Gluten-Free Ice Cream: A Complete Guide
Looking to cool off with gluten-free ice cream this summer? My favorite thing to do as a kid was visit my grandparents during the summer. There we would ride our bikes to a local ice cream shop along the bike trail. It was so much fun.
Fast-forward to today, grabbing ice cream in the evenings with my partner is a great way to connect with them without committing to an entire night out in a restaurant.
Not only is there less gluten-free advocacy (if you will) when ordering ice cream, but there’s also less risk of getting glutened. That plus the fact that nothing beats cooling off from the summer heat than enjoying a nice delicious bowl of ice cream.
So, here’s how to buy, order, or even make your own gluten-free ice cream. Please be sure to evaluate suitability and safety for options listed in this blog post for yourself. Recipes, production, and manufacturing processes are subject to change and do change quickly.
Table of Contents
Can Ice Cream Contain Gluten?
Not all Ice Cream is gluten-free. Ice cream can contain gluten in the form of barley, rye, or wheat based ingredients, or ingredients that can hide gluten like natural flavors.
Additionally, depending on how the ice cream is packaged and served, it can contain gluten too. For example, ice cream sandwiches, ice cream cakes, and ice cream cones are all ways ice cream can contain gluten.
Examples of ice cream that contains gluten include:
- Some Lactaid flavors (like Cookies and Cream and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough)
- Some flavors of Ben and Jerry’s (like Stephen Colbert’s Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert)
- Skinny Cow Gone Wild Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Annie’s Organic Vanilla Ice Cream Mini Sandwiches
- Klondike Ice Cream Wafer Sandwiches
- Klondike Brownie Fudge, Oreo, or Krunch Dairy Dessert Bars
- Malts (milkshakes with malt powder), these are served at many different restaurants, perhaps most notably served as Malted Shakes at Dairy Queen.
Typically, if the ice cream sounds like it has gluten, it probably does (with some exceptions). This means cake, cookie dough, cookie, or any kind of ice cream sandwich will typically have gluten. But if you need help with identifying gluten on food labels in the USA, sign up for my free class to become a pro!
What Brands of Ice Cream are Gluten-Free?
Now that we know where gluten can hide in ice cream, let’s talk about what brands of ice cream sell gluten-free flavors. Be sure to check suitability and safety of all items and restaurants listed for yourself as ingredients, products, and restaurants are all subject to change.
Ben & Jerry’s has GF Flavors
Has an entire certified gluten-free line of ice creams. More specifically, they are certified gluten-free by GFCO. They test the product to <10ppm and verify cross-contact procedures to ensure a safe product.
Gluten-free flavors include Phish Food, Chunky Monkey, Karamel Sutra, Pistachio Pistachio, Vanilla and more. I’ve always been a fan of Phish Food.
Breyers Ice Cream Has GF Flavors
This brand has gluten-free ice cream flavors available. It was founded in Philadelphia in 1866 by William A. Breyer where they hand cranked their ice cream. With such a rich history, Breyers naturally has some deliciously rich ice cream.
This brand’s GF flavors include Mango, Extra Creamy Vanilla, Natural Vanilla, Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Natural Strawberry. They also have gluten-free lactose free options too (if you have to avoid gluten and lactose). My favorite is Mint Chocolate Chip!
Are Klondike Bars Gluten-Free?
Klondike is another GF ice cream option. Popular perhaps by they’re genius marketing, I ask you, what would you do for a gluten-free klondike bar? Because I’d do a lot.
While Klondike states in their FAQ that their bars are not gluten-free, it’s not because all of their bars contain gluten but instead because they do not operate allergen-free sites.
However they do have some bars that do not contain gluten ingredients and risk of cross-contact from a dietitian’s perspective is considerably low. Dairy Dessert Bar flavors from Klondike that don’t have gluten include Dark Chocolate, Double Chocolate, Checkered Flag, Heath Toffee, Neapolitan, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Reese’s.
Weigh the suitability of their products (and all ice cream options in this post) for yourself. I personally LOVE the Klondike Reese’s Dairy Dessert Bars
Haagen Dazs Has Options
Haagen Dazs has some gf ice cream flavors to enjoy including Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coffee, Strawberry, Vanilla Bean, and Butter Pecan.
A deluxe ice cream brand started over 60 years ago by Polish immigrants in New York City, their ice cream is truly a treat. My favorite is their butter pecan ice cream.
Graeter's Has Gluten-Free Flavors
Started in the street markets of the Cincinnati, Ohio streets, this 150+ year old ice cream brand and parlor has a lot of gluten-free ice cream flavors. Gluten-free flavors including Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip, Madagascar Vanilla Bean, Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip, S’mores and more.
