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The 10 Best Keto Thickeners for Soups and Stews

If you want to add more flavor, texture, and thickness to your meals, using a thickener is the best option. But if you’re on a low-carb diet like the Keto Diet, you should know that many thickeners can disrupt your diet due to high levels of carbohydrates. Fortunately, there are many Keto thickener options that you can use without worrying about increasing your carb levels.

The 10 Best Keto Thickeners for Soups and Stews
  • Traditional thickeners like wheat flour and cornstarch are high in carbohydrates and not suitable for the Keto Diet.
  • Keto thickeners help thicken Keto soups, sauces, smoothies, desserts and stews without adding a lot of carbohydrates.
  • Ket thickeners are generally made from plant-based fibers, nuts, seed flour, or dairy products.
  • Some of the best Keto thickeners are xanthan gum, almond flour, and flaxseed meal.

What Does A Thickener Do?

A Keto thickener is a special ingredient used in low-carb diets like the Carnivore Diet and the Keto Diet. It is added to soups, sauces, and stews to add thickness and texture without increasing the carbohydrate level.

Traditional thickeners like arrowroot, wheat flour, and cornstarch are high in carbohydrates. For example, 100 grams of wheat flour has about 73 grams of carbs [1], which is very high for those on a low-carb diet.

Keto thickeners are a substitute for traditional ones to thicken your foods with the least impact on carbohydrate levels.

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The main difference between traditional thickeners and Keto thickeners is their ingredients. Traditional thickeners are often derived from high-carb seeds like wheat kernel, but Keto thickeners are made from low-carb ingredients to align with the principles of a Ketogenic diet.

What Are Thickners Usually Made of?

Keto thickeners are generally made from:

  • Plant-Based Fibers and Gums: Like konjac flour, psyllium husk powder, xanthan gum, and agar agar
  • Nut and Seed Flour: Some thickeners, like Keto thickener almond flour, are made from ground nuts and seeds, which adds a delicious nutty flavor alongside thickness.
  • Dairy Products: Some Keto-friendly thickeners come from dairy products, like heavy cream and cream cheese.

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Keto thickener powders are used in a variety of dishes and recipes, like sauces, soups, and smoothies, for adding thickness and flavor instead of traditional high-carb thickeners.

What Are Thickeners Used In?

Thickeners are used in the following ways:

  • Sauces and Gravies: Keto thickeners like xanthan gum (A gluten-free thickener from fermented corn sugar) or guar gum (A thickener derived from guar beans) can be used to create rich and thick Keto-friendly sauces.
  • Soups and Stews: You can use a low-carb Keto thickener for beef stew like xanthan gum. Also, you can use a Low-carb thickener for soup to add richness and extra flavor to different kinds of Keto soup.
  • Desserts: Keto thickeners are used in sugar-free and low-carb desserts, including puddings, custards, and cheesecakes.
  • Dips and Dressings: Keto-friendly thickeners can add creaminess to dips and dressings. For example, adding almond flour or xanthan gum to avocado ranch dip can add a creamy texture.
  • Smoothies and Shakes: Some Keto thickeners can be used to add creaminess to Keto-friendly smoothies or shakes without adding much carbohydrates. For instance, adding guar gum to a chocolate Keto protein shake can enhance the creamy texture.

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By adding Keto thickeners to the above dishes, you can enhance their taste and texture. Also, as different thickeners are better for certain dishes, you can use the following thickeners based on their specific features.

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10 Best Keto Thickeners

Here are the 10 Best Keto thickeners you can use in Keto dishes:

Glucomannan Powder (Konjac Flour)

It’s a water-soluble thickener made from the konjac root and is ideal for hot liquids like soups, stews, and gravies. It continues to thicken as the dish cools, making it a versatile option for various Keto recipes.

The following table summarizes the Glucomannan Powder’s nutritional values in 100 grams.

Calories (kcal)179
Fat (g) 0.2
Protein (g) 1.64
Net Carbohydrates (g) 0.2
Fiber (g) 83.5
Sugar (g) 2.9

Psyllium Husk Powder

Psyllium husk powder is derived from the husks of psyllium seeds, known for their water-absorbing features, which can thicken sauces, stews, and even Keto bread.

However, it’s important to use it sparingly due to its grainy texture, which can be unpleasant in some dishes, and some may not like it. Here, you can check the nutritional values of this thickener in 100 grams.

