Guar gum, from the guar tree, functions as a thickening agent, emulsifier, and a stabilizer in baked goods.

Guar Gum

Also known as guaran or cluster bean

What is Guar Gum?

Guar gum is a gel-forming hydrocolloid obtained from the endosperm of the guar plant seed. It is a soluble dietary fiber, fat replacer and an effective additive in gluten free food products.

Common uses of guar gum in the food industry are based on its properties:

  • Emulsifying
  • Stabilizing
  • Thickening
  • Viscosity building1


Guar gum is derived from the Cyamopsis tetragonoloba plant, a member of the Leguminosae family. The domesticated species has been cultivated for centuries in India and Pakistan for human consumption and animal feed. Guar gum production in the United States was developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Mainly, as a replacement to locust bean gum in the textile and paper manufacturing.1

Currently, India accounts for 80% of the global guar gum production with the United States and China are the main importing countries.


Functional attributes of guar gum include:

  • Thickening: its superior thickening power is a result of the galactomannan’s entanglement which restricts water movement
  • Emulsifying: guar’s high solubility and rapid hydration in cold water is critical for its emulsion stabilizing ability
  • Mouthfeel: texture improvement provides imparts a characteristic mouthfeel to food products
  • Water binding: reduces the water available for the proliferation of microorganisms
  • Retards staling: a result of reducing the availability of water for starch gelatinization
  • Fat replacement: partial or total substitution


Guar gum consists mainly of polysaccharides in the form of galactomannan (73-86.7%), protein (3-6%), crude fiber (1-4%) and fat (0.5-1 %). Health benefits of this gum are mainly due to the  galactomannan component which has been associated with reduced blood glucose and insulin concentration in diabetic patients. Other benefits include its use as a therapeutic agent for treating hyperlipidemia and obesity.3

Commercial production2,4

Guar gum is commercially obtained through the following process:

  • Cleaning: guar seeds are removed from pods and cleaned
  • Splitting: seeds are broken mechanically and germ is separated from the endosperm
  • Hull removal: to form guar splits
  • Hydration and milling: splits are hydrated and milled into a powder
  • Blending: milled particles are blended to meet particle size specifications


Guar gum has several applications in baked goods including its role as a stabilizer, thickener, emulsifier and fat replacer. Its functional performance is enhanced when combined with other polysaccharides, mainly xanthan gum.

Following is a summary of the impact of guar gum on baked goods:

Baked Good Effect
  • Improves dough machinability
  • Retards staling
  • Improves dough machinability.
  • Increases hardness, fracturability and crispiness
  • Improves sensory qualities
  • Desirable biding and film forming properties
  • Decreases penetration of fats and oils
Frozen pie fillings
  • Prevents dehydration
  • Prevents shrinking and cracking
Wheat bread
  • Increases loaf volume
  • Retards staling
  • Increases water absorption
  • Reduces dough development time
  • Increases mixing tolerance
  • Softer crumb
White bread
  • Increases water absorption
  • Retards staling
  • Desirable consistency in bread making

FDA regulations

Guar gum is a food additive Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration in baked goods up to 0.35 %.7


  1. Damodaran, S.. Fennema’s Food Chemistry. 4th ed., CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, 2007, pp. 138.
  2. Mudgil, D. “Guar Gum: Processing, Properties And Food Applications—A Review”. Journal Of Food Science And Technology, vol 51, no. 3, 2011, pp. 409-418. Springer Science And Business Media LLC, doi:10.1007/s13197-011-0522-x. Accessed 5 May 2020.
  3. Caballero, B., Luiz C. Trugo, and Paul M. Finglas. Encyclopedia of food sciences and nutrition. Academic, 2003, pp 3012 – 3021.
  4. Baines, D, and R Seal. Natural Food Additives, Ingredients And Flavourings. 1st ed., Woodhead Publishing, 2012, pp. 175-196.
  5. Grumezescu, A. and Holban, A.M.(Eds). Biopolymers For Food Design. 1st ed., Academic Press. Elsevier Inc., 2018, pp. 392-394.
  6. Roller, S., and S. Jones (Eds). Handbook Of Fat Replacers. 2nd ed., CRC Press LLC., 1996, pp. 203-204.
  7. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). US Department of Health and Human Services. CFR Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, Part 184 Direct Food Substances Affirmed As Generally Recognized As Safe Food ,, Accessed 06 May 2020.

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