Is Ice Cream Gluten Free?

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Ice cream display case featuring a variety of ice cream

is ice cream gluten-free | tips to buy | ice cream may contain gluten | Gluten free ice cream brands | Recipe | store gluten-free ice cream | plant based ice cream

A gluten-free diet comes with limitations, one of which is the inability to enjoy some of your favorite foods. But what about ice cream? Is ice cream gluten free?

Ice cream can be gluten-free depending on its ingredients, how it is processed, and where it is manufactured.

However, if you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you must be careful about the ice cream you eat.

Is ice cream gluten free?

Yes, ice cream, in its natural form, is gluten-free [1]Beyond Celiac: Is Ice Cream Gluten-Free?.

The main ingredients in a basic ice cream recipe are milk, cream, sugar, and eggs (sometimes). None of these contain gluten.

However, most commercial ice creams are not gluten-free. The reason for this is that many ice cream brands have gluten-containing ingredients in their products.

So eating certain ice cream flavors may expose you to gluten and trigger your symptoms.

Ways to identify gluten in your ice cream

If you are on a strict gluten-free diet, here are some ways to identify gluten in your ice cream.

1. Check the label

People with celiac disease or symptoms of gluten-intolerance should be vigilant and read food labels carefully. According to FDA labeling guidelines, [2]U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Gluten and Food Labeling any food that contains less than 20 ppm of gluten is considered gluten-free.

Any food that contains gluten beyond that will usually not be labeled as gluten-free.

So, check the label and only pick labeled gluten-free ice creams. If the label doesn’t say “gluten-free,” then it does contain gluten. 

2. Look for certain ingredients

Always pick an ice cream brand that uses only gluten-free ingredients. There are certain ingredients that are almost always a red flag for gluten. These include wheat, barley, rye, and malt.

3. Ask the manufacturer

If you’re still not sure whether or not the ice cream contains gluten, contact the manufacturer directly and ask them. They should be able to tell you definitively whether or not their product contains gluten.

4. Look for certification

 Gluten-free Certification Organization (GFCO) [3]Gluten-Free Certification Organization: The Leader in Gluten-Free Certification certifies products with less than 20 ppm of gluten.

Always look for the “GF” symbol on the packaging, which indicates that the product has been certified by GFCO.

Causes of gluten in ice cream

There are several reasons why some ice creams may contain gluten. One reason is that some manufacturers use wheat flour as an ingredient in their ice cream.

1. Cross-contamination

One of the most common causes of accidental gluten exposure is cross-contamination. This can happen when an ingredient doesn’t contain gluten itself but is processed in a facility that also processes wheat products.

2. Hidden sources of gluten

Another common cause of unintentional gluten exposure is hidden sources of gluten. As a result, traces of wheat can end up in the final product even though it didn’t start out that way. 

For example, although the ice cream is gluten-free, the cone they use for serving ice cream has a chance of having traces of gluten. 

List of brands that serve gluten-free ice cream

Many ice cream brands serve gluten-free flavors of ice cream. Here is a list of some of the most popular brands.

1. Blue bell

Blue bell is one of the most popular ice cream brands in the US. They serve over 25 gluten-free flavors of ice cream. Their list of gluten-free ice cream includes popular flavors like lime, orange, pineapple, rainbow, and homemade vanilla ice cream.

2. Turkey hill

Turkey Hill places a “gluten-free” label on flavors that contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. They have over 24 gluten-free ice cream flavors, including popular ones like all-natural vanilla, chocolate peanut butter cup, Dutch chocolate, and coffee.

3. Ben and Jerry

This ice cream chain is committed to ensuring that its customers with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can enjoy their ice cream without worry.

This iconic ice cream company lists all its gluten-containing ingredients on its product labels. It has a dedicated page on its website that lists all of its gluten-free flavors.

Some of their gluten-free ice cream flavors include a chunky monkey, mint chocolate chunk, phish food, and triple caramel chunk.

