Recipes, Special Diets on May 14, 2010 by

Guar Gum vs. Xanthan Gum

If you are new to Gluten Free Baking you may find yourself wondering, “What is the difference between Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum?” Both ingredients are frequently called for in gluten free recipes and can seem exotic at first, but they both serve the same general purpose as thickeners and emulsifiers. Quite simply, both these ingredients help keep your mixes mixed. They keep oil droplets from sticking together and separating, and solid particles from settling to the bottom. You can use just one or the other; or sometimes for the best results, you can use them in combination together.

In conventional recipes containing wheat, rye, barley or triticale flour, the protein, gluten in these fours serves the same purpose that guar gum and xanthan gum do in gluten free baking. Gluten protein is what traditional recipes rely on to thicken dough and batters, and trap air bubbles to make your baked goods light and fluffy. Xanthan gum tends to help starches combine to trap air, while guar gum helps keep large particles suspended in the mix.

One of the differences between the two products is where they come from. Guar gum is made from a seed native to tropical Asia, while xanthan gum is made by a micro organism called Xanthomonas Campestris.

In the kitchen, there are also important differences in using xanthan gum vs. 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. For recipes involving citrus you will want to use xanthan gum or increase the amount of guar gum used.

In general, it is best to add both xanthan and guar gum to the oil component in a recipe, making complete mix of oil and gum before adding to the rest of liquid ingredients. Using a blender or a food processor is a great way to get the gums to dissolve properly.

The final difference between the two gums is the variation in quantities you will need for different foods. There are no hard and fast rules as to how to combine the two gums together, you’ll have to experiment yourself to see what works best in your recipes.

If you decide to use just one or the other, here are some helpful measurements for popular foods:

How much Xanthan Gum for Gluten Free Baking?
Cookies………………………………¼ teaspoon per cup of flour
Cakes and Pancakes………………..½ teaspoon per cup of flour
Muffins and Quick Breads………… ¾ teaspoon per cup of flour
Breads……………………………….1 to 1-½ tsp. per cup of flour
Pizza Dough…………………..…… 2 teaspoons per cup of flour
For Salad Dressings…Use ½ tsp. Xanthan Gum per 8 oz. of liquid.

How much Guar Gum for Gluten Free Baking?
Cookies………………………………¼ to ½ tsp. per cup of flour
Cakes and Pancakes………………..¾ teaspoon per cup of flour
Muffins and Quick Breads………….1 teaspoon per cup of flour
Breads……………………………….1-½ to 2 tsp. per cup of flour
Pizza Dough…………………..…….1 Tablespoon per cup of flour
For Hot Foods (gravies, stews , heated pudding)…Use 1-3 teaspoons per one quart of liquid.
For Cold Foods (salad dressing, ice creams, pudding) Use about 1-2 teaspoons per quart of liquid.

8/30/11 UPDATE: We are so pleased with the awesome response we get from this post and will do our best to answer any of your remaining questions. However, we have found that there are a lot of questions here that we don’t know much about- like ice cream making and salad dressings. Again, we will do our best, but we’re really only experts at baking with these two products.

6/11/12 UPDATE: Regarding corn in xanthan gum: The microorganism that produces xanthan gum is actually fed a glucose solution that is derived from wheat starch. Gluten is found in the protein part of the wheat kernel and no gluten is contained in the solution of glucose. Additionally, after the bacteria eats the glucose, there is no wheat to be found in the outer coating that it produces, which is what makes up xanthan gum. The short answer here is, there is no corn used at all in the making of xanthan gum.


Craig Daniels says:

Thanks for your interest and encouragement, Amanda 🙂

Loaf #3 (without xanthan gum) rose enough and tasted good enough to be “passable” (as my wife rated it), but I decided to reprogram the Zojirushi (easily done) to provide more kneading time (30 minutes instead of 15) and a longer final (third) rise of 45 minutes.

Loaf #4 also benefited from using 100% rye flour (3-1/4 cups, home ground), 3 tbsp of molasses (instead of 2), 3 tsp of dry active yeast (instead of 2) –and once again: no xanthan gum.

