what is psyllium husk?

You may have noticed: we’re using psyllium husk in some of our baked goods recipes lately. And many of you have been writing to ask us — what the heck is psyllium husk?

Well, here you are.

Just a few notes for you.

Psyllium is sold as whole psyllium husks and psyllium powder. In my experience, the whole husks are the most effective. However, if you only have access to psyllium powder, then use that in equal volume as the husks in the recipe.

You don’t need psyllium for all gluten-free baked goods. Instead, think about the baked goods that truly rely on gluten — breads, pizza dough, rolls, pasta. These do well with a touch of psyllium.

And if you can’t find it at your store immediately, look in the health section. It’s often sold as COLON CLEANSER. That may not sound appetizing, but it works in baked goods. (You’re only using 1 to 3 tablespoons for an entire batch of bread dough, so the cleaning qualities are pretty minimal. But if you bake often, you’re going to be regular!)

Try some. I think you’ll be surprised at how well this works in gluten-free baking.

37 comments on “what is psyllium husk?

  1. Beth @ Tasty Yummies

    Thanks for posting this Shauna! I haven’t yet played with psyllium husk but I keep meaning to buy some so I can. I am really loving the videos, keep ’em coming. Now I need to go see if I can find some psyllium husk locally. 🙂

  2. Adina | Gluten Free Travelette

    Psyllium husk is awesome! Shauna, my baking improved my leaps and bounds after you introduced me to this at one of your Pantry at Delancy classes!

    It also makes for an interesting conversation when your friends see COLON CLENSER on your baking shelf! 🙂

  3. Janae @ Bring-Joy

    I’m so glad to learn more about this rare ingredient. I’ve only used it as part of a cleanse, but have been wanting to do more with it in cooking & baked goods. Thanks!

  4. Grace Brooks

    Oh man! I’ve been baking with this for a while now, it’s cool to hear that I’m not the only one (was feeling kinda strange about using it, given its usual marketing.) But it works so so well!

  5. Cari

    I got some last week and am looking forward to giving it a try. Thanks for the tutorial! Very helpful and nice to hear your voice!

  6. Jessie

    hi, I am am super excited about this, because I have never felt that xanthan gum gives the desired elasticity to certain things like pizza. But I may need a little help adding the phsyllium to my recipes. How do you suggest? Thanks 🙂

  7. jennifer

    Hi, ditto Jessie’s question. Do you substitute psyllium 1:1 instead of xanthan gum in recipes?

  8. Gina

    Hey Shauna, great post! When incorporating psyllium husks into an existing recipe (omitting gums), do you need to up the liquid ratio at all or change up anything else? Thanks.

  9. Maggie

    Fabulous video Shauna! I’m looking forward to linking to this next time I use it in one of my recipes – I’m so grateful for psyllium (and the fact that no one thinks it’s worth anything…hehe).

  10. David

    I was wondering if you knew of any alternatives? Oddly psyllium husk seems to cause a number of very similar problems to gluten, for me.

  11. Sarah

    shauna i am so excited! i’ve avoided psyllium husk in your recipes actually…because it was just o n e…more…ingredient to buy! with gluten free baking there are already so many.
    i have learned the hard way that i hate my breads and pizza crusts.
    your video was simple inviting and informative. LOVED IT! and danny’s have been so great too.
    glad to hear that this ingredient is not too pricey.

  12. Suze

    Great video production Shauna and a really good persuasive effort. I’m going to get some! Haven’t looked at the blog in a while so this is my first view of your haircut. You look fabulous! I love having short short hair myself. I hope you do too!

  13. christa

    Thank you sooooo much for this video! I had to take a break from making my fav gluten free banana choc chip bread bcuz well…..guar gum. (Enough said, either you relate or you don’t!) I can’t wait to try this!

  14. Mikky

    I actually stopped using xantham and guar altogether about five years ago (same kind of digestive issues with them), and didn’t bother replacing them with anything — my recipes work just as well, and my baking is actually better (although that could be due to experience I suppose!). You really don’t need any kind of artificial binder for most baked goods. Bread is arguable. But I do wonder — is it really good for us to be feeding ourselves all of these things? First xantham and guar, which seemed wonderful at the time, and now a colon cleanser…all things in moderation, perhaps?

