In this study, soybean straw (SS) as a promising source of glycolaldehyde-rich bio-oil production and extraction was investigated. Proximate and ultimate analysis of SS was performed to examine the feasibility and suitability of SS for thermochemical conversion design. The effect of the co-catalyst (CaCl2 + ash) on glycolaldehyde concentration (%) was examined. Thermogravimetric-Fourier-transform infrared (TG-FTIR) analysis was applied to optimize the pyrolysis temperature and biomass-to-catalyst ratio for glycolaldehyde-rich bio-oil production. By TG-FTIR analysis, the highest glycolaldehyde concentration of 8.57% was obtained at 500 °C without the catalyst, while 12.76 and 13.56% were obtained with the catalyst at 500 °C for a 1:6 ratio of SS-to-CaCl2 and a 1:4 ratio of SS-to-ash, respectively. Meanwhile, the highest glycolaldehyde concentrations (%) determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis for bio-oils produced at 500 °C (without the catalyst), a 1:6 ratio of SS-to-CaCl2, and a 1:4 ratio of SS-to-ash were found to be 11.3, 17.1, and 16.8%, respectively. These outcomes were fully consistent with the TG-FTIR results. Moreover, the effect of temperature on product distribution was investigated, and the highest bio-oil yield was achieved at 500 °C as 56.1%. This research work aims to develop an environment-friendly extraction technique involving aqueous-based imitation for glycolaldehyde extraction with 23.6% yield. Meanwhile, proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) analysis was used to confirm the purity of the extracted glycolaldehyde, which was found as 91%.