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.


Kirk says:

When in Argentina we had the pleasure of eating a homemade soy milk whipping at a vegan restaurant called Picnic . It was ……. whewwww…… sooo good. So I have just bought both the Redmill gums to begin my career of dessert chef (amateur). I will try to keep you posted for variations. Then on to the gluten free baking. Page bookmarked, check.

Hillary Murtha says:


I just bought some of Bob’s Red Mill Guar Gum because my husband suffers from postprandial hypotension (low blood pressure after eating). High carb meals particularly bring it on, due to the dilation of the blood vessels with increased insulin production. I read on medical websites that guar gum helps alleviate the condition.

But my question is not medical. We want to sprinkle a teaspoon of guar gum into his morning breakfast cereal with milk, and wondered how that would affect the texture and flavor – will it thicken, if eaten cold, and will the guar gum make the cereal taste beany or bitter?


That’s a great question and we don’t really know the answer. I would not imagine it would taste beany or bitter, but it could start thickening the cereal. You’ll have to let us know what you discover!

How about of using Pasta…?

xanthan gum or Guar gum smells good and at the same time tastes unbeatable.. This has become one of my favourites…I too wanted to know more about yummy recipies….If you can mail me…

Bob says:

I realise this sounds a bit odd but how long does the gum remain edible when mixed with a liquid? ie: can the mixture go bad when wet mixed?

I don’t have a definitive answer for you, but a pretty long time, I think. It’s used in so many salad dressings and sauces that I have to think it has a pretty good shelf life.

Gail T says:

I want to use an heirloom ‘einkorn’ wheat flour. The protein in this wheat is weaker than modern wheat protein is. I am thinking that use of xanthan gum would assist the dough to rise more than it does without assistance. Is this a correct assumption? If so, do you have a suggestion as to how much xanthan gum to use per 6 1/2 cups of flour?

Hi Gail,

In this situation, I’d recommend adding Vital Wheat Gluten. It will be much more beneficial than xanthan gum.

George H says:

Trying to use less syrup or honey to make my own granular bars, I find it pretty hard to make the ingredients stick together to form a bar. Some recipes suggest xanthan gum

Any thought and recommendations (such as the amount used to make things stick based on a cup of oats and a cup of nuts, for example)? Thanks.

Hi George,

That’s a new one for us. I’m not sure how much to use. Have you tried adding dates? That might work well in place honey or syrup. That’s really the base of Larabars. Otherwise, I’d start with 1 tsp per cup of ingredients and give it a go.

Stephen K says:

I want to make some shakes and smoothies using only water/ice and artificial fruit flavorings. Will either adding xanthum or guar gum to the drink thicken it up, or would I need some other ingredient. Do either of those gums add any flavor at all?

Either of the gums would thicken your smoothie and they will not add any extra flavor.

Colette says:

Hi Cassidy,

I need to make gluten free lady locks and while I’ve never baked gluten free before, I’m hoping to get some guidance where to start. Lady locks, aka clothespin cookies, if you aren’t familiar, are similar to cream horns – they are a pastry wrapped around either a clothespin or a form – baked for 15 mins then filled with a buttercream filling. The ingredients for the pastry are just flour, water, egg, sugar, salt and then crisco which is added to the dough after rolling out and then it rest – 3x.

Do I need to add either of the gums to this do you think?


Hi Colette,

I’d recommend adding just a small amount of gum per cup of flour- no more than 3/4 tsp for the whole recipe. That should give it a little binding power and help keep your pastries from crumbling.

Ann Saunders says:

Xanthum gum, is that like nutra sweet or equal? The byproduct of bacteria , meaning the excrement of bacteria, used for it’s sweetness? Many have debilitating reactions to that!!!!!!


If you read the post, you’ll see that it is actually an outer coating on the bacteria and it is not used for its sweetness. Some people cannot digest it, but I it’s certainly not everyone.