Wife Peggy pronounced it “good”, though I much prefer it with strawberry jam. It rose as well as the first loaf (with a full load of xanthan gum), but still not as much as I’d like, so the final rise for loaf #5 will last an hour (at 92 degrees Fahrenheit).

I’m also going to try oat flour.

** The point of these efforts was to make bread without wheat –per Dr. Davis’ book: “Wheat Belly”. At this point, however, I’m not even sure if rye, barley and oat flour are blessed by Dr. Davis as replacement grains.


AmandaCarter says:

Thanks for the update, Craig! Rye and barley do contain gluten, but we make a gluten-free oat flour as well as many other gluten-free flours. This a great summary of gluten-free flours from Shauna Ahern of
– Amanda

Craig Daniels says:

Thank you for that link, Amanda. Shauna sure seems to know what she’s doing –and making bread stick together with starch instead of (wheaty) gluten is an interesting alternative to explore. I look forward to trying her recipes –and your oat flour –for “loaf #5” –and not having to beat up the dough for half an hour (to maximize the sparse gluten content).

It turns out that Dr. (“Wheat Belly”) Davis is against eating nearly everything on might make a decent loaf of bread out of, while we’ve noticed improvements (weight loss, lower blood sugar levels) simply by eliminating wheat. My wife had to cut back on her sugar pills (Metformin).

We’re reading Dr. Klaper now.


Warrick says:

Hi there,

I have a question in regards to xantham gum in sauces. I as a rule do not normally use any thickeners. However we are starting a range of glazing sauces, so the need a nice syrupy viscosity.

My problem is with the air bubbles. It seems I need to blend the gum to have it emulsify consistently.The resulting air bubble are not the look I was hoping for. Any suggested changes to the method??


AmandaCarter says:

Warrick, our Recipe Specialist suggests you try making a slurry using the xanthan gum and a small amount of water and then slowly add the remaining liquid ingredients until fully incorporated. Hope this helps! ~ Amanda

peter says:

Hi Craig,

Can you please tell me if umyour xantham gum or your guar gm is gmo free ?

At Bob’s Red Mill, we have made a commitment to purchase only non-GMO grains. All of our products are made from ingredients that were grown from identity-preserved, non-GMO seed. For more information about our GMO policy, please call our customer service team: 1-800-349-2173.

Craig Daniels says:

Peter, I used Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan gum. While what Cassidy tells us is welcome news, the package describes its contents as “All Natural”, while other Red Mill packaging proudly proclaims when the contents are “Organic” (which, I presume, means “GMO free”). That being said, I put a lot of faith into Bob’s Red Mill products, organic and “natural”.

PS: I mixed only a teaspoon of xanthan to 3-1/2 cups of oat flour (+ 1 tsp salt and 3 tbsp cane sugar) on the dry side. (The yeast is added last and on top in this bread maker: 3 teaspoons.)

On the wet side I added 2 whole eggs and 3 tbsp melted butter to 2 cups of very warm water. Our bread machine turned out the best loaf ever. You might try organic honey for sweetener and use 1/3rd potato flour instead of eggs (adding more warm water as needed).

I suggest that you don’t increase the xanthan unless you stand by to add a lot more warm water.

Jennifer Taylor says:

I have been trying to make spelt bread using xanthan gum and cannot get a decent rise out of the bread dough. I am using 1 tsp per cup of flour and the rise is minimal at best. I let it rise for 2 hours and then shaped into log and put in bread pan. I let it rise again for another hour and nothing. It does not even double in size. I have tried 6 different loafs of bread adding a little more xanthan gum then adding less. Any advice would be appreciated.

Hi Jennifer,

It sounds to me like it might not be xanthan gum that is at issue. Is your yeast proofing? If your yeast is reacting just fine, you might try adding some vital wheat gluten (unless, of course, you’re using spelt flour because you are avoiding wheat and gluten). For further assistance, please contact our customer service team at 800-349-2173 and ask to speak with our recipe specialist.

Dee says:

Hi, Jennifer!
I have been successfully making spelt bread in my bread machine for the past couple of months. This is my recipe:

1 c. warm water
l 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp honey or sweetner of choice
2 tsp. active dry yeast
Add the yeast, oil and honey to the cup of very warm water. Set aside and make sure it’s active.