Get a full list of their gluten-free flavors here. With ice cream parlors in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, you can also get a scoop of fresh ice cream from them too. Just be sure to ask for cc precautions.
Magnum Ice Cream Bars can be Gluten-Free
Magnum sells many gluten-free ice cream bars. Per their customer service representative, “any product that contains gluten-based ingredients will list those ingredients on the ingredient list. If the natural flavor contains any gluten, it would be called out on the label.”.
Most of their products per their ingredients are gluten-free. Please note the non-dairy bars have glucose derived from wheat which is celiac-safe but not safe for a wheat allergy.
Yasso has Gluten-Free Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars
Yasso sells some gluten-free flavors of their greek yogurt frozen bars. These GF flavors include: Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Fudge, Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch (dipped), Sea Salt Caramel, and more.
I’ve not tried them but I’ve had many clients rave about them to me in session. I’m waiting to get my hands on the Seas Salt Caramel flavor.
What Brands of Ice Cream are GF and Dairy-Free?
The above gluten-free ice cream brands are great but what about if you have celiac and lactose intolerance? Well below are some gluten-free and dairy-free ice cream brands to enjoy:
- Oatly Ice Cream – This ice cream uses certified gluten-free oat milk to bring you a creamy oat-based non-dairy ice cream. Flavors include strawberry, mint chip, coffee, vanilla, oat, chocolate, and chocolate chip.
- So Delicious – Perhaps my favorite non-dairy ice cream, most of So Delicious frozen desserts are certified gluten-free. With tons of flavors and milk alternative options (like coconut and almond milk), these ice creams are amazing. My favorite is Coconut Milk Cookie Dough. But I also love their frozen chocolate covered dessert bars.
- Cado Avocado Ice Cream – Don’t knock it until you try it, this creamy dairy-free ice cream is another great option for those avoiding dairy and gluten. They even have a gluten-free Cookies & Cream flavor.
- Nada Moo – with certified gluten-free and dairy-free ice creams, this is another great option.
Have a gluten-free and dairy-free ice cream brand I didn’t list but should? Comment below and let me know!
Gluten-Free Ice Cream Cones to Try
Knowing that ice cream can have gluten from the cone it’s often served in, let’s briefly talk about gluten-free ice cream cone alternatives.
You can buy gluten-free ice cream cones to keep on hand when you want a frozen treat. Some gluten-free brands include:
- Let’s Do Gluten-Free – They make both GF Sugar Cones and GF Cake Style Cones (affiliate links)
- Joy – Who makes gluten-free Cake Cups and Sugar Ice Cream Cones (affiliate links).
- Goldbaum’s who also makes gluten-free sugar and cake cones.
- Or you can try your hand at making your own GF ice cream cones with this recipe.
So if you like your ice cream served in a cone, you’ve got options.
Where to Order Gluten-Free Ice Cream?
Okay so we know how to enjoy gluten-free ice cream at home, but what about ordering safe ice cream from restaurants? What ice cream parlors and restaurants have GF ice cream?
Order GF Ice Cream at Cold Stone
Cold stone has many gluten-free ice cream flavors to enjoy. However there’s a risk for cross-contact if you choose to have them mix your ice cream on the mixing stone. You might be best off ordering plain ice cream with no mix-ins.
For more on how to order ice cream at Cold Stone safely, check out this post.
McDonalds has Safe Ice Cream
The Caramel & Hot Fudge Sundae and M&M McFlurry are said to be gluten-free at McDonalds. However, I could not confirm this based on the ingredients on their website as they changed from artificial flavors (which are always gluten-free) to natural flavors in their ice creams.
One can assume that if they were using artificial flavors before, then they’d use natural flavors that closely resemble those gluten-free artificial flavors. This means it’s likely that these natural flavors are not derived from barley or rye. But I could not verify this with Mcdonald’s.
When I asked Mcdonald’s about if their natural flavors were derived from barley or malt, they told me to review the allergy info (which does not encompass gluten) and the ingredients listed on their website to determine the safety (which I had already done and why I had contacted them).
I’m still trying to verify the status of these natural flavors and I will update you as I find out more information.
Grab a Gluten-Free Frosty From Wendy's
Another gluten-free ice cream drive-through option is Wendy’s! Both the Wendy’s Vanilla and Chocolate Frosty are gluten-free.
If you don’t know what a frosty is, it’s not quite a milkshake and it’s not quite soft serve ice cream. Instead, it’s something in the middle. so if you want a fast treat to cool down with, maybe head to your nearest Wendy’s drive-through to grab a Frosty.
Gluten-Free Frozen Custard from Whit's
Whit’s frozen custards have many gluten-free flavors. While not necessarily gluten-free ice cream, it’s close enough. If you didn’t know, the difference between ice cream and custard is that custard has egg in it for an even creamier finish.