Juli says:

Hi Cassidy,

I only use guar gum in making ice cream and so need very little at a time. How do you recommend storing the guar gum for maximum longevity? Thanks!

We recommend an airtight container in the freezer for extended storage. That should keep it fresh until you need to use it.

Kim Burrows says:

Is the storage the same for xanthan gum?

Yes. Airtight container in the freezer for the longest life.

Avery says:

Do we need to heat the liquid to dissolve the gums? If so, what temperature?

No, you do not need to heat the liquid to dissolve the gums. It’s actually better if you create a slurry first with liquid BEFORE heating.

Avery says:

I do not plan to heat if heating to activate the gum is not required.

Dahlia says:

I am planning to use guar gum ( or xanthan gum ) – purchased both, in ice cream and sorbets. How much and how properly combine it with ice cream base?How to and how much to use with sorbet? Will it affect flavor?

ellen brockett says:

looking for carb count of both, cant be high cause so little is used. am on seizure prevention diet

Ellen- Please visit our website for nutritional information on Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum. There are links in the post for the product pages.

Oohayamarthi says:

Hi can you please tell me how much water should i have to take to dilute guar gum

It really depends on what you’re trying to make. Can you give us a little more info?

Latisha says:

I have bobs mill guar gum that is sealed in original bag… 1 year past date. Is it usable?

Josh says:

What is healthier? Guar gum or xantham?

That’s not really a question I know how to answer. It depends on what you mean by healthy. Guar gum has much less sodium per serving, but xanthan gum has a healthy dose of dietary fiber in each serving.

Tony says:

I have a syrup recipe with sugar, cinnamon, karosyrup and vanilla. I use 8 cups if water to a boil with 3/4 tsp vanilla in the recipe and use 1/2 tsp of xantham gum to keep the cinnamon suspended, however the cinnomon eventually settles to a slimy film on the bottom if the bottle. If I add any more xantham gum it becomes more jell like. Would guar gum help this and can you give me an idea if how much of each to add.

Thanks, Tony


I am sorry, but this is getting pretty far out of our area of expertise. We really only know how much to use for baking. I’d recommend finding someone who knows more about creating your own syrups.

Hebekiah says:

Using that much xantham ought to do the job and then some. Did you mix it all in the blender? That’s usually the key to a proper suspension and by far the best way to use it whenever possible.

Teri Jennings says:

Looking at the nutrition label there is a significant amount of Sodium in your xanthum gum, why? There is no sodium in the chemical makeup of Xanthum gum.


I’m not sure why it is so high in sodium, but we have had this product analyzed at a lab for nutritional information. Perhaps something to do with how it’s procured?

Colleen says:

Just wondering if I could substitute guar gum or xanthan gum for clear gel in a recipe for homemade canned salsa? If so would I follow the directions posted for use in hot liquids-gravies etc.?

I would think that would work for salsa. Yes, I’d follow the directions for hot liquids.

Sandi says:

Xanthan Gum

Other Names: Bacterial Polysaccharide, Corn Sugar Gum, Goma Xantana, Gomme de Sucre de Maïs, Gomme de Xanthane, Gomme Xanthane, Polysaccharide Bactérien, Polysaccharide de Type Xanthane, Polysaccharide Xanthane, Xanthan, Xanthomonas campestris. compliments of WEBMD.

People with corn allergies need to be aware of this..

I guess they found a cheaper way to produce it by using corn..

Johnd486 says:

Great, thanks for sharing this article. Really Cool.

Sandra Paulsen says:

I just read the 6/11/12 update regarding corn in the making of Xanthan Gum. I have a degree in Microbiology and Medical Laboratory Technology and I have worked in multiple labs over 20 years, including the BC Centre of Disease Control. Glucose used in food manufacturing, including being used as a substrate to grow Xanthan Gum, is often derived from corn and the biggest worldwide manufacturer of Glucose is China, a country that has more lax safety standards than in North America. Corn is the cheapest source to produce glucose available world wide and the most widely used in glucose production, so it is not exclusively produced by wheat, as claimed in this article. As a person who is allergic to corn myself, it is dangerous to print claims such as this without researching the facts first. Please take down this update, as it is not correct.


