Every so often, I make Irish Cream. The problem I have with it is that the cocoa and some of the cream split a bit in the bottle. It's still drinkable, and shaking the bottle fixes it, but I'd rather this not happen. The usual stabiliser for Irish Cream is eggs, but that shortens the shelf-life far too much for my tastes. I figured I could use Xanthan Gum as a stabiliser to stop it from splitting. The problem is, no matter what, I can't stop it clumping together in anything I add it to. I even bought a tea strainer to use as a sieve, but the fine powder on the top of whatever I add it to still managed to clump together, as though I'd added dead skin. I tried mixing it with sugar before adding, but it still clumped up.

How do I stop it from clumping? Reading about it online, it doesn't seem like that uncommon of an ingredient, so obviously, other people aren't having as much bother with it as I am.

  • Xanthan gum is easier to use is first dispersed in another powder. In a small bowl place some sugar and the Xanthan and swish it around until well intermixed. Then remember to mix the Xanthan and the liquids for a long time.
    – papin
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 12:11
  • 2
    You have to stir that stuff fast, while adding it slowly. I use a food proc. or a blender. Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 15:20
  • cooking.stackexchange.com/a/28643/4638
    – rumtscho
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 16:10

4 Answers 4


I use an immersion blender angle @ about 45 degrees to create a vortex. I gently and slowly sprinkle the xanthan gum into the vortex then use the blender to make sure all of it is incorporated. I have not had any problems with clumping unless I add too much at a time.


To thicken a liquid with xanthan gum, first disperse it in another powder, use small amounts, and once in the liquid, mix well. Whenever I use it in sweet dishes I disperse it in sugar (at a 10 to 1 ratio), and for savory dishes, in starch or salt. Xanthan is slow to mix, so I always do it with a food processor or blender. Small amounts means one part in 50 to one part in 1,000 by weight.

To thicken (add mouth feel) and emulsify the Irish Cream, 1/8 of a teaspoon for two cups of liquid should be more than enough.

As an experiment, I tried making an emulsion with just water, xanthan gum, and a tiny bit of sugar all hand whipped. It was not sufficient to just swirl the sugar and the xanthan together. Instead I had to mix the powders well by placing the sugar and the xanthan into a small bowl and then alternate pouring the mixture between two bowls. The well mixed powders where sprinkled over water while being whipped with a fork. What I noticed was that after some amount of the xanthan-sugar mixture had been dissolved in the water, it stopped emulsifying well. Small whitish clouds the size of the bubbles would form. They where not clumps, but regions with higher concentration of the xanthan powder. I got tired of hand whipping the emulsion but did not succeed in making the clouds disappear. Before the clouds formed the emulsion was thicker than needed for Irish Cream or a salad dressing.


If your goal is to keep the mixture from splitting while avoiding to add eggs you shouldn´t go (only) for a stabilizer like xanthan but for an emulsifier. Without eggs you do not only loose the eggs stabilizing properties but also the lecithine from the yolk. For a prolonged shelf-life you can replace it with plant based lecithine from soy or sunflowers.


Info gleaned from several sites:

First, start 15 min. ahead of time, if you want to thicken something with Xanthum.

Always start by putting Xanthum gum with 1-2 parts oil or glycerin. You can still see the particles of gum in the oil. This mixture can be kept for 24 hours.

Someone said that the best temp for the mixture you are adding gum to, is 50 degrees. [I read that Xanthum can be added to hot or cold liquids.]

I did all of the above. Seemed to work out okay for gravy for liver, and couldn't taste it.

If you add the gum straight to liquids, it sounds as if you will be whisking forever. It clumps before you can even start whisking it, people said. One site said-- only add Xanthum to liquid that is in a blender.

I accidentally dumped a tablespoon of olive oil on top of my pinch or 2 of Xanthum. Even after it sat for awhile, I could still see the particles of gum in the oil, So I guess the oil is just to help disperse it, as it will clump within nanoseconds of touching liquids, many said.

Xanthum is also sold in little packets, since any exposure of steam-liquid will age the contents. Wish we had known...

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