9 Substitutes for Xanthan Gum (2024)

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.


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.

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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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.


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.

9 Substitutes for Xanthan Gum (2024)


What can be substituted 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.
May 13, 2020

Can you substitute xanthan gum for arrowroot? ›

Can I Use Xanthan Gum Instead of Arrowroot Powder? Xanthan gum is a great substitute for arrowroot powder, use 1 teaspoon xanthan gum for every tablespoon of arrowroot powder called for.

What happens if you don't use xanthan gum in a recipe? ›

However, some recipes can be made successfully without xanthan gum, with an adequate amount of liquid, butter, eggs and oil, even if the recipe itself calls for it. The only difference you may notice is that they're a little more dry than usual.

Can you substitute pectin for xanthan gum? ›

Pectin vs Xanthan Gum

In many food applications, xanthan gum and pectin are used as equally effective thickening agents. Xanthan gum can serve as an effective replacement for pectin, though a blend of xanthan, inulin, and pectin often serves as the best formulation.

Can I use cornstarch instead of xanthan gum? ›

Corn starch is an excellent thickener and is very popular, especially in stews and sauces. Replace 1: 1 corn starch with xanthan gum. Gelatine helps thicken many foods as it comes from animal collagen, the jelly-like protein that provides structure to connective tissue .

How to make xanthan gum? ›

Xanthan gum is created when the sugar glucose is fermented with a bacterium found in cabbage known as Xanthom*onas campestris. During fermentation, a white powder is formed that is then sold as xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is unique in its ability to hydrate and disperse at any temperature.

Why do people not like xanthan gum? ›

Xanthan Gum Can Cause Digestive Issues

In human studies, large doses of xanthan gum were found to have the following effects ( 9 ): Increased frequency of bowel movements.

How do you use gelatin instead of xanthan gum? ›

So if the recipe calls for 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum you would use 1/2 tsp of gelatin powder and add it into the dry ingredients of the recipe.

Why should you avoid xanthan gum? ›

If you have a severe allergy to dairy, wheat, corn, or soy, you may want to avoid xanthan gum as it can potentially be made with sugar derived from any of these sources. If you're concerned about allergies or other reactions to food additives, it may also be best to look for items that don't contain xanthan gum.

What is a substitute for xanthan gum in pizza dough? ›

Arrowroot starch: You can also swap in cornstarch. This helps to bind our dough a bit more, and simulates what xanthan gum would do without needing to use xanthan gum. Sea salt: For flavor! Psyllium husk powder: I recommend using psyllium husk powder over rough husk.

Which is better, guar gum or xanthan gum? ›

In the kitchen, there are also important differences in using xanthan gum and 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.

Does xanthan gum expire? ›

In its dry form and when properly warehoused, xanthan gum can last indefinitely. However, its shelf life is limited, and it is not recommended for use after the expiration date because it doesn't work as well.

Is xanthan gum necessary in baking? ›

Xanthan Gum adds thickness and viscosity to gluten-free breads and other baked goods. Without xanthan gum, your gluten-free baked goods would be dry, crumbly and flat. Because xanthan gum is gluten-free and vegan, it's the preferred thickener for those home bakers with food allergies.

Why do people avoid xanthan gum? ›

Xanthan Gum Can Cause Digestive Issues

For most people, the only potential negative side effect of xanthan gum appears to be an upset stomach. Many animal studies have found that large doses can increase the frequency of stools and cause soft stools ( 13 , 14 ).

How do you thicken soup without xanthan gum? ›

Cornstarch, or corn flour, can be used to thicken soup through its high starch content. Cornstarch is a great thickener for soup because only a little bit is needed to significantly thicken a soup, and it will not affect the flavor profile of the soup.

Is psyllium husk and xanthan gum the same? ›

While xanthan gum also works to keep a gluten-free batter together, psyllium has a level of bounciness that you can never achieve with the former. Xanthan is best suited for cakes, cookies, brownies, or pie dough, while psyllium husk works miracles in breads.

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