Do you need to add xanthan gum to Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour?

Quick Answer

Xanthan gum is not required when using Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour, but it can be helpful to improve the texture in some baked goods. Gluten free flours lack the gluten proteins that give wheat flour structure, so xanthan gum is often added as a binder. However, Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour contains xanthan gum already. For most recipes, the xanthan gum already in the flour will provide enough structure. But for recipes that need extra binding power like cakes, cookies or breads, adding a little extra xanthan gum can help.

What is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour?

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour is a proprietary blend of whole grains and starches designed to replace wheat flour in gluten free baking. It contains:

  • White sorghum flour
  • Brown rice flour
  • Tapioca flour
  • Potato starch
  • Xanthan gum

Sorghum flour provides structure and protein. Rice flour adds flavor and nutrition. Tapioca flour helps with binding and creates tenderness. Potato starch lightens the texture. Xanthan gum acts as a binder to mimic the elasticity and chew of gluten.

Bob’s Red Mill has expertly blended these ingredients to produce an all-purpose baking mix that performs similarly to wheat flour. This makes it easier to adapt traditional recipes to be gluten free.

Should You Add More Xanthan Gum?

Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour contains xanthan gum already, so extra is not required. However, you may choose to add a little more xanthan gum:

  • For recipes that need extra binding power like cakes, cookies or breads
  • If you find the finished baked good is crumbly or dry
  • When making dough that needs to hold its shape like pizza crust or rolls

Too much xanthan gum can lead to a gummy or sticky texture. Bob’s Red Mill recommends adding no more than 1/2 teaspoon of additional xanthan gum per cup of flour.

Here are some tips for using xanthan gum in Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour:


For cakes that need extra structure like layered or frosted cakes, add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of flour. This helps support the extra weight of frosting or fillings.


If making cut-out cookies or other shapes that require sturdy dough, add 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour.

Yeast Breads and Rolls

For bread doughs that need to hold their shape for rising, add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour.

Pizza Crust

Add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour for stretchy, pliable pizza dough.

Muffins and Quick Breads

Muffins and loaves don’t typically need extra xanthan gum when using Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour. The xanthan gum already in the flour will suffice.

Pancakes and Waffles

For fluffy pancakes or crispy waffles, the xanthan gum in Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour provides enough structure on its own.

Pie Crusts and Pastry

Unless making a filled pie, extra xanthan gum is unlikely to be needed for flaky pastry.

Substituting Xanthan Gum

If you don’t have xanthan gum on hand, these ingredients can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio:

  • Guar gum
  • Dissolved chia seeds or ground flaxseeds
  • Agar powder
  • Glucomannan powder
  • Psyllium husk powder
  • Ground psyllium husks

However, xanthan gum often produces the best results. Guar gum is the closest substitute.

How To Use Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum works best when added to wet ingredients. Follow these steps for proper use:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the xanthan gum into the wet ingredients called for in the recipe such as milk, eggs, oil, etc. Use a ratio of 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum per 1 cup of wet ingredients.
  2. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
  3. Add the hydrated xanthan gum to the remaining dry ingredients. Mix batter as directed.

Hydrating the xanthan gum prevents clumps and allows it to thicken properly. Always check baked goods at minimum cooking time when adding extra as xanthan gum can speed up setting.

How Does Xanthan Gum Work?

Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide derived from fermented corn sugar. It is produced by a bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris.

When xanthan gum powder is mixed with a liquid, it rapidly absorbs the liquid and forms a viscous and stable gel. This mimics the natural gluten formation that occurs when wheat flour is mixed with water.

The gel gives structure and elasticity to gluten free baked goods. It helps:

  • Improve moisture retention
  • Prevent ingredients from separating
  • Provide volume, lift and stability
  • Hold gases for better leavening
  • Thicken batters and dough
  • Create a pleasant mouthfeel

Xanthan gum can withstand heat, acidity and freezing. This makes it a versatile baking ingredient.

