A solvent engineering strategy was applied to the lipase-catalyzed synthesis of xylitol-oleic acid monoesters. The different esterification degrees for this polyhydroxylated molecule were examined in different organic solvent mixtures. In this context, conditions for high selectivity towards monooleoyl xylitol synthesis were enhanced from 6 mol% in pure n-hexane to 73 mol% in 2-methyl-2-propanol/dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) 80:20 (v/v). On the contrary, the highest production of di- and trioleoyl xylitol, corresponding to 94 mol%, was achieved in n-hexane. Changes in polarity of the reaction medium and in the molecular interactions between solvents and reactants were correlated with the activity coefficients of products. Based on experimental results and calculated thermodynamic activities, the effect of different binary mixtures of solvents on the selective production of xylitol esters is reported. From this analysis, it is concluded that in the more polar conditions (100% dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO)), the synthesis of xylitol monoesters is favored. However, these conditions are unfavorable in terms of enzyme stability. As an alternative, binary mixtures of solvents were proposed. Each mixture of solvents was characterized in terms of the quantitative polarity parameter E(T)(30) and related with the activity coefficients of xylitol esters. To our knowledge, the characterization of solvent mixtures in terms of this polarity parameter and its relationship with the selectivity of the process has not been previously reported.