Many brands of ice cream are safe for people following a gluten-free diet. In its basic state, ice cream is gluten-free because it’s made from milk, sugar, cream, and sometimes eggs. All these ingredients are naturally gluten-free and safe if you follow a no-gluten diet.
So, what is gluten-free ice cream? The best gluten-free ice cream brands include Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Häagen-Dazs, So Delicious, Talenti, Dreyer’s (or Edy’s), and NadaMoo. Before scooping a pint of ice cream from the store, check the ingredient label to ensure there are no gluten-containing ingredients.
Keep reading to learn more about the common sources of gluten in ice cream. We’ll also list the most popular gluten-free ice cream brands to help you safely enjoy your favorite frozen treat.
Common Sources of Gluten in Ice Cream?
Ice cream manufacturers might add gluten-containing ingredients to ice cream for several reasons. In most cases, ingredients that give ice cream flavor or texture might contain gluten, making the ice cream unsafe for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
Here are the most common sources of gluten in ice cream:
Flavors and Additives
Ingredients used to give ice cream different flavors are a common source of gluten in ice cream. If ice cream flavors include foods made with gluten, like cookies or cookie dough, the ice cream will also contain gluten.
Ice cream flavors that usually contain gluten include chocolate chips cookie dough, Oreo, fudge, or cake. Only choose these ice cream flavors if they are labeled as certified gluten-free.
When shopping for ice cream, check the ingredient label to ensure there are no gluten-containing ingredients.
Thickeners or Sweetening Agents
Some ice cream brands use flour to thicken the ice cream and improve its texture or barley malt syrup to sweeten it. Reading the ingredient list and checking the label will help you choose ice creams that don’t contain any of these gluten-containing ingredients.
Even if ice cream is naturally gluten-free, it can be produced in a facility with other gluten-containing foods. Some ice cream manufacturers also used shared equipment to make gluten-free and regular ice cream flavors.
Although many companies claim to practice good manufacturing policies to avoid allergen contamination, producing gluten-free ice cream on shared equipment increases the risk of cross-contamination. This is a big concern for people with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance.
What Is Gluten-Free Ice Cream Made of?
In its basic state, ice cream is a mixture of sugar, milk, cream, and eggs. All of these ingredients are naturally gluten-free, making ice cream gluten-free.
Ice cream is made using special techniques to create a distinctively creamy and soft texture.
There’s a variety of gluten-free ice cream flavors. From tropical fruits like mango and pomegranate to classics like chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla, many different kinds of gluten-free ice creams exist.
List of Gluten-Free Ice Cream Brands
Many well-known ice cream brands manufacture gluten-free ice creams. The best way to ensure your ice cream is gluten-free is to check the ingredient list and look for a gluten-free label.
Any ice cream product with a gluten-free label meets the FDA gluten-free labeling requirements and contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten. You can also check the ingredient list for any hidden gluten-containing ingredients.
Listed below are the best gluten-free ice cream brands:
1. Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s offers a variety of certified gluten-free ice cream flavors. Some of Ben & Jerry’s ice creams are also dairy-free and suitable for lactose-intolerant people.
This company currently carries the following certified gluten-free ice creams:
- Cherry Garcia
- Chunky Monkey
- Coffee Coffee BuzBuzBuz
- New York Super Fudge Chunk
- Phish Food
- Pistachio Pistachio
- Vanilla Caramel Fudge
- Karamel Sutra Core (non-dairy)
- Bananas Foster (non-dairy)
- Boom Chocolatta (non-dairy)
If the ice cream flavor is certified as gluten-free, it’s safe for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors aren’t labeled as gluten-free but seem not to contain any gluten.
The company’s policy is such that if wheat, barley, rye, or oats aren’t listed in the ingredients declaration or in the Allergy information statement in boldface on the packaging, then the product is safe to consume for persons with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
2. Breyers Ice Cream
Breyers is a popular ice cream brand that produces different flavors of gluten-free ice creams. Many Breyers ice creams are labeled gluten-free, meaning they contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten.
Here are different gluten-free ice cream flavors offered by Breyers:
- Dulce de Leche
- Extra Creamy Vanilla
- Homemade Vanilla
- Mint Chocolate Chip
- Naturally Strawberry
- Vanilla Fudge Twirl
- French Vanilla
- Butter Pecan
- Cherry Vanilla
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Extra Creamy Chocolate
Breyers doesn’t have a dedicated gluten-free manufacturing facility, but strict criteria are used to prevent cross-contact of gluten in products that make a gluten-free claim.
