Xanthan gum helps keep mayo emulsified through the jar being pasteurized, shipped, stored on the shelf for months, and kept in the refrigerator after opening. The diet of my customers does not allow for highly processed additives or anything made from grains or legumes. What alternatives are there to Xanthan gum, and in which amounts should I use? How do the alternatives compare? What is the best way to learn more about this topic? Additives that fit the diet include agar, acacia gum, and chicory root inulin.

  • Is there a reason why you can't use the tradition egg yolk?
    – Mien
    Nov 22, 2013 at 8:46
  • The recipe does have egg yolk, but from what I understand, that is usually not enough by itself to stand up to heat/time/travel. The average commercial mayo both has eggs and xanthan gum. Do you think just adding more egg yolks would make up for the lack of xanthan gum?
    – Loren
    Nov 22, 2013 at 15:55
  • It depends on your ratios of course, but I usually use only 1 egg yolk and I've had no issues.
    – Mien
    Nov 24, 2013 at 9:51

1 Answer 1


Xanthan gum emulsifies by being a hydrocolloid, so agar and acacia have a chance of also working since they are also hydrocolloids. The amounts would have to be altered as agar sets much more solidly than xanthan gum, and gum acacia sets less solidly.

Lecithin is a commonly used emulsifier in mayonnaise (probably even more so than xanthan gum). It's normally obtained from soy, but sunflower lecithin is also available. Usually a fairly small amount is sufficient. My experience is with soy lecithin, but only a very small amount was needed: about a teaspoon to emulsify a quart of mayo.

Of course,t he most traditional emulsifier is simply egg yolks, which most homemade mayonnaise will already contain. Unless you need to keep it emulsified for really long periods of time, the yolks alone should suffice.

Even without the eggs, you can keep mayo emulsified for shorter periods of time using vegetables. Serious Eats did an article on it.

  • Thank you! So eggs have lecithin, and my recipe has eggs. I was thinking I need something stronger than lecithin, because commercial brands have both eggs and xanthan gum. Do you think I can just add more egg yolks to make up for the fact that I won't have xanthan gum? Or are agar/acacia more effective - are hydrocolloids better for stabilizing through heat/time/travel than phospholipids?
    – Loren
    Nov 22, 2013 at 15:58
  • If you have a recipe that already calls for egg yolks, it should be fine as is. It's my understanding that hydrocolloids primarily emulsify by trapping the water in tiny droplets, which makes it harder for the water to collect back together and break the emulsion. Eggs should emulsify fine on their own for up to around a week in my experience, but the gums will help keep it emulsified for much longer periods.
    – SourDoh
    Nov 22, 2013 at 20:52

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