The Secret Ingredient For Perfectly Thick Smoothies

It may sound like something you'd use in chemistry class, but it can just as easily have a place in your home kitchen. Xanthan gum, a powdered food additive, has the potential to transform the texture of smoothies, rendering them smooth, thick, and creamy.

Generally speaking, xanthan gum is used in food as a thickening and stabilizing agent, per Healthline. Typically packaged and sold in powdered form, xanthan gum is made from sugar that has been fermented with a specific type of bacteria known as Xanthomonas campestris. Since its discovery in 1963, the additive has been deemed safe for use in food products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

According to The Spruce Eats, xanthan gum provides foods — especially emulsified liquids, like salad dressing — with a better mouthfeel and more uniform texture. The substance has a similar effect to gelatin, but with the added benefit of being completely vegan. Xanthan gum is also gluten-free, making it perfect for those with dietary restrictions. Now, more and more people are realizing that it may be just what you need in your smoothies.

Using xanthan gum in smoothies

Because of its use as a thickening agent, it only makes sense that xanthan gum could be useful in improving the texture of smoothies. The idea has gained traction on TikTok, where a quick search for xanthan gum smoothies or protein shakes yields countless results. In a video shared last year, for example, TikToker Sarah Ryan recommended blending frozen strawberries, açaí purée, vanilla protein powder, honey, and a splash of your preferred milk with a dash of xanthan gum to make a thick, practically fluffy smoothie.

According to Total Shape, xanthan gum is particularly helpful for binding smoothies that contain a mixture of protein powder and other natural ingredients, which tend to separate from one another, even after blending. The xanthan gum emulsifies everything together and ensures a consistently smooth texture in your beverage.

When adding xanthan gum to your smoothies for the first time, be sure not to overdo it: Using too much xanthan gum can result in a smoothie with an unpleasantly gummy texture, per Spin the Food. For the perfect drink, Wellnessed recommends starting with ⅛ to ¼ of a teaspoon of the additive, about as much as a generous pinch. Now, all the best healthy smoothie recipes can be just a little thicker. Now, why not try something fun like a sweet potato smoothie recipe?