Last Updated on June 1, 2023 by Toya
Most people are used to thickening their favorite recipes like soups, sauces, gravies, and smoothies, with high-carb ingredients like all-purpose flour or even cornstarch.
But, if you’re doing keto, you must be asking yourself, what can I use as a keto substitute for thickeners? Well, you will never need to ask this question again! Because today, I’ve listed all the best keto thickeners that you can use to thicken up your soups, gravies, sauces, and more!
If you’re just starting keto, or maybe you’ve already started but you don’t know all the best keto food substitutions for all your favorite foods, then this Keto Substitutions Guide is for you! It includes over 300 amazing keto food swaps that actually work and taste good!
Best keto thickeners for all types of keto recipes
Chia seeds make a great keto friendly thickening agent for recipes like soups, sauces, smoothies, puddings, gravies, and even meatballs. I personally love using chia seeds to thicken up my keto smoothies. Take this delicious blueberry keto smoothie for example.
You can use them in whole-seed form or use ground chia seeds in your favorite keto dishes. Many people think that you must either pulverize them or use them in ground form.
Surprisingly, chia seeds absorb liquid very well and soften up quite nicely once they’ve soaked up liquids. Thus, they will not affect your recipes if they’re whole.
Xanthan gum powder
If you’ve been doing keto for more than a day you’ve likely heard of xanthan gum. Xanthan is a food additive that has become a very popular keto pantry staple.
It is popularly used to make keto friendly dough, bread, and other baked goods. However, it can also be used to thicken up keto gravies, salad dressings, soups, sauces, smoothies, and puddings.
I particularly like to use xanthan gum as a keto sauce thickener as seen in this strawberry sauce recipe and as a keto gravy thickener as can be seen in this keto friendly gravy recipe. I’ve even used xanthan gum to thicken keto ice cream before.
A little goes a long way, so use ¼ teaspoon for every cup of liquid in your favorite soups and other such dishes.
This is one of my favorite xanthan gum brands. If you make lots of keto recipes including soups, gravies, bread, pancakes, or anything else, you need to grab this!
Guar gum powder
Guar gum is another low carb thickening agent derived from guar beans.
Like xanthan gum powder, it is also used in many low carb baked goods, as well as salad dressings to prevent the separation of oil and liquid, sauces, gravies, soups, smoothies, stews, puddings, and frozen desserts. Use 1/2 teaspoon for every cup of liquid.
Konjac gel powder (glucomannan)
Konjac gel powder is another great thickener that makes a great substitute for cornstarch or other high carb thickeners. It has no flavor so no aftertaste will be left behind.
Add this to your smoothies, soups, glazes, gravy, casseroles, pie fillings, and more. It is best to mix it with a little water before adding it to your keto recipes.
Agar agar powder
Agar agar powder is another great vegan and keto thickening agent made from red seaweed. It can be used to thicken frozen treats like ice cream, as well as puddings, jams, jellies, and soups.
If you’re looking for a plant based keto friendly thickener, agar agar is your best bet! Use 1 teaspoon for every cup of liquid. It is also unflavored which definitely makes it very versatile in the kitchen.
Gelatin is another great low carb thickener worth checking out. Gelatin is ideal for people who aren’t vegan or vegetarian and works well as a thickener for cheesecakes, jellies, gummies, smoothies, and even sauces, braises, and stews. Use about ½ tablespoon of gelatin for every cup of liquid as indicated in this easy keto cheesecake recipe made with coconut cheesecake crust.
If you happen to have some ground flaxseeds on hand, you can use this product to thicken soups and stews. It is also a great keto thickening agent for smoothies.
Cream cheese is also another low carb thickener that can be used in keto recipes. Use cream cheese to thicken up sauces, dips, salad dressings, soups, and even keto pancake batters like in these coconut flour keto pancakes and these quick keto pancakes.
Heavy cream also makes a fine keto thickener for sauces and soups if you don’t mind the dairy. You can see how I used heavy cream as a keto soup thickener in this keto beef taco soup as well as this keto chicken taco soup. You can also check out more ways to thicken soup if you don’t have heavy cream here.
Almond flour also works okay as a keto thickener. It has its limitations and should only be used sparingly, but, in a pinch, you can use it to thicken up keto gravies, curries, stews, and more.
Coconut flour can also be used as a low carb thickener. It is not the best option as coconut flour has quite a few carbs. i.e 1 tbsp has 2 net carbs.
If you’re using it as a thickener only a little is required. Use it to thicken sauces, curries, stews, and other keto recipes with bolder flavors so that the distinct coconut flavor will be masked.
Unfortunately, coconut flour is too gritty to be used as a suitable keto gravy thickener.
But, since it is a staple pantry ingredient, it is very convenient and can help make many recipes thicker quickly.
How to thicken keto soup
I’ve mentioned briefly how to thicken keto soup recipes above. Here is a more detailed version.
How to thicken keto soup with heavy cream
Thickening keto soup with heavy cream is a simple way to change the consistency of a soup without a lot of effort.
1. Pour a touch of heavy cream into your soup. Adjust as desired.
2. Stir it into the soup until it is well combined.
3. Then let it simmer for a little while so the soup reduces and thickens up. Do not boil as it may curdle.
Use this method if you do not mind the extra dairy or turning a non-dairy soup into a creamy soup.
How to thicken keto soup with sour cream
It is easy to thicken a keto soup with sour cream. Here’s how:
1. Ladle a small amount of hot soup into a bowl.
2. Add the desired amount of sour cream to the bowl and whisk until well combined.
3. Pour the mixture back into the pot of soup and simmer for a few minutes.
How to thicken keto soup with xanthan gum
When looking for ways to thicken a keto soup, you don’t always have to use cream or a cream-based product. Xanthan gum can thicken keto soups too! Here’s how:
1. Sprinkle Nathan gum into your soup.
2. Then stir and allow the soup a few minutes to thicken.
3. Typically ¼ teaspoon of Xanthan gum is used per cup of liquid. Therefore 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum is ideal for a soup that calls for 4 cups of liquid. And 2 teaspoons of xanthan gum is enough for a soup that calls for 8 cups of liquid etc.
How to thicken keto soup with guar gum
Thickening keto soup with guar cum is easy. Here’s how to do it:
1. As the soup is cooking, sprinkle the guar gum not the pot, then stir well until is properly combined.
2. Let that simmer for a bit while it thickens.
3. Typically 1 teaspoon of guar gum is used per cup of liquid.
Thickeners that are not allowed on keto
While the list of thickeners above is ideal for keto, there are also a few that many people think can be used, but are actually not suitable for keto eating. These include thickeners like corn starch, potato starch, arrowroot, and tapioca flour. This is why:
- Corn starch: This item is made from corn grain which is a high carb food and, in every tablespoon of cornstarch, there are 7 grams of carbs.
- Potato starch: This item is extracted from potatoes which is a high carb food and, in every tablespoon of cornstarch there are 8 grams of carbs.
- Arrowroot: This thickener is made from starch and contains 8.8 grams of carbs in every tablespoon.
- Tapioca flour: Tapioca flour is made from the roots of cassava plants which is a high carb food, and generally has about 6 – 9 grams of carbs in every tablespoon.