Is Ice Cream Really Gluten-Free?

Summer wouldn't feel like summer without a tasty ice cream treat. While ice cream is naturally gluten-free, this doesn't mean that every ice cream treat you can buy is gluten-free. In fact, a surprising number of supermarket brands contain hidden gluten. In general, it's best to avoid any flavor containing baked goods, such as flavors with cookies or cookie dough mixed in.

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Thankfully, several major brands are sensitive to those with gluten sensitivities. Ben & Jerry's is committed to marking the presence of gluten on the label of any flavors containing gluten. Those without this warning are gluten-free. Those with gluten sensitivities will find that most Ben and Jerry's flavors, along with most Dreyers flavors, are gluten-free unless they contain obvious gluten such as cookies.

Other brands that list allergen information on the container include Breyers, Haagen-Dazs, and Blue Bunny ice cream. Breyers All Natural gluten-free iced creams include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coffee, mint chocolate chip, and rocky road, among others. Skinny Cow offers several gluten-free treats, including low-fat fudge bars and mini fudge pops.

Restaurant ice cream tends to be trickier since there are no gluten warning labels. In addition, there is the possibility that flavors containing gluten could be transferred into those without gluten through cross-contamination. If you are concerned about cross-contamination at any of these restaurants, ask for a clean ice cream scoop. Most are happy to use clean equipment for those trying to avoid allergens.

Some flavors and menu items from Cold Stone Creamery and Dairy Queen do contain gluten, while others are suitable for those following a gluten-free diet. Dairy Queen advertises that both their vanilla and chocolate soft serve flavors are gluten-free, as are their Misty Slush frozen treats. McDonalds' ice cream sundaes are gluten-free. At Baskin and Robbins, those with gluten intolerance are advised to avoid ice cream sandwiches and cones, as well as flavors containing brownies, cookie dough, cheese cake, and similar ingredients. For a soft-serve ice cream alternative, try frozen yogurt at TCBY, which offers a detailed list of ingredients and allergen information on every flavor.

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