How to Substitute Chia for Xanthan Gum

by Caryn Anderson ; Updated November 01, 2017

You can replace xanthan gum, which is typically pricey, with chia seeds to create gluten-free baked goods with a different mouth-feel, but equally good structure. These high-fiber, nutrition-packed seeds can be sprinkled on cereals, added to smoothies or used to make puddings. As an added bonus, chia seeds, like xanthan gum, act as a gluten replacer, adding elasticity and structure to gluten-free baked goods. All you need to get started are chia seeds, a spice grinder and some water, and you’ll be well on your way to delicious gluten-free baking.

Grab a small pot or tea kettle, fill it with water and put it on the stove. Turn the burner on the medium-high or high and bring the water to a boil.

Grind chia seeds in a spice grinder or a clean coffee grinder. Keep in mind, that 1 tablespoon of whole chia seeds becomes approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons once it's ground.

Place the ground chia seeds in a bowl. Pour the boiling water over the seeds, using a combination of one part chia seeds to two parts water. For example, if you are using 1 tablespoon of ground seeds, using 2 tablespoons of boiling water.

Stir the water-seed mixture, and let it sit until it develops a thick, gel-like consistency. Add the mixture to your batter, and bake according to your recipe’s directions.


  • Use white or black chia seeds since there is no difference in flavor. If you want to avoid having black speckles in your baked good, stick with the white seeds.

    Increasing the protein in your dough or batter helps you avoid a gummy baked good. Usually, adding one extra egg can help the texture of your baked goods. Alternatively, you can grind equal parts of chia seeds with flax seeds or psyllium and then use the ground mixture to replace xanthan gum, using a 1 to 1 ratio. For example, if your recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of xanthan gum, using 1 tablespoon of the ground seed mixture.

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About the Author

Caryn Anderson combines extensive behind-the-scenes writing experience with her passion for all things food, fashion, garden and travel. Bitten by the travel bug at the age of 15 after a trip to Europe, Anderson fostered her love of style and fashion while living in New York City and earning her degree at New York University.