Set bread machine on dough cycle.
1/2 tsp. lecithin
3 cups spelt flour
3 TBS. dry milk powder
l 1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. guar gum

Add liquid yeast mixture.

Start machine on “dough cycle”.

When finished on dough cycle, take out.( it may be a little “sticky” )
Knead a couple of mins. on floured surface.
Shape into loaf and put into greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for 30 mins.

Cook’s notes:

You can add herbs, nuts, or seeds to the dry ingredients.

Also, peek at the dough during first few mins. of mixing and if it seems too “sticky”
add a sprinkle of spelt flour. On the other hand..if it seems a little too dry, add a couple drops of water. Work with a spatula and keep the dough scraped off the sides.
Once you see the mixture looks like regular dough, leave the rest to the machine.

Jennifer, I am not a chef, just a housewife and avid vegetable gardener who loves a warm loaf of homebaked bread once in a while. I have made this a couple times for my friends and they loved it too.
I hope it turns out beautifully for you. 🙂

kirsten says:

Can you please tell me are your xantham gum and your guar gum SOY free?


Yes, our xanthan gum and guar gum are soy free.

charles locher says:

Best way to store xanthan gum??

Xanthan gum is best stored in an air-tight container in the fridge.

camilla says:

I am making orange (and lemon) syrups. The basic recipe is 2 C water, 2 C orange juice, 2 C sugar and juice of one lemon, mixed and simmered for 1/2 hour. The taste is great, but I thought I would like it a bit thicker, without cooking it down more. I was planning to use a bit of xanthum gum to thicken it, but read in a couple of places that xanthum gum doesn’t work in sugary liquids, and there are also problems with citrus. Do you have any advice on whether either xanthum or guar gum or both would work to thicken a citrus syrup? And if so, how much would you use?


I’ve not had a problem using xanthan gum to make a pie filling (berry), so it should work fine for the sugary syrups. We’re not exactly sure about whether the citrus would affect this or not, but I do know that folks use xanthan gum to thicken liquids for folks who need a liquid diet. I would imagine it will work. I’d suggest xanthan gum over guar gum, but not sure how much to recommend. I’d start with 1 tsp and go from there. Let us know how it comes out if you can, we’d love to learn!

Jamie says:

Cassidy, I’m working with a local high school student who is interested in culinary arts and is working on her senior project about eating healthy while receiving food stamps. Is there someone at Bob’s who might be willing to do an informational interview with her? If you can refer us to someone, that would be great!


Please have your student contact us at and we’ll pass her along to the appropriate person.

Melanie says:

My son is highly allergic to corn (among many others things). Everything I’ve researched claims that xanthan gum contains corn. Is this true or false? Thank you.


Most xanthan gum is grown on a medium that contains corn or soy. Our xanthan gum is grown on a different medium and does not contain corn or soy. It should be fine for your son.

T says:

I have allergies or sensitivities to both wheat and corn. (not just the gluten in wheat) I notice your 6/11/12 update indicates no corn, to which I am ecstatic…however, I notice that you say your medium is wheat starch, but indicate there is no wheat left at the end of the process. I am still concerned that your product could affect me. I would appreciate your thoughts on this. Thank you.

Honestly, we are not sure how this might affect you. We are not doctors and cannot advise you to try something that might cause an allergic reaction. The process of xanthan gum can be boiled down to this: xanthan gum is a creature, it eats wheat sugar (not protein), it then produces an outer “shell.” This “shell” is harvested and used to make xanthan gum. I recommend asking your allergist about this. I’m sorry that we cannot be of more help.

David says:

Hi, I was wondering if the liquid/oil/guar gum would solidify in the refrigerator and what might prevent that


It shouldn’t solidify in the fridge.

Peg LaFaye says:

I am looking for gluten and wheat free recipies. Pasta would be great! Should I use the Xanthan or Gar gum? I purchased KA gluten free flour and would like recipies from your product line as well.
Thank you for your time.

