Eating gluten-free can be really hard, especially in a world where gluten seems to be in everything. Everywhere you look, there’s pasta or bread or wheat flour or barley or malt syrup or something else that makes the food inedible for those with gluten allergies or celiac disease. So, in a world fraught with gluten, is there a way to still enjoy smooth, creamy fudge?
Commercial fudge is rarely gluten-free since the flavors usually include some form of processed gluten. It could’ve been cross-contaminated with equipment that handles other gluten products. Homemade fudge made with milk, butter, and sugar is often gluten-free, assuming gluten-free vanilla extract is used.
So how do you make fudge gluten-free? And is there a way to still enjoy other sweets like chocolate, or other creamy candies when you have a gluten allergy? All of this and more will be covered below.
Finding Gluten-Free Fudge
The main ingredients of fudge are milk, butter, and sugar. And while all these ingredients are gluten-free, many factories and companies still find a way to slip gluten into their recipes with different flavoring and texture add-ins. They might even process their fudge on the same equipment as other baked goods, which are definitely not gluten-free.
But if you make homemade fudge, there are about a million recipes posted online by nutritionists that are gloriously gluten-free. This is the best way to avoid gluten at all costs: Just cut out the middle man and make delicious, creamy fudge on your own.
Important: Vanilla extract often contains gluten. However, gluten-free varieties do exist. Here is a good sugar-free and gluten-free option available on Amazon.
Nutritionists agree that fudge can be gluten-free; it’s just how you make it or where you get it that makes all the difference. And if you can afford to make fudge on your own, you should.
That being said, not everyone has the time (or skills) to whip up a batch of perfectly made fudge. And besides, store-bought or bakery-fresh fudge looks so good. You want their fudge, not a different, not-as-good version made at home.
This is why reading the packages and labels is so important. If you’re gluten-free, then you probably already know this. But if you’re new to this dietary lifestyle, then get used to reading food labels and keeping watch for gluten-buzzer words. Check out this website to find a list in alphabetical order of gluten ingredients to keep an eye out for on store-bought foods.
And while nutritionists do agree that fudge can easily be gluten-free, Steven Plogsted (Pharmacist and Nutrition Support Specialist) warns that “a person with celiac disease may feel entitled to eat anything gluten-free, even if high in fat, sugar, and calories, in an attempt to compensate for the restrictions of a gluten-free diet. Unfortunately, being gluten-free does not guarantee nutrition principles recommended to protect the heart.”
So yeah, people on a gluten-free diet can definitely eat some fudge as long as they think it’s worth the after-effects. But being on a gluten-free diet is not a guarantee that you’re eating healthy. Do what’s best for you, and enjoy fudge when you can. But, just like with everything else, don’t overdo it.
Is Chocolate Gluten-Free?
Chocolate and fudge are in the same wheelhouse.
Chocolate made from only cocoa beans (with no sweeteners) is definitely gluten-free. But regular, sugary chocolate can usually be gluten-free as long as the ingredients haven’t been cross-contaminated on equipment used to make gluten ingredients. This holds true for most milk, white, and dark chocolate.
But it’s always important to check ingredients and labels on store-bought chocolate.
Any chocolate that has extra gluten ingredients (such as crispy chocolate, or chocolate candies with pieces of pretzels or cookies) will not be gluten-free. But for all you Hershey’s lovers, don’t worry; the original Hershey’s bar is definitely gluten-free.
What Brands of Chocolate Are Gluten Free?
Actually, there are a lot of gluten-free options when it comes to store-bought chocolate. If you wanna stay extra safe, you can still make your own homemade chocolate. But a lot of the candy brands we know and love are gluten-free, and you can nibble on them with no regrets.
Here’s a list of gluten-free chocolate candies:
- Almond Joys
- Brookside Dark Chocolate Nut and Fruit Bars
- Butterfingers (all sizes and types)
- Circus Peanuts
- Dum Dums
- Heath bars
- Hershey’s (baking bars, baking chips, cocoa, kisses, milk-covered almonds, nuggets, OG milk chocolate bars, syrup, toppings)
- Melster Candies (check labels for cross-contamination)
- Milk Duds
- M&M’s (all except crispy and pretzel M&M’s)
- Reese’s (candy and toppings)
- Rolo (except Rolo minis)
- Skor Toffee Bar
- Tic Tacs
- York Peppermint Patties
- Warheads (all except Sour Twist and Sour Coolers)
Unfortunately, for all you Easter lovers, Hershey’s doesn’t consider its Cadbury chocolate to be gluten-free. There’s too much of a risk of cross-contamination. Melsters are all gluten-free, but the company does say that they’re made on equipment that also touches gluten ingredients. M&M’s are mostly gluten-free, but just be aware that it varies from flavor to flavor. Crispy and pretzel M&M’s are NOT gluten-free, but every other flavor has shown to be gluten-free, according to a test done by a Nima sensor.
And if you’re trying to avoid gluten, stay away from those little Valentine’s boxes of chocolates. Eating those is like playing a game of Russian roulette. Nobody knows what’s in those little nuggets of fear–not even the company that made them. And, let’s face it; one of those clay-flavored chocolates is not worth getting sick over.
While there are a lot of gluten-free candies still out on the market, there are also a lot of candies with gluten that might try and sneak into your diet. The best way to avoid these is to read the labels. But let’s face it–you don’t have endless hours to read the label on every single piece of food you buy.
To keep your shopping trip from becoming over ten hours long, here’s a list of gluten-filled chocolate candies to avoid:
- 100 Grand
- Baby Ruth
- Butterfinger Crisp
- Fun Dip
- Fruit Stripe
- Kinder Joy
- Laffy Taffy
- Pixy Stix
- Stretch Island Fruit Strips
- Super Bubble
There are a million candies out there, so for a more complete list, check out this website.
Thanks for stoppin’ by! For more, don’t miss The 10 Best Fast Foods That Are Easy on the Stomach.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.