Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum has a wide range of functions, including thickening and stabilising. It is also frequently chosen by chefs and mixologists for its ability to make foams and suspensions. In food manufacturing, xanthan gum is most commonly found in mayonnaise (e.g. Hellmann’s), sauces and ice creams, but is also becoming increasingly popular for its gluten mimicking properties and is used in gluten-free breads and cakes. It is a mainstay on most supermarkets’ baking ingredients shelves.

What is it?

Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide produced naturally by the fermentation of glucose or sucrose. It acts as a very efficient thickening agent at low concentrations (0.5 to 1%).

Because the viscosity of solutions thickened with xanthan gum decrease when the product is agitated but thicken again when allowed to rest (shear effect) it can be used to create some exciting effects in foods and cocktails.

Xanthan gum will help stabilise emulsions by preventing the oil separating out; will create perfectly textured, long-lasting foams & mousses made either with a whisk or whipper; will hold particles in suspensions and will enable jellies to hold their shape. It is often used in conjunction with other gels such as locust bean gum.

What does it do?

Solutions thickened with xanthan gum can be heated without affecting their viscosity, and xanthan gum can be used over a range of different pHs, including very acidic liquids, and those containing high levels of salt, where other thickeners may not work. These properties are fairly unique to xanthan gum and make it a highly versatile thickening agent.

Xanthan gum is exceptionally efficient at holding water molecules and this characteristic also enables it to retard ice crystal growth in freeze-thaw situations.

How should it be used?

Xanthan gum is cold water soluble but dissolves most readily in warm liquids.

Who uses it?

Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz in San Sebastian (2 Michelin stars)

Simon Rogan of L’Enclume in the Lake District (1 Michelin star)

Glynn Purnell of Purnell’s in Birmingham (1 Michelin star)

find ingredients

Kalys – Xanthan Gum 100g

Price: £10.99

Cuisine Innovation – Xanthan Gum 75g

Price: £5.99

Xanthazoon 300g

Price: £12.49

Texturas – Xantana

Price: £21.95