Hi Peg,

You can browse our recipe collection on our website

Miguel says:


I trying to make rice milk and always results in a sedimentation formation. Which gum do you recommend to prevent sedimentation? Guar, Xanthan, or a mixture of both?




We would recommend trying xanthan gum.

Miguel says:

Ok, thank you. I’ll try it.

Mary says:

Cassidy –
I am working on switching to GF ‘real’ (or ‘clean’) food and my concern is the Xantham gum is not ‘real’ because it is alcohol precipitated and I realized that since this is a processed item, is BRM’s xg GMO-free?
Thank you.

Hi Mary,

Yes, our xanthan gum is GMO free.

Sarah says:

Hi there,
Just a concern about the wheat part – my daughter has Celiacs disease, so I was dismayed to see that, am wondering now whether to switch over to Guar Gum, just to be safe.
Thank you


There is no wheat or gluten left in the xanthan gum after it is consumed. Our xanthan gum is safe for people with celiac disease. That said, I do know that some people cannot digest xanthan gum very well (gluten intolerant or not). If you feel more comfortable, guar gum is a good substitute.

Wanda says:

Can you keep xanthan gum past the exp date. If you use is past the date , how long past the date can you use it? Same question for baking soda. Had both of these Bob’s Red mill products awhile.


If you have stored them in a dry, cool environment and a sealed container, they may be good for a while after the expiration date. Both will lose some of their functionality if they are no longer good.

lyn thiessen says:

Tread carefully here…….according to the following article…..some people may exhibit cross sensitivity to xanthan gum if they are sensitive to the product from which it is cultured. . Health warnings on a product have been required for premature infants for enterocolitis…….it is a bowel stimulant……and workers who produce the product have exhibited lung problems. I use it…….but after reviewing the wikipedia article, I will be more careful in both use and who I give it to.

Bridget Martinson says:

My husband and son have Celiac disease. My husband does not tolerate xanthan gum and has the same symptoms as his celiac disease when he eats products with this in it. Guar gum is a much better substitution for him. It took me months to find out that xanthan gum was the culprit.

Liz Thorpe says:

Another perspective: When I ingest gluten, my autoimmune system attacks two parts of my body: my intestines (I have Celiac disease) and my brain (yes, brain damage.) The response is swift and severe so I manage my diet very seriously. I have not had any problems with xanthan gum from Bob’s Red Mill (I haven’t tried other brands – I’m cautious.) I use it, I eat it, I love it! … my daughter, who also has Celiac and food allergies, has problems with xanthan gum. My conclusion has been: one can have food allergies or sensitivities to xanthan gum just like any other food. I do not pair xanthan gum with gluten or wheat problems, I pair it with “immune problems with xanthan gum.” It gets it’s own designation.

Gloria Day says:

I’ve been diagnosed with a contact allergy to xanthan gum. Do you know if I can still eat baked goods that contain it? The dermatologist seemed to think the chemistry of xanthan changes after baking. Do you know? Thanks in advance.

If you have an allergy to xanthan gum, you should not eat baked goods with xanthan gum. We do not know how much the chemistry would change, but we wouldn’t recommend it.

pat and joe says:

Is there a healthier substitute for Xanthan gum. We want to make gluton free bread.
Thanks in advance.
Pat and joe

We recommend this post by Gluten Free Girl about substituting flax seed and chia seed in place of Xanthan Gum:

Gloria Day says:

Thanks for responding to my question about xanthan gum. I appreciate it!

Jonathan Yao says:

What is better preferred for use in making Gluten free ice cream cone, xanthan or guar gum?

Jonathan Yao says:

How many guar gum or xanthan gum to use in making ice cream cone, cake cone and waffle cone?


We’re not really sure. We haven’t had to do that yet. We’d suggest a small amount, like 1/4 tsp per cup of flour of xanthan gum. If you try it, let us know how it comes out.

S. Krishna Mohan says:

The bacterium that produces xanthan gum is Xanthomonas campestris (not camestris).

Oh my! How embarrassing! Thank you for the heads up!

zorb says:

Does it bother anyone else that Xanthomonas campestris is black mold found on vegetables like broccoli. Also that is the most infectious and devastating disease for green vegetables in the world. So why is it a good idea to scrape the ooze that this black mold excretes and put it in our food?

