The 3 Best Agar Agar Substitutes


agar agar jelly

Agar agar is a gelling agent derived from red algae, used mainly in vegan recipes to replace gelatin.

It’s fairly easy to find now, but if you don’t have it on hand for a recipe, there are a few alternatives.

The 3 Closest Plant-Based Substitutes for Agar Agar

You can substitute any of the following ingredients in a 1:1 ratio (e.g. 1 tbsp of either gum for 1 tbsp of agar agar):

  • Xanthan gum
  • Guar gum
  • Carrageenan

They won’t give you quite the same “jelly” texture as agar agar, but will thicken up your food.

I’d recommend looking for the first 2 options first, as carrageenan  is usually harder to find.

If you’re desperate, there’s 1 final option: starch. Either corn starch or tapioca starch can do in a pinch.

It’s a bit more time consuming of a substitution though.

How to Substitute Corn or Tapioca Starch for Agar Agar

tapioca starch

Note that tapioca starch also goes by the name of “tapioca powder.”

Start with a 2:1 ratio, so 2 tbsp of corn or tapioca starch for each tbsp of agar agar flakes or powder.

Then, mix it with water in a 1:1 ratio. For example, 2 tbsp of corn starch should be whisked together with 2 tbsp of water. Then add it to your recipe.

If your recipe isn’t thickening up enough, add more starch to it.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

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