Difference Between Agar Agar and Gelatin

Agar Agar vs Gelatin

Have you marveled at the thickness and consistency of desserts that are served at restaurants and in parties? Have you ever wondered what makes soups so thick and yummy? It is made possible by thickening agents such as Agar Agar and gelatin, both of which are used across the world in preparation of desserts and soups. Despite similar function, there are differences between Agar Agar and gelatin that will be highlighted in this article.


Gelatin is a thickening agent that is derived from animal sources. It is actually collagen that is obtained from animal bones, tendons, skin, muscles, ligament, hooves, cartilage etc. All these parts of animal body are boiled and converted into colorless and odorless goo that works as a setting agent and used to make all sorts of candies and desserts in all parts of the world. The basic property of gelatin is to convert a liquid into a gel when it is added to the liquid, and the mixture is boiled. This gel, when we put inside our mouth, gets heated and melts. As animal sources are used to make gelatin, mostly pigs, it is not liked and used by vegetarians and those on a vegan diet. This is why there are available kosher gelatins that are substitute to gelatin.

Gelatin finds uses in many other industries because of its gelling property. It is used widely in the pharmaceutical industry for making the outer cover of capsules that contain the medication. As this covering is tasteless, it makes it easier for patients to consume bitter medicines.

Agar Agar

Agar Agar is a type of gelatin that is derived from plant sources. It is actually seaweed that has gelling properties as powder obtained from this seaweed can turn a liquid into a gel. Actually, Agar Agar is a mixture as it contains many different carbohydrates that are obtained from the seaweed. Also called Kanten in Japan, Agar Agar is made from algae found in Red Sea. Indians call it Chinese grass and make extensive use of this gelatin that is considered vegetarian because of its plant origin. It is available in markets not just as powder but also as flakes and sheets.

Agar Agar is not only high on proteins; it is also rich in minerals because of its origin from the sea. You just need to mix Agar Agar in a liquid and boil it, stirring in between so that it is completely dissolved. After cooling down, the liquid turns into a gel. Agar Agar is used by vegetarians as a substitute for gelatin.

Agar Agar vs Gelatin

• Gelatin is derived from animal sources, whereas Agar Agar is derived from plant sources.

• Vegetarians and vegans dislike gelatin in their recipes because of its animal sources and prefer Agar Agar.

• Agar Agar is also labeled by some as a plant gelatin or a vegetarian gelatin.

• Gelatin comes from collagen obtained from muscles, tendons, cartilage, skin, and bones of animals.

• Agar Agar comes from seaweed found in Red Sea.

• Agar Agar contains more minerals than gelatin given its source of origin.

• Agar Agar is a great thickening agent that works as a substitute of gelatin for the vegetarians.