GfMomma says:


Might you be a troll? Just because Xanthomonas campestris is an infectious & devastating disease for green vegetables doesn’t mean it’s harmful to us, if that’s what you mean. There are plenty of products from various microorganisms that are used by us, and many of them started out as some kind of “ooze”. The antibiotic penicillin, for example, comes from a mold that grows on produce. Do your research, or choose not to use it, but don’t go around trying to scare people. If you’re worried about what modern technology is doing to our food supply, perhaps you should be concerned about the large increase in food allergies – it jumps 10% every year. That’s something worth being worried about, and worth doing something about it.

To add a bit of chew to ice cream use 1 – 2 teaspoons of xanthan gum per 2 quarts of ice cream. It helps prevent some of the ice crystals from forming, as well as provides a bit of chewiness.

Thank you very much! This was very easy to read and informative. Off to make berry cobbler.

Hey, guys. Maybe you can help answer this.

I make my own homemade toiletries and use guar gum as the thickening agent. It works great, but I do have to make smaller batches since it can’t keep that long. I’ve noticed in many of my store-bought shampoos that they use xanthan gum and not guar. So now I’m wondering: whereas guar gum is just milled seeds, xanthan gum requires a little TLC from a laboratory to come into being — and might this give xanthan gum the advantage to a longer shelf-life?

AmandaCarter says:

Thanks for your question. Our area of expertise is using these gums in baking and cooking; we don’t have information about how they work in homemade shampoos. As far as shelf life as food ingredients, xanthan gum and guar gum are the same (24 months, when stored properly).

4HungryBunnies says:

I had great success in using your xanthan gum for yeast bread, pizza crust, and especially flour tortillas. But after a while I started reacting to it much like it was gluten but on a lesser level. Then after research I found that xanthan gum is fed wheat or corn or soy in order to be made. As you state and I read other places that none of that remains in the final product. But if that were really true, it would not cause me to react. Sadly, I had to discontinue using xanthan gum for baking and I do not buy any products that contain it. I am gluten and corn inherent and casein intolerant and over all am very sensitive. I was hesitant to try guar gum as I read that many people who have issues with xanthan gum also have an issue with guar gum. But as I tried other things to replace the xanthan gum in my baking (psyllium husks, chia seed & flax seed), nothing was properly doing the job and products were failing. I decided to give guar gum a go and just see what would happen. It’s been pretty successful with no adverse affects thus far. I am quite happy!

We are so glad to hear that guar gum is working out for you. Many people with celiac disease cannot tolerate either of the gums, so I am happy to hear that guar gum works well for you. I know some people have great success using buckwheat flour as a substitute.

Anonymous says:

I have been storing my Xanthan gum in an airtight container in my cupboard, assuming it was okay as it does not say to refrigerate it. After researching it, refrigeration seems to be the recommended storing method so I am going to move into the refrigerator. Is my Xanthan gum as fresh as it would be if I were refrigerating it? I have had it for only about a month. Note that it was just in the bag resealed before it was move into an airtight container for several days.

Yes, your xanthan gum should be just fine. I would imagine that the main reason for refrigeration is to control the moisture levels. If you’ve moved it to an airtight container, it should be fine. If you ever have any problems with it, please feel free to call us at 800-349-2173.

Anonymous says:


Clara says:

How would you recommend storing Xanthan Gum? I just read the above post about refrigeration. Is that best or is it ok to store in an airtight container in the cabinet? Also, I just opened a bag of your glutten free flour. I saw a post somewhere to put it in a zip lock bag in the freezer. Is that what you recommend. It isn’t something I will use everyday.

Hi Clara,

For xanthan gum, an airtight container in the fridge is probably the best way to keep it fresh. I would recommend the same (or the freezer) for GF AP Flour.

sophia says:

I have a few bags of guar gum that expired a week ago….can I use these bags over the next year? When must I stop using them? Also, does the same apply to contain gum?