You can order many gluten-free frozen custards from Whit’s, including almond joy, black raspberry chip, to peanut butter and jelly. Just make sure you’re asking for cross-contact precautions when ordering.
A Scoop of Gluten-Free Ice Cream from Jeni's
With locations in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Los Angeles, and more, Jeni’s is a delicious ice cream shop to grab ice cream from. My favorite flavor is their ooey gooey butter cake. Who wouldn’t want ice cream with chunks of gluten-free cake in it?
What I also love about them is also label all of their gluten-free ice creams in the ice cream display case so it’s easy to know what’s safe when visiting. Again, just make sure you ask for the right precautions. And make sure that they don’t put a waffle cone garnish on your ice cream bowl. This has happened to me a lot on accident.
Rita's Ice Custard Has Gluten-free Options
Per a follower’s recommendation, Rita’s Ice-Custard is another place you can order a delicious frozen dessert from. With locations only in Pennsylvania, if you ever find yourself in the area, definitely stop in.
Only the obvious choices contain gluten (think cookies and cream), and they use flavor-specific scoops for every ice. A bonus if you hate having to ask them to scoop ice cream from a fresh bin with a fresh scoop.
Dairy Queen Might have GF Ice Cream
Dairy-Queen – will update once I’m done communicating with their team. There appear to be many wheat free options based on their allergen menu but I’m checking to make sure no barley or rye is present as well. Stay tuned!
Order Gluten-Free Ice Cream From Culver's
Last but not least, you can order gluten-free ice cream from Culver’s. Another great drive-through option if you want ice cream in the comfort of your own car.
They’ve got gluten-free concrete mixers (ice cream with toppings mixed in) and ice cream cups. But there is some room for cross-contact here that will need to be managed. For more on how to order these safely, check out this post.
Get Ice Cream From Baskin and Robbins
Baskin and Robbins is another place you may be able to order gluten-free ice cream from. On their online menu, you can sort their options by wheat-free (which does not mean gluten-free) or gluten-conscious options. I counted 28 gluten-free ice cream flavors on their menu.
When I called to verify if the Baskin and Robbins near me could change
their gloves, clean the scoop, and scoop the ice cream from a fresh bin,
they assured me they could but that I’d need to come inside to order. They said not to go through the drive-thru.
There was no option to sort for gluten-free options for beverages and sundaes. I worry about cross-contact with anything that comes with toppings that may sit too close to gluten toppings. I also worry about malt being in ice cream drinks. Feel free to call Baskin and Robbins corporate to see if a drink you want contains gluten and assess suitability for yourself.
General Ways to Prevent Cross-Contact When Ordering Ice Cream
Gluten-free ice cream brands and restaurants out of the way, when ordering ice cream, it’s important to prevent cross-contact. Cross-contact with gluten in ice cream can occur in many ways.
Most commonly, cross-contact with ice cream occurs when scoops, spoons, and mixing machines come into contact with gluten and aren’t washed in between use. When ordering from ice cream shops it’s important to ask for your ice cream to be served in a bowl, without garnishes, and to be scooped with a freshly washed scoop from a brand new ice cream tub.
Ordering gluten-free ice cream with cross-contact precautions like this might look like:
“Hi, I have a severe allergy to gluten, I’d like a bowl of chocolate ice cream. Can you please change your gloves, use a freshly cleaned scoop, and scoop the ice cream from a fresh tub so I don’t get sick?”
Don’t want to fuss with reading food labels or asking for cross-contact precautions at restaurants? Try making your own GF ice cream. Here’s a recipe to get you started! Just be sure any mix-in you use is gluten-free.
Scared to Speak Up for Gluten-Free Ice Cream?
Does the idea of ordering ice cream (or anything for that matter) from restaurants scare you? Feeling unsure on how to keep yourself safe when dining out?
Check out my Gluten-Free Dining Course where I share my 10 years of celiac wisdom with you to help you reduce your chances of getting glutened in just 4 simple steps.
Cool off Safely…
All of that said, if you’re in the mood for gluten-free ice cream, I hope this post helps empower you to find some. Whether you’re buying it in the store, ordering it from a restaurant, or making it yourself: enjoy your ice cream friend.
And if you want more help with ordering other gluten-free foods from restaurants, check out my Gluten-Free Dining Course. In this course I walk you through the 4-steps you need to take to drastically reduce your chances of getting glutened at restaurants. Plus you’ll get a ton of restaurant cheat sheets that tell you what’s gluten-free at popular restaurant chains around the USA complete with tips and scripts on how to order to avoid cross-contact.