  15. Mary

    Nice video! I had never seen psyllium used with so little water… it really does get… gelatinous. Psyllium, though, I am very familiar with because it is extremely common in India — can be found in nearly every household — it’s on everyone’s shelf. It corrects an upset stomach. Was always made to take it (in much more water) after a bout of “Delhi belly” to stop the “running stomach” and get the body back to digesting properly. Been used for centuries, for good health, by a billion plus people. And if you are knowing Asian hospitality and concern for wellbeing, you will be knowing there is no escaping a big glass of it when your stomach is not feeling well. Definitely prefer baking with it. Far more…. how shall we say… palatable. 🙂

  16. Trisha Ritter

    First of all thank you to you, Danny and Lucy. Thank you for making GF cooking more fun then it has ever been for me. Thank you for sharing your lives and recipes. I have enjoyed reading your cookbook. Even the sappy stuff. I just watched your video on Psyllium. I think I may have gum issues too. How can I replace the gums with the psyllium in recipes that call for the gums, i.e. bread? Is there an exchanger ratio?


  17. Courtney

    What a wonderful video! I don’t have celiac or gluten intolerance myself but some of my husband’s family does and I would love to bake for them during the holidays – I want to practice beforehand. I loved the quality of this video – very PBS or Jamie Oliver at home…you should get your own show!

  18. Caryn

    As a formerly avid baker relatively recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I am always looking for new things to try so that I produce truly excellent baked goods. I’m looking forward to trying this! I’m curious — have you used it in brownies? I have been able to produce some truly amazing brownies that are dense, but, not much luck on a “cakier” brownie…

  19. Amanda

    Shauna, I’m loving your videos lately. And I super, SUPER love that you busted out the chalkboard in this one. Once a teacher, always a teacher, eh?! ;] (PS – I LOVE your teaching) Plus, I enjoyed learning about the psyllium (including how to pronounce it!)

  20. joanne

    Love your video. When you started using PH in your baking I thought with all my GI issues I could never bake with this. Today I learn from you that it is what is in metamucil. Oh my goodness. I take that twice daily. In fact it was you who told me metamucil was ok. I always took citracel. My surgeon wanted me to take metamucil. Imagine how happy my surgeon was when I told him it was ok to now take the PH metamucil. lol. I am so happy that I can bake with this. I so look forward to tomorrow and making homemade pizza. Woohoo! I have given it up so long ago. Thank you again.

  21. Sarah G

    I absolutely LOVE your giggles in the video. You’re fun to watch! Thanks for the video and explanation; I was just ignoring the psyllium husk in your recipes because I thought it was a supplement for yourself HA! Now my biggest question of all… How in the world do you and Danny store and organize alllllll of the flours etc. My pantry is out of control and it’s starting to move to the refrigerator too. Help!

  22. Cooking Gluten-Free with Anna

    Hi, the video is great. I learned to bake with psyllium in Sweden, where they have no xantham or guar gum. Instead we add about 1 teaspoon of psyllium in bread dough and even some cookie batters. The results are amazing in cinnamon buns ~ kanelbullar ~ a Swedish classic. I love that you are spreading the news about the wonderful benefits and properties of psyllium.
    Thanks ~ Tack!

  23. GF and more

    Great info – couple questions:
    (1) Is there a source of psyllium that you know to be certified GF? After a couple of bad episodes with other products, I’m leery of using anything that isn’t certified. I’d love to try the psyllium, especially since xanthan gum doesn’t agree with me, but want to stay safe as well.

    (2) In terms of proportions, what ratio would I use for subbing psyllium in recipes that call for xanthan or guar gum? Chia seed recipes, etc.?

  24. InTolerantChef

    Hi guys, I hope you don’t mind if I put a link on my next blog post to this one to spread the news on psyllium husk and it’s benefits? The video just explained it all so well. Please let me know if you don’t want me too, I hope to post it up tomorrow. Thanks, Rebecca

  25. Becca

    I used this in a recipe of english muffins. They had a great chew and texture. My family loved them. Thanks!

  26. Claudia Dominguez


    I’ve tried using psyllium husk powder in banana bread twice, and both times I ended up with a gelatinous mess. When I tried it I used it 1:1 to replace the xanthan gum I had previously used when making the recipe, and I added it to the dry ingredients . Do you have to add water to it and make a gel before you add it to your baked goods? Do your baked goods need to cool longer? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

    1. shauna

      You really don’t need psyllium for banana bread, if you’re following the correct ratio for quick breads! A pinch of psyllium, if you’re using a recipe with xanthan. Just cut way down on it and see what happens next.

  27. Anna

    I really don’t like the gumminess of baked goods that using flax seed as a binder. Is using psyllium powder much better in terms of texture?

  28. Jack

    Hello. I am very new to Gluten-Free baking, and have already found that the gums aren’t going to work for me. When you use the psyllium husks, do you add any more water to the recipe? Also, can I just substitute 1:1 the gums for the psullium husks?

  29. Melanie Adams

    Thank you for posting this information. You are a gem to share your knowledge. Thank you for making a difference in my families life!

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