Your guar gum is probably fine. I recommend sticking your guar gum in the freezer to help keep it fresh. I wouldn’t recommend using these for much more than a few months longer.

Olga says:

Interesting info on xantham gum. I bought some a while back (1 year) and have had it stored in an airtight container in my cupboard. ( No Idea it had to be refrigerated). Is it time to dump what I have?

Also, a recipe I have says to use Vital Wheat Gluten… is there a difference between this and Xantham gum? The box does not say to refrigerate. Can you offer some advice?

Thank you for your time,

Xanthan gum is just best stored in refrigeration, but yours may still be good. With something like xanthan gum you’ll know if it is no longer working. Same goes for gluten. It is best kept refrigerated, but will be fine without. These are two very different products that work in the same way- to give dough elasticity and support leavening agents by stretching around the air bubbles and lifting the baked good. Call us at 800-349-2173 for more info.

Anne Marie B says:

I add 1/2 tsp guar gum per cup of flour for perfect crepes and great pie crust! It is not just the recipes that rise that do better with these 🙂 I am just starting with guar gum, but like 4HungryBunnies I also have so far had no problems with it so far and am finding it helps make my food lovely.

Mischa says:

I have Fibromyalgia and have found that one of the conditions associated with this is IBS and that a GF diet has helped considerably. On the question of Xanthan and Guar gums, could not something like File (made from sassafras leaves and used as a thickener) be used as well? What about Arrowroot (also a thickener)? Thanks for any suggestions.


The gums help bind the baked goods in question. You could certainly try the other options, but I do not know if they will work the same way.

Amy says:

I mixed your Xanthan Gum with water to create a gel so that I can just add in what I need to thicken liquids. I am storing the Xanthan Gum with water gel mixture in the refrigerator. Once mixed in this way, how long can I store this in the refrigerator?


Hi Amy,

I am sorry, but we do not know how long you can store the xanthan gum mixed with water. Best guess? 5 to 7 days.

Sami Eid says:

Hi I need some help about if I can use the guar and xanthan gum for a cookie I make and I’m trying to see if the product can give the dough some elasticity that need in my dough please if someone can call me at 313-525-7777 thank you


Please call us at 800-349-2173 for assistance.

Danny says:

You said there is no soy in your xanthan gum, but what about the guar gum? Is it soy-free?


Amanda H says:

On the pkg. of xanthan gum, it states that it is processed in the same plant as soy and tree nuts. Is it processed on a dedicated line? I have a child allergic to wheat, soy, and tree nuts. I need xanthan gum to make baked goods with rice flour.


We do use shared lines, but clean thoroughly between runs. Please call us at 800-349-2173 to learn more about our allergen policies.

Patty says:

I was wondering if I can have products that have Guar Gum in it.I found out recently that Im gluten,lactose,and fructose intolerant.If there is advise that would help.thank you


There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to eat guar gum with those dietary restrictions. It does not contain gluten, lactose or fructose.

Christina says:

Hi there,

I’m making potato rolls for thanksgiving and I’m trying to figure out how much xantham gum to use in the recipe. It’s a yeasty dough with potato and milk in it that rises overnight and you bake the next day. There are 6 cups of flour in it, which I will change to GF all purpose flour. How much xantham gum should I add?


Hi Christina,

Having spent the weekend playing with Xanthan gum, my best guess is to add about 4 tsp. If you add too much, they’ll be really chewy. If you don’t add enough, they’ll be hard. If you have time, I’d definitely recommend a trial run.

Lynne says:

I’m making pecan tassies and added a half tsp of xanthan gum to 2 cups of Bob’s gf flour.. After mixing the butter and cream cheese with it, the taste is very metallic. Will this disappear after baking or should I toss it?

Gluten free dough can taste odd, but it should taste good after baking. Hope they came out ok.

Ray says:

Hi Cassidy,

I am experimenting on a marinade for meat and this marinade contains some acidic ingredients like pineapple juice. Which one would you recommend I use as a thickener? Will they keep their integrity during and after the high heat canning process? Thank you.

Ray, I couldn’t tell you about the canning piece, you’ll have to try that on your own. I would recommend the xanthan gum for an acidic sauce, though.

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