13 Xanthan Gum Substitutes for Keto: What to Use Instead

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minute read | Last update: Nov 29th2022

This article is backed by studies and reviewed by a certified dietician.

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Unless you've been living under the keto rock, you've heard of xanthan gum. It's used in everything from cooking to cosmetics. Why is it a food additive, then? Well, it works, and it's mostly approved by the FDA.


However, xanthan gum comes with some major downsides, including allergic reactions and digestive tract issues. The downsides have led to the discovery of substitutes such as egg whites, chia seeds, and even Agar-Agar!


So, have you ever wondered, "What can I use instead of xanthan gum?" If you want to know what these alternatives are and how to use them, then keep reading!

What Is the Role of Xanthan Gum?

Xanthan gum is a popular keto substitute for one main reason - the lack of net carbs. Despite being a processed product, it's a popularly known food additive used in commercial, personal hygiene products!


The many uses of xanthan gum aside, it acts as a gluten-free alternative to gelatin and similar additives in food. Its primary function is to thicken or stabilize foods. You'll usually find it used in baked foods for keto.

What Are the Downsides of Xanthan Gum?

Despite the initial popularity of xanthan gum, it's slowly starting to fall out of favor. Mainly because of the devastating downsides to using the additive.

Allergies

If the thought of eating something that's also used in personal hygiene products wasn't enough, then the origins will. The additive is created using a fermentation process of foods such as soybean, wheat, and corn.


These three products are some of the largest allergens in America. Consuming xanthan gum when you have a soy, gluten, lactose, or corn allergy is not recommended. It's not an allergen-free product.

Digestion

Unfortunately, the binder is hard to digest for some people. Indigestion problems, loose stool, increased flatulence, and diarrhea is common when consuming large amounts of xanthan gum.


The issues make it a no-go for many on keto as they'll be required to consume low-carb products. Now, what to use instead of xanthan gum?

What Are keto Friendly Alternatives to Xanthan Gum?

Psyllium Husk

If you've never heard of psyllium husk, then you're not the only one. The xanthan gum substitute - psyllium husk- is not a very common commodity. However, if you're in the keto or vegan community, psyllium husk has come up at least once. It's a common substitute for xanthan gum in keto-friendly recipes.


It's a soluble fiber that produces a gel-like substance that produces a thickening and binding effect, which is the perfect xanthan gum substitute for baking!


You can find our recommendation here.


Pros

  • Helps with constipation and is alternatively used as a laxative for sensitive systems
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Has been shown to help with weight loss
  • Several prebiotic benefits

Cons

  • Can trigger allergic reactions such as rashes
  • Contains a large number of phytates

How to Use It

If you're planning to substitute xanthan gum for psyllium husk powder, you need to be mindful of the quantities. Psyllium husk powder is extremely absorbent, so it needs to be used with added water. For every tablespoon of xanthan gum, you'll need to add two tablespoons of psyllium husk powder.

Egg Whites

The use of eggs in keto is not at all uncommon. In fact, they're recommended the most when on a keto diet. However, they're also an excellent binding and leaving agent, which is why they make an excellent xanthan gum substitute. Egg white works very well for baking and can be used in your dishes the next time you're confused about what can be used in place of xanthan gum.


You can find our recommendation here.


Pros

  • Works as a leavening and binding agent to help baked goods retain their shape
  • Great for bread, batter bread, and cakes
  • Produces a light and fluffy texture

Cons

  • Not great for kneaded bread
  • Not vegan-friendly
  • Fewer vitamins and minerals than other options
  • Less choline

How to Use It

Egg whites are easy to separate from the yolk. In a recipe, one egg white would substitute a tablespoon of xanthan gum.

Chia Seeds and Water

Chia seeds are common in the cooking world. They're available everywhere and have a nice nutty flavor that many appreciate. They're also a great substitute for xanthan gum!


You can find our recommendation here.


Pros

  • Easily available and don't require too much preparation
  • Contain fibers and nutrients that can be missing in a keto diet
  • Can be used whole on top of a dessert for the crunch element.
  • Have a mild nutty flavor when used whole

Cons

  • Increases the baking time by 10-15 minutes

How to Use It

Chia seeds, when soaked, turn into a viscous gel similar to xanthan gum. Since the seeds are incredibly absorbent, you'll need to use two parts of water for one part chia seeds. Stir until it turns into a gel.


The gel can be used in a 1:1 ratio to xanthan gum, so no changes to the recipe! However, you'll need to add about 10-15 minutes to your baking time to compensate for the chia seeds.

