9 Gluten-free Xanthan Gum Substitutes You Can Use Confidently

You will discover in this article the best replacements for Xanthan gum.

As you already know, Xanthan gum is a thickening agent used in food processing.

It is mostly used to give a thicker consistency to sauces, baked foods, pastry fillings, and pie crusts.

Xanthan gum is a sugar-like compound. It is made by mixing fermented corn sugars with a certain kind of bacteria.

In food processing industries this gum is primarily used as a substitute for flours and starches.

How to choose the right Xanthan gum substitute?

First, you must be clear of the purpose and then you can choose the right substitute for Xanthan gum.

Xanthan gum is a gluten-free natural compound. It helps to add viscosity to recipes and reduces gluten. When diluted with water, Xanthan gum turns into a gel-like substance. It provides elastic and crumbs texture to baked food like bread and cakes.

When you use this gum in liquid recipes like soups, sauces or salad dressing, it appropriately blends and emulsifies the mixture.

While you choose a substitute for Xanthan gum you must pay attention to the impact of the substitute in your recipes. The replacement product should match with the taste, flavor, texture, and heating point of the recipe.  

It takes a good bit of practice and trial before you can correctly use the right substitute in correct proportions. Ultimately, after using the substitute ingredient, your baked foods should turn out the way you want them. 

Here are 9 ingredients that you swap as replacements for Xanthan gum.

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1. Arrowroot

ArrowrootArrowroot is a healthy food with several health benefits. It contains a good amount of potassium, B vitamins and iron which is useful for metabolism, circulation and heart health.

It has a very similar appearance and consistency of cornstarch. Arrowroot powder is an excellent thickening agent for baked foods.

Importantly, it coagulates at a lower temperature than cornstarch.

Arrowroot powder can be used as a way to thicken soups, stews, gravies, and sauces.

2. Cornstarch

CornstartchCornstarch is the most popular replacement for Xanthan gum. It works well for gravy dishes, sauces, baked foods, and soups.

It is widely used in cooking and baking to blend, thicken and stabilize the foods. It does not freeze easily as it can separate the ingredients even at a low temperature.

It’s gluten-free but contains high calories and carbohydrates.

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3. Guar Gum

Gaur GumGuar gum is a fiber from the seed of the guar beans.  You can easily swap Xanthan gum with Guar gum.

It is a gluten-free natural substance that has similar consistency and viscosity of cornstarch.

Moreover, it is used as a laxative. It works well for treating diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some studies suggest that Gaur gum is useful for managing obesity, and diabetes; for reducing cholesterol.

It is best to use as a blender in sauces and creamy dishes.  Swap Xanthan gum with gaur gum in a 1:1.5 ratio.

4. Gelatin

GelatinGelatin is a protein obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones of animals or fish.

You can use it as a substitute for Xanthan gum in desserts and pastry fillings. Gelatin is also a popular ingredient in sauces, soups, marshmallows, broths, gummy candies, cosmetics, and medications.

It is rich in protein, amino acids, and collagen.

Since it is an animal product, vegan and vegetarians kindly avoid it.

5. Agar

Agar Agar Agar or agar-agar is a jelly-like substance, obtained from red algae.

Agar can be used as a laxative, an appetite suppressant, a vegetarian substitute for gelatin or Xanthan gum.

It is commonly used as a thickener for soups, ice cream, fruit preserves, and desserts, also as a clarifying agent in brewing.

It is ideal for gluten-free recipes as thickener and binder for batter and dough.

It is a fantastic alternative to gelatin suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

6. Ground Flaxseed

Flax seed Ground flaxseeds are good binding agents.

Flaxseed is a rich source of antioxidants, healthy fat, and fiber. The seeds contain lignans, protein, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, also known as omega-3.

You can use ground flaxseed instead of Xanthan gum in bread recipes in the same quantity. It is better to use the golden flaxseeds rather than the dark brown flaxseeds.

7. Carrageenan

CarrageenanCarrageenan is an additive used to thicken, emulsify, and preserve foods and drinks. It comes from the red seaweed, also called Irish moss. 

Carrageenan is mainly used in meat products, nut milk, and yogurt.

You can replace Xanthan gum with Carrageenan in pastries, dairy products, nut milk, and cake.

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8. Ground Chia Seeds

Ground Chia SeedsChia seed is well known for its several health benefits. It is rich in fiber, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids.

You can use ground chia seeds in place of Xanthan gum. When it is kneaded with water, it turns into a thick gel-like substance capable of thickening the batter or dough.

It is a gluten-free baking ingredient that adds elasticity and smoothness to bread and pastries. However, it increases the baking time by 15 minutes compared to the Xanthan gum.

9. Psyllium Husks

Psyllium HusksPsyllium husk is commonly used as laxatives. The soluble fiber in it acts as a thickening and binding agent just like the Xanthan gum.

Psyllium husk is a good alternative to Xanthan gum; usable in baking. It helps to retain moisture and help bread from becoming too crumbly.

You need to use twice the amount of Psyllium husk powder as Xanthan gum in your baking recipes.

The bottom line

Instead of Xanthan gum, you can use any of the above-discussed thickenings and softening agents in your recipes. Almost, all of the substitutes need to be used in the same quantity as the Xanthan gum.

It requires a lot of patience and practice before you can find the most suitable replacement ingredient for a particular recipe.

While substituting Xanthan gum with other ingredients you have to pay attention to taste, flavor, color and heating point.

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