How to Use Guar Gum to Replace Gelatin

by Stacey Anderson

Use guar gum to thicken homemade gelato.

Thomas Barwick/Digital Vision/Getty Images

When you think of gelatin you probably think of wiggly desserts, but gelatin is in many recipes. It is found in no-bake cheesecakes, gluten-free bread, homemade ice cream, jam and jelly recipes. Guar gum is an alternative thickener and suspension stabilizer made from the guar bean. Consider using guar gum to replace gelatin in recipes if you are looking for vegetarian alternatives. One of the benefits of guar gum for cooks is that it does not require heat to thicken, although it does retain its thickening ability when it is heated.

Mix guar gum with other dry ingredients such as salt or spices before adding it to any liquid ingredients. Unlike gelatin, guar gum should not be mixed directly into liquids. Mixing the guar gum with dry ingredients helps to prevent the formation of lumps.

Gradually add the guar gum and dry ingredients into liquid ingredients while you whisk quickly. Guar gum thickens very fast and if you add it too quickly, you will end up with lumps.

Replace gelatin with guar gum in gluten-free baked goods. Carol Fenster in her book “1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes” recommends baking cookies, pancakes or waffles with 3/8 tsp. of guar gum per cup of gluten-free flour. For cakes, she suggests you use 3/4 tsp. of guar gum per cup of flour.

Thicken homemade gelato or ice cream by using 1/2 tsp of guar gum to replace one envelope of gelatin. Approximately 2 1/2 cups of liquid can be thickened with 1/2 tsp of guar gum.

Experiment with recipes by replacing gelatin with guar gum at a ratio of one part guar gum for every five parts of gelatin. For example, if the recipe calls for 2 1/2 tsp of gelatin, use 1/2 tsp. of guar gum.


  • Use a blender if your recipe only has liquid ingredients. Blend the liquid at medium speed and slowly add the guar gum into the vortex created by the blender blades. Begin with recipes that already include guar gum before you start altering your own recipes. This will give you a feel for how the guar gum thickens foods.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Barwick/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Stacey Anderson began writing in 1989. She published articles in “Teratology,” “Canadian Journal of Public Health” and the "Canadian Medical Association Journal” during her time in medical genetics studying birth defects. She has an interest in psychology, senior health and maternal and child health. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in biology from the University of Calgary.