Your guide to gluten-free candy

gluten free candy

Do you eat a gluten-free diet? You may think many of your favorite foods and candies are off limits, but that’s not always the case.

Many of your favorite candies may actually be gluten-free. This means that the candy doesn’t contain protein or derivatives from the following ingredients:

  • wheat
  • rye
  • barley
  • spelt
  • kamut
  • triticale
  • farina
  • vital gluten semolina
  • malt vinegar

Here’s your guide to some popular candy brands and their gluten-free offerings. It’s important to note that specific ingredients and formulations may change over time.

Additionally, the candies that are gluten-free in the United States may not be gluten-free in other parts of the world. Always read your labels carefully before eating, and speak with your doctor about any specific concerns you may have.

Hershey’s

The Hershey Company’s list of gluten-free candies is impressively long. It was last updated in September 2015 and lists 147 different products that have been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If the food does contain any of the prohibited proteins or derivatives, their content has to be under 20 parts per million to earn the gluten-free designation.

Gluten-free candies include:

  • Almond Joy (all types except Almond Joy Pieces)
  • Heath Bars
  • Hershey’s Filled Kisses in these flavors: milk chocolate filled with caramel, milk chocolate filled with cherry cordial creme, vanilla creme, and dark chocolate filled with mint truffle
  • Hershey’s Kisses in these flavors: milk chocolate, special dark, Hugs, pumpkin spice, carrot cake, meltaway, and deluxe
  • Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar (only in the 1.55 oz. size)
  • Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar with Almonds (only in the 1.45 oz. size)
  • Hershey’s Milk Duds
  • Hershey’s Nuggets in these flavors: milk chocolate, milk chocolate with almonds, special dark, special dark with almonds, and extra creamy milk chocolate with toffee and almonds
  • Mounds bars
  • Payday
  • Reese’s Fast Break bar
  • Reese’s Nutrageous bar
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (all except unwrapped minis and any seasonal shapes)
  • Reese’s Pieces (all except Reese’s Pieces eggs)
  • Rollo Caramels in Milk Chocolate (all except minis)
  • Skor Toffee bars
  • York Peppermint Patties (all except York Pieces, York Minis, and York Shapes)

If you’re looking to eat other goodies, many of Hershey’s baking bars, baking chips, and cocoas are also gluten-free. So are many of the company’s Brookside, Dagoba, and Scharffen Berger products.

Some candies that likely contain gluten include:

  • 5th Avenue bars
  • Take 5 bars
  • Whoppers

MARS Chocolate

MARS doesn’t have a specific list of gluten-free candies available on its website. Its approach to sharing information is all about labeling. MARS encourages its gluten-free customers to read labels carefully.

Any proteins and cross-contamination risks are listed on packaging in plain terms (like wheat, barley, and rye instead of less recognizable names), so they are easy to spot.

Gluten-free candies include:

  • 3 Musketeers bars
  • M&Ms (all except the pretzel, crispy, and certain holiday varieties)
  • Milky Way Midnight and Caramel bars
  • Dove (all except Milk Chocolate Cinnamon Graham and Cookies and Cream varieties)
  • Snickers bars

This means that the following candies likely contain gluten:

  • Pretzel M&Ms
  • Crispy M&Ms
  • Certain holiday M&Ms
  • Original Milky Way bars
  • Dove Milk Chocolate Cinnamon Graham and Cookies and Cream
  • Mars bars

Again, the company encourages you to read labels. If gluten could possibly be in the mix through processing or packaging, there should be a “may be present” statement on the label to help you avoid any cross-contamination.

Nestlé

Some candies by Nestlé have special labeling to indicate that they’re totally gluten-free. This means they have been through the FDA testing to determine that any gluten protein or derivatives are under 20 parts per million.

There are also other candies in the company’s line that don’t contain gluten ingredients, but have been processed on equipment that may or may not expose them to gluten.

The Celiac Disease Foundation shares that the following Nestlé candies are gluten-free:

  • Baby Ruth
  • Bit-O-Honey
  • Butterfinger (original flavor bar only, not Crisp or Giant bars)
  • Milk Chocolate
  • Gooobers
  • Nips regular and sugar-free varieties
  • Oh Henry!
  • Raisinets
  • Sno-Caps
  • Wonka Pixy Stix
  • Laffy Taffy

The following candies may not be gluten-free:

  • Butterfinger Crisp or Giant
  • Crunch
  • Kit Kat
  • 100 Grand Bars
  • Nerds
  • Wonka Bars
  • Wonka Gummies
  • Kazoozles
  • Everlasting Gobstoppers

Check out: 22 gluten-free cake recipes »

Tootsie

If you’re into Tootsie Rolls, you’re in for a treat. All of this company’s candies are gluten-free. The equipment the candy is processed on is also free from gluten. This means that you won’t find any wheat, barley, rye, oats, triticale, spelt, or any of their components in the candy.

Gluten-free candies include:

  • Andes
  • Candy Carnival
  • Charleston Chew
  • Cry Baby
  • DOTS
  • Double Bubble
  • Fluffy Stuff
  • Fruit Chew Pops
  • Fruities
  • Junior Mints
  • Nik-L-Nip
  • Razzles
  • Sugar Daddy
  • Tootsie Bunch Pops
  • Tootsie Pops
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Wack-O-Wax

Smarties

More good news if you’re a Smarties fan! The company shares that all of its products are gluten-free. Not only that, but their candies are made in facilities that have a very low chance of any cross-contamination.

