Is Ice Cream Gluten-Free? How to Find a Safe Frozen Treat

Updated September 21, 2022
Homemade vanilla, caramel ice cream in vintage bowl

Who doesn't love a big bowl of creamy, satisfying ice cream? But what if you follow a gluten-free diet? Is ice cream gluten-free? And what brands or flavors are more likely to contain gluten?

Since ice cream is made from milk, most ice cream is naturally gluten-free. So you can typically consume chocolate or vanilla ice cream with confidence. However, some manufacturers add wheat to the formula for a variety of reasons. If you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it is helpful to learn more about hidden ingredients and find a few gluten-free brands to add to your shopping list.

Common Sources of Gluten in Ice Cream

There are different reasons that a food manufacturer might add gluten to ice cream. In many cases, ingredients used to give the ice cream taste or texture may contain gluten, making the product unsafe for those following a gluten-free diet. These are common sources of gluten in ice cream.

Thicken or Sweetening Agents

Some ice cream brands use wheat flour to thicken the dessert, or they use barley malt syrup to sweeten it. It is crucial to read the ingredient label to ensure your ice cream selection does not contain these ingredients.

Cross Contamination

Even if ice cream isn't made with gluten, it may have been processed in a facility with other gluten-containing food. This opens the risk for cross-contamination and is a concern for those with celiac disease or with severe gluten intolerances.

Flavors and Additives

A more obvious source of gluten in ice cream is the ingredients used to give it different flavors. If the flavor includes food that usually is made with gluten, like cookies, the ice cream will also contain gluten. This could include flavors such as chocolate chip cookie dough, Oreo, fudge, or birthday cake. Only choose flavors like these if the product is labeled "certified gluten-free." You might also want to double-check the label, ensuring there are no gluten-containing ingredients.

Gluten-Free Ice Cream Brands

The best way to know if your ice cream is gluten-free is to look for a gluten-free label. Any product with a gluten-free label meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements, which means there are less than 20 parts per million of gluten in the product. You can also check the ingredients label to look for hidden gluten-containing ingredients.

Breyers

This ice cream brand introduced a line of gluten-free flavors. Breyers claims that they take many measures to prevent cross-contamination in their facility. Breyers is at the top of the list for gluten-free ice cream as the company sticks to original recipes and eliminates any gluten to keep their gluten-free ice cream traditional.

Haagen-Dazs

Haagen-Dazs carries dozens of gluten-free ice cream flavors and states gluten is present only in "added bakery products such as cookies, cake, or brownies. We always label the eight major food allergens on our package." Therefore, Haagen-Dazs recommends that anyone with gluten sensitivity read the label carefully.

NadaMoo!

A growing non-dairy ice cream brand, NadaMoo! offers more than a dozen ice cream flavors that are USDA organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and fair-trade certified. This manufacturer uses only plant-based ingredients like vanilla beans and pecans.

So Delicious

So Delicious's dairy-free, gluten-free ice cream flavors are certified gluten-free. This brand even carries ice cream flavors such as cookies 'n cream and cookie dough that are gluten-free. Buyers can find both pints of ice cream and ice cream bars.

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Is Ice Cream Gluten-Free? How to Find a Safe Frozen Treat