Best Gluten-Free Candy Options: A Complete Guide

If you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, you may be wary of candy options this Halloween. Use Signos’ guide to navigate the candy aisles with confidence.

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Updated by

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Science-based and reviewed

Published:
May 17, 2024
September 25, 2023
— Updated:
September 26, 2023

Table of Contents

If you are trying to avoid gluten due to celiac disease or other gluten sensitivity, it can be hard to know what foods to eat, especially when it comes to packaged and processed foods like candy. With the Halloween season approaching, you may be wondering if there are any gluten-free options out there for you.

Let this article be your treasure map for finding the best gluten-free candy available. We understand the importance of enjoying allergen-free sweet treats, so let this article be your guide to figuring out what candy you can enjoy this holiday season.

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What Is Gluten? A Quick Overview

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and their derivative. It’s an ingredient that provides elasticity and structure to various foods. Gluten is found in many foods and doesn’t pose a problem for most people.

Individuals with a gluten intolerance or allergy don’t only need to worry about finding gluten-free foods. Gluten can also lurk in unexpected places beyond just food items. Gluten is often used in medications and beauty products, making gluten avoidance a meticulous endeavor for those who must live a gluten-free lifestyle.

For those who need to follow a gluten-free diet, adherence to the diet is extremely important as it is key to managing symptoms and maintaining overall health and well-being.

Naturally Gluten-Free Candies

Surprisingly, some candies are naturally gluten-free because they are crafted from ingredients that naturally do not contain any gluten. This means that these sweet treats are safe to savor for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease without any special modifications or substitutions. Here are a few types of candies that fit the bill:

  • Pure Chocolate

Pure chocolate, which includes white, milk, and dark chocolate made from cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar, is typically gluten-free. However, always check the label to ensure it has not come into contact with gluten-containing products during production.

  • Hard Candy 

Many hard candies, like mint and butterscotch, are naturally gluten-free as they primarily contain sugar, flavorings, and colorings. Always double-check the packaging for any unexpected gluten-derived ingredients.

  • Gummies (without glucose syrup)

Gummy candies with gelatin, fruit puree, and natural flavors can be gluten-free. Be cautious with gummies containing glucose syrup, as it may be derived from wheat and contain gluten.

When indulging in these naturally gluten-free candies, it's still advisable to read labels and consult manufacturers when in doubt. This ensures a safe and delightful experience for individuals following gluten-free diets.

The Ultimate Gluten-Free Candy List By Brand

Gluten-free candy options from reputable brands have become more accessible than ever. Many well-known candy manufacturers recognize the importance of catering to individuals who follow a gluten-free diet.

These brands have gone the extra mile to provide clear labeling and detailed ingredient lists, making it easier for consumers to identify gluten-free candy options.

So, whether you're craving chocolate candy, gummies, or other candy bars, rest assured that a variety of gluten-free choices are available from your favorite candy brands. 

Ferrara

Ferrara produces several well-known candy brands, including some formerly produced by Nestl. Ferrara suggests customers use the Contact Us form on its website to inquire about specific candies. The following Ferrara candies are some of our gluten-free favorites:

  • Atomic Fireballs
  • Brach’s Candy Corn
  • Raisinets
  • SweeTarts (original variety is gluten-free; check labels on other varieties)
  • Trolli Gummies and Fruit Snacks (all except Sour Brite Bites and Twisted Sour Brite Crawlers)

Ferrero

The following Ferrero candies are gluten-free, but we recommend visiting the Ferrero website or reading the label of the product to get more information:

  • Butterfinger Original, Singles, Share Size, Fun Size, Minis
  • Butterfinger Bites
  • Tic Tacs
  • Laffy Taffy

Hershey's

Hershey's provides a list of gluten-free candies on its website. The foods listed as gluten-free do not contain the protein from wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, triticale, farina, vital gluten semolina, malt vinegar, or protein derivatives of these foods. If the grain is present, the level has been reduced to less than 20 parts per million. 

