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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. With the right guidance, gluten-free cooking can be made very easy and enjoyable.

In conventional recipes containing wheat, rye, barley, or triticale flour, the protein gluten in these flours serves the same purpose that guar gum and xanthan gum do in gluten-free baking. Gluten protein is what traditional recipes rely on as a thickening agent 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 when creating gluten-free foods. 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.

Comments

Kary says:

Hi Cassidy,

I just found guar gum & xanthan gum in my new bought almond milk. This is the first time I aware these two additive, but still no ideas is it no harm for healthy. If this two gums are usually used in the gluten product, does it mean that it is no harm for healthy?

Cheers,
Kary

This depends on the individual. They are both customary ingredients in dairy free milks. You may want to check with your healthcare provider if these are an issue for you to digest.

mediababe says:

very nice article, good looking for me.

Room Gardens says:

This recipes is very nice, i want to share this, and my friend cook for me. thanks for sharing. i like and i love it :*

Pat Todd says:

Guar gum, will it’s thickening properties be affected by rice vinegar?

Teknodiary says:

hahha,,,nice post,,i like this

Vineet Goyal says:

Hi,
Thank you for the information you have shared about these products. It is great to know so much details in one article.

Do you have any insight regarding which Gum do companies prefer from Guar Gum or Xanthan Gum?
I am trying to do market survey on these ingredients.

Thank you in advance

Vineet Goyal

No, I’m sorry. We don’t have that information.

RAMKESH MOAN says:

Hlo

If we mix both guar gum and xanthan gum and use this mixture for making souses then what difference in our result, as only in xanthan gum

Hi Ramkesh, this is a question best suited for our customer service department. You can reach them at 1-800-349-2173.

Sue says:

What is the ratio of Xanthum gum to flour in your Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour?

Since this is a proprietary blend, we can’t give out specific information. This post is a good guideline though for how much xanthan gum can be used in a recipe.

MrsTea says:

I am planning to make LC pasta. The recipe asks for Guar Gum. Could I replace this with Xanthan?

Yes, but you may need about a quarter tsp less of xanthan gum than guar gum. They are not exactly interchangeable 1 for 1. We suggest doing a good search for similar recipes to the one you plan to use the substitution in to see what the common amount of xanthan gum is in those recipes. This post may be helpful for you. https://www.bobsredmill.com/blog/recipes/guar-gum-vs-xanthan-gum/

Rachael says:

Thank you for your article!.Does one use guar gum and xanthan gum in a 1:1 substitution or
is it best to use slightly different ratios? What is the numerical relationship between the two?

No, you can’t use them 1 for 1. Here’s an idea on how to exchange them.
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.

Jasmin Weitzeil says:

Hi, I am trying to switch to a soy free vegan diet. Is your guar gum and / or xantham gum soy free? I read that these often have soy in it but it doesn’t show soy on your ingredient list. But it is also not marked soy free on the thrive market app.
Thank you.

They are soy free, but they are packaged in a facility that also has soy in it.

Deb says:

I am making Portuguese custard tarts for a friend who is gluten intolerant,I have xanthan gum on hand at home.The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of cornflour into 1 &1/4 cups of milk,if using the xanthan instead of cornflour,how much would I have to use

This is hard to answer without seeing the recipe. We would suggest you call our customer service department and speak to our recipe specialist. The number is 503-654-3215.

Jan Niemann says:

I am so allergic to all grains, but I want bread sometimes. Do you have a recipe with just the starches?

We suggest doing a search for Brazilian Cheese Rolls. They are really easy to make and only use tapioca as the flour.

neil glass says:

Hello,
Can i use any of these to thicken glyacine to like a golden sryup
consistency it will be use for my fishing bait
yours neil glass

We haven’t experimented with that method before.

Donna Rudko says:

Can I add Xanthan gum to a recipe where I replaced the total quanity of all purpose flour with 1/3 protein powder, and the cookies are very fragile. I would like to have them more dense and durable for transporting them

Yes, xanthan gum would help, but you may want to also consider adding egg if you eat eggs. Not knowing the recipe makes it hard to recommend exactly what you would need to do to make them more durable.

Donna Rudko says:

Sorry I meant to say 2/3 flour and 1/3 protein powder.

Amber says:

Hi! I’m making natural toothpaste. Which might be the better choice here, xanthan or guar? Or does it not really matter much?
Thank you! 🙂

We haven’t tried making toothpaste with these products. We recommend searching on the internet for others’ recommendations for this.

Paula Kelley says:

I was just getting used to these two thickeners when I came across an recipe that called for arrowroot. Now I am completely confused again. I did google and see that it is basically tapioca. Can I use either guar gum or xanthan gum in its place?
Thanks

Yes, you can use xanthan gum or guar gum in place of the arrowroot in a recipe.

Sarah Lovelady says:

Thank you for the information.

PAM KEETON says:

I’m on a ketogenic diet. I love chicken and dumplings, southern style. I like tough chewy & thick dumplings. I’m trying to figure out how to make dumplings keto style as I can’t have any grains. I can have nut & coconut flours. So far what I’ve experimented with fell apart when it hit the broth. I was wondering if guar gum or xanthan gum would be helpful. Any suggestions or recipes you can share with me?

We can’t speak specifically to making keto friendly dumplings. We did a quick good search and found a few recipes. We suggest looking it up and finding what would work for you. Let us know what you find out. Good luck!

Mary Anne Weber says:

What is the shelf life of an unopened package of Red Mill’s guar gum?

Our guar gum is best kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, preferably the fridge or freezer. It will keep up to 24 months when stored properly.

Sarah Hancock says:

If you have problems with candida, steer clear of Xanthan Gum. It feeds yeast because its made “made by a micro organism called Xanthomonas Campestris,” a fancy way to say the black mold growing on your old leafy green veggies. Mold feeds yeast. If you live with autoimmune diseases, steer clear of anything that feeds Candida. As it grows, its 20 alcohol byproducts will cause an inflammatory response. If you live with Chrones or IBS (or any other autoimmune illness), xanthan gum is NOT your friend. Stick with guar gum. Your body will thank you.

Anupama says:

What is the odour of xanthangum

Xanthan Gum shouldn’t have an odor. If it does, it’s probably not good to eat.

Patricia Adels says:

I have a cheesecake recipe that calls for 6 tablespoons of flour in the batter..What would be the equivalent amount of xanthum gum to substitute? Thanks!

Hi Patricia, we wouldn’t recommend xanthan gum as a substitute for that. We would recommend using our gluten free flour blend, our 1 to 1 flour or rice flour. If you would like to speak with our recipe specialist, please feel free to call her at 1-800-349-2173. She can help you out with more specific questions based on the recipe you are using.

Arlene Baker says:

Back in the 90s, there was a product called Dynatrim, similar to Slim-Fast, but oh so much better, because you could actually blender it longer and turn it into a pudding. I know they used guar gum and xanthum gum in the ingredient list. What proportions would I use if I were to use 1 c almond milk, and 1 scoop whey protein powder to make a pudding? If anyone out there remembers the Dynatrim, and know what product is the same or most similar, I’d love to hear from you!

Hi Arlene, that is kind of tricky since we don’t know how much thickener is in the protein powder. You may have to play around with it starting at 1/16th of a tsp moving your way up. Either way, it sounds delicious!

Wendy says:

Very helpful! Thank you so much…

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