9 Substitutes for Xanthan Gum (2022)

Found in everything from cosmetics to ice cream, xanthan gum — which is made by fermenting corn sugar with a bacterium — is a common additive that acts as a thickening agent, binder, and emulsifier (1).

Whereas a thickener does just that, a binder holds ingredients together and an emulsifier blends those that would otherwise remain separate, such as oil and vinegar. This makes xanthan gum a popular ingredient in salad dressings (2).

It’s also popular in baking — especially gluten-free goods, which lack gluten’s binding capacities.

However, many people may not have it on hand.

Whether you’re in a pinch or would simply rather leave it out of your baked goods, here are 9 substitutes for xanthan gum.

9 Substitutes for Xanthan Gum (1)Share on Pinterest

Psyllium husk is made from the husks of Plantago ovata seeds and is sold ground for baking purposes. It may help lower blood sugar, as it acts much like xanthan gum in your gut — making it a great substitute.

While large amounts of xanthan gum may be linked to digestive and respiratory issues, several small studies indicate that sizable doses may help lower blood sugar (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).

Although more research is needed, this effect may be due to the fact that xanthan gum and psyllium husk are soluble fibers, which your digestive tract can’t break down. Instead, they form a gel-like substance and help slow absorption (8, 9, 10).

When baking, substitute every 1 part of xanthan gum with 2 parts of psyllium husk.

summary

Like xanthan gum, psyllium husk is a soluble fiber — a non-digestible starch that forms a gel-like substance in your gut. In recipes that call for xanthan gum, you’ll need to use twice as much psyllium husk.

When soaked, chia seeds form a gel much like xanthan gum. What’s more, these seeds pack lots of fiber and important nutrients.

(Video) Xanthan Gum Substitute

While you can use chia seeds whole, they add a bit of crunch and mild, nutty flavor to your recipe — so you should grind them if you prefer a smoother texture.

Chia seeds replace xanthan gum in a 1:1 ratio.

Add 2 parts of hot water for every 1 part of chia seeds, then stir until the mixture becomes viscous.

You may need to add 10–15 minutes to your baking time to accommodate for using chia gel.

summary

Chia seeds form a gel when mixed with liquid and can help thicken and bind baked goods. Use the same amount of ground or whole seeds as you would xanthan gum, and be sure to stir in water.

Like chia seeds, flax seeds create a thick paste when combined with water. They’re also easy to find and fairly cheap.

However, whole seeds aren’t good at binding, so you should either grind the seeds on your own or buy ground flax seed, which is sometimes called flax meal. Mixing it with water activates its binding capacity.

Bear in mind that ground flax seeds may lend your recipe a nuttier, slightly gritty quality.

Use ground flax seeds in place of xanthan gum in a 1:1 ratio, mixed with 2 parts hot water for every 1 part flax.

summary

Ground flax seeds replace xanthan gum in a 1:1 ratio but need to be mixed with hot water.

Cornstarch has a texture similar to that of xanthan gum. It’s highly absorbent, making it a great thickener in stews and gravies.

Though it’s naturally gluten-free, some products may be contaminated with this protein. If you avoid gluten, be sure to check the label for a certification.

(Video) ChefSteps Nerd Alert: All About Xanthan Gum

Unlike some of the other substitutes, you don’t need to mix it with water before use.

Its ratio is also easy. Just replace xanthan gum with the same amount of cornstarch.

summary

Cornstarch makes an excellent thickener and is popular for stews and gravies. Swap it with xanthan gum in a 1:1 ratio.

Gelatin helps firm up many dishes because it’s derived from animal collagen, a jelly-like protein that provides structure to connective tissues (11).

You’ll need 2 parts of gelatin for every 1 part of xanthan gum.

It’s an excellent choice for baked goods like breads and muffins.

However, gelatin isn’t vegan or vegetarian. Given that most gelatin comes from pig skin, it’s also inappropriate for anyone observing kosher or halal dietary practices.

summary

Gelatin can help thicken almost any dish, but it’s important to note that it’s unsuitable for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone following kosher or halal guidelines.

Eggs whites act as both leavening and binding agents to help dishes rise and firm up. This makes them a great substitute for xanthan gum.

They’re especially suitable for quick breads, batter breads, and cakes. Since they produce a light and fluffy texture, they’re not ideal for kneaded breads.

Because they’re an animal product, egg whites aren’t vegan-friendly.

Use 1 egg white to replace every tablespoon (4.5 grams) of xanthan gum.

(Video) 3 ways to use XANTHAN GUM (Molecular ingredients breakdown)

summary

Egg whites create a light, airy texture in baked goods and act as both a leavening and binding agent. Use 1 egg white to replace every tablespoon (4.5 grams) of xanthan gum.