Hershey’s recommends checking the product label as the best way to know if a product is gluten-free. The following Hershey's candies are listed on the website as gluten-free:

  • Almond Joy
  • Heath Bars
  • Milk Duds
  • Mounds 
  • Hershey’s Kisses (milk chocolate, milk chocolate with almond, special dark, mildly sweet chocolate)
  • Payday
  • Reese’s Pieces
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (except seasonal shaped varieties)
  • Skor Toffee Bar
  • York Peppermint Patties (not the minis)
  • York Sugar-Free Peppermint Patties 

Jelly Belly

According to the company, Jelly Belly beans are gluten-free, dairy-free, gelatin-free, vegetarian, and OU Kosher. Some popular gluten-free Jelly Belly options include:

  • Jelly Belly Buttered Popcorn
  • Jelly Belly Smoothie Blend Jelly Beans
  • Jelly Belly Sugar-Free
  • Jelly Belly Sugar-Free Sours Jelly Beans
  • Jelly Belly Sours Jelly Beans

While most Jelly Belly jelly beans are gluten-free, they are sometimes repackaged in production facilities not owned by the Jelly Belly company. When this is the case, the packaging will indicate it. Check the packaging to confirm whether the jelly beans were packaged in a Jelly Belly facility. 

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Mars Wrigley

The Mars Wrigley company does not maintain a gluten-free list of products. Instead, gluten-free consumers are encouraged to read labels, and the Mars Wrigley company promises to label any wheat, barley, and rye ingredients by name.

While many Mars Wrigley products may not include gluten in the ingredients, they are subject to cross-contamination. The company will never label its products as gluten-free because they may be manufactured in a facility that contains gluten. 

  • Skittles Original Gummies
  • Lifesavers 5 Flavors Gummies 
  • Skittles Sour Candy
  • Starbursts Original Fruit Chews

All ingredients are listed on the packaging label. Customers are encouraged to always check the label before purchasing any Mars Wrigley products if gluten-containing products are a concern.

AirHeads

Whether unwrapping their classic bars, bites, or other mouthwatering varieties, you can relish these sweet and tangy treats without worrying about gluten. 

Airheads are crafted to be gluten-free, ensuring that individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease can enjoy their irresistible chewiness and vibrant taste. Some of our favorites include:

  • Airheads Bars, Watermelon
  • Airheads Mini Bars Assorted Flavors
  • Airheads Singles Blue Raspberry
  • Airheads Singles Cherry Candy

So, stretch, twist, and savor the whimsical world of Airheads; knowing their gluten-free status adds an extra layer of delight to every bite.

Haribo

Haribo has a range of gluten-free options that capture the essence of fruity and chewy delights. If you love gummy bears, you can enjoy them while adhering to your gluten-free dietary preferences. Some popular options include:

  • Dinosaurs
  • Goldbears
  • Happy-Cola
  • Peaches
  • Starmix
  • Twin Snakes

Nerds

Nerds candies, those delightful, tiny, and tangy morsels, are a gluten-free treat that packs a punch of flavor. There are a ton of gluten-free options for these colorful and crunchy confections.

  • Nerds Big Chewy
  • Nerds Grape And Strawberry
  • Nerds Gummy Clusters
  • Nerds Gummy Clusters Easter
  • Nerds Rainbow Rope
  • Nerds Rope Easter Candy
  • Nerds Ropes Holiday Candy
  • Nerds Sour Big Chewy
  • Nerds Tropical Rope
  • Nerds Very Berry Rope
  • Nerds Watermelon And Strawberry

Savor the sweet and sour excitement of Nerds candies without worrying about gluten, making every tiny bite a delightful experience.

Peeps

Peeps, those iconic marshmallow treats known for their vibrant colors and charming shapes, are a gluten-free delight. Whether savoring the classic chicks and bunnies during Easter or indulging in their various seasonal creations, Peeps offers a sweet escape for those with gluten sensitivities.

These fluffy, sugary confections are made without gluten-containing ingredients, making them a cheerful and safe addition to any occasion. 

  • Peeps Marshmallow Monsters
  • Peeps Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Chicks
  • Peeps Chocolate Pudding Bunnies
  • Peeps Cotton Candy Flavored Marshmallow Chicks
  • Peeps Decorated Marshmallow Eggs
  • Peeps Fruit Punch Flavored Marshmallow Chicks

Share the joy of Peeps with friends and family, knowing that the colorful marshmallow treats are a delightful gluten-free option for all to enjoy.

Trolli

Trolli, known for its whimsical and uniquely shaped gummy candies, offers a variety of gluten-free options to cater to those with dietary restrictions. From classic gummy worms to innovative and imaginative creations, Trolli offers many gluten-free gummies to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. 

Here are just a few of the gluten-free offerings from Trolli:

  • Classic Bears
  • Peachie O’s
  • Sour Brite All-Star Mix
  • Sour Brite Bears
  • Sour Brite Crawlers

Enjoy these chewy, fruity confections with the peace of mind that they are safe and gluten-free, ready to add a burst of flavor to your snacking experience.