Is Xanthan Gum Safe?

Xanthan gum has been approved safe for consumption by the FDA and EFSA. It is included in the food additive list recognized as safe.

Xanthan gum is low risk for most people when consumed in normal food amounts. However, xanthan gum can cause digestive issues for some like gas, bloating and loose stools.

Starting with a small amount and increasing slowly can allow tolerance to build. But for those with sensitivities, other binders may need to be used instead.

Some people may wish to avoid xanthan gum for clean eating or whose diets limit processed ingredients.

For thickening, substitutes like cornstarch, arrowroot, and guar gum can be used instead. For baking, options include psyllium husk powder, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and agar powder.

Finding Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour

Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose flour is widely available at major grocery stores and online retailers:

  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Amazon
  • Thrive Market
  • Vitacost
  • Publix
  • Kroger
  • Safeway
  • Sprouts

It can be found alongside other alternative baking flours like almond flour, coconut flour, protein powders, etc. It may also be in the natural foods section.

Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour comes in a stand-up resealable plastic bag that is tan colored with red and white graphics. It is available in 32 oz, 5 lb and 25 lb sizes.

Prices range from $3.49 for 32 oz up to $35.99 for a 25 lb bag online. It is a budget friendly gluten free flour option.

Reviews of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour

Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour has received overwhelmingly positive reviews. On Amazon, it earns 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 7400 reviews.

Customers praise it for being an all-purpose flour that can easily substitute for regular wheat flour in recipes. The flavor and texture match traditional baked goods remarkably well for a gluten free product.

Many reviews mention being unable to tell a difference between regular and gluten free versions when Bob’s Red Mill flour is used. The blend of grains and starches mimics the properties of gluten well for breads, cakes, cookies, muffins and more.

Negative reviews are uncommon but mention that the flour can produce dense results if not paired with the right recipe. Some amount of trial and error may be needed to adapt family recipes. Ratios and hydration may need adjusting.

Helpful tips from bakers include weighing flour for accuracy, using more eggs for structure, and ensuring adequate baking powder is used for rise. Abbondanza!!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour need xanthan gum?

No, Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour already contains xanthan gum in its ingredient list so extra is not strictly required. But you can add more for recipes that need extra binding.

How much xanthan gum do you add to Bob’s Red Mill flour?

Bob’s Red Mill recommends no more than 1/2 teaspoon of additional xanthan gum per 1 cup of gluten free flour. Start with 1/4 teaspoon extra for cakes and cookies. Use up to 1/2 teaspoon for breads that require dough strength.

Can you use Bob’s Red Mill flour just like regular flour?

In most recipes Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour can directly replace wheat flour at a 1:1 ratio. But the lack of gluten means some recipe adjustments may be needed like extra binding power from xanthan gum or moisture and protein from eggs.

Is Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour healthy?

Yes, Bob’s Red Mill flour is made from a blend of nutrient-rich whole grains like sorghum and brown rice flour. It is higher in protein and fiber compared to white flour. It is also gluten free for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

What can you use instead of xanthan gum in gluten free baking?

Ground chia seeds, flaxseeds, psyllium husk powder, guar gum, agar and glucomannan powder can substitute for xanthan gum as binders. But xanthan typically works best. Start with smaller amounts of substitutes and adjust as needed.


Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour provides an all-purpose flour blend that mimics the texture of wheat flour for easily adapting recipes to be gluten free. Thanks to its carefully balanced ingredients including xanthan gum, extra binders are not strictly required when using this flour.

However, you can add a modest amount of additional xanthan gum for items like cakes, cookies and breads that benefit from extra structure. Take care not to over-do it as too much xanthan gum can make baked goods gummy.

Overall Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour makes gluten free baking more accessible and the results are highly praised by home bakers and professionals alike. With a little trial and error, you can successfully use it cup for cup just like traditional all-purpose wheat flour.

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