Agar agar is derived from red algae and acts much like unflavored gelatin, thickening a dish and forming a jelly-like texture (12).

Because it’s plant-based, agar agar is a great vegan replacement for gelatin. It’s typically sold as flakes, sheets, or powder.

You can replace xanthan gum with agar agar in a 1:1 ratio.

You’ll first need to dissolve it in room-temperature water. Use 4 tablespoons (60 mL) of water for every 1 tablespoon (5 grams) of flakes or 1 teaspoon (2 grams) of powder.

Next, heat it over low heat for 3–5 minutes or until dissolved, then let it cool slightly before use. If it’s too thick, use an immersion blender to liquify it.

Note that agar agar may generally produce a slightly stiffer or denser texture.

summary

Agar agar is an algae-based thickener that acts much like a vegan form of gelatin. It requires a little more prep than most replacements, but you can swap it with xanthan gum in a 1:1 ratio.

Guar gum, also called guaran, is derived from guar beans. Like xanthan gum, it’s a white powder that functions as a binder and thickener (13).

Use 3 parts of guar gum for every 2 parts of xanthan gum in your recipe.

A good rule of thumb is to blend guar gum with the oils in your dish first, then add this mixture to the rest of your liquids.

summary

Guar gum is a binding agent that replaces xanthan gum in a 3:2 ratio.

(Video) HOW TO KEEP XANTHAN GUM FROM CLUMPING - DISSOLVE XANTHAN GUM IN WATER WITHOUT GLYCERIN

Konjac powder, also called glucomannan, is made from konjac root, which is common in Asian cooking (14).

Its high fiber content helps thicken a dish much like xanthan gum.

Swap konjac root for xanthan gum in a 1:1 ratio. When making chewier foods, such as tortillas or flatbreads, you’ll generally want to use 1.5 times the amount of guar gum.

summary

For most baked goods, you can use the same amount of konjac powder as you would xanthan gum. For chewier foods, you’ll want to use about 1.5 times the amount.

Xanthan gum is a popular ingredient in everything from cosmetics to food products, as it’s an excellent thickening agent and emulsifier.

However, if it’s not available or you prefer not to eat it, you can choose from a number of alternatives.

You may want to consider a few factors, such as any dietary restrictions and the desired texture of your baked goods, before settling on a substitute.

FAQs

Can you omit xanthan gum from a recipe? ›

Simply omitting gums from your recipes is an option, however, gums not only affect the appearance and texture of your baked goods but also taste. So if you want to avoid gums, then you really need to replace it with something else.

How do I substitute xanthan gum for flour? ›

2) When adding xanthan gum to a recipe that doesn't already call for it (and baking with a gluten-free flour that doesn't include it), use about 1/4 teaspoon per cup of flour.

Can I use chia seeds instead of xanthan gum? ›

Chia seeds are also extremely high in fiber and can have a laxative effect. They are popular replacements for xanthan gum because while they have a nutty flavor, it's mild and tends not to interfere with the flavor of the baked goods they are added to.

How much cornstarch do I substitute for xanthan gum? ›

If you came here for the conversion rate, it is recommended that it is a 1:1 (one to one) conversion between xantham gum and cornstarch. That means if you need one tablespoon of cornstarch, then you use one tablespoon of xatham gum.

What is a good replacement for xanthan gum? ›

9 Substitutes for Xanthan Gum
  • Psyllium husk. Psyllium husk is made from the husks of Plantago ovata seeds and is sold ground for baking purposes. ...
  • Chia seeds and water. When soaked, chia seeds form a gel much like xanthan gum. ...
  • Ground flax seeds and water. ...
  • Cornstarch. ...
  • Unflavored gelatin. ...
  • Egg whites. ...
  • Agar agar. ...
  • Guar gum.
13 May 2020

Is there a substitute for xanthan gum in baking? ›

Typically, cornstarch is used as a thickener for soups, stews, sauces, and gravies. It will work best as a substitute for xanthan gum in similar recipes; however, it can also be used in baked goods and as an emulsifier for dressings. Replace cornstarch with an exact 1:1 substitution for xanthan gum in any recipe.

What is xanthan gum made out of? ›

Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide, a type of sugar that is made from a bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris, through a process of fermentation. Xanthomonas campestris infects a wide range of cruciferous plants, such as cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, causing diseases such as black rot and bacterial wilt.

Can I use potato starch instead of xanthan gum? ›

The gluten-free markets commonly use xanthan gum and potato starch, but their characteristics and uses vary slightly. Gluten-free baked goods can be made with potato starch to give them a lighter texture and to thicken sauces.

