Answer: The broadly accepted answer is that xanthan gum is typically vegan. It’s the resulting product when a special kind of bacteria is introduced to fermented sugars.
But let’s learn a bit more: Xanthan gum is a kind of mysterious ingredient. We’re covering some major questions in the vegan community below…
As with many aspects of the vegan lifestyle, there are always caveats. With Xanthan gum, the fermentation process can in some cases incorporate dairy products.
That said, companies tend to opt for non-animal ingredients whenever possible (like corn) as they’re often cheaper and easier to access.
Here’s a video that explains more details on how it’s made…
Why Would You Use Xanthan Gum?
We typically use xanthan gum to thicken our soups, sauces and desserts.For gluten-free diets, xanthan gum is a convenient binding ingredient in baked goods.
Here are some common foods made with xanthan gum:
- Salad dressings
- Creamy sauces
For vegan foods, xanthan gum can easily mimic the density and creaminess of dairy and eggs.
What Can You Substitute for Xanthan Gum?
If you’re not sure about a xanthan gum product and you’d prefer to swap it for something else, you’ll have no trouble, as long as you pick the right tools for the job.
To thicken sauces and liquidy desserts, try using plain old all-purpose flour or tapioca starch if you’re gluten-free.
Baking also takes some strategic analysis of what you’re making.
The Bottom Line
Xanthan gum is a versatile pantry ingredient for vegan and gluten-free cooking and baking.While there’s a chance it could be derived from animal-based products, it’s far more common to encounter plant-sourced xanthan gum in the grocery store.
Bottom line: If you want to be really sure, do some research online or contact a xanthan gum manufacturer directly to get details on ingredients, but there probably isn’t much of a reason to.