Häagen-Dazs states that gluten found in its products is only present in the added bakery products such as brownies, cakes, or cookies. This ice cream manufacturer always labels the eight major allergens by their common name.
Häagen-Dazs gluten-free ice cream flavors include:
- Banana Peanut Butter Chip
- Butter Pecan
- Chocolate Dark Chocolate
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Chocolate Salted Fudge Truffle
- Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Heaven
- Coconut Caramel
- Coffee Almond Crunch
- Coffee Chip
- Cold Brew Espresso Chip Heaven
- Dulce de Leche
- Honey Salted Caramel Almond
- Lemon Sorbet
- Mango Sorbet
- Matcha Green Tea
- Mint Chip
- Peppermint Bark
- Pineapple Coconut
- Raspberry Sorbet
- Rocky Road
- Rum Raisin
- Vanilla Bean
- Vanilla Chocolate Chip
- Vanilla Milk Chocolate Almond
- Vanilla Milk Chocolate
- Vanilla Swiss Almond
- White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle
All Häagen-Dazs gluten-free ice creams are clearly labeled as such on the packaging and the brand’s website.
4. Dreyer’s (Or Edy’)
Dreyer’s and Edy’s are the same ice cream brand. The brand’s ice creams are sold as Dreyers in Texas and west of the Rocky Mountains and as Edy’s in the Midwest and eastern U.S.
The brand states that gluten in their frozen dessert products comes from added bakery products like cookies, brownies, or cake. However, some of Dreyer’s products contain gluten from non-bakery products.
Dryer’s ice cream brand labels all of its products for gluten, so check the ice cream’s ingredient list for gluten.
5. So Delicious
So Delicious specializes in producing dairy-free frozen desserts. Not only are their ice creams dairy free, but they are also certified gluten-free by the GFCO.
If you decide to purchase So Delicious ice creams, avoid flavors made with oat milk because oats are often cross-contaminated with gluten.
Here are some So Delicious gluten-free ice cream flavors:
- Peanut Butter Brownie
- Salted Caramel Cluster
- Dark Chocolate Truffle
- Vanilla Bean
- Mint Chip
- Cookie Dough
- Mocha Almond Fudge
This ice cream brand has a strict allergy control program to ensure you know exactly what’s in every scoop of your ice cream.
A subsidiary of Mars Chocolate, Dove discloses any gluten ingredients or any risk of cross-contamination. Dove has been making chocolate products for over 80 years and produces gluten-free ice creams.
All Dove ice cream bars are gluten-free, except for Vanilla with Fudge Brownies. Gluten-free Dove ice cream flavors include:
- Dove Bar Chocolate Ice Cream with Dove Dark Chocolate
- Dove Bar Mango Sorbet with Dove Dark Chocolate
- Dove Bar Salted Caramel Gelato with Dove Dark Chocolate and Butter Toffee Bits
- Dove Bar Strawberry Sorbet with Dove Milk Chocolate
- Dove Bar Raspberry Sorbet with Dove Dark Chocolate
- Dove Bar Vanilla Ice Cream with Dove Dark Chocolate
- Dove Bar Vanilla Ice Cream with Dove Milk Chocolate
- Dove Bar Vanilla Ice Cream with Dove Milk Chocolate and Almonds
- Dove Bar Vanilla-Caramel Swirl Ice Cream with Dove Milk Chocolate and Cashews
Does Gluten-Free Ice Cream Taste Different?
Regular ice cream is a mixture of milk, cream, sugar, and sometimes eggs. These ingredients are naturally gluten-free and used to make no-gluten ice creams.
Gluten-free ice creams taste the same as regular ice creams, but they might not be as creamy. Ultimately, the texture of the gluten-ice cream will also depend on the milk fat.
Higher milk fat gluten-free ice creams generally have a smoother texture. These ice creams contain less water and fewer ice crystals that can change the consistency.
Being diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance doesn’t mean you can’t eat ice cream ever again. When shopping for gluten-free frozen treats, read ingredient lists and check for gluten-free certification.
Many ice cream brands (although not all) produce safe options for people following a gluten-free diet. If you’re careful and check labels, you’ll easily find both classic and exotic flavors of gluten-free ice creams at a local supermarket.
Ice cream, like any other sweet and calorie-dense treat, isn’t made to be healthy or a part of your daily diet. But if you have a gluten-related disorder, you now have a chance to indulge in gluten-free ice cream in moderation as a treat.