What is the ratio of xanthan gum to flour? ›

Typically for yeasted bread and pizza doughs, 1 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour will be enough. For cakes and muffin recipes, ½ teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour is needed.

Can I use eggs instead of xanthan gum? ›

Often, eggs are used as a binding agent in baked goods, making xanthan gum a great substitute for eggs in these instances. As Better Homes & Gardens explains, just use a fourth of a teaspoon of xanthan gum dissolved in a fourth of a cup of water for each egg your recipe calls for.

Can I use flaxseed instead of xanthan gum? ›

Flaxseed. Flaxseed, much like chia seeds, makes a great substitute for xanthan gum. Grind your flax seed and then add hot water to create a paste. Use two parts ground flax seed to one part hot water and let it soak for about fifteen minutes before straining and adding to your recipe.

Is psyllium husk powder like xanthan gum? ›

Is psyllium husk and xanthan gum the same? No, xanthan gum is produced by fermenting sugar and adding alcohol to it. It is then dried and ground into a fine powder. Psyllium husk is produced by grinding the outer shell of the seeds of the psyllium plant and grinding that into a fine powder.

Can I use cornstarch instead of xanthan gum in baking? ›

What's great about cornstarch is that, unlike most of the other substitutes, you don't need to mix it with water before you use it. Just replace every tablespoon of xanthan gum with the same amount of cornstarch and you will be good to go.

Is cornstarch same as xanthan gum? ›

Xanthan and guar gum are much stronger thickeners than cornstarch, but they can be harder to obtain and use. Blending fruits and vegetables to add to food, adding coconut milk, or cooking foods for a little while longer can also help replace the need for thickening agents such as cornstarch.

Can u substitute xanthan gum for cornstarch? ›

You can swap cornstarch for the same amount of xanthan gum as a thickener in your cooking.

How do you bind gluten-free flour? ›

Binding agents like Xanthan gum, psyllium husk powder, and guar gum are often used in gluten-free baking. Xanthan gum, psyllium husk powder, and guar gum are binding agents and are frequently called for in gluten-free recipes and serve the same general purpose as thickeners and binding agents.

Is arrowroot a substitute for xanthan gum? ›

With a similar consistency to cornstarch, arrowroot powder acts as a thickening agent and can be used to replace xanthan gum. It may be available in the market as arrowroot powder, starch, or flour.

Do I need to add xanthan gum to gluten-free flour? ›

Xanthan (ZAN thun) gum and guar (gwar) gum are used in gluten-free cooking to bind, thicken, and emulsify gluten-free ingredients. If you don't add one of these gums to most of your gluten-free baked goods, the end result will likely be a pile of crumbs!

Can I use gelatin instead of xanthan gum? ›

Unflavored Gelatin

It is an excellent choice if you are baking things like bread or muffins. To use it as a xanthan gum substitute, you'll need 2 parts of gelatin for every 1 part xanthan gum.

What is the purpose of xanthan gum? ›

Xanthan gum is a substance used in making some foods and medications. It has different effects in these products: It can add thickness, keep textures from changing, and hold ingredients in place. Xanthan gum is found in many types of medicines.

Can I use tapioca flour instead of xanthan gum? ›

Xanthan gum is also an excellent substitute for tapioca flour in certain cases. While the two products are not the same, they can be used in the same way.

Is xanthan gum natural or artificial? ›

Xanthan gum is used as a binder, stabilizer and emulsifier in food products. It is not found in nature and has to be manufactured. According to the USDA, it's made by taking a type of carbohydrate, such as glucose or sucrose, and fermenting it with bacteria.

Does xanthan gum raise blood sugar? ›

Xanthan gum might decrease blood sugar by decreasing the absorption of sugars from food. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking xanthan gum with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to be too low.

Is xanthan gum inflammatory? ›

Conclusion. The continuous use of xanthan gum triggered a pro-inflammatory response, promoting an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines in the adipose tissue, but it did not have an effect on the tumor development in the animals inoculated with Walker 256 tumor cells.

Which starch has the greatest thickening ability? ›

3) TYPE OF STARCH

Potato starch has the greatest thickening power, followed by waxy starches, tapioca , corn , rice , & wheat which has least thickening power.

What is the thickener in ketchup? ›

The use of potato starch/xanthan gum combinations as a thickening agent in the formulation of tomato ketchup.

Which of the following is a thickening agent? ›

Examples of thickening agents include: polysaccharides (starches, vegetable gums, and pectin), proteins (eggs, collagen, gelatin, blood albumin) and fats (butter, oil and lards). All purpose flour is the most popular food thickener, followed by cornstarch and arrowroot or tapioca.

