Gluten Free Xanthan Gum Substitutes

In years past, you’d mainly find xanthan gum and guar gum on most gluten free product labels. Nowadays you’ll find newer ingredients such as arabic gum, formally known as gum arabic. Arabic gum is a natural gum made from the hardened¬†sap¬†of acacia trees found in Africa and Australia;¬†Acacia senegal trees, found in Africa, Pakistan and India; and¬†Acacia seyal trees, where the gum is used to treat or prevent several ailments, including digestive issues and high cholesterol. Gum arabic is¬†a soluble dietary fiber with unique properties, and is derived of 80% fiber.

Image: Acacia Tree

Gum arabic is used in the confectionery ¬†industry to prevent sugar from crystallizing, as a stabilizer (makes dough and batters stiffer – I didn’t have any success with it), thickener, and emulsifier (binder; mixes oils and liquid).

I’ve heard from some of you regarding not being able to tolerate xanthan gum or guar gum, and needing a substitute for these gums. So, I had to share this new information with you. Because most xanthan gum is derived from corn, and many of you cannot tolerate corn, arabic gum is an excellent, natural choice.

Most of you are able to tolerate guar gum. Guar gum is made from dehydrated, ground raw guar beans, also known as cluster beans. Those of you who cannot tolerate legumes, would also benefit from gum arabic or other gums.

Another substitute for guar and xanthan gum is carrageenan which is derived from moss, and is often substituted for gelatin.

And yet another xanthan gum substitute is locust bean gum, also known as carob gum, carob bean gum, and carobin. Carob gum is a vegetable gum derived from the seeds of the carob tree. It is used for thickening and jelling in the food industry, with a sweet chocolaty flavor, though the powder itself is usually light yellow in color.

Over the years I have found some recipes do not need any gums at all. When using high amounts of eggs, or fruit purees, which make excellent binders, no gums are usually needed.

If you have any further questions or advise on other guar and xanthan gum substitutes, please leave a comment below.

Tip: Adding 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon of a gum to each quart of your homemade ice cream makes for a close to  store-bought ice cream. It cuts back on ice crystals from forming and provides a nice chew.

Gum-Free Gum Substitute: Psyllium Husk Powder

I haven’t experimented with psyllium husk powder much, but I love what it does for gluten free bread recipes! It retains more moisture than gums do, which lengthens its shelf life. (Though I prefer to freeze gluten free bread.)¬† Meanwhile, one member, who is an avid baker, uses psyllium husk in equal amounts as gums are called for in a recipe. She just adds about 2 parts water as it absorbs liquid quite readily. I used 1 tablespoon psyllium husk in a bread recipe and added three tablespoons of water to the recipe (the other member uses about two tablespoons) and it turned out wonderful. UPDATE: Since then, I’ve developed more gum-free bread recipes. Check out this gluten free multigrain bread recipe.

More Gluten Free Gum Free Bread Recipes

Check out the Gum-Free Gluten Free Recipes category.

Note: If you are gluten-intolerant, remember to check with manufacturers on cross-contamination of gluten before purchasing.

15 Replies to “Gluten Free Xanthan Gum Substitutes”

  1. Carrageenan is a good choice, it does not however come from moss but from certain kinds of seaweed. It is also not carcinogenic, this is a common mis-statement. Poligeenan is carcinogenic, not carrageenan, and they are not the same thing.

  2. Hello from the Caribbean! I grow and cure vanilla beans and now I want to add Vanilla Paste to my list of vanilla items. It needs to be the consistency of honey
    and of course clear dark brown. Too many people complain about the use of Xanthan or Guar Gum for a thickening agent. Would this Gum Arabic be good to use…is it organic (I grow my beans organically) and will it leave a taste or any other unusual property when used? The Vanilla Paste should be three-fold…meaning it is three times the strength of Vanilla Extract. (forget Essence…they have chemicals) Also, can I locate it on the net?

    Thanks so much…love this site!! Sending sun and soft breezes to all of you in the states suffering from the cold and snow!!

    1. Jan,

      Not all carrageenan contains gluten. When a list for “hidden gluten” is usually a list of ingredients or products that “may” contain gluten and may vary brand by brand and source by source.


  3. Hi

    I used Xanthan gum in Orange juice but it looks very viscosity
    Please could I ask you to give me an alternatives if available for emulsion beverage?


  4. Have you ever heard of using psyllium instead of the gums? My family has enjoyed a recipe for bread with psyllium. The bread wasn’t as ‘gummy’ and sticky when cutting.

  5. Hello there!
    I realize this is an older post, but I am hoping you will see my comment and give me your insight. :)

    When using gum arabic in lieu xanthan gum, do you use the same amount of gum arabic as the amount of xanthan gum called for in a recipe?


    1. Hi Tanya,

      I finally got around to testing out gum arabic in a bread recipe recently. I needed to update this post, therefore, thank you for the reminder. When using equal amounts of gum arabic in a bread recipe, it did not bind the ingredients at all. I had to add my usual amount of xanthan gum to the dough to get it the ingredients to bind. However, the bread turned out much softer, a good thing! I need to experiment it with it more. It may be that it needs to be used in much larger amounts or for a thickener in cold ingredients like salad dressings.

      When I get experiment further, I will update this post.


  6. Carrageenan is carcinogenic due to the chemicals used to extract the substance from it’s red algae source. The following link lists substances to avoid, and the list is long.

  7. More recently I have used ground slippery elm bark, refined fenugreek gum, pectin and regularly use ground chia seeds – grind them fresh. The juice of prickly pear fruit is looking promising.

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