Is Ice Cream Gluten Free?

There’s nothing quite like a bowl of ice cream on a hot summer evening. Yet, for those following a strict gluten-free diet, you might think you have to pass on the dairy delight. Is this true, though, or is ice cream gluten-free and perfectly safe to consume? It all comes down to the ingredients and manufacturing.

Hey, everyone! My name’s Michelle, and my family and I are basically obsessed with ice cream. Whether heading to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard or making our creations at home, we enjoy ice cream regularly – even when it’s cold outside. I was curious about making a sundae for my gluten-free friends and decided to investigate whether or not ice cream is gluten-free.

If you follow a gluten-free diet (for health purposes or otherwise) and want to know whether or not you can enjoy this icy treat, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re discussing – in depth – whether or not ice cream is gluten-free.

Can you be gluttonous with ice cream or not? Let’s find out.

Is Ice Cream Gluten Free? The Real Answer

If you ask the simple question, “Is ice cream gluten-free?” you’ll be met with the complicated answer of maybe

At its core, ice cream is gluten-free. That’s because homemade ice cream is made with a mixture of whipping cream, heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract – all of which are naturally gluten-free and safe to consume.

However, not all ice cream is that simple – especially if you’re shopping at the grocery store or in the ice cream shop.

Many ice creams are made with preservatives and additives that might not be gluten-free. For example, “cookies and cream” and “birthday cake” ice cream flavors almost always contain gluten because of the mix-ins used (*some brands are making gluten-free versions, though!).

The other issue is where the ice cream is manufactured. If the ice cream isn’t made in a gluten-free environment, there is the risk of cross-contamination. When this happens, ice cream technically made “gluten-free” may have trace amounts of gluten, which can be detrimental to those with gluten sensitivities.

How to Know If Ice Cream Is Gluten-Free or Not

This is all very confusing and complicated – I get it. But finding out whether or not the ice cream you’re going to consume is gluten-free doesn’t have to be so complex. Here are two things you can do:

  • Check the ingredients. If you’re relatively knowledgeable about what ingredients contain gluten (such as wheat flour and barley malt syrup), you can check the ingredients and make a decision.
  • Check for certifications. If you’re not so handy with ingredient knowledge, don’t worry – there’s an easier way. Simply check for a “gluten-free” label on the container or look for a gluten-free certification.

Always keep in mind that the simpler the ingredients and flavor, the more likely the ice cream is gluten-free. That said, most vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream flavors are gluten-free but double-check the ingredients to be on the safe side.

Ordering Gluten-Free Ice Cream in an Ice Cream Shop

The great part about ordering gluten-free ice cream from an ice cream shop is that they do the hard work for you. All you need to do is ask which flavors are gluten-free and pick your favorite one.

However, there is a risk to consider when ordering at the local ice cream joint – cross-contamination.

If the same ice cream scooper and other utensils are used to serve your gluten-free ice cream, you may suffer the consequences.

That said, ensure that the employee uses a clean or separate scooper (and other utensils) when serving your gluten-free ice cream. 


The good news is that many ice cream flavors are gluten-free, but you need to be vigilant. Before you run out to buy a container of ice cream, I recommend checking out these interesting, frequently asked questions below. 

Does all ice cream have gluten?

Not all ice cream contains gluten. In fact, many of them don’t, especially if they are a single flavor with no mix-ins. The best thing to do is double-check the ingredients of your chosen ice cream. Seek out labels such as “gluten-free,” “no gluten,” or “free of gluten.”

Why is ice cream not gluten-free?

Many ice creams contain ingredients that are not gluten-free, such as wheat flour and barley malt syrup. Another issue is the mix-ins that contain gluten, such as cookies and cake. Lastly, there is a risk of cross-contamination of gluten from where the ice cream is manufactured.

Is there gluten in Dairy Queen ice cream?

Dairy Queen claims that their chocolate and vanilla soft serve is gluten-free. However, they warn that their Blizzard treats often contain ingredients that have gluten. The best thing to do is to ask the employee about which options are safe for those with gluten sensitivities to consume.

Gluten-Free Doesn’t Mean Ice Cream-Free!

If you have gluten sensitivity or avoid gluten for other reasons, you don’t have to give up ice cream. Many ice creams are designed to be gluten-free. When buying ice cream from the store, check the ingredients and look for gluten-free labels. When ordering at an ice cream shop, ask for gluten-free flavors and ensure the employee uses different utensils for serving.

What is your favorite gluten-free ice cream? Do you have anything to add to this article? We’d love to hear from our readers, so don’t hesitate to comment below!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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