How much xanthan gum do I use for 2 cups of flour? ›

While there's no specific formula per se, we start with 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum for every 1 cup of flour in a recipe.

What happens when you add too much xanthan gum? ›

Amount of Xanthan for Thickening

In general, you will use a 0.1% weight ratio for light thickening up to a 1.0% ratio for a very thick sauce. Be warned though, adding too much xanthan gum can result in a texture and mouthfeel resembling mucus.

How do you keep xanthan gum from clumping? ›

Slurry the gum with oil: Mix one part gum in five parts of your organic solvent (soybean oil, propylene glycol, etc.). This coats the gum particles and prevents them from lumping when added to your production tank.

Does Pillsbury gluten-free flour have xanthan gum? ›

Pillsbury Best® Multi-Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend is a smart mix of rice flour, potato starch, pea fiber, tapioca starch and xanthan gum.

Is guar gum better than xanthan gum? ›

In general, guar gum is good for cold foods such as ice cream or pastry fillings, while xanthan gum is better for baked goods. Xanthan gum is the right choice for yeasted breads. Foods with a high acid content (such as lemon juice) can cause guar gum to lose its thickening abilities.

Which is better xanthan gum or agar agar? ›

Is Xanthan Gum and Agar Agar the Same? Xanthan gum and agar are not similar, but xanthan gum can be an excellent substitute for the agar. Xanthan gum will not harden your recipes the way agar will, but it certainly keeps the particles together and prevent them from separating.

Can I use psyllium husk instead of gelatin? ›

Therefore, it can be concluded that it is viable to substitute gelatin with psyllium husk as a stabilizer for making yogurt.

Why does my gluten free bread sink in the middle? ›

Too Much Moisture

It's very possible that there is too much water, or moisture in the to allow the baked loaf of gluten-free bread to support itself. So, if you find that your loaf of gluten-free bread collapses after baking but isn't wet or sticky in the middle, it's likely due to an excess of water.

Is psyllium husk healthier than xanthan gum? ›

Xanthan gum comes from the secretions of the Xanthomonas campestris bacteria after a glucose-induced fermentation process. Apart from guar gum (which is extracted from natural guar beans), psyllium husk powder seems a "healthier choice".

What happens when you take psyllium husk? ›

Many well-designed studies have shown that psyllium relieves constipation. When combined with water, it swells and produces more bulk, which stimulates the intestines to contract and helps speed the passage of stool through the digestive tract. Psyllium is widely used as a laxative in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Can I use egg instead of psyllium husk? ›

Psyllium husk is very fine so a teaspoon is enough to replace an egg, and the liquid content of the recipe will need to be increased with a little extra plant milk or water.

Is xanthan gum made of corn? ›

The carbohydrate used for the xanthan gum can be derived from cane sugar, lactose (dairy), corn or wheat. In the United States, xanthan gum is most often derived from corn because it is a cheap, subsidized crop.

What is the ratio of arrowroot to xanthan gum? ›

Xanthan gum is a great substitute for arrowroot powder, use 1 teaspoon xanthan gum for every tablespoon of arrowroot powder called for.

What can I use in place of cornstarch to thicken? ›

6 Cornstarch Substitutes for All Your Cooking and Baking Needs
  • Potato Starch. Potato starch is the cornstarch substitute favorite of associate food editor Kendra Vaculin. ...
  • Rice Flour. ...
  • All-Purpose Flour. ...
  • Tapioca Flour. ...
  • Arrowroot Powder. ...
  • Xanthan Gum.
13 Jun 2022

What is arrowroot powder used for? ›

Though you can cook the root itself, arrowroot is more frequently consumed as a powder. It's used as a thickening agent for sauces, puddings, and jellies, as well as an ingredient in baked goods like cookies and cakes. Additionally, it's a popular replacement for wheat flour in gluten-free recipes ( 25 ).

Can I use baking powder instead of cornstarch? ›

Generally, the answer is no. It's not a very good idea to use baking powder or baking soda instead of cornstarch. The problem is that baking powder can add a totally different flavor to the dish than cornstarch, and this can make the dish taste different.

What happens if you leave xanthan gum out of a recipe? ›

Simply omitting gums from your recipes is an option, however, gums not only affect the appearance and texture of your baked goods but also taste. So if you want to avoid gums, then you really need to replace it with something else.