Ground Flax Seeds and Water

Much like chia seeds, flax seeds can also be used as a substitute for xanthan gum. Once ground up and mixed with water, the highly absorbent seeds become a thick paste that works as a great binding agent.


You can find our recommendation here.


Pros

  • Easy to find
  • Fairly inexpensive
  • Improved blood sugar
  • Has Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Cons

  • Not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Has a laxative effect
  • Nuttier, grittier quality

How to Use It

Whole flax seeds can't bind, so they need to be ground at home, or you can purchase ground flax seeds, also called flax meat. One part ground flaxseed to 2 parts water is enough to create the thick paste.


When using the paste in the recipe, it's a 1:1 ratio with xanthan gum.

Unflavored Gelatin

When it comes to binding agents for baking, there's an excellent xanthan gum substitute - gelatin! Unflavored gelatin can be used for a variety of baking recipes. However, since it is an animal product, many refrain from using it to observe practices such as kosher and halal.


You can find our recommendation here.


Pros

  • Extremely protein-rich
  • It can help thicken up any dish
  • Works very well for baking keto recipes

Cons

  • Not suitable for those observing kosher or halal practices
  • Not vegan or vegetarian friendly

How to Use It

As a standard measure, two and a half tablespoons of unflavored gelatin per two cups of water is the measurement. Once created, you'll need to use two parts of the gelatin mixture for one part of xanthan gum.

Keto Collagen

If you want to bake something sweet, you can use keto collagen. It will be an excellent thickener for pancakes, brownies, and even pudding. So if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth without all the carbs, you should grab this little known keto thickener.

You can get our recommended keto collagen here in our online store.


Pros

  • Extremely protein-rich
  • Works very well for baking sweet keto recipes
  • You can prepare shakes and smoothies
  • It helps with ketosis because it contains MCT oils
  • Available in chocolate and vanilla

Cons

  • Not suitable for those observing kosher or halal practices
  • Not vegan or vegetarian friendly

How to Use It

Just put one serving of keto collagen per person into your favorite baking mixture and prepare it as usual. If you want it a little sweeter, you can also go for two servings per person.

Agar-Agar

Agar-agar is a derivative of red algae that is a common vegan replacement for gelatin! It has no calories, carbs, or sugar, so it works very well on a keto diet.


You can find our recommendation here.


Pros

  • Vegan replacement for gelatin
  • Has a laxative effect
  • Can aid in weight loss

Cons

  • Longer prep time
  • Leads to a denser and firmer texture

How to Use It

To prepare the Agar-Agar, you'll need to add four tablespoons of room temperature water for every tablespoon of Agar-Agar flakes. Next, you'll need to heat it for about 3 to 5 minutes or until it has fully dissolved in the water.


After letting it cool off slightly, it can be added to the recipe in a 1:1 ratio. So, no changes in quantity when replacing xanthan gum.

Guar Gum

Guar gum is derived from guar beans and is often found as a white powder similar to xanthan gum. It acts as a thickener or a binder.


You can find our recommendation here.


Pros

  • Commonly available ingredients used in baking
  • High in fiber, so supportive of the digestive system
  • Aids weight control and help with appetite control

Cons

  • Can include increased gas production, diarrhea, and loose stools

How to Use It

If you're using oils in the recipe, blend the guar gum with the oils before adding it to the rest of the liquids. When used as a substitute, replace every two parts of xanthan gum with three parts of guar gum.

Konjac Powder

Konjac is a common herb that is native to parts of Asia. It's well-known in Asian cooking and is a great source of dietary fiber. It's often used as a gelatin substitute, but it is well known to aid cholesterol and weight loss.


You can find it here.


Pros

  • High in fiber so helps prevent constipation
  • Aids in weight loss
  • It may help lower cholesterol

Cons

  • May cause bloating, diarrhea, or gas

How to Use It

When swapping it out, use one part of konjac powder for every part of xanthan gum that the recipe calls for. But, if you're making something chewier, swap it out of 1.5 times the amount of xanthan gum you'd use.

Arrowroot Flour

While it isn't suitable for a keto diet, it can be used in a pinch if you can't pick up any other substitutes. It's a less common flour, but it is gluten and grain-free. But it's a great thickener. You'll usually find it used in combination with coconut or almond flour.


You can find our recommendation here.


