Xanthan Gum Substitutes That Work
Xanthan gum is a very popular ingredient in low carb baking. It is a great binder and thickener that doesn’t change the texture of the food or baked good. But what to do when you can’t find xanthan gum or just don’t want to use it. Not to worry here are five xanthan gum substitutes that actually work.
Psyllium husk powder: Psyllium husk powder is a great substitute for xanthan gum as a bnder or thickener. However, it is important to note that it is not a simple one for one ratio when using psyllium husk powder as a substitute. Also keep in mind that psyllium husk powder does have a taste that some (such as me) do not care for. To use psyllium husk powder as a xanthan gum substitute you will need to use twice as much psyllium husk powder as xanthan gum. For example, for 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum you will need 1/2 tsp of psyllium husk powder. You would add the psyllium husk powder the same way you would xanthan gum.
Ground flaxseeds (flaxseed meal): Finely ground flaxseeds can also be used as a xanthan gum substitute. This works great as a binder but not so much as a thickener. Ground flaxseeds also cannot be substituted on for one with xanthan gum. You will need to add some water to soften the seeds in order to give the same texture that xanthan gum gives to a baked good. You also may need to very slightly adjust the liquid to flour ratio in the recipe. To use ground flax seeds as a xanthan gum substitute you would use a method similar to making a flax egg. Use the same amount of ground flaxseeds as xanthan gum plus add twice as much water as the ground flaxseeds. For example, for 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum you would use a fork and stir together 1/4 tsp of ground flaxseeds with 1/2 tsp of water. You would then allow the mixture to sit 5 to 10 minutes or until a gel texture is formed. You would add the “gel” to the wet ingredients in the recipe.
Unflavored gelatin powder: Unflavored gelatin powder is another great substitute for xanthan gum. This will work as a binder or thicken. Unflavored gelatin is again not a one for one substitute for xanthan gum. To use unflavored gelatin powder for a xanthan gum substitute, use twice as much gelatin powder as 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. when baking.
Agar agar powder: Agar agar powder is a vegan alternative to gelatin powder and can also be used in as a binder or thickener. However, it is not a one for one substitute and you do not substitute it the way you would gelatin powder. Agar agar powder needs to be dissolved in some water and heat, so it stirs in smoothly like xanthan gum does. To use agar agar powder as a substitute, use a fork and stir together four tablespoons of water for every 1 tsp of agar agar powder until the powder dissolves. So, for 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum, you would stir together 1/4 tsp of agar agar with 1 TBS of water until the powder is dissolved. After the powder dissolves heat the mixture over low heat for about three to five minutes or until the powder is completely dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool then add it in with the dry ingredients.
Konjac powder: The last substitute we are going to look into is konjac powder. Konjac powder is a wonderful substitute for xanthan gum, and it can be used one for one in most recipes. Some more chewy, more dense recipes (such as tortillas) yu may need to increase the konjac powder to 1 1/2 times as much. For example, for 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum for most recipes you can use 1/4 tsp xanthan or 1/4tsp plus 1/8 tsp for more chewy recipes.
These are just a few substitutes for xanthan gum. Keep in mind that any substitutes in any recipe can affect the taste and texture of the recipe. Also, in some recipes the xanthan gum cannot be substitute at all. I hope these substitutes are helpful and good luck in your low carb cooking.