Thank you for your comments. Our xanthan gum is no longer grown on corn glucose.

Martha Edwards says:

Why do you not offer an “organic” xanthun gum , or organic guar gum?

Neither product is available on the market as organic. They simply do not make an organic xanthan gum or organic guar gum.

Myrella Bakker says:

Just a general question. I hope that your products are non genetically modified?

Ron Sandahl says:

I used Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan Gum for years before stopping all Xanthan Gum use due to lack of information as to whether or not it was non-GMO, or that it was grown/fed using non-GMO corn or wheat or other ingredients. Can you definitively state that Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan Gum is 100% non-GMO? I would love to start using this product again!

At this time, we have guarantees from our supplier that this product is non-GMO, however, you may feel better waiting until it displays the Non-GMO Verified stamp from The Non-GMO Project.

Paula Seidel says:

Can I use Xanthan Gun in home canning?

It’s used in so many commercial sauces and soups, I can’t see any reason why you couldn’t use it in home canning.

What do you think of guar gum having a 10% contamination of soy usually. It comes from India generally and I have read that there can be as much as 10% soy contamination of it. This concerns me if it is true as that soy is likely GMO soy. Could you investigate this and see what you can find out?

We have guarantees from our suppliers that our guar gum is non-GMO. All of our products will be going through the verification process with The Non-GMO Project. I am sure they will be able to verify the GMO status of our Guar Gum.

Bonita says:

I am wondering what the fuss about GMO really is if there has been no substantial scientific evidence to prove that it is harmful to humans.
I think it’s great that your product is not made with corn but also that, though I have a wheat allergy and a corn allergy, that the xantham gum is still considered safe in your opinion. Than you for your information.

Kara says:

There are more choices for commercially produced GF bread products than ever before, but most, I find have an almost slimy texture unless toasted.
Is that unfamiliar texture due to too much gum in the recipe? Or could it come from using the wrong kind of gum?


It depends on what recipe it is, but that’s pretty common to gluten free bread. Give this no-knead recipe a whirl- I’ve personally tried it and did not find the loaf to be overly slimy.

Gina says:

HI! I have a question. I was just told that I have an allergy to Guar Bean/Gum…. does this mean I cannot use Xanthan Gum?
Thanks for your help.

It’s hard to say- they are very different products that come from very different sources (bean vs microorganism), but it’s possible that your body might react the same way. If you’re not willing to risk it, I know A LOT of people are having success baking without either for gluten free. Check out this post here about using psyllium husk:

Paula Carlson says:

Can Xanthan Gum be used to thicken meat juices or broth to make gravy?

Yes, we recommend a slurry before adding it to the liquids.

Niki says:

Can you please share ways to substitute xantham for eggs? I am developing a baked quinoa veggie patty recipe. The grain mixture is dry and I don’t want a batter. I want to bolster the eggs I do add. Thank you.

Hi Niki,

We are not really sure and you’re going to have to experiment. I’d recommend starting with adding 1 tsp to the recipe and go from there. What an interesting way to use xanthan gum. If you have luck, please report back so we can hear how it went and what you did.

Lori says:

I’m making homemade coconut milk, from the coconut itself, and it separates extremely bad, it says in your article to use 1-2 teaspoons for quart of liquid, how much would you suggest for this, I’d like to use as little as possible since i have a lot of stomach issues, thanks in advance


I’m so sorry, but we don’t know. It’s definitely not something we’ve done before. I’d recommend starting with 1 tsp and see how it goes.