Pros

  • Gluten and grain-free
  • Since it's plant-based, it is also vegan

Cons

  • High in carbohydrates

How to Use It

While arrowroot flour is usually used in combination with almond and coconut flour, if you want your baked goods extra crispy, use it alone.


When substituting, replace one part of xanthan gum with one part of arrowroot flour for the same effect.

Pectin

Pectin is usually found in jams or jellies and is a vegan alternative to gelatin. You can find the best pectin here.


Pros

  • Great for jams and jellies
  • A vegan alternative to gelatin

Cons

  • High in carbohydrates, so not ideal for keto

How to Use It

When baking bread, you can use one tablespoon of pectin per two and a half cups of gluten-free flour.

Almond Flour

Almond flour is one of the most widely used keto flour substitutes. It's made from crushed almonds and has virtually no carbs. The best part is that there's no need to look for a xanthan gum substitute for flour to make it work. So, if you want to eliminate the substance from your cooking, almond flour is the way to go! Here you can garb yourself our favorite almond flour!

Coconut Flour

Much like almond flour, coconut flour is great for those on keto diets. However, you will need to use eggs as a substitute for xanthan gum in a recipe. But, the upside is xanthan gum isn't a necessity when you're cooking with coconut flour! We like to use organic coconut flour like this one!

How to Choose a Xanthan Gum Substitute for Keto Diet

Once you've pondered the question, "What can I use in place of xanthan gum in keto?" you need to decide which option works best for you.


Due to the many substitutes mentioned, it can be hard to pick the perfect replacement. Unfortunately, choosing the right substitute can be a trial and error process. But, there are a few factors to consider that might shorten the process.

Carb Value

When on keto, you're watching your carbs. So, automatically, flour options such as arrowroot can be eliminated from the list. If you continue doing this for every option, then you're bound to end up with only a few options to choose from.

Usefulness

Some recipes call for certain types of substitutes. Websites and forums can often recommend the correct substitutes for your recipe, and you can purchase the necessary product accordingly. At the very least, you're getting a better idea of what substitutes work for a large number of dishes.

Preference

If you're allergic to almonds, then almond flour is off the table. Don't like the taste of coconut? Well, coconut flour isn't an option anymore.


Judging an alternative based on your personal preference and allergies is by far the easiest way to shorten your list. This way, you'll be able to find what is a good substitute for xanthan gum in your dishes.

Ease of Availability

While everything these days is available online, there's still the problem of finding something of good quality and reliability. For this reason, choosing a substitute that's commonly found both online and offline is a good option.


Having a larger number of options is always better than being stuck with one or two. So you should accordingly pick what to use in place of xanthan gum!

Wrapping Up

Many don't enjoy cooking or eating xanthan gum for several reasons. From allergies to digestive issues, there are multiple reasons not to use xanthan gum in a keto diet.


It's convenient that there are so many substitutes for it that are keto or at least low-carb diet-friendly. The next time you wonder, "What is an alternative to xanthan gum?" — come back to this article!


Whether you're using almond flour or egg whites, xanthan gum isn't a necessity, and there are multiple substitutes for xanthan gum that you need to start incorporating today!

FAQ

Is Xanthan Gum keto-friendly?

Xanthan gum is produced through the bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates. So, it can be labeled as a keto-friendly product. However, you should be careful about the quantity and not consume more than 15 grams of xanthan gum daily on a ketogenic diet.

How Does Xanthan Gum Work for Baking?

When used in baking, xanthan gum is generally used to make gluten-free bread. The additive locks in moisture and simultaneously provides structure to the loaf. It prevents the bread from crumbling when it's cooled and cut into!

What's the Difference Between Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum?

The difference between xanthan and guar gum is based on two factors. Guar gum originates from a seed usually found in tropical Asia and is better for cold foods. On the flipside, xanthan gum is created using a fermentation process and is best for baked goods! Guar Gum is an excellent xanthan gum substitute for ice cream.

Is Xanthan Gum Vegan?

Xanthan gum is produced through the bacterial fermentation of plant products such as wheat and soybean. So, it can be labeled as vegan or vegetarian by producers. Effectively, xanthan gum is a vegan product along with being gluten-free.

About the author

The Authentic Keto Team is here to bring you health tips that help you with losing weight fast. We focus on a clean keto diet for beginners because we believe that is the easiest and most simple way to healthy eating. Our keto weight loss tips will not only bring you into ketosis fast but will also help you to improve your mental health, sleep problems, and wellness.


- Our goal is to make keto success easy. -

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