Werther’s Original

According to Werther’s website, all Werther’s Originals are suitable for a gluten-free diet. They include glucose syrup, which may be derived from a wheat source.

Glucose syrup is gluten-free. It can be derived from wheat; however, the production methods involve a high level of hydrolysation, meaning there is no significant gluten content in the sugars. The final ingredient is gluten-free, and foods with glucose syrups can be eaten by people with celiac disease.

  • Werther’s Original Cappuccino Filled
  • Werther’s Original Caramel Apple Filled
  • Werther’s Original Caramel Coffee Hard Candies
  • Werther’s Original Caramel Hard Candies
  • Werther’s Original Chewy Caramels
  • Werther’s Original Cocoa Crème Soft Caramels
  • Werther’s Original Creamy Caramel Filled
  • Werther’s Original Soft Caramels
  • Werther’s Original Sugar-Free Assorted Hard Candies

Advice for Buying Gluten-Free Candy

Navigating the candy aisle while adhering to a gluten-free diet can be totally doable with a few practical tips:

Read Labels Thoroughly

Start by reading candy labels carefully. Look for a "gluten-free" label or certification. While it's not a guarantee, it's a reassuring sign that the product is safe for those with gluten sensitivities.

Check for Gluten Sources

Familiarize yourself with common sources of gluten, such as wheat, barley, and rye. Scan the ingredient list for any mention of these grains or their derivatives, like wheat flour, malt, or barley malt extract.

Beware of Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination can occur during candy manufacturing. Manufacturers often use shared equipment for various products. Look for candies that state they are produced in a gluten-free facility or have rigorous gluten control measures.

Stick to Single Ingredients

Pure candies like chocolate or hard candies made primarily from sugar, flavorings, and colorings are usually safe bets. They tend to have fewer ingredients and are less likely to contain gluten.

Avoid Modified Food Starch (if unsure)

If you're unsure whether the modified food starch in candy is derived from a gluten-free source, it's best to err on the side of caution and choose candies with clearly labeled gluten-free ingredients.

Research Online

If you're uncertain about a candy's gluten-free status, consult the manufacturer's website or contact customer service for confirmation. Many candy makers provide detailed gluten-free information online.

Enjoy Naturally Gluten-Free Candies

Consider candies that are naturally gluten-free due to their ingredients, like pure chocolate, certain hard candies, or gummies without glucose syrup.

Support Gluten-Free Brands

Some brands specialize in gluten-free candies, making them a reliable choice. Look for these brands in health food stores or online retailers specializing in gluten-free products.

Following these tips, you can confidently select gluten-free Halloween candy and indulge in sweet cravings without compromising your health. Remember that gluten-free candy options are increasingly available, making it easier than ever to enjoy delicious treats while staying gluten-free.

Learn More About Healthy Eating and Nutrition with Signos’ Expert Advice

Signos is a great resource for expert advice on nutrition and healthy eating. Signos has a team of registered dietitians who compile evidence-based nutrition information to help you improve your health and wellness. Check out the resources here.

Signos CGM empowers you to improve your health by keeping track of your diet, exercise, sleep habits, and blood sugar. Knowledge is power, and a CGM can give you specific information about how your habits affect your health. 

Find out if Signos is a good fit for you by taking a quick quiz.

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People Also Ask:

What candy does not have gluten?

Candies that typically do not have gluten include pure chocolate, certain hard candies made primarily from sugar, flavorings, and colorings, and gummy candies without glucose syrup from wheat sources. However, always check the labels and verify with the manufacturer, as cross-contamination can occur during processing.

What candies are 100% gluten-free?

Candies that are considered 100% gluten-free are those that are manufactured without gluten-containing ingredients and in facilities that have strict gluten-control measures. Pure chocolates, some hard candies, and gummy candies without wheat-derived glucose syrup often fall into this category. Look for candies specifically labeled "gluten-free" for added assurance.

Are M&M's gluten-free?

M&M's offers some gluten-free varieties, but check the label. Regular milk chocolate M&M's are known to have a risk of cross-contamination with gluten, so individuals with gluten sensitivities should exercise caution. However, M&M's does produce certified gluten-free options in select flavors, such as M&M's Peanut and M&M's Peanut Butter. Always read the packaging and look for the "gluten-free" label.

Are Snickers gluten-free?

Snickers bars contain ingredients like wheat flour and barley malt, which contain gluten. Therefore, standard Snickers bars are not considered gluten-free or recommended for individuals with gluten-related disorders. 

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About the author

Victoria Whittington earned her Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition from the University of Alabama and has over 10 years of experience in the health and fitness industry.

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