One exception is Smarties Gummies. This candy is made from gluten-free ingredients, but it is made in a facility that processes with wheat and other allergens. As a result, this candy may contain gluten.

The way you can know if something is safe is to look at the UPC number on the packaging. If it starts with 0 11206, you can eat it without worry. This means it has been processed in a facility that makes “exclusively gluten-free products.”

Wrigley

Wrigley makes products ranging from its popular Doublemint gum to Skittles, Starburst, and more. The company explains that some products “may contain gluten [but] the majority of our products are gluten-free.” Confused? The company goes on to explain that “ingredients and formulas may vary between regions.” Regardless, the label should give you all the information you need to know.

These candies don’t contain gluten in the ingredients list:

  • Altoids (except minis and chocolate-covered varieties)
  • Big Red gum
  • Creme Savers
  • Doublemint gum
  • Eclipse gums
  • Extra gums
  • Hubba Bubba gum
  • Juicy Fruit gum
  • Life Savers
  • Orbit gums
  • Skittles
  • Starburst

Jelly Belly

Jelly Belly offers jelly beans in delicious classic flavors and in some other flavors that are certainly more for shock value (vomit, anyone?). The company explains on its website that all of its jelly beans are gluten-free. They are also peanut-free, dairy-free, fat-free, and even vegetarian friendly.

These candies do contain gluten:

  • Chocolate Malt Balls
  • Bridge Mix
  • Black Licorice Buttons
  • Licorice Pastels

Check out: 11 gluten-free ice cream brands »

NECCO

NECCO has been making candy since 1847. You may know them best from those little hearts you get on Valentine’s Day with the cute sayings.

The company’s website makes it easy to know which of its candies are gluten-free. It provides a handy list, specifically stating that these products don’t contain gluten from wheat, rye, oats, or barley.

Gluten-free options:

  • NECCO Wafers
  • NECCO Chocolate Wafers
  • Candy Buttons
  • CANADA Mints and CANADA Wintergreen
  • Mary Jane
  • Banana Splits Chews
  • Mint Julep Chews
  • Haviland Thin Mints
  • Haviland Wintergreen Patty
  • Sky Bar
  • Sweethearts
  • Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses

If you stick to these candies, you should be safe. Still, it’s always a good idea to check the ingredients just to be sure.

These candies by NECCO likely contain gluten:

  • Clark Bars
  • Haviland Chocolate-Covered Raisins
  • Haviland Nonpareils
  • Mighty Malts
  • NECCO Tropical Wafers
  • Peach Blossoms
  • Slap Stix

Ferrara

The Ferrara Candy Company makes products ranging from Atomic Fireballs to Super Bubble Bubble Gum. It doesn’t provide allergen or gluten-free lists on its website, citing “changes that may occur in the manufacturing and packaging environments.”

The following candies don’t contain gluten in their ingredients lists:

  • Assorted Candy Canes by Bob’s, Brach’s, and others
  • Atomic Fireballs
  • Boston Baked Beans
  • Brach’s Candy Corn, Cinnamon Disks, Conversation Hearts, and Lemon Drops
  • Cherry Sours
  • Jawbreakers
  • Jelly Beans
  • Juju and Jujy
  • Lemonheads in these flavors: Tropical Chewy Lemonheads, Chewy Lemonheads, Berry Chewy Lemonheads, Cherryheads, and Grapeheads
  • Now & Later
  • Red Hots

However, these candies may be exposed to gluten while they’re being made or packaged, leading to possible cross-contamination. To find out specifics on your favorite types of candy, the company encourages you to use the Contact Us form to get in touch with its Consumer Relations team.

Impact

Impact Confections is a candy company based in Wisconsin. It may be best known for its Warheads candies, which come in many different varieties. The Frequently Asked Questions section on the Impact website explains that the majority of its candies are gluten-free, but that you should still read the ingredients lists carefully before consuming.

Gluten-free options include:

  • Marshmallow Circus Peanuts
  • Marshmallow Coconut Toasties
  • Old Fashioned Creme Drops
  • Peanut Butter Kisses
  • Seaside Salt Water Taffy
  • Warheads Extreme Sour
  • Warheads Sour Chewy Cubes
  • Warheads Sour Spray Candy
  • Warheads Sour Dippers
  • Warheads Double Drops
  • Warheads Sour Coolers

Warheads Sour Twists contain wheat flour, and Warheads Sour Coolers contain oat fiber.

Just Born

Peeps are one of the most popular candies made by the Just Born company. Many of its candies are gluten-free, and the company is working to get their packaging to reflect this fact.

However, ingredients and formulations do change occasionally. So, even if you are sure something is gluten-free, it’s a good idea to check that ingredients list.

Gluten-free options:

  • Hot Tamales (all except Licorice Bites)
  • Just Born Jelly Beans
  • Peanut Chews (all except Original Dark)
  • Peeps (all except Rainbow Pops)
  • Teenee Beanee Jelly Beans

Mike and Ikes is another Just Born brand. It doesn’t bear a specific gluten-free label. However, most flavors may be free of gluten-containing ingredients.

Check out: The 21 best gluten-free snack recipes for kids »

The bottom line? Read your labels

If you don’t see your favorite candy bar or specific brand on this list, don’t fret. Reading the nutrition label on the back of the candy should help. You may get lucky and see “gluten-free” written near the ingredients list.

To have this labeling, the candy must have gone through testing with the FDA. Otherwise, scan the ingredients and pay attention to fine-print “may contain” statements about processing.

Still not sure? Don’t eat it until you find out more. You can always call the company with your specific questions.