Calories (kcal)294
Fat (g) 0
Protein (g) 0
Net Carbohydrates (g) 8
Fiber (g) 75
Sugar (g) 0

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is a popular gluten-free thickener derived from fermented corn sugar. It is usually used in minimal quantities (often less than 1/4 teaspoon per recipe) because xanthan gum is a potent thickener and even a small amount of it can thicken significantly.

So, using too much of it can result in a very gummy or slimy texture, which is not desirable in most dishes.

Anyhow, it can be a suitable thickener for baked goods like cookies and breads. You can check its nutritional value in 100 grams in the following table.

Calories (kcal)320
Fat (g) 0
Protein (g) 6
Net Carbohydrates (g) 0
Fiber (g) 77.5
Sugar (g) 0

Agar Agar

Agar agar is a vegan alternative to gelatin, extracted from red algae, which can be used in sauces, puddings, and other cold or congealed dishes. Like gelatin, agar agar must first be dissolved in water as it will thicken gradually.

Each 100 grams of this thickener contains the following nutrients.

Calories (kcal)26
Fat (g) 0.03
Protein (g) 0.54
Net Carbohydrates (g) 5
Fiber (g) 0.5
Sugar (g) 0.28

Almond Flour

Finely ground almonds create a nutrient-rich flour with a nutty flavor and thickening features. Almond Flour is versatile and can be used in various Keto dishes, such as sauces, stews, and Keto baking, and even as a flavorful breading or crust for meats and vegetables.

The following table shows the nutritional values of 100 grams of almond flour.

Calories (kcal)567
Fat (g) 50
Protein (g) 20
Net Carbohydrates (g) 6
Fiber (g) 13.3
Sugar (g) 3.3

Guar Gum

Guar gum is another low-carb thickener derived from guar beans. Like xanthan gum, guar gum can thicken salad dressings (to prevent oil separation), sauces, gravies, soups, smoothies, stews, and even puddings.

The recommended amount of this thickener is 1/2 teaspoon for every cup of liquid. The following table shows the Guar Gums’s nutritional value in 100 grams.

Calories (kcal)322
Fat (g) 0.5
Protein (g) 4.6
Net Carbohydrates (g) 0
Fiber (g) 77
Sugar (g) 0

Heavy Cream

Heavy cream contains at least 36% milk fat and can be a Keto-friendly thickener due to its minimal carbohydrate content and high-fat profile. You can use it as a Keto-friendly thickener in creamy sauces, soups, and casseroles.

Its nutritional values in 100 grams are provided in the table below.

Calories (kcal)340
Fat (g) 46.1
Protein (g) 2.84
Net Carbohydrates (g) 2.84
Fiber (g) 0
Sugar (g) 2.92

Cream Cheese

Unlike heavy cream, cream cheese mostly makes a dish creamier, not necessarily thicker. You should add a lot of this cheese to make a thicker dish, which can impact and lessen other flavors.

Like heavy cream, cream cheese can be added to soups or cream gravy. Here are its nutritional values in 100 grams.

Calories (kcal)350
Fat (g) 34.4
Protein (g) 6.15
Net Carbohydrates (g) 5.52
Fiber (g) 0
Sugar (g) 3.76

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are tiny black seeds packed with fiber, which absorb liquid, making them excellent thickeners for various Keto dishes, like puddings and jams.

They can even be used as an egg substitute in many baking recipes. Here are the nutritional values of this thickener in 100 grams.

Calories (kcal)500
Fat (g) 31.2
Protein (g) 15.6
Net Carbohydrates (g) 6.3
Fiber (g) 37.5
Sugar (g) 0

Flaxseed Meal (Ground Flaxseeds)

Ground flaxseeds, aka flaxseed meal, contain fiber that thickens when mixed with liquids. Like Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds can thicken soups, stews, and even smoothies while adding a subtle nutty flavor.

Let’s take a look at their nutritional values in 100 grams in the following table.

Calories (kcal)534
Fat (g) 42.2
Protein (g) 18.3
Net Carbohydrates (g) 1.6
Fiber (g) 27.3
Sugar (g) 1.55

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Adding Keto thickeners to your dishes can provide thickness and extra flavor without affecting and increasing the carbohydrate level.

But please remember to choose the thickener that fits your recipe. For example, Chia Seeds may not be a good thickener for soups, and it is better to use Almond Flour.

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