Xanthan Gum as a Flour Substitute

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Xanthan gum is a product  that I   discovered when I started baking gluten free and it was necessary as a binder for rice flour and tapioca starch. It’s not just for baking. Xanthan gum as a flour substitute is genius and can be made into a gel to make incorporating easy.

Xanthan Gum as Flour Substitute

What is xanthan gum?

Xanthan gum is used as a binder, stabilizer, and emulsifier.I t’s found in many products such as cream cheese and some salad dressings and is often used in gluten free and keto baking. 

Xanthan gum is sold in a powdered form and is made from corn when glucose, sucrose, or lactose is fermented by bacteria. The carbs cannot be digested, and is used often for gluten and keto baking.  For this reason, some people may claim stomach distress, but I  have never experienced this, as my recipes use very small amounts.

Xanthan Gum Gel for Cooking as Flour Substitute

I  found this recipe in Cook’s Illustrated Magazine in their tips and notes and found it to be quite genius. The reason I  recommend using the gel instead of mixing in the xanthan gum powder is because it blends perfectly. I  haven’t had great luck adding xanthan gum into sauces and gravies unless it’s in gel form. 

  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoons xanthan gum powder
  • blender

Simply add two cups of cold water to a blender and add 1 tablespoons of xanthan gum. Blend for five minutes. You will see it turn into a beautiful gel. 

xanthan gum gel for flour substitute

How to use xanthan gum gel for sauces, gravies 

I  will add a tablespoon of gel at at time and wait for a few minutes to see if it thickens. You will have to be your own guide, but know it works.

One of my favorite uses for xanthan gum is to make a gel that I  use to thicken sauces, soups, stews and gravies. In this Tuscan Salmon recipe I  replaced 3/4 of the heavy cream with broth and used this gel to make it thickener.

How to add xanthan gum to baking

When baking,  add the powdered form to your dry ingredient mixture. I  only add 1/2 teaspoon to my keto friendly bundt cakes. 

If you are baking what is typical gluten free products, meaning those with rice flower, tapioca, etc. you will need to add xanthan gum to a recipe (usually a teaspoon is enough). These flours have very little way of holding together and will crumble without it.

However, if you are baking with almond flour and coconut flour, it’s not imperative to add xanthan gum. I add it to my recipe, because it guarantees me less crumble and I sell my cakes in my bakery.

I  don’t add anything to my grain free biscuits, however, because they are made with egg whites and golden flax, along with almond flour and coconut flour. The eggs and golden flax hold them together.  Xanthan gum is a must for my grain free tortillas or you will not be able to peel them off the parchment paper.

Xanthan Gum as Flour Substitute

Xanthan Gum for Xanthan Gum Gel

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Recipes Using Xanthan Gum Gel as Flour Substitute

Replace some of the heavy cream in this Tuscan Salmon with broth and add xanthan gum gel.

Tuscan Salmon Using Xanthan Gum Gel to thicken

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Burgers with Steak Mushroom Sauce

Baking with Xanthan Gum (not gel)

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Xanthan gum
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5 from 5 votes

Xanthan Gum Gel

Use Xanthan Gum Gel as flour substitute to thicken sauces and gravies.
Prep Time1 minute
Servings: 16



  • Put water in blender. Turn on. While running, add in xanthan gum.
  • Blend for five full minutes.
  • Place in jar in refrigerator.

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  1. I just used xanthan gum for the first time in thickening chow mien! I always used to use corn starch, but that thickens more and more, plus carbs…the garlic sauce came out just like a Chinese restaurant!! looking forward to what else I can make better, since I follow the keto lifestyle…thanks for the helpful hints!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for the proper use of xantham gum! I just used it (because am keto right now) to thicken the cream, etc. for a delicious pot pie.

    Question: Is the thickness from blending 1 tbsp & 2 c water the end result of thickening? Or, does it thicken more with cooking?

    Thank you 🙂

5 from 5 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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