4. Cado

Cado is a gluten-free and dairy-free ice cream brand. Their line of vegan cream is made with avocado as the base ingredient. They have 4 gluten-free flavors: mint chocolate chip, chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.

5. Breyer’s

Breyers is another popular ice cream brand in the US. They have over 37 labeled gluten-free flavors of ice cream. Some of their gluten-free ice creams include natural vanilla, double chocolate, coffee, and strawberry. They are also famous for their gluten-free ice cream sandwiches.

6. So delicious

So delicious is a certified gluten-free ice cream company.  They offer tasty gluten-free and vegan flavors like coconut milk chocolate cookies & cream, dairy-free mocha almond fudge, and salted caramel.

Make your own gluten-free ice cream

Finding good ice cream can be challenging for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Most commercial ice creams contain traces of gluten, either in the form of wheat-based stabilizers or flavorings derived from barley or rye.

However, making gluten-free ice cream at home is possible using just a few simple ingredients.

Ingredients: 2 cups heavy cream, 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 6 egg yolks

Optional: 1 cup fruit, chocolate chips, or other gluten-free mix-ins

Instructions to prepare

  1. Combine the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the mixture until it comes to a boil, occasionally stirring to prevent scorching.
  2. While the mixture is heating, whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl until they are light in color and slightly thickened.
  3. When the cream mixture comes to a boil, slowly pour it into the bowl with the egg yolks while whisking constantly. This will temper the eggs, so they don’t cook when they come into contact with the hot liquid.
  4. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Remove the pan from heat and stir in any desired mix-ins. Then, transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  6. When you’re ready to eat your ice cream, remove it from the refrigerator and let it soften for about 15 minutes before scooping and serving.

Add toppings to your homemade ice cream

There are plenty of delicious and unique toppings you can add to your gluten-free ice cream that will take it to the next level.

Here are some topping ideas to find your ice cream exciting.

1. Coconut flakes

Coconut flakes are a great way to add texture and flavor to your ice cream. They also pair well with other tropical fruits, such as mango or pineapple.

2. Chopped nuts

Chopped nuts are a classic ice cream topping that can be used on any flavor of ice cream. They add a crunchy texture and can be used to top off a sundae or can be sprinkled on top of a scoop.

3. Caramel sauce

Caramel sauce is a rich and decadent topping perfect for those with a sweet tooth. It pairs well with almost any flavor of ice cream, but we especially love it on vanilla, coffee, or chocolate.

4. Whipped cream

Whipped cream is another classic topping that can be used on any flavor of ice cream. It’s light and airy and a great addition to any sundae.

How to store gluten-free ice cream?

Since gluten-free ice cream doesn’t contain the stabilizers that regular ice cream has, it can be more difficult to store. Here are a few tips to help you keep your gluten-free ice cream fresh.

1. Store it away from gluten-containing foods

If you have other gluten-containing foods in your freezer, make sure to store your ice cream on the opposite side of the freezer to avoid the risk of contamination.

2. Don’t store it for too long

Gluten-free ice cream will only stay fresh in the freezer for about 1-2 weeks. After that, it will start to develop ice crystals and lose its flavor.

3. Use an airtight container

This will help to prevent freezer burn and keep the ice cream from taking on the flavor of other foods in your freezer.

Is plant-based ice cream gluten-free?

Fortunately, there are a growing number of delicious plant-based ice creams that are entirely gluten-free. And since they’re plant-based, they’re also dairy-free and vegan-friendly.

Here are the most-common ingredients plant-based ice creams are made of:

  • Almond milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Soy milk


Although most commercial ice creams are safe for people on a gluten-free diet, there are always exceptions to every rule. It’s essential to check the label or contact the manufacturer if you’re unsure whether a particular product is safe for you to eat.


1 Beyond Celiac: Is Ice Cream Gluten-Free?
2 U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Gluten and Food Labeling
3 Gluten-Free Certification Organization: The Leader in Gluten-Free Certification

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