Nancy says:

I’ve tried your Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 baking flour for cookies and like it so much I’d like to get bold and *try* substituting it 1 to1 in my bread machine recipe for yeast bread. …but I imagine I’d need to add some more xanthan gum. Usually I’d add 1 t xanthan gum per cup of flour, but there’s already xanthan gum in the 1 to 1 mix, so I’m not sure. Can you help me out with a suggestion?


Your kind words about our mix are so nice to hear. Thank you. Our test kitchen recommends adding ¾ tsp xanthan gum per cup of flour called for in the recipe to make yeasted breads.

Nancy says:

Thank you, Cassidy. I’m still tweaking breadmaking with the 1 to 1 mix, but boy does it make some outstanding gluten-free flour tortillas!
Thanks for the help.

:Donna says:

Thank you so much for this valuable information 🙂

Mel Black says:

I am making up some sauce recipes, and I would like to use non-GMO xanthan gum. Does non-GMO xanthan gum stand up to high heat, and high acidity?
Thank you.

Yes, our xanthan gum should work just fine under those conditions.

riyazshaik says:

Can I use guar gum in making of mango juice can u suggests me which one is better for thinking juice

I have very little experience with mango juice, but I would imagine xanthan gum will work better.

Tina Neff says:

I have bought guar gum and xanthan gum from local health food stores, in small weighed packages. How long can I store this before its usefulness expires? Some is a few years old. I got busy baking a lot when I discovered I had celiac, but have since bought mostly commercially prepared products. Should I throw it all away?

Typically, we do not recommend eating a product after it’s sell by date. It might still work, but we can’t really know for sure without trying it. If it smells funky at all, though, please do not use the product.

Layla says:

I was wondering what the difference between gluten, xanthan gum, and guar gum was. Also do these different substances have slightly different tastes

They all have different sources, but essentially do the same thing in baked goods. Gluten is best used in baking, while the other two gums can be used to thicken sauces, soups, ice cream, etc. All three have little to no flavor.

franky says:

Hello, I hope everything is well with you, and would like to thank you in advance for you help and time on this matter.

I am new to Xanthan Gum and would like to know if I can make the slurry with the olive oil instead of using water. This oil will later be blended with some balsamic and wine vinegar.


Yes, you can try making a slurry with oil first. The point is just to make sure it gets fully dissolved before mixing with the rest of your wet ingredients.

Allan says:

I am making salad dressing from dried herbs, vinegar. water and oil. The herbs are to be mixed with an emulsifier, Guar gum or Xanthan gum. The liquid ingredients will be added later. Any suggestions?

Xanthan gum is your best choice.

Allan says:

Ok. Thank you.

Alistair says:

I have a small pasta extruder and I am experimenting with producing a gluten free pasta from Lupin flour and rice flour. Would you recommend using Xanthan gum or Guar gum as an emulsifier?

We’d recommend xanthan gum.

Lori says:

Does your source of xantham gum contain soy in any way? is it safe for someone with a soy intolerance?Also do any of your GF flours have soy added to them? Thank you. Have been enjoying your products for years.


Our xanthan gum does not contain soy, but we do use have some soy products (textured soy protein, soy grits, soy protein powder) in our gluten free facility. None of our gluten free flour blends or mixes use soy flour. We use good manufacturing practices to clean lines and minimize risk of cross contact. If you have further questions, please call us at 800-349-2173.

Mara says:

If using gluten free flour with xanthan gum, do I still need to add more xanthan gum or guar to the mix?

It depends on what you’re making. For bread and other yeast-risen baked goods, you will probably need additional xanthan gum. Cookies, cakes, quick breads should all be fine with no additional xanthan gum.


Am looking for where to but for the xanthan gum

Pat says:

Hi there I have heard that Xanthan Gum is made of GMO Corn is this correct, and if So id rather use this guar gum, so does this work well with bread making?


Please see our policy regarding GMOs here:

Guar gum will work well with bread baking, but not quite as well as xanthan gum.

View Comments

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts

Keep up to date on the latest from
Bob's Red Mill
Subscribe Now