids in the ‘Benning’ × ‘Danbaekkong’ population. The population was grown in five southern USA environments. Amino acid concentrations as a fraction of cp (Lys/cp, Thr/cp, Met/cp, Cys/cp, and Met + Cys/cp) were determined by near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Four QTL associated with the variation in crude protein were detected on chromosomes (Chr) 14, 15, 17, and 20, of which, a QTL on Chr 20 explained 55 % of the phenotypic variation. In the same chromosomal region, QTL for Lys/cp, Thr/cp, Met/cp, Cys/cp and Met + Cys/cp were detected. At these QTL, the Danbaekkong allele resulted in reduced levels of these amino acids and increased protein concentration. Two additional QTL for Lys/cp were detected on Chr 08 and 20, and three QTL for Thr/cp on Chr 01, 09, and 17. Three QTL were identified on Chr 06, 09 and 10 for Met/cp, and one QTL was found for Cys/cp on Chr 10. The study provides information concerning the relationship between crude protein and levels of essential amino acids and may allow for the improvement of these traits in soybean using marker-assisted selection.