Agar Agar vs Gelatin: Understanding the Differences

Agar Agar and gelatin are both thickening agents used in the preparation of desserts, soups, and other dishes. While they serve a similar purpose, there are key differences between the two.

Key Takeaways

  • Gelatin is derived from animal sources, such as collagen from bones, tendons, and cartilage, while Agar Agar is derived from plant sources, specifically seaweed found in the Red Sea.
  • Vegetarians and vegans often prefer Agar Agar over gelatin due to its plant-based origin, and it is sometimes referred to as a “plant gelatin” or “vegetarian gelatin.”
  • Agar Agar contains more minerals than gelatin, thanks to its source of origin, and serves as a great substitute for gelatin in various dishes.

Gelatin is a thickening agent derived from animal sources, including bones, tendons, skin, muscles, ligament, hooves, and cartilage. It is a colorless and odorless substance that works as a setting agent, making it a popular ingredient in candies and desserts worldwide. However, as it is derived from animal sources (mostly pigs), it is not suitable for vegetarians and those on a vegan diet. Kosher gelatins are available as a substitute for traditional gelatin. Gelatin is also used in the pharmaceutical industry to make the outer cover of capsules containing medication.

Agar Agar, on the other hand, is a type of gelatin derived from plant sources, specifically seaweed. It is a mixture containing various carbohydrates obtained from the seaweed, and is known as Kanten in Japan. Agar Agar is considered vegetarian due to its plant origin and is available as powder, flakes, or sheets. It is high in proteins and rich in minerals thanks to its origin from the sea. To use Agar Agar, simply mix it with a liquid and boil it, stirring occasionally until dissolved. Once cooled, the liquid will turn into a gel. Agar Agar is commonly used by vegetarians as a substitute for gelatin.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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