How do you thicken sauce with flour? ›

To use flour as a thickening agent: Use two tablespoons flour mixed with ¼ cup cold water for each cup of medium-thick sauce. Thoroughly mix in the water to prevent lumps. After stirring the combined flour and water into the sauce, cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

How can you thicken a sauce? ›

The most readily available sauce-thickener is flour. For a too-thin sauce, try adding a slurry (equal parts flour and water, whisked together) or beurre manie (equal parts softened butter and flour, kneaded together to form a paste)—both are ideal thickeners for rich and creamy sauces, such as steak sauce recipes.

Do you have to use xanthan gum in gluten-free baking? ›

Without gluten, many recipes (especially flour-based ones) have trouble holding their ingredients together. This results in dry, crumbly goods that don't hold their shape well. Using xanthan gum helps provide some of the stickiness that gluten free goods lack, replacing some elasticity.

What is the purpose of xanthan gum? ›

Xanthan gum is a substance used in making some foods and medications. It has different effects in these products: It can add thickness, keep textures from changing, and hold ingredients in place. Xanthan gum is found in many types of medicines.

What are the side effects of xanthan gum? ›

Xanthan gum is safe when up to 15 grams per day are taken. It can cause some side effects such as intestinal gas (flatulence) and bloating. People who are exposed to xanthan gum powder might experience flu-like symptoms, nose and throat irritation, and lung problems.

What does xanthan gum do in cookies? ›

Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide obtained from the aerobic fermentation of simple sugars by the Xanthomonas campestris bacteria. The powder is used as a stabilizer and thickening agent in many food products. In baking, it is widely used in gluten-free baked goods as a partial substitute for wheat flour.

Do you need xanthan gum with almond flour? ›

Almond flour does not need xanthan gum to help it hold together. Xanthan gum is a food additive that is commonly found in flour. Some gluten-free cooks add xanthan gum to recipes to get the thickening or binding effects usually provided by flour.

What is the ratio of xanthan gum to gluten-free flour? ›

Gum Measurements

Bread and pizza dough recipes: Add 1 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum per cup of gluten-free flour. Cake, muffin, and quick bread recipes: Add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum per 1 cup of gluten-free flour used.

Can I just replace flour with gluten-free flour? ›

Because gluten is a structural protein, the products are often very tender and even crumbly if you just replace the flour that's called for in the recipe with gluten-free flour. However, in some baked products such as muffins or cookies, you can make that simple substitution.

What is xanthan gum made out of? ›

Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide, a type of sugar that is made from a bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris, through a process of fermentation. Xanthomonas campestris infects a wide range of cruciferous plants, such as cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, causing diseases such as black rot and bacterial wilt.

Is xanthan gum natural or artificial? ›

Xanthan gum is used as a binder, stabilizer and emulsifier in food products. It is not found in nature and has to be manufactured. According to the USDA, it's made by taking a type of carbohydrate, such as glucose or sucrose, and fermenting it with bacteria.

What is the ingredient xanthan gum? ›

What Is Xanthan Gum? Xanthan gum is a popular food additive that's commonly added to foods as a thickener or stabilizer. It's created when sugar is fermented by a type of bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris. When sugar is fermented, it creates a broth or goo-like substance, which is made solid by adding an alcohol.

Is xanthan gum inflammatory? ›

Conclusion. The continuous use of xanthan gum triggered a pro-inflammatory response, promoting an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines in the adipose tissue, but it did not have an effect on the tumor development in the animals inoculated with Walker 256 tumor cells.

Why does xanthan gum make me bloated? ›

Bloating and diarrhea: Because xanthan gum is a form of fiber, some people find they become bloated or suffer from diarrhea if they consume too much of it.

Which is better xanthan or guar gum? ›

In general, guar gum is good for cold foods such as ice cream or pastry fillings, while xanthan gum is better for baked goods. Xanthan gum is the right choice for yeasted breads. Foods with a high acid content (such as lemon juice) can cause guar gum to lose its thickening abilities.

What happens when you add too much xanthan gum? ›

Amount of Xanthan for Thickening

In general, you will use a 0.1% weight ratio for light thickening up to a 1.0% ratio for a very thick sauce. Be warned though, adding too much xanthan gum can result in a texture and mouthfeel resembling mucus.

How much xanthan gum do I use for 2 cups of flour? ›

Typically for yeasted bread and pizza doughs, 1 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour will be enough. For cakes and muffin recipes, ½ teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour is needed.

Is xanthan gum a substitute for baking soda? ›

No, you cannot replace baking powder with xanthan gum. The acidic component of the baking powder reacts in liquid. This produces carbon dioxide bubbles which cause your baked goods to rise. On the other hand, xanthan gum has no leavening